Steve Austin recently discussed the origins of the Stone Cold Stunner in his latest blog post, plus who he would like to see in the Hall of Fame and more. Check out the highlights:
On the origin of the Stunner: "I guess the year was 1996. We were in Fayetteville, NC. at a Monday Night Raw. It was just a normal Monday. I was hanging around the arena killing time before the show started, minding my own business when Michael P.S. Hayes came up to me and said "Hey, Kid…You got a minute? I wanna show you something". I said "Sure" and followed him to the ring. As we walked he started explaining to me that he had maybe come up with a better finishing move for me than the one I was using at the time. I had been using the Million Dollar Dream, H.O.F'er Ted DiBiase's old finish that I had been given when I first came into WWF, with Ted as my manager. It had been a great finisher for Ted, and it was working well for me too, but I needed something a little more explosive that fit my personality. Michael explained that Johnny ‘Ace' Laurinaitus had been using a version of the this finish in Japan with great success. Johnny had also shown his version of the finish to my buddy Diamond Dallas Page. DDP was starting to run roughshod in WCW with a helluva run and called his version of it the Diamond Cutter. The difference that Michael would show me was that instead of going flat, I would drop down on my ass, theoretically driving my shoulder into the opponent's throat. We were assisted by several willing ‘volunteers' that were around ringside. These guys let me experiment and get the hang of it. I was sold. This would be my new finish from that point on."
On developing the Stunner further: "When I first started using the Stunner as it would come to be named(I'm not sure who named it, maybe Jim Ross or someone in the office), I simply went into the maneuver without a set up. It was simply delivered with no anticipation. And I'm a little fuzzy on this, but I'm almost positive that Michael and I were talking about the move happening too fast, and that the crowd could not anticipate the action because it happened out of the blue. I needed some type of setup maneuver ala Jake "The Snake" Robert's signature short arm clothesline that he delivered before unleashing one of the most devastating finishers of all time…The DDT. An easy, and quick solution to this was the kick to the gut, which perfectly set the victim into an effective ‘ready position'. Not only was the kick effective as a weapon to neutralize my opponent, it was also a visual ‘signal' to the crowd that the Stunner was next…Or was it? Any kind of curveball could be worked into the equation at that point, but from a storytelling standpoint, the Stunner was ‘supposed' to happen next."
On Michael Hayes and the Freebirds' Hall of Fame Chances: "For those of you who never saw Michael P.S. Hayes wrestle or cut a promo, you missed out on a cat who was wildly entertaining. Michael was the mouthpiece and leader of the Fabulous Freebirds. Bad ass bully and big man Terry ‘Bam Bam' Gordy was the muscle and intimidator of the bunch. And Buddy Roberts was the heat seeking missile who everyone in the world thought that even ‘they' could kick's ass. I predict that the Fabulous Freebird's will be in the Hall of Fame one day. They had a lasting impact on me and my career. I spent my hard earned money in Dallas, Texas paying for a ticket at the World Famous Sportatorium so I could watch the Freebird's wrestle. Michael Hayes' entrance alone was worth the price of the ticket. You either loved or hated the Freebird's. There was no in between with these guys. And I don't think Michael ever got enough credit for being an outstanding talker, personality, and entertainer."
On the Stunner's ranking in terms of finishers: "I would dare say that the Stone Cold Stunner was one of the most effective and devastating finishing maneuvers of all time. I think it is pointless to pick a "Number 1 Finisher" of all time. I think a Top 10 is fine, though. There were just so many Bad Ass finishers that evolved as time went on that would not even be considered as a ‘finish move' in today's game. The Vertical Suplex of Harley Race or the Iron Claw of Fritz Von Erich wouldn't fly in todays game, but both were revered and feared by everyone in the business back in the day, and if you were on the receiving end of either one of the moves…You were done. Period."
On the physical rigors of doing the Stunner so often: "I don't know how many Stunners I've dealt out in my career. There were some nights when my back was so torched the last thing I wanted to do was jump up in the air and land on my ass… BUT… After getting beat like a drum for a good portion of my career, no matter how bad I was feeling… I NEVER B!TCHED ABOUT HAVING TO GIVE A STUNNER. The setup kick… The Stunner… The explosion from the fans in attendance…Damn what a way to make a living!!"
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