Stone Cold Steve Austin has revealed that he came up with one of his most famous catchphrases completely on the fly mid-promo.
While the 1996 King of the Ring was headlined by a huge WWF Championship match between Shawn Michaels and the British Bulldog, it’s an event only remembered for one thing, the birth of Stone Cold Steve Austin.
After pinning Jake “The Snake” Roberts to win the King of the Ring tournament, Austin was due to cut a promo to address his intentions for the WWF. It was during this promo, that the would-be World Champion coined his famous “Austin 3:16” catchphrase.
Speaking during a recent interview on The Rich Eisen Show, Steve Austin recalled getting injured during his first match of the night, which resulted in a trip to hospital.
“They had decided I was going to be that guy to get the push and the first match of that night I was wrestling Marc Mero, he did this fancy move and he ended up kicking me in the mouth and split my mouth wide open,” Austin said. “They ended up taking me to the hospital to get stitched up, so while I’m gone to get about 14-15 stitches in my upper lip, Jake Roberts was going to be my next opponent.”
Reflecting further, the Hall of Famer explained that he came up with much of his victory promo on the spot.
“As soon as I stepped out of the ambulance coming back, I just had a pair of shorts on with my gear on and everything and Michael Hayes came up to me and says ‘hey, I just want to let you know while you are gone, Jake cut a religious promo on you.’ He kind of told me words to the effect of what he said and I said as soon as he said that, Austin 3:16 popped into my mind.
“Back in the day, the old football days, they always had the John 3:16 posters behind the field goal attempt and I said ‘Oh man, I’ve got one for [Jake’s] ass.’ I just spun that thing together and when we went out, we went out there and I wrestled Jake, it was a short match. Go over there and do the promo with the guy who told me about the Jake promo and I just let it loose. Pretty much an ad-lib, one of those things you just let it go on the fly and gold starts happening.
“I said ‘Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass!’ And as I kept on, Vince was doing the announcing and I knew I needed a button on the end of that promo. Something I just pulled out of thin air… ‘And that’s the bottom line cause Stone Cold said so!’ I got two trademarks. I hit two grand slams at two at-bats at an event I was never supposed to win. It was just something I capitalized on, the timing was right, I was right and I was ready. Magic happened that night.”
Steve Austin is currently scheduled to return to action for the first time in 19 years at WrestleMania 38, where he will meet Kevin Owens on a special episode of the KO Show. While the clash won’t be an official match, a recent report has suggested that there will be physicality involved.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.