Competition does wonders for breeding excellence and innovation. This is something the WWE always promoted.
One of the most widely recognized WWE rivalries of all time was that between the Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. In every entertaining match, there was boundless chemistry and charisma between the two men.
Yet it was the intensity of this rivalry that truly defined the Attitude Era (the late 1990s to the early 2000s).
Whether you’re interested in learning more about sports odds to make bets on WWE or want to find out more about this iconic rivalry, we’ve got you covered!
In Your House: D-Generation X (December 1997)
In hindsight, this was a fascinating match. Austin was nearly at the main event yet The Rock was just starting on a path that would see him become a superstar in less than 12 months.
This feud was motivated by The Rock’s desperation to become a champion when he stole Stone Cold’s Intercontinental title belt. Despite being a very short match, The Rock was unable to win it off Austin who defended his title with everything he had.
Raw Is War (November 1998)
In under a year, The Rock had transformed into a total superstar. And when Austin appeared to reveal that he has a legally binding contract to fight The Rock for the belt, the crowd began to riot!
The match itself was short yet what it lacked in length it more than made up for in action and intensity. Many fans consider WrestleMania as the start of this legendary feud but really, the Rock vs Austin rivalry as we know it truly began here.
WrestleMania XV (March 1999)
Here, the Rock and Austin solidify the chemistry that their Raw match hinted at.
Some noticeable moments include the Rock hitting Stone Cold’s already injured knee using a chair, the Rock using a Rock Bottom to hit a ref only to stand up and walk straight into a Stunner, and a moment where they reversed each other’s finishers. Austin emerged victorious.
However, despite both performers’ best efforts, the match lacked big-time heat. Still, the blueprint for the Rock/Austin rivalry was laid down.
Backlash (April 1999)
Between Mania 15 and Backlash, things had heated up revolving around Austin demanding the return of his ‘Smoking Skull’ belt.
The Rock snagged the belt when Austin was distracted and lured Austin to a high bridge next to a river where he threw the owner and the belt into the water. Cue a fake funeral a week later.
The Rock grabbed the camera, panned over the crowd, and then turned back to face Austin who quickly dropped The Rock with a Stunner through the table. It was brutal and entertaining all at once.
WrestleMania 17 (April 2001)
Under two years since their last confrontation, the journey both men had was remarkable. The match build-up saw the two men work around a tense and uneasy truce that spilled into bitterness and violent altercations. It also saw one of the greatest pre-match videos in WWE history.
As a result, Rock vs Stone Cold was the PPV event everyone eagerly awaited. And nothing could take away from the spectacle both the megastars displayed. The match was sublime, showing the intense nature of Backlash and a mix of heart and psychology.
This was intense from the bell and highlighted the story of two elite performers at the height of their game, using every possible trick to emerge victorious. Austin eventually claimed victory after The Rock succumbed to the odds.
Wrestlemania (March 2003)
The previous year, 2002, was difficult for both men. After creative differences, Austin had walked out of the company in the June of that year, returning only in early 2003 after things had been resolved. The Rock, however, had witnessed a dip in popularity after fans became aware of his move to Hollywood.
The match itself was solid and featured a lively start from Austin who attacked The Rock from the start. From this point, The Rock noticeably dominated the match with the occasional comeback from Stone Cold.
The Rock finally defeated Austin and even thanked him on the mat. This was a beautiful end to this WWE rivalry, the Attitude Era, and Austin’s amazing in-ring career.
In a sea of bitter WWE rivalries at the time, The Rock vs Austin rivalry was heartfelt, legendary, and entertaining to watch. It stands out as the greatest rivalry of all time because it was so much more than simply beating each other to the title.