What If Stone Cold never retired in 2003?
Steve Austin wrestled his last match on March 30th, 2003 at WrestleMania 19 against The Rock. It was not billed as Austin’s retirement match, and only a select few knew that this was ‘Stone Cold’s’ farewell. Austin’s troublesome neck finally gave out on him. ‘The Rattlesnake’ had been on borrowed time, ever since Owen Hart dropped him on his head at SummerSlam 1997.
In retrospect, Austin’s time at the top was short. Factoring in his many layoffs due to injury and Austin’s eight-month hiatus after walking out in June 2002, ‘Stone Cold’ was only on top for about three years.
It’s incredible that Austin was able to have the career he had in such limited time, but what if his career didn’t end after losing to The Rock at WM19?
Austin was only 38 when he had to call it quits; there was still a lot he could’ve done inside the squared circle.
Let’s imagine that Austin’s neck was magically cured after his third ‘Mania match with The Rock. With that scenario in mind, this is how his career in WWE post WM19 may have looked.
Challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship
The night after WrestleMania 19, Austin would have turned his attention to a man he was very familiar with and to a title steeped in history: Triple H and the World Heavyweight Championship.
Austin never held the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. It was the one major singles title that alluded him.
While Austin was on the losing end at ‘Mania, ‘The Rattlesnake’ had a big enough name to warrant a shot at Triple H’s big gold belt. 'Stone Cold’ would have challenged for RAW’s top title in the Spring of 2003, whether in one-on-one bouts with Triple H or as a part of multiple person matches.
However, Austin wouldn’t have gotten his hands on the World Heavyweight Championship, as that title was reserved for another bald ass-kicker.