Steve Austin is not only one of the most popular wrestlers of all time, but he is also one of the toughest. His famous WrestleMania 13 match against Bret Hart, where he passed out before ever submitting to The Hitman, is a perfect example of just how tough The Texas Rattlesnake really is. With that said, he has taken part in a handful of contests where his opponent looked even more determined than he was.
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Wrestlers often had to go 12 rounds if they were going head to head with Austin, as he was universally considered one of the most resilient competitors in professional wrestling history, and a few of the toughest ones proved they were up for the challenge.
6 Steve Austin vs. The Rock, WrestleMania X-Seven
Steve Austin hitting The Rock with a steel chair
The Rock and Steve Austin are two of the biggest stars in professional wrestling history, and their long-lasting feud produced three of the most highly anticipated WrestleMania matchups of all time. One of their best matches occurred in the main event of WrestleMania X-Seven, where the two legends faced off in a No Disqualification Match for the WWE Championship.
The two men battered each other for nearly thirty minutes, with The Rock taking the brunt of the punishment, and were busted open midway through the contest. The Rock was not known for his toughness before the famous match, but his public perception changed following the brutal clash. Austin came out victorious in the bout after he shockingly aligned with Vince McMahon, who provided The Texas Rattlesnake with the steel chair that eventually put The People’s Champ down.
5 Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels, King of the Ring 1997
Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels yelling at each other
The rivalry between Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin could have been one of the greatest in professional wrestling history if it did not end prematurely when Michaels had to step away from the ring to recover from a back injury. Nevertheless, their feud still produced some incredible contests and is remembered as one of Austin’s best.
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One of their most memorable contests occurred at the 1997 King of the Ring pay-per-view, where a match between the two legends, who shared the WWE Tag Team Championship at the time, ended in a double disqualification after both men attacked referees. Michaels proved that he was not only every bit as tough as his partner, but he was arguably even more gritty, as he withstood a few cheap tactics from Austin throughout the contest, including a few attacks on the exposed concrete floor.
4 Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker vs. Vader, In Your House 13: Final Four
Steve Austin and Bret Hart wrestling in ring while The Undertaker hits Vader with a chair
Steve Austin, Bret Hart, Vader, and The Undertaker were all vying for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship when they faced off in an elimination-style Fatal 4-Way in the main event of WWE’s thirteenth In Your House pay-per-view. The four men were at the top of the industry at the time, and their highly anticipated matchup did not disappoint, as they battered each other for nearly twenty-five minutes.
Steve Austin may have been the favorite to win the vacant belt before the match began, as he was fresh off a feud with Shawn Michaels (who vacated the Championship after losing his smile), but he was surprisingly the first wrestler to get eliminated from the contest. However, he returned to the bout to attack The Hitman, who won the match despite enduring significant punishment from his opponents.
3 Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker, SummerSlam 1998
The Undertaker handing Steve Austin the WWE Championship
Another chapter in the underrated rivalry between The Undertaker and Steve Austin occurred at the 1998 SummerSlam pay-per-view, where the two men faced off in the main event for the WWE Championship. The clash was one of their best against one another, and their chemistry was on display throughout the exciting contest.
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Austin may have come out victorious in the classic match, but The Deadman, who managed to kick out of a few near falls after taking a slew of punishment throughout the contest, was arguably the more resilient competitor. Stone Cold’s win perpetuated the feud between him and Vince McMahon, as the latter had grown tired of Austin’s antics while he was the face of the company.
2 Steve Austin vs. Triple H, No Way Out 2001
Steve Austin hitting Triple H in ring
While their feud is often forgotten due to the abundance of longer-lasting rivalries during their era, Triple H and Steve Austin faced off in a series of incredible matches in the early 2000s. One of their best matches occurred at the 2001 No Way Out pay-per-view, where the two legends faced off in a nearly 40-minute Three Stages of Hell Match.
Triple H achieved the upset victory over The Texas Rattlesnake, who rarely lost cleanly at that point in his career, in the event and won their feud in the process. The Game won the final two stages of the three-round match, in which the two men pummeled each other relentlessly, and he proved that he was as tough as anyone in the industry.
1 Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle, Unforgiven 2001
Kurt Angle holding Steve Austin with Ankle Lock submission move
Steve Austin and Kurt Angle were two key cogs during the failed Invasion angle, where Angle represented WWE and Austin represented WCW. The two men always seemed to bring out the best of each other in the ring, as was the case when they went head to head for the WWE Championship at the 2001 Unforgiven pay-per-view.
Angle came out victorious in the contest, which was one of the best of The Attitude Era, after forcing Austin to tap out (a rare occurrence for The Texas Rattlesnake) to the Angle Lock. The win produced one of the greatest moments of the Olympic gold medalist’s career, as he broke down in tears while celebrating with his family following the incredible match.
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