Steven James Anderson was born on December 18, 1964. He was raised by his mother in Edna, Texas after his parents divorced when he was just a year old. When his mother remarried, Steven adopted his stepfather’s surname and changed his name to Steven James Williams (though after the success of his wrestling career, he would once again change his name legally to Steve Austin).
Steve has been a wrestling fan since his early childhood. Even though he was a prolific football player, Steve has said that his dream his entire life was to be a professional wrestler.
Debut In WCW
Austin played college football for the University of North Texas. In 1989, he started his pro wrestling career. Two years later, Austin signed with WCW and adopted the “Stunning” Steve Austin persona.
He achieved moderate success in WCW, becoming a two-time WCW World Television Champion and a two-time WCW United States Heavyweight Champion. Today, Austin’s stint in WCW is perhaps most remembered for the time he teamed up with Brian Pillman to form the Hollywood Blondes.
Jumping Ship To The WWF
After a brief time in ECW, Austin signed with the WWF in 1995. He was rebranded as a gritty, down-to-earth, anti-authority antihero called “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. The WWF was going through some changes at this time; the company was ushering in a new era of raunchy, edgier programming now referred to as the Attitude Era.
Austin became the face of the Attitude Era thanks to his feud with the chairman of WWF, Vince McMahon. His continuous rebellion against his millionaire boss resounded incredibly well with audiences frustrated with their own bosses. Fans could put themselves in Austin’s shoes and vicariously live through his rioting week after week, and they eagerly ate it up.
Austin achieved unprecedented success in the WWF. He became a WWF Triple Crown Champion as a result of his multiple title wins; all in all, Austin became a six-time WWF Champion, a two-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, and a four-time WWF Tag Team Champion (with Shawn Michaels, Dude Love, The Undertaker, and Triple H) among other accolades.
In addition to these championship wins, Austin won the Royal Rumble three times, won the 1996 King of the Ring, and headlined several Wrestlemanias. Austin’s popularity left an enormous impact on the wrestling business as a whole and largely contributed to the industry boom that happened in the late 90s.
Retirement And Legacy
Unfortunately, Steve Austin’s in-ring career was cut short by a series of knee injuries and a devastating neck injury he sustained in 1997 at SummerSlam. He officially retired in 2003, 14 years after his wrestling career began.
Steve Austin was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009 by his eternal rival, the chairman himself, Vince McMahon. Equally poetic was the fact that that year’s Hall of Fame ceremony was held in Austin’s home state of Texas.
Currently, Steve Austin hosts the WWE program Broken Skull Sessions wherein he interviews former and current professional wrestlers. He also makes sporadic appearances in WWE; he even headlined Wrestlemania 38 in a match against Kevin Owens.