“Stone Cold” Steve Austin is quite possibly the biggest draw in the history of wrestling. Austin has been called the “Michael Jordan of Professional Wrestling” and rightfully so.
Twenty years ago on this day, Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels took place at WrestleMania 14. Mike Tyson, the baddest man on the planet, was the guest referee for this match which saw Austin walk out as the champion.
On the 20th Anniversary of this epic bout, Stone Cold was interviewed by the WWE. In this interview, Austin revealed a number of things related to this epic showdown between him and Michaels.
Austin revealed his thoughts on the feud, 20 years hence and said that it doesn’t feel like it’s been 20 years since his first WWE title reign: (H/T: wrestlinginc.com)
We were in Boston at the Fleet Center. I wrestled the one and only Shawn Michaels. We didn’t know if Shawn was going to get in the ring. He wasn’t really in a good place at that time. In his head, in his back, he was beat up, battered. I was on fire Austin.
Tyson came in, he was the X-factor. A lot of outside eyeballs coming into the product. I mean he really brought a lot of attention with him and we were able to capitalize on that but the bottom line was, was the match even going to happen?
Austin reminisced about the time when his boss and promoter Vince McMahon first talked about the idea of involving Mike Tyson in that feud:
Hey man, I was ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, alright? This was way back in the day. When I’m ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin I’m in 150%. I was smart enough to know my place. My role is in a WWE 20×20, I got no business going up against Mike Tyson and killing everything that I built up by him knocking my ass out within 20 seconds of the bell ringing.
Austin also revealed the reason why he didn’t like the finish to the match which was also his first WWE Championship win:
I thought the three count was a little too quick. You want to win that title with a slow, deliberate count of the proper cadence. He hit the mat too fast three times. That would be my only knock about what Mike Tyson did. We didn’t get the chance to pull out all the stops.
I didn’t get the best out of Shawn Michaels and he didn’t get the best out of me. I walked right back past the blue curtains and there was Vince. I looked at him and I said, ‘Man, that match sucked.’ He said, ‘Don’t worry about it, it all starts fresh tomorrow.’ And the next day, that’s where we started that campaign, the kind of Stone Cold thing with Vince McMahon, the corporate thing, and it all started working, all the pieces started falling into place.
You always want to knock a grand slam every time you go out there. We didn’t but things happened after that and that’s what you do to move forward. You look past the match, put it behind us, I now have a championship, focus on things and move forward. That’s what we did.
You can watch the full interview here: