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What does Stone Cold Steve Austin's 3:16 actually mean?

There is more to Stone Cold's "Austin 3:16" promo than meets the eye.

Steve Austin at the 1996 King of the Ring

What is now known in the wrestling business as a WWE Superstar’s “Austin 3:16” moment has an interesting history, this was Stone Cold Steve Austin’s introduction to stardom at the 1996 King of the Ring pay-per-view. 

On that fateful night, Austin beat Jake “the Snake” Roberts to become the King of the Ring that year. During that time, Roberts’ gimmick was that of a born-again Christian. Austin used John 3:16, one of the more notable Bible verses in Christianity, to take a shot at Roberts in his post-match interview with Michael Hayes.

You can see the video of this iconic moment below and read what Stone Cold had to say right below that.

Talk about your Psalms. Talk about John 3:16. Austin 3:16 said I just whipped your a**.

It was at that moment that Austin gave himself a shot at stardom and the WWE obliged. They rode his momentum throughout the late-90’s and into the 2000’s. Austin is still the highest marketed WWE Superstar of all time.  

In an earlier article by Uproxx.com, they published interesting facts about the Austin 3:16 promo. A few of the highlighted items talk about how a few changes to the King of the Ring Tournament actually allowed Austin’s inclusion into the event. For example, without Triple H’s punishment handed down by WWE officials, Austin would’ve never gotten that opportunity at King of the Ring. 

Stone Cold Steve Austin wrote a book called “The Stone Cold Truth” that delves into many details of his career, including the switch to Stone Cold. Before Stone Cold turned into the character WWE fans know and love today, Austin’s gimmick was that of a ringmaster. There wasn’t anything creative about it.

The transition into more of a star with attitude didn’t come without turbulence.

In his book, Austin mentioned that much of his promos were getting edited behind the scenes. He went to Vince McMahon and the CEO replied with much candour saying, “Well, Steve, your stuff is making the people laugh back in the studio. We are concerned because, as a heel, we want the fans to not like you.” 

Since that night, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan have had their own version of the Austin 3:16 promo. When Punk delivered the famous “pipebomb,” his stock immediately multiplied in the eyes of the WWE Universe. When Bryan turned on Bray Wyatt on WWE Raw in that steel cage match, the fans erupted and it helped jumpstart Bryan’s ride to fame. 


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