WWE legend "Stone Cold" Steve Austin returned to Raw in Madison Square Garden to mediate a contract signing, only to end up stunning AJ Styles. Every era of WWE has an elite group of performers who define it. For the 1980s, that was people like Hulk Hogan, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. During the early-mid 1990s, it became wrestlers like Bret "Hitman" Hart, Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker. When it comes to the Attitude Era of the late-1990s and early-2000s though, one name undoubtedly leads the pack, and that's Austin.
Following a period of nearly two years in which WCW's red hot nWo storyline was the clear biggest thing in professional wrestling, the rise of Stone Cold led the then WWF to heights of popularity it had never before seen. Sadly, Austin had to retire early due to serious neck injuries suffered over the course of his career, wrestling his last match at WrestleMania against signature rival The Rock in 2003.
While Austin may have only ruled atop WWE for a mere six year span, his impact will continue to be felt for decades to come, and wrestling fans will continue to show him tremendous respect any time The Texas Rattlesnake sees fit to make an appearance on WWE programming. On Monday's episode of Raw, Austin's role was to mediate a contract signing for the Universal Championship main event of Clash of Champions between champion Seth Rollins and challenger Braun Strowman. He accomplished that mission, but not without AJ Styles and The OC making their presence felt along the way. Naturally, this led to a fight, which ended with Austin hitting the old kick-wham-stunner combo on Styles. Check out some gifs from the segment below, as well as a clip of the stunner.
While this interaction obviously won't lead to an actual match between Austin and Styles - despite the fans' recurring pleas for "one more match," Austin is pretty firmly retired - it made for an electric moment for both the live Madison Square Garden crowd and those watching Raw at home on USA. Stone Cold may not be able to take much in the way of bumps nowadays, but he can still deliver a stunner with the best, although his form kind of illustrated once again that Kevin Owens just isn't very good at doing the move.
What's funny is that despite Styles' repeated insults about Austin being old, he still looks to be in great shape, and is still believably intimidating when he hits someone with that famous steely eyed stare. One assumes if he hadn't retired due to injury, he might be in the Triple H or Undertaker category now, a legend who wrestles a few big matches each year. Then again, maybe not, as Austin has always insisted that one of the main reasons he never really pushed to try and have one more match is the feeling he might disappoint his fans with a less than stellar performance. Either way, Stone Cold remains a welcome presence in the WWE ring.