Released in 1998, the DVD contains exactly the same content as the VHS tape (I would know – I had both of them before giving away the VHS tape). Narrated by Austin (in full Stone Cold mode), the 60-minute video begins with a recap of how Austin 3:16 was created at the 1996 King of the Ring ("KOTR") PPV. Clips are shown of Austin’s semifinal match against the ‘Wild Man’ Marc Mero (with his slutty wife Sable (Now Brock Lesnar’s wife) at ringside). Of note during the match is that this is the first time (and only time) Austin used a press-slam in a match (he drops Mero on his face outside the ring). Austin gives Mero a jawbreaker, cutting open Austin’s lip and requiring him to get 18 stitches to close the wound before his match with the newly religious Jake the Snake Roberts.
During the KOTR finals match, Austin destroys an injured Jake before giving him a Stone Cold Stunner for the three count. The interview that follows is a historic moment in wrestling (the second such historic interview to happen in 1996, beating Hogan’s NWO heel-turn interview by one month). Austin emphatically says, "You sit there and you thump your bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn’t get you anywhere! Talk about your psalms, talk about John 3:16; Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass! All he’s gotta do is go buy him a cheap bottle of Thunderbird and try to get back some of that courage he had in his prime. And that’s the bottom line, because Stone Cold Said So!"
Of course, because this a DVD based on a 60-minute videotape, the interview is clipped, and Stone Cold’s remarks regarding "placing all the so-called superstars of the WWF on notice that Steve Austin’s time has come, and when he gets that shot, you’re looking at the next WWF champion" are cut from the interview. Nevertheless, based on Austin’s speech, Austin 3:16 became a staple in wrestling history, causing fans to start slowly cheer for the guy who was a crass, tough, son of a bitch.
Clips are shown of Austin beating Doink the Clown at the 1996 Slammys (I’m sure that’s the last time Doink will ever spray confetti on Austin). The video then shows two clips of Austin interviews from ECW, insulting The Sandman and Woman (aka Nancy Benoit), as well as Austin performing a pretty decent Hulk Hogan impression.
The next feud that’s highlighted in the video is between Austin and "The Loose Cannon" Brian Pillman. A great moment is shown when Pillman says in a clipped interview that he’s going to "rape, pillage and plunder this entire federation," and Austin says, "Tell me this guy doesn’t deserve an ass-whipping!" The Pillman/Austin feud created the infamous wrestling term "Pillmanize," which means that a wrestler wraps a chair around another wrestler’s body part and stomps on the chair. In Pillman’s case, Austin wrapped the chair around Pillman’s ankle and stomped on it repeatedly, breaking his ankle. This set-up the most controversial Raw moment in history, when Austin goes after Pillman while Pillman is recovering from the broken ankle at his home. Pillman grabs his gun and starts shooting at Austin, as the screen fades to static. The WWF was severely reprimanded by USA for that little stunt, but it still made for compelling TV (Pillman’s ankle really was broken at the time, as a result of a motorcycle accident).
Brief clips are shown of Austin wrestling Hunter Hurst Helmsley (before he was HHH), Mankind, Billy and Bart Gunn and Savio Vega. Austin is then shown winning the "Royal Rumble" (even though Bret Hart eliminated him earlier in the match, the referee never saw it). When Austin is told that he’ll have to defend the title in a Fatal-Four Way match the next night, he is shown yelling at President Gorilla Monsoon, "You sit here and call yourself the Gorilla, yet you hee-haw out here like jackass!"
The video then recaps Austin’s feud with Bret Hart, which is really the only reason to buy this DVD, assuming you don’t already have these matches on DVD. Bret left the WWF after his loss to Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 12 (in real life, his contract was up, and Vince eventually signed him to a new 20-year contract). Bret was "goaded" into returning to face Austin at Survivor Series 2006 (an interview with Austin is shown, where Austin says "If you put the letter "S" in front of Hitman, you have my exact opinion of Bret Hart.). Bret wins the match, but their feud would continue into "Wrestlemania 13’s" submission match.
The "Wrestlemania 13" match between Bret Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin is phenomenal – my personal favorite wrestling match of all time. Shortly after the bell rings, the two end up fighting through the crowd for the next 5 minutes, before returning to the ring. Austin cracks Bret with a chair in the ring, causing Bret to arch his spine in agonizing pain. Bret attacks Austin’s knee with a chair, slamming it over and over into Austin’s knee brace. Bret and Steve not only beat the hell out of each other for approximately 22 minutes, they also perform the greatest heel/face switch in wrestling history. Going into the match, Austin received some cheers and Hart was booed by a few fans. During the course of the match, by Austin’s sheer refusal to submit (especially after a 5-star blade job on the outside of the ring caused him to pour blood), Austin was turned into a face by the stunned crowd. The sight of Austin dripping blood into his mouth as Bret bends back with all his weight, trying to make Austin submit to the sharpshooter, is an iconic moment in wrestling. Austin almost breaks the sharpshooter, but Bret is able to maintain the hold, and Austin passes out rather than submitting, cementing his status as a gutsy, hard-ass brawler.
The rest of the video recaps Austin’s feud with Bret after the "Wrestlemania" match, and includes Austin hitting Bret in the knee with a chair (forcing Bret to be placed on a stretcher), Austin subsequently attacking Bret in the ambulance, Austin feuding with the Undertaker for the championship (Austin loses) and Austin teaming with Shawn Michaels to win the tag team titles from the British Bulldog and Owen Hart. The video closes with Stone Cold’s credits, where the video’s entire production is credited to Austin (ie – Hair – "I’m bald, jackass"...Lighting – "Whoop-Ass Inc.").
It’s interesting to see the birth and evolution of Stone Cold, but this DVD is a failure because of the heavy clipping of the interviews and the matches. Those factors and the fact that there isn’t even one extra on the DVD that’s not included on the VHS tape drags down this DVD’s rating. If you’re a collector, you should pick up this DVD (I bought it at Walmart for $5); otherwise, I recommend avoiding this video.
1 ¾ out of 5 SteveWeisers.
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