10 Ways Stone Cold Steve Austin Changed WWE FOREVER

Austin revolutionised the business - here's how he did it.

Stone Cold Steve Austin Arrested

Stone Cold Steve Austin is many things. A beer connoisseur and a bad employee. A whooper of asses and a requester of hell yeahs. A bad, bald bruiser, a breaker of glass, and one of the only people ever born who can actually pull off a leather waistcoat.

He’s also one of the most significant figures ever to set foot in a wrestling ring. Over a relatively short 14 years of active competition, Stone Cold was a revolutionary figure. His character, his style of performance, the things he did (and didn’t do) and said continue to echo across the industry.

It’s hard to overestimate just how much Austin changed the game, particularly during his time with WWE. While some of his influence is obvious, other elements are less so - sometimes it’s the matches he didn’t have, the opportunities that weren’t taken, that make the most difference.

The industry continues to create stars, of course, but few have come even close to the sheer power of Steve Austin, and when the dust settles, fewer still will be able to look back on the business and witness the changes they made like the Texas Rattlesnake can.

10. Merch Money

Stone Cold Steve Austin Arrested

It’s hardly breaking news, but Stone Cold Steve Austin is one of the most famous wrestlers ever to lace up a pair of boots. While he’s not quite on par with Hulk Hogan or The Rock in terms of household name recognition, Austin is only slightly behind them.

In terms of merchandise sales, and sheer money made in the business, however, he’s in a league of his own. A combination of right place, right time, and the charisma and popularity of the man meant that Austin’s merch sales remained unbeaten for a very long time, until John Cena came along.

It’s worth noting that the Cena well has been utterly drained, too, with Big John armbands, tea towels, and egg cups (probably) available for sale to demanding kids. In Austin’s day, things were a little more basic - even so, he shifted an incredible 12 million t-shirts during the Attitude Era, and that smoking skull design continues to move units to this day.

Money is important in the wrestling business no matter who your top guy is, but without Stone Cold, it’s safe to imagine that the merchandising arm of the WWE wouldn’t be where it is today.


Yorkshire-based writer of screenplays, essays, and fiction. Big fan of having a laugh. Read more of my stuff @ www.twotownsover.com (if you want!)