Monday nights the RAW Reunion show was closed by the only logical person. The Texas RattleSnake, Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Despite the crowd having there member berries completely engulfed by nestalgia acts the biggest pop of the night was reserved for the one and only. When the glass broke you would have thought he was about to pull Mick Foley on top of the Rock for the title. There is something about that guy that still makes my hair stand up on end. But why? For my money there are a few things that happened with Stone Cold that have perfectly preserved our feelings for him.
First, he never broke character. Stone Cold has always been Stone Cold. Yes, he had varying gimmicks before becoming the hell raiser he is best known for. However it is his commitment to the character once achieving top guy status that I’m talking about. He never wavered in his commitment to the gimmick. It is well documented the number of times Austin has said no to Vince McMahon on a number of things. Not all wanted, but his fierce defense of his character never lead to a terrible GM run, or becoming a character that is based in comedy. Yes, Stone Cold did both of those things, but when he did them he was still Stone Cold.
Second, His finisher is perfect. It is minimal damage on his body for the most reward. Allowing him to continue to give his signature move well into his fifties. The Stone Cold Stunner, stands the test of time as one of the best of all time. Pair that with the ability of just about anyone other than Vicne to sell it, it’s a true gem. It is the simplicity of the move that has allowed him to significant making meaningful appearances.
Third, his time away from the business. Steve famously rode off into the sunset, ending things on his terms. It could be this reason why he never felt the need for “one more match”. In spite of having a slew of dream matches thrown at him over the years the Rattle Snake has never pulled on his boots for a run in, or a match. He has had spots in the ring where he has
“wrestled” but they were mostly just spot fest that were meant to be nothing more. Because of this we have never seen his age like we have with guys like Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Sting, and Goldberg. Arguably the other top guys of his era, and he seems to smell like roses in comparison to them.
So what can the current stars of pro wrestling learn from this? Simple, be your character at all costs. Never let who you are dating, or multiple gimmick changes push you off the ball. Take them all in stride and be your character.
Also know when to walk away. If you drag things out to long there is a real chance you will be inflicted with the same problems that have crushed the reputations of guys like Mick Foley, Triple H, and Batista. Finally, whatever you do make sure you have a finisher you can do well into your fifties, because if you can pop us you can earn a paycheck.