Legal name: Steven James Anderson, Steven James Williams
Steve Austin (born Steven James Anderson on December 18, 1964, later Steven James Williams), better known by the ring name "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, is an American actor, media personality, producer, and retired professional wrestler who is signed to a Legends contract with WWE. Veteran pro wrestling journalist Wade Keller remarked that Austin is "in every conversation for the greatest wrestling act of all time", as well as for "the most profitable and the most influential".
He enjoyed a successful mid card career as "Stunning" Steve Austin in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and a stint as a main event performer in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) during the early and mid 1990s, before signing with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) in 1995 as The Ringmaster. Rebranded "Stone Cold" Steve Austin the following year, he gained significant mainstream popularity as a disrespectful, beer-drinking antihero who routinely defied the establishment and his boss, company chairman Vince McMahon. This persona of Austin's became the "poster boy" of the Attitude Era, a boom period in WWF business in the latter 1990s and early 2000s. He also devised the long-standing "What?" chant in pro wrestling. Several prominent industry figures, including McMahon, have declared Austin to be the biggest star in WWF/E history, while stressing that he surpassed the popularity of Hulk Hogan.
Austin held 19 championships throughout his wrestling career; he is a six-time WWF Champion, a two-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, and a four-time WWF Tag Team Champion, thus making him the fifth Triple Crown Champion in WWE history, while also being a two-time WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, a two-time WCW World Television Champion, a one-time WCW World Tag Team Champion, and a one-time NWA World Tag Team Champion in WCW. He was also the winner of the 1996 King of the Ring tournament, as well as the 1997, 1998, and 2001 Royal Rumbles, making him the only three-time winner of the event. Furthermore, he was awarded the unsanctioned Million Dollar Championship by Ted DiBiase.
Austin has headlined multiple pay-per-view events for the WWF, including three WrestleManias (XIV, XV, and X-Seven). He was forced to retire from in-ring competition in 2003 due to a series of knee injuries and a serious neck injury. Throughout the rest of 2003 and 2004, he was featured as the Co-General Manager and "Sheriff" of Raw. Since 2005, he has continued to make occasional appearances, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009 by Vince McMahon. In 2011, Austin returned to WWE to host the reboot of the reality series Tough Enough.
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