AUSTIN 3:16 UNCENSORED
WWF Home Video 1998
With the recent news that “Stone Cold” Steve Austin will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year, I thought it would be fun to go back and take a look at Austin in his heyday.
Now, part of my reasoning was also because something is just missing from today’s WWE product. Sure, there’s some great stuff, but something is just missing. It just doesn’t seem all that exciting to me, where back then EVERYTHING seemed exciting, even the lame stuff.
One thing that really caught me by surprise was the total 180 that WWE (ah, forget it, it was WWF at the time) had done in their product. Even more so how different it is from today’s recently watered-down, rating-reduced, more “kid friendly” WWE. This tape would NOT be released in this form today. No way.
Also, at the time, WWF was getting away from the format of their long-tired home video features. There was less kayfabe, more of a documentary style, and way more risqué stuff. Most fans were buzzing about videos like this, which really started with the previously released “Cause Stone Cold Said So.”
Okay, enough back story, but remember what I said about how this video would never be released today? Well, before we get any opening titles, we get Jim Ross posing the question “If I had to give a description of “Stone” Cold Steve Austin, what would it be?”
Austin’s response? “Bad motherf***er.” Oh, nothing on this tape is bleeped.
We get a thirty second intro packed with things no longer seen in the current product. Many dirty words, beer drinking, middle fingers, bleeding, and plunder shots, set to the old “Thorn In Your Eye” RAW intro music.
First to be brought up is Austin’s match with Owen Hart at SummerSlam 1997, and the neck injury he suffered which would ultimately go on to end his career several years later. He talks about being paralyzed in the ring for over a minute. He says he is still pissed off about how it happened.
We then take a look at a package of classic Austin promo moments, including everyone from Vince McMahon to The Rock. Some classic stuff here.
This morphs into another package made to look like a spoof trailer for Pulp Fiction called “Pulp Austin.” There’s more Stone Cold Stunners and attacks in this than there have been fake Doink the Clown’s on indy shows. Also seen is Austin giving a random Stunner to Jeff Jarrett for no reason, then doing his strut. That was fun. Hey, there’s Marc Mero!
It’s now January 1998, and we head into the Royal Rumble. We begin to look at Austin’s quest for the WWF title. Of course, this is the event that Mike Tyson was present for, to set up the angle the ultimately turned the WWF’s fortunes around in the Monday Night War.
Austin enters the Rumble match and begins to beat up the long-forgotten likes of DOA, Savio Vega and the Headbangers. It comes down to Austin, Faarooq, Dude Love, and The Rock. Austin outlasts them all as Mike Tyson cheers him on in a press box.
Of course, the next night, McMahon brings out Tyson to what is described as a “P.T. Barnum-like.”
We all know what happens here, Austin confronts McMahon, flips off Tyson, and the ensuing brawl pops a huge rating, gets everyone talking, and seals the deal of being the biggest star in wrestling.
From here, the story was all about if Austin would be able to win the WWF title (then held by Shawn Michaels). Michaels and DX try to lobby for Austin vs. Tyson at WrestleMania, and ultimately Tyson joins DX, and the stage for WrestleMania is set.
Austin comments on HBK not showing up for a February eight-man tag at No Way Out of Texas as “bulls***.” His comments between all these segments are pretty profanity-laden, but hey, it’s Stone Cold. Clips of the match, which saw Savio Vega of all people sub in, are shown. Austin just destroys everyone while a knockoff version of Van Halen’s “Right Now” plays. Hey, it’s Chainsaw Charlie! That was fun.
Austin refers to Chyna as “one tough b****.”
What’s with the walk he does to the ring? Austin says it’s the “B.M.F. Walk.” “The B.M.F. Walk?” JR asks foolishly.
“Yeah, Bad Mother F*****”.
For eight weeks leading up to WrestleMania, DX tries to mess everything up for Austin. JR goes over with Austin everything that occurred.
Vince McMahon begins to get further involved and says if Austin becomes champion, it would be a “public relations corporate nightmare.” Now there are more obstacles.
They show the “public workout” prior to WrestleMania, which took place outside in front of 15,000 people. DX and Tyson tie Austin up in the ropes and Tyson and HBK kiss him on the head. Austin says they were sloppy kissers, and it wasn’t very passionate at all.
WrestleMania XIV, which a ton of people have called an awful show right up there with the universally-accepted worst-ever (WrestleMania IX). To say the crowd goes absolutely MENTAL for Austin by this point. Not that they didn’t at the very least go nuts for him before.
Of course, Michaels was totally messed up at this point, and this would be his last match in four years after getting back surgery afterwards. Knowing how much pain he was in makes his performance in this match even more remarkable and cringe-inducing. Like taking a backdrop over the top rope and onto Triple H on the floor. Of course, this was the culmination of Austin’s quest for the championship, but not before Tyson turned on DX and knocked out Michaels.
Of course, the night after, we see that the Austin-McMahon storyline is now moving forward, as McMahon constantly implores Austin to be a company champion. This, of course, was a storyline that carried the company for ages, and in some ways, resurfaces every so often today.
Austin and McMahon get ready for their one-on-one match on RAW, which was really a non-match as Dude Love intervened. This “match” drew one of the largest ratings during this time period. The Dude would become McMahon’s new corporate choice and went into a series of great title matches with Austin. Dude takes some real nasty bumps in the packages recapping these matches, including a hip-toss off a stage to the concrete floor.
Vince looks a million years younger on this video, by the way. It’s only been ten years, but keep in mind, the XFL debacle seemed to age him overnight.
We see yet another music video as Austin talks about his fans. It’s absolutely ridiculous the crowds they show during this. Especially the fact that it seems every single one of them is carrying a sign of some sort. This was when WWF was pushing “free speech” amongst its fans, whereas now they confiscate signs that aren’t complimentary to their top stars.
Austin shows us where he likes to hunt and his GUNS. He does some shootin’. He says he started wrestling just like starting at an entry-level position at McDonalds, but it was always his goal to work all the way up to the top.
And that’s pretty much it. While mostly a collection of recap videos, with sit down interview footage spliced in, this is a really fun look back at a tome the wrestling business was really evolving. Plus it’s a great look at the full storyline involving Austin trying to finally get a title shot, and all the obstacles thrown at him.
As a quick aside, I was not a huge fan of some of the changes going on in wrestling at the time. I have since changed my view on this. I thought at the time they were pushing the envelope too far, too often. But it worked. As I appeared on indy shows as everything was starting to take off, there was a trickle-down effect. Almost overnight, many of our towns saw attendance double. And these were new fans, showing up in their Austin 3:16 t-shirts.
Sadly, as far as I know, this was never released on DVD (I think the first Austin DVD released was “Hell Yeah” – the next in the series). Chances are you can find the VHS on eBay, though.
Check it out, it’s a fun tape, but it might have you hating a lot of the current stuff that just lacks that extra fire.