The Rock vs. Steve Austin is arguably the greatest rivalry in wrestling history. The two men are two of the biggest box office draws in history and their matches and segments entertained audiences for years. The rivalry gets an extra boost because they wrestled three times at WrestleMania, serving as the main event for two of the shows.
Taking to Instagram, The Rock reflected on his WrestleMania trilogy with Austin.
"There has been no feud that has been a greater box office draw and that, in my opinion -- so totally bias -- that actually had more x-factor heat and electricity and sometimes you can't write it or put your finger on it, but it happens and it explodes and it is an emotionality that you can't deny. Lucky enough for myself, Steve, Vince McMahon, WWE; we saw this, embraced it, and we were off to the races," Lucky enough for myself, Steve, Vince McMahon, WWE; we saw this, embraced it, and we were off to the races," he began.
The first WrestleMania bout took place at WrestleMania 15, with Austin defeating Rock to win the WWF World Title for a second straight year at WrestleMania.
"I was so excited and so honored, to do the honors. Steve had broken his neck and he came back from a broken neck. He was very particular about who he wrestled with. In the world of wrestling, while it's showmanship and fiction, how we are trained, there's going to be things that are going to hurt and there's gonna be times when we have to lay it in. What I took a lot of pride is never hurting my opponent. Some things I do are going to hurt, it's gonna sting, you're going to feel it tomorrow, but your bones aren't going to break, your tendons aren't going to tear, and I'm gonna take care of you. He trusted me, and there's only a handful of guys who he trusted with his injury," said Rock about the Mania 15 bout.
Two years later, the two men broke records at WrestleMania 17. Austin was once again victorious, kicking off his infamous heel turn.
"By this point, both of use had earned our stripes and we were on fire. We had wrestled around the world together; we were wrestling every night; we knew each other so well. How we thought in the ring, we knew what the other was going to do. Instinctually, where he went, I was right there. So much of our stuff had to be ad-libbed because Steve was working with a broken neck. Every night was a different match. We knew the finish, but we called everything out in the ring based on how he would feel. We'd have these matches scheduled for 10-15 minutes that would go for 40 minutes because we were loving what we were doing and we trusted each other."
He continued, "The night before, we went out for a steak dinner. Myself, Austin, and Pat Patterson. We were talking about the match and it was the quiet before the storm. We just knew we were going to do something special, hopefully, and be part of history. We had this amazing match and this is the night that Austin beat me and he turned heel, which was short-lived because everybody loves Stone Cold Steve Austin. At the end of this finish, he takes a steel chair and I said, 'you hit me as many times as you need to. When you're done, I'll know.' He beat the shit out of me with that steel chair. Didn't hurt me. I gave him my body and trusted it."
Finally, the two men finished the trilogy at WrestleMania 19, where The Rock finally bested Austin in what turned out to be Austin's last match.
"No one knew it. But we knew it. We had this incredible match. I hit him with three Rock Bottoms. Appropriately, that's what you need to beat The Rattlesnake. I beat him. In that moment, you can see me, I'm sitting next to him as he's laying there. I'm whispering to him, 'I thank you so much for everything that you've done for me. I love you.' I heard him say, 'I love you too.' I hit him on the chest and I left. That was it. He retired that night."
In reflecting back on the trilogy, Rock concluded by saying, "The fact that I had Stone Cold's last match, the fact that we were able to break records all across the country, all across the world, it is truly such an honor."
Rock named Austin as one of his four faces on his wrestling Mount Rushmore. You can find out who else was up there with Austin by clicking here.
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