WWE News: Steve Austin reveals the true source for his nicknames, finisher and the 'Smoking Skull' belt
Stone Cold credits JR for his nickname.
One of the greatest wrestlers of all time, Stone Cold Steve Austin took the time during his show to reveal the origin for some of the more iconic parts of the ‘Stone Cold’ persona.
If you ask any manner of wrestling fan to list their favourite wrestlers; near the top of that list would be Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Texas Rattlesnake is almost singlehandedly responsible for WWE’s, the then WWF’s, resounding victory over their competitors WCW during the fabled ‘Monday Night Wars’.
He is responsible for an entire generation of wrestling fan citing the Attitude Era as the reason they ‘got into wrestling.’ His on-screen persona was the voice and the manifestation of the times and many people, both young and old, looked up to the ‘Toughest SOB in the Business’, as he ran riot against the system and more specifically, Vince McMahon, his on-screen antagonist.
Whilst on our screens, Austin – a Texas native – was renowned for many things: his beer drinking, his glass-shattering entrance, his ‘un-PG’ language, his feud with Mr. McMahon, his finisher – that he used liberally on almost everyone on the roster, his nicknames and, perhaps most iconically, the creation of his own belt, The Smoking Skull Belt.
But where did these ideas come from? In a Q&A session on Episode 383 of The Steve Austin show, Austin revealed the origins of the belt, a variation of the then WWF World Championship, crediting the original idea to one of the most iconic tag teams in modern wrestling, The Road Warriors; Hawk and Animal.
“Yeah the [prior] belt, I didn’t like. The idea for the ‘Smoking Skull Belt was the Road Warriors, Animal and Hawk. They called me over and said, ‘Hey Steve you know you’re ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. You ought to have your own belt.’ That was the Road Warriors idea and I give them credit for it.”
Though iconic now, the ‘Smoking Skull Belt’ has been through a somewhat rough time since its inception; once being flung off a bridge into a river in Detroit by an incensed Rock during a 1999 RAW taping.
When asked about the nicknames for himself and for his emphatic finishing manoeuvre, the former WCW and ECW man explained that it was the voice of the Attitude Era, JR who created the names completely spontaneously. The former Taskmaster elaborated further by stating that he had nothing at all to do with the creation of these names;
“As far as JR calling me all those cool nicknames he called me, that was just him being the best commentator in the history of pro wrestling. And he made all that stuff up on the fly. And I would never think, ‘Hey, JR, going out tonight, can you call me ‘The Texas Rattlesnake?’ ‘Sure, you could do that on the DL, you could feed it to the announcer, but I didn’t, I was out there being ‘Stone Cold.’ I was from Victoria, Texas.”
Hell, they came up with the name for the ‘Stone Cold’ Stunner. I didn't’. I didn’t like it at first, actually, but it worked. And, boy, did it have a ring to it. It was effective, and I’m glad it turned out that way. But JR was simply shooting from the hip and making up those nicknames on the fly. I am eternally indebted to him for his commentary and him helping to the get the ‘Stone Cold’ persona over the way he did,’ he added.
As shown, the moulding of the Austin character was a collaboration of minds, taking many months to come to a head. But when it did, the charisma and ‘dont’ care attitude' of the man in question was the real reason that the persona was completely over with the WWE universe, no matter what he did.
It is just a shame that his incredibly promising career was cut so tragically short, after being told in 2002 that if he wrestled again it could cause serious, possibly even fatal injuries after the infamous 1997 broken neck he sustained while battling the late Owen Hart.
However, the legend of Austin, from his Stunner to his belt, will live long in the memory of everyone that calls themselves a wrestling fan.
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