“Stone Cold” Steve Austin is one of the most important wrestlers to ever set foot in a ring. He carried the WWE when it was at the pinnacle of popular culture and dealt with many injuries both before and after he became a main event attraction.
Austin is not often remembered for being a skilled technician in the ring, but most of this is due to the injuries he sustained over his career. There was a time especially at WCW when he was capable of putting on top-tier matches with pretty much anyone at the company. Most of his injuries are pretty well known, and many fans remember how limited he was due to his knee braces and general stiffness toward the end of his career. None of his injuries take away from his legacy in this list we’ll examine every injury The Rattlesnake suffered during his wrestling career.
4/4 Tricep Injury – 1995
Although he was never a top star at WCW, Steve Austin was a big-time performer at the company. Along with spending time with the Dangerous Alliance, Austin had probably his most well-known run at the company as half of the Hollywood Blonds with Brian Pillman. Austin took on a heavy schedule at the company frequently competing every week and battling through a ton of injuries. A small knee injury in 1995 kept him out of action for a short while, but it wasn’t the injury that essentially ended his career at WCW.
While wrestling in Japan, Austin suffered a major tricep injury that kept him out of action. While recovering from the injury, Eric Bischoff fired Austin from WCW in June 1995. Austin spent some time at ECW where he mocked Bischoff, who also felt Austin was not a marketable wrestler. Monday Nitro debuted three months after Steve Austin was fired from the company. It’s tough not to imagine how big of an impact Austin could have made if he was never let go from the company that he would eventually help the WWE topple.
3/4 Neck Injury – 1997
By 1997 Austin had become an absolute star in the WWE. He didn’t debut at the company with a bunch of hoopla and even had a forgettable gimmick known as The Ringmaster before adopting the “Stone Cold” persona that would take him to the top of the company. His next major injury would occur at Summerslam 1997. During a match against Owen Hart, Steve Austin took a bump that would haunt him for the rest of his career.
Owen Hart performed a botched piledriver that led to Stone Cold actually breaking his neck. He retained the Intercontinental Championship during the match, but the damage had been done. Austin was the company’s hottest star and the injury was so severe that he was sidelined for a few weeks after the botch. The injury would seem like a speed bump because Austin would quickly return and continue to climb to the top of the company. The truth is, Hart’s botched Piledriver started the beginning of the end for “Stone Cold.”
2/4 Neck Injury – 1999
At Wrestlemania 14, Austin defeated Shawn Michaels to earn his first WWE Championship and also launched the Attitude Era. Despite a neck injury that lingered, Austin would feud with Vince McMahon in some of the most memorable segments in the history of television. He feuded with every big name at the company from The Rock to The Undertaker and was notoriously one of the toughest competitors at the company. By 1999, the WWE begins to take over the world of wrestling thanks in large part to Stone Cold. The only issue for the WWE was that Austin had never truly dealt with his issue, his broken neck.
At SummerSlam, Austin began to sport knee braces. This was a result of many knee injuries piling up on top of each other, but his knees never held him out of action like his lingering neck issues. A triple threat match between Steve Austin, The Rock, and Triple H was advertised for Survivor Series 1999. This was when one of the most infamous backstage segments in the history of the WWE happened. Austin was run over by a car which led to him being written out of the pay-per-view event. In real life, Austin had been advised to have surgery on his neck. The storyline was awful and made little sense to anyone.
1/4 Broken Back – 2001
2001 was the last year Steve Austin ever wrestled a year-long schedule. He also worked as a heel. Like the previous few years, he also suffered a serious injury. During a feud with Booker T, Austin fractured 3 transverse processors in his back. Despite this being a fairly serious injury, Austin battled through it the rest of the year, even competing in a few classic segments with Booker T after the event.
He also won his final world title at the company in October of that year. It was the last major injury Austin ever suffered. He worked for six months in 2002 and competed in a few matches in 2003 including his WrestleMania 19 match against The Rock.