Editors’ Choice: What are the greatest Stunners ever?
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin without the Stunner is like a ship without a sail. Sure, it floats, but it’s not quite as pretty to look at. Luckily, The Texas Rattlesnake did have the Stunner, one of the more iconic finishing maneuvers ever and one that proved as essential to his Superstardom as the chrome dome, those jittery middle fingers and gravel-gargling-twice-a-day voice. Picking your favorite Stunner is something of a fool’s errand — but when has that ever stopped us before? So, with that in mind, we at WWE Digital celebrate #316Day by picking our favorite Stunners of all time.
Scott Hall (WrestleMania X-8)
What’s better than a “Stone Cold” Stunner on The Grandest Stage of Them All? A “Stone Cold” Stunner to Scott Hall on The Grandest Stage of Them All. The Stunner that Steve Austin used to defeat Hall at WrestleMania X-8 was colossal, to say the least, and the fact that it was the second of a back-to-back Stunner sequence makes it an incredible exclamation point on this one-time-only battle. Do yourself a favor: Go watch it now, and marvel at the height of the BOUNCE that sends Hall crashing to the mat for the 1-2-3. — STEVEN BARILE
D-Lo Brown (In Your House: Rock Bottom)
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin never had time for shenanigans. He didn’t even have time to say shenanigans. So at In Your House: Rock Bottom, when he was scheduled to face The Rock for the Intercontinental Championship with The Nation of Domination at ringside, Austin came prepared.
He drove his pick-up truck to the ring and used it to equalize The Nation, stunning D-Lo Brown on the roof of the car to send him packing. With The Rock’s back-up long gone, Austin rode his way to a victory. — JEFF LABOON
Santino Marella (Raw, Nov. 5, 2007)
The “Stone Cold” Stunner has been pretty much the same since time immemorial: Kick, grab, sit; maybe a double-bird or a beer thrown in if Steve’s feeling frisky. What distinguishes the move is what happens to the guy taking it. Scott Hall floated into the air like he’d been Stunned on the moon and The Rock flopped around in a fish-like fashion, but few Superstars simply expired the way Santino Marella did on Raw in 2007.
The Stunner Austin delivered to The Milan Miracle was, on its face, no different than the others. But the effect it had on The Italian Stallion was remarkable. Upon suffering the move, Santino took full flight in a simultaneous state of rigor mortis and boneless-ness, crumpling to the mat like a crash dummy thrown from a moving vehicle. The salute he gave as he met his glorious demise was merely the chef’s kiss on top of a truly absurd spectacle. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
Santa Claus (Raw, Dec. 15, 1997)
“Stone Cold” might be tough on the outside, but even The Texas Rattlesnake knows you don’t mess with kids on Christmas. After Raw went off the air on December 15, 1997, Santa Claus invited a child to the ring, only to berate him and leave him with no presents. When the young member of the WWE Universe called him out for being an imposter, “Stone Cold” marched to the ring and gave the phony Santa a Stunner so devastating, the elves felt it all the way at the North Pole.
But the question remains: How would Austin have known for sure this wasn’t the genuine article? Maybe “Stone Cold” has been the real Santa Clause this whole time. After all, they do share the same initials. This year, instead of leaving out milk and cookies, I’m going to leave a couple of Steveweisers for Father Christmas in hope for the happiest holiday of all. — MATT ZIMMER
Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania XIV)
Few Stunners are more memorable that the one that ushered in the first of Austin’s six WWE title reigns — especially when it came against Mr. WrestleMania himself at The Showcase of the Immortals. Trading counters of Sweet Chin Music and the Stunner in a lightning-quick game of chess, Austin eventually caught Shawn Michaels’ boot and spun him around before finally connecting. Special outside enforcer Mike Tyson counted the pinfall to give way to an absolutely berserk reaction and the beginning of the Austin era. — JORDAN GARRETSON
William Regal (Raw, Sept. 25, 2000)
Without a doubt, my favorite instance of the “Stone Cold” Stunner occurred on Raw on Sept. 25, 2000. Not only is it an iconic Stunner, but it is a moment that truly defines everything about The Texas Rattlesnake. William Regal decided he would “entertain” the WWE Universe by reading Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” While one can have nothing but respect for the Leer, Monday Night Raw is hardly a venue for the recitation of his cherished works.
It was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin who spared the WWE Universe the torture of Regal’s stately reading when his music hit (the classic — that’s right I said classic — Disturbed version of the theme) and he made his way to the ring. Rather than confront Regal or exchange words, The Texas Rattlesnake entered the squared circle, delivered a Stunner and proceeded to walk back to the locker room. No words, no taunts, just pure “Stone Cold…” Arrive. Raise Hell. Leave. As they say, to thine own self be true. — KEVIN POWERS
AJ Styles (Raw Reunion, Sept. 9, 2019)
Go down the list of Superstars who were left sprawled out on the canvas (or atop a pick-up truck) by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s jaw-rattling Stunner and you have a hallowed hall of greats. But on the night of Sept. 9, 2019, The Texas Rattlesnake’s muddy trail became “Phenomenal” when AJ Styles fell on the bottom line of a cold one. What made this truly incredible was that it turned a “what if” into reality with both larger-than life Superstars sharing the ring… and eventually Styles landing arse-over-teakettle. And the fact that this all went down than inside Madison Square Garden? Phenomenal. — RALPH BRISTOUT
Xavier Woods (WrestleMania 32)
If you ever had the urge to see Xavier Woods fly, cue up WWE Network and head to WrestleMania 32… because The Texas Rattlesnake made it happen for you.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin made a surprise appearance at The Show of Shows in 2016, and he, Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley joined The New Day following their match that night. The six ultimately cleared the ring of their League of Nation opposition and then a celebration ensued… but Woods wasn’t partying for long.
The UpUpDownDown host could not help himself, looking to engage in a little strut with “Stone Cold” during the cold one’s celebration. And, well, Austin wasn’t with it. What followed was a magical Stunner that saw Woods spring up what felt like 25 feet while literally try to cling onto the air around him for support on the way down.
“Stone Cold” made Xavier Woods fly – what a WrestleMania moment. — RYAN PAPPOLLA
The Rock (WrestleMania XIX)
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s Stunner to The Rock at WrestleMania XIX is a bittersweet selection with historical significance. It was the final Stunner of Austin’s active in-ring career and one of the remarkably rare instances where the move didn’t yield a three-count. Yet, this specific Stunner also encapsulated the magic that defined Rock and Austin’s rivalry: The Great One was being brash, mocking Austin by donning his trademark black vest, and The Texas Rattlesnake made him pay dearly by unleashing a Stunner so hellacious that it sent The Great One flopping onto the mat like a fish out of water. It didn’t earn the win, but the Stunner was a fitting final salvo to cap off the career of WWE’s most beloved outlaw. — JOHN CLAPP