Steve Austin and the Night of One of the Greatest Wrestling Promo of All Time
Paul Heyman: "It was about 1 am, or a half-hour after we started taping interviews when he leaned into semi-whisper with that unmistakable gravelly voice.
"His thick right hand pulled me by the arm even closer so that no one else could hear him.
"‘[Wow] kid…no limits here, huh?’
"It was September 1995, and Steve Austin had just been fired from World Championship Wrestling.”
Paul Heyman and Steve Austin in WCW
Paul Heyman continued, "Steve and I had worked together in 1991 and 1992 when he was the WCW World Television Champion and part of The Dangerous Alliance.
"While the Alliance was supposed to be WCW’s new version of a Four Horsemen-type group built around Rick Rude, it was obvious from day one that Austin was the future of the industry.
"I remember how upset the then-head of WCW Jim Herd was at me because I had written an article for the WCW Magazine proclaiming that Austin would be the biggest star in the business.
"‘He’s good, but he’s not great,’ Herd screamed. ‘You’re a terrible judge of talent!’
"ECW was built on the premise of being the anti-WCW. The word ‘Extreme’ was not just about barbed wire, tables, and blood…”
Paul Heyman on the Work Ethic of ECW
“It was a work ethic… a desire to partake and thrive in an uninhibited creative environment where a performer was challenged and indeed encouraged to push through their limits, take chances, and not be constrained by pre-set parameters imposed by people who didn’t share their vision of themselves,” Paul Heyman intimated.
"As a courtesy, I offered Austin the opportunity to do his promos early.
“I always thought Steve was a first-class promo guy who was just never given the opportunity to let his real persona come out.
"But Austin didn’t want that courtesy. He wanted to be competitive. ‘If it’s all right with you,’ he said, ‘I’ll go last!’
"I told him: ‘LAST??? Last is around 4 in the morning!’
"‘I ain’t got nothing to do before I catch my plane. I’ll sleep tomorrow,’ he replied, as serious as I’ve ever seen him. ‘I wanna see what everyone else does, so I know who and what I have to top!’”
Steve Austin Had That Main Eventer Attitude
"It’s that main eventer’s attitude, by the way, that drove Steve to become the biggest star in the industry,” Paul Heyman admitted.
"It’s that desire, that competitive spirit, that insatiable craving to be number one, that propelled him above guys like Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, The Undertaker, and everyone else in the business to become recognized as the one star that Vince McMahon would bet his entire future on when WCW was mopping the floor with WWE.
“Austin Could Not Be Distracted”
"On this September night in Philadelphia, Austin could not be distracted. He watched everyone’s interview with an intensity that most people only reach during the height of a match. Austin wasn’t just determined to do the best interview of the night; he was driven.
"And then, it was time.
Steve Austin: THE Promo
“Everyone had done their interviews. It was, as predicted, around 4 am,” Heyman continued.
“Steve turned to me and asked, ‘What do you want me to say?’
“The answer was easy.”
The Advice Paul Heyman Gave Steve Austin Before His Promo
“‘Tell everyone the truth. Tell them you’re going to be the biggest superstar this industry has ever seen. Tell them what’s in your heart; just let your character carry the message that you yourself believe in.’
"He got up, walked around, and got in ‘the zone.’ Steve knew it was true. He knew his talent was matched only by his need to be the best. He knew he could do it. He just never had the platform to prove it.
"He sat down and said: ‘Alright, I’m ready…’
"What happened next is just one of those moments in time that you never forget.
“Steve EXPLODED on camera. The energy, the force, the passion that was compelled to charge out of his being was so powerful; it left everyone in the room speechless."
Paul Heyman: "It is just one of those moments in time that you never forget"
Paul Heyman continued, remembering that special moment backstage late at night in ECW:
"I turned to Ron Buffone, who has shot some of the greatest interviews in ECW history, and begged, ‘Please tell me you got every moment of that on tape.’
“Ron could barely answer. ‘I got it,’ he said, not being able to take his eyes off Austin, ‘Holy ****, I got it!’”
Steve Found Himself
"Steve found himself,” Heyman admitted with a smile. “It didn’t take long. He just needed that one chance, that one time, that one moment to be himself.
“No scripts from other people’s screwed-up vision of what he should be. No limitations. He had no preconceived notions of who he was or what he was capable of.
"When he was given that very same chance to be himself just nine months later in WWE, when he was allowed to break free of the limited ‘Ringmaster’ character and was given the freedom to explore the limitless potential of ‘Stone Cold,’ Austin did it again.
Paul Heyman on Steve Austin: “He Didn’t Settle for ‘OK'”
"He broke barriers. He didn’t settle for ‘OK.’ He challenged himself to do more. To be better. To be the absolute best. It’s never been a matter of ‘Can I do it?’ with Steve.
"It’s only been a matter of ‘give me the chance, and stand back!’
“He didn’t think he could pull it off. He knew he could. There was never a doubt in his mind because Steve Austin loves to exceed everyone’s expectations.
"And that’s the bottom line, because time and time again, Stone Cold made it so!"
Rick Rude: A Ravishing Man with a Tragic End
“He refused to budge.”
Rick Rude was a unique, once-in-a-lifetime kind of wrestler. He went by the nickname “Ravishing” — and rightfully so. He had a solid moveset, great looks, and unbridled arrogance with the in-ring skill to back it up. He played hard in the ring but even harder out of it.
Mr Perfect Curt Hennig – A Great Life with an Unfortunate End
On camera, Curt Hennig was arrogant, and he backed up his Mr. Perfect persona brilliantly. However, outside of the ring, it was a different story.
The Secret History of WWE’s Scott Steiner – 25 Notorious Tales
“While on a business trip to meet Vince McMahon, New Japan officials were all found sleeping in catering. The culprit? The Steiners.”
Ribbing, numerous clashes with the law, and Steiner Math, too, learn the controversial story of Scott Steiner!
Katie Vick – Behind WWE’s Most Shameful TV Segment
Bruce Prichard: "Vince McMahon was like, ‘I love it! That’s perfect!’ I lost a couple of crew members because of this shoot that were highly offended at the subject matter."
In 2002, Katie Vick was introduced to the WWE audience. Many consider what followed one of the most tasteless segments in television history!
Learn more: Katie Vick: Behind WWE’s Most Shameful Storyline
Wrestlers Who Live Unique Lives Outside of the Ring
The lives these wrestlers live outside of the ring may surprise you!
“Straight after matches, without time to shower, he would serve his shift as a police officer. He kept quiet to coworkers about his life on the side as he didn’t want the attention.”
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