Stone Cold Steve Austin: The Bottom Line on the Most Popular Superstar of All Time
Disc One – Documentary
This documentary is told mostly through Steve Austin’s perspective and is a comprehensive journey through his career. Throughout the DVD, he adds in interesting and distinctive insights of his best and worst moments, and kudos to the others involved for a fine effort as well. They supplement their assessments on moments in Austin’s career, giving the DVD more balanced fell. The rattlesnake pulls no punches, telling stories how he saw it.
It is evident that he still has tons of passion for the business since his emotions come forth when he talks about certain moments in his career. I appreciated the early parts of the DVD more so than anything else, because I was not educated on all of small details from that era and so found the backstories from that time more interesting verus the ones that have become rather ad nauseam.
There is no doubt about it: WWE knows how to format and edit their documentaries, yet in my opinion, this one just exceeds every documentary the company has ever made. It is mostly because of Austin’s abilities to tell his journey in such a detailed manner.
Disc Two—USWA, WCW, and WWF
These are all handpicked from Stone Cold Steve Austin, and three of them include alternative commentary via Jim Ross.
Chris Adams vs. Steve Austin (w/Jeannie – 5/90)
Analysis: Not much to say about this one. As basic as a match gets. *
Sting & Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair & Steve Austin (w/Sensuous Sherri – 07/30/94).
Analysis: This awesome match had wall-to-wall action throughout. The wrestlers worked from the base, building this match like a pyramid by putting the proper layers conjointly in place until it reached the crescendo, and most of the match was built off the crowd’s reactions. Like most great matches, the wrestlers brought the fans on a dramatic roller coaster ride. What made the old WCW tag matches so good was how they would build to a variety of sub-climaxes. The action did not keep building without some letup. The wrestlers knew when to turn up the action and when to turn it back down, causing for a dramatic emotional ride. **** 1/4
King of the Ring Finals: Steve Austin vs. Jake Roberts (06/23/96).
The purpose was to get Austin over as one tough and nasty son-of-a-bitch, and this was successful in doing that. This was not good from a work-rate perspective, for reason that Jake being way past his prime. His timing was off, especially when it came to selling Austin’s offense. Nevertheless, the most important part came after the match, though, as Austin cut his never-forgettable, ad lib promo that commenced the 3:16 era. It is one of the greatest promos ever, with everything he said being heartfelt, assertive, and defiant. * for the match, ***** for the promo.
Submission Match: Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (03/23/97).
Analysis: This had everything you could want in brawl. That being intensity, abhorrence, psychology, storytelling, color, conceivable selling, facial expressions that help articulate the narrative, an incredible atmosphere, and some truly elegant booking. They pulled off exactly what McMahon wanted them to do: a double-turn. Hart turned into a narcissist heel that only was concerned about winning, and Austin turned into a venerated babyface.
Even though Austin wasn’t a conventional babyface, this ended up revealing some of his inner face-like qualities, like his resiliency and perseverance. The finish exemplified those two exact things, since he refused to tap out to the Sharpshooter, causing him to pass out from the pain. This was significant, historic, and just flat-out tremendous. I cannot think of a match that was better than this one in WWE’s history. *****
Intercontinental Title: Steve Austin vs. The Rock (w/the Nation – 12/06/97).
Analysis: This was an illustration of things to come in WWF’s main event scene, with lots of all-over-the-arena, bar-fight brawling and a lack of application of the rules, all thanks to Vince Russo.** ½
WWF Heavyweight Title: Shawn Michaels (w/DX) vs. Steve Austin (3/29/98).
Analysis: I assume Tyson was overzealous and that’s why he counted fast. It’s surprising that not many bring up the fast count. It never made sense and made it seem as if HBK was screwed. Not want WWE wanted to happen. There is nothing wrong with this, as had good pacing and timing throughout. However, it was disappointing due to the amount of talent they had. They could have wrestled a better match in their sleep if HBK were healthy. Their contest at King of the Ring ’97 was better in spite of having minimal build. The counter-for-counter finish was a gut-wrenching sequence, though. *** ¼
Verdict on Disc 2: This was a very good disc, but I believe some of his best work was missing. He said that he was able to handpick everything, even if they were on other DVDs, but where is the Austin/Pillman vs. Ricky Steamboat/Shane Douglas match that displayed the Hollywood Blondes as a dynamic and cohesive tag team? Where is one of the Steamboat ones which proved he could hang with one the greatest in-ring workers ever? Where is his match with Bret Hart at Survivor Series ’96 which displayed how amazingly scientific and mechanical he could be ? I understand that all these matches were important to him, but I wish that one of those were on this disc…if not all of them.
However, there is no doubt there was great content on this disc…from his big win over the icon Sting, to his five-star brawl with Bret Hart, all the way to his world title win that made him the biggest commodity since Hulk Hogan. There is still more to come. Disc 3 is about Austin’s career on top of the wrestling world.