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Friday, March 18, 2016

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Retrospective: Steve Austin In ECW

By @SpeedontheBeat 

When you think Stone Cold Steve Austin, you usually think about a few things. Some of those things include "Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass," his war with Vince McMahon, the infamous "Pillman's got a gun" angle, drinking Steveweisers after a big match, his clinics wth The Rock, "What?" chants and his part in introducing future WWE Hall of Famers such as Big Show to new audiences. If you're really a fan, you'll probably even throw in his epic matches in WCW for the U.S. and TV Championships. Shoot, you may make reference to his time as part of the Dangerous Alliance. Hell, you may even discuss his time with the USWA.

However, there's a time period in Stone Cold's career that almost always gets glossed over when we're talking about what turned Stunning Steve Austin into the beer-swillin', authority-challengin' sumbitch we know and love today. I'm, of course, referring to Austin's time in ECW. And, truth be told? If you glossed over it, I wouldn't be all that surprised. He was there for a bat of an eye. But, it's that time in ECW that led to Austin gaining that SCSA edge we love.

One segment which always sticks out to me is his Monday Nyquil set of promos. Armed with pretty much nothing but his mouth and the ECW camera, Stone Cold, then known mostly as "Superstar" Steve Austin (a play of sorts on his free agent status) went in "worked shoot" (I know, such a clichéd buzzword) mode and called WCW the land where "the big boys play with each other" while ripping Eric Bischoff and the rest of the WCW promotion. Back then, you pretty much only saw ECW through bootlegs and the like. So, to hear that promo right around the time WCW was about to go full NWO versus the World, it was cool. It made me realize that WCW and WWF weren't the only competitors for wrestling superiority. Because of this promo, I'd find bootleggers and fuzzy-ass broadcasts in Baltimore of ECW programming, which introduced me further to the promotion which helped change the game.

Going back to Austin's time in ECW, his feud with Mikey Whipwreck was a thing of beauty. Whipwreck, a pretty underrated talent in my eyes, and Austin put on a great match at November to Remember 1995. Then, about a month later, their feud escalated further. It felt so real, so personal. Escalating to the point where Sandman found himself involved (and ultimately winning the ECW World Heavyweight Championship), this was one of my favorite feuds in ECW. Next time people want to say ECW was nothing but "garbage wrestling," let them see this feud play out as an example of the contrary.

Overall, SCSA isn't as much of an ECW legend as Sandman, New Jack, The Dudleys, or Tommy Dreamer (to name a few). However, he owes a lot to the promotion. And you, if you haven't already, owe it to yourselves to explore the era of Superstar Steve Austin.



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