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The bottom line from Stone Cold

March 2, 2011

While researching the WWE Championship book, I unfortunately ran into my fair share of people who didn’t care much for helping. Stone Cold Steve Austin was not one of those people. Unlike some, Stone Cold gave me several hours of his time to discuss his runs with sports-entertainment’s most coveted prize. And even more impressive–he called me several days after our initial interview to add even more information, especially his thoughts on which Superstar he thought was the greatest WWE Champion of all time. Now, I don’t need to tell you where Stone Cold sits on the list of all-time greats. So to have him not only give me so much time on during our initial interview, but to also call me days later to give me even more information, speaks volumes to what type of a person he truly is.

For your reading pleasure, here is what Stone Cold said during our second conversation when asked who he thought was the greatest WWE Champion of all time:

“There’s no way to name just one. In terms of drawing power and being a marquee name, I’m going to say it’s a tie between Stone Cold and Hogan. Hogan was the organization back in the ’80s, and I would say Stone Cold had the same appeal. Damn, I broke attendance records, pay-per-view records, merchandise records …

“As far as pure wrestlers go, there are too many bad ass wrestlers, but I would say it’s a tie between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Randy Savage was bad ass, too. But he was more of an IC Title guy. But Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels told some great stories. It’s a dead tie. They could work circles around Hogan, and also outwork me.

“I would say Ric Flair is the greatest World Champion that ever lived. But I don’t equate him with the WWE Title.”

If you enjoyed these quotes from Stone Cold, you’ll certainly like hearing his stories in the WWE Championship book. Pick up your copy here. Also, follow me on Twitter.

 

25 Comments
  1. Nick Sacco permalink

    Hulk Hogan is/was a way bigger star than Steve Austin. Austin had two great years on top before he flamed out and was surpassed by the Rock. Hogan’s popularity spanned decades and he still is the most recognizable wrestler of all time.

    Austin needs to stop being beers and come back to reality.

    • Thanks for your comment, Nick. While I disagree with your thought, I certainly respect it.

      I would say there are several things that Stone Cold did considerably better than Hogan, mainly actually knowing a few wrestling moves. After all, isn’t wrestling the name of the game?

      Thanks again, Nick.

  2. Kevin Moore permalink

    Ask every man in the world who Hulk Hogan is and then ask every man in the world who Steve Austin is. Hulk Hogan is the biggest name of all time in this industry. Like it or not.

    • John Athan permalink

      Ask anyone in the world that isn’t a fan of wrestling under the age of 20 who Hulk Hogan is and they’ll say “That wrestling dude with the funny mustache who’s like 60 with that reality show, I think is still wrestling?” Ask anyone in the world under the age of 15 that isn’t a fan of wrestling who Hulk Hogan is and they’ll say “that guy in the rent-a-center commercials.” Then ask them all who Stone Cold Steve Austin is. Steve Austin is the biggest name of all time from this industry that will never be tarnished.

  3. Landus Rigsby permalink

    Stone Cold Steve Austin had a great run, no doubt about it, but Hulk Hogan has had a longer run in the business with being on top. And regarding Hogan’s wrestling ability, if you look at his matches in Japan, you see him wrestle differently than in the states. What many don’t realize about Hogan is that he was very intelligent and he kept things simple for himself if they worked. Because the states calls for more showmanship than wrestling maneuvers, he emphasized that here but in Japan, he emphasized more wrestling.

    Kevin, wrestling is only the name of the game if it is actual wrestling (like the Olympics). But in what we know as “pro wrestling,” it isn’t about who does the best moves or has the best transitions between moves. It’s about who can get the audience to connect with them to where fans are happy just to see the wrestler regardless if his match is a DUD.

    It isn’t about whether a person put on the greatest matches, it’s about whether they can get to a place where millions of people buy tickets, watch television or order pay per views just to see them. Austin definitely accomplished this and no disrespect to him but he did not hold the top spot for as long as Hogan and is not as recognized as Hogan.

  4. Maggie permalink

    How can Austin say that Savage was an IC Title guy and yet rank Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels over them? Savage was a better wrestler than both and he was way more charismatic. He never looked out of place in the main event unlike Michaels and he was more versatile than Hart was. Also, LOL @ him not mentioning The Rock.

  5. Landus Rigsby permalink

    Maggie, I agree that Austin is off regarding the significance of Randy Savage. The only reason why Savage wasn’t the top guy was because of Hogan. And when Hogan wasn’t around, Savage was more than able to carry whatever promotion he worked for. Hogan even says that in 1988, he knew that Savage could carry the company until he was ready to return full-time and Savage did. To call Savage an IC guy is like Ric Flair saying that Savage was only over because of Elizabeth, both idiotic statements that have no merit whatsoever.

    And in terms of in-ring work, Savage in my opinion was superior to Austin and could hang with the likes of Hart and Michaels in the ring any day of the week.

    • Maggie permalink

      Landus,

      It’s a shame that Austin said that because he should know better. I know they didn’t work together much due to WCW politics, but they had a nice match on Saturday Night. I mean, I’m seeing this from the view of a fan and not a wrestler but why would say that about Savage and yet support him getting inducted into the WWE HOF (which, by the way, if they don’t induct him this year it will be quite a shame). I mean, I only really saw Savage in the 90s but even then I knew he was great and that was before seeing his work in Memphis. He was one of a kind and it’s sad how they revision his career these days.

      I also feel that Austin underestimates his work. He wasn’t as good as Bret Hart, but he was better at selling and transitions then Michaels was. I never got the feeling that “Hey something’s wrong here” with Austin that I would get watching Michaels matches after 1994.

      • Landus Rigsby permalink

        Indeed Savage was one of a kind and I think he is underappreciated because he was kept in Hogan’s shadow. I don’t know what the intention was behind that but Hogan never allowed Savage to get a pinfall victory over him, not even one with interference or with a foreign object. Yet Hogan did this for even Arn Anderson.

        I always felt that how Savage was booked against Hogan is what hurt how people view him among the greats. When they feuded in 1998, Savage did not get one decisive win in that feud. Whereas that feud could have been better had Savage defeated Hogan at Uncensored or even defeated Hogan the night after he won the title from Sting.

        But people like you and I see that Savage was something special and like you said, his selling and transitions were excellent. When he sold, he gave you the impression that his opponent was absolutely obliterating him and it made his comebacks that much more meaningful.

  6. Ross Jim permalink

    I think when he said Savage was an IC guy, he’s saying that’s the belt he was most associated with and that the question was about the WWE Title. I think it’s the same as the comment he made regarding Flair being an NWA/WCW world champion rather than a WWE one.

    I don’t think it’s meant as a slight to Savage.

  7. First and foremost, I thank everybody for commenting. Like I said yesterday, I truly appreciate everybody’s opinions, and of course, we are all entitled to them.

    The more I think about it, arguing over whether Stone Cold or Hogan is the greatest is like saying “what’s better? Health or wealth?” The truth is they both rock. And so do Stone Cold and Hogan. But please keep the debate going here. I really enjoy reading everybody’s comments. To me, debates like this (or any other historical debate) are what I’m hoping to spark here. They are fun and far better than trying to break down last week’s Raw. In my opinion, we have to let the current product marinate a bit before we start judging it. Who knows, maybe we’ll look back five years from now and say “wow, wasn’t it great when The Miz was champ?”

  8. oldtymewrestlingfan permalink

    I think Hogan is underrated as a wrestler. I’ve seen tapes of matches he had in Japan and he actually could wrestle better than most give him credit for. But in the States, people wanted the no sell, the big pointing finger and a leg drop, so that’s what they got. I do think Hogan has tarnished his legend recently. The messy divorce, Nick’s troubles and being involved in the disaster known as TNA haven’t helped.

  9. james morris permalink

    Is this just WWE champ (RAW) and not heavyweight? I think Hogan is most famous and Bret is most proficient. Toss up with Shawn and Austin on charisma or popularity. I think Jericho is the best IC champ of all time. My personal fav is RVD he did hold WWE &ECW at the same time should be worth mention. I think in 5 years we will still be asking why was Miz in WWE to begin with. Jerry Lawler and Owen are the best that never were WWE champ.

  10. james morris permalink

    also wonder where Taker would rank

  11. Tom permalink

    Mr. Sullivan,

    I was just wondering, have you wrestled either Stone Cold or Hogan in a singles match? Also, have you ever wrestled Ric Flair?

  12. Brandon permalink

    Steve Austin is the Greatest Wrestler EVER! John Cena, Ric Flair and Vince McMahon Even Said it. He took it to a level like nobody. I agree Hulk Hogan and him are 1 and 2 but come on now.

  13. its hard to answer.. would wrestling be around without hogan? i think so… would the wwe have survived withough austin? i doubt it.. though michaels held it together during a time it was falling apart, austin brought it back from near death… and without austin, bischoff might still be running things down in atlanta, and vince might be doing something else.. Just sayin.. 3:16

  14. and Tom, this isnt the taskmaster kevin sullivan.. who has wrestled both hogan and austin in wcw.. This is wwe.coms Kevin sullivan, haha.. completley diff guy

    • pg 184.. his catchphrases such as “thats the bottom line ’cause stone cold said so” and “Austinn 3:16 says i just whipped your ass”.. not for nothing but was he baking a cake? maybe icing some brownies? some cupcakes? a nice slic of putang pie? its whooped.. whooped your ass.. just sayin

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Who was a better WWE Champion? « KevinSullivanBooks.com, the online home of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) author Kevin Sullivan
  2. Stone Cold Steve Austin Comments On Who He Thinks Is The Greatest WWE Champion Of All Time « Prowrestlingnewz

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