The Ringmaster

The Ringmaster

On March 30, 2003, Steve Austin will main event his fourth WrestleMania.

Just like any other wrestler, however, Austin once was just another guy hoping and praying that one day, he would become a big player at wrestling’s biggest show. In fact, at his first WrestleMania, he had the dubious distinction of taking on Savio Vega in an undercard match that almost no one remembers. During his early WWF career, Steve Austin was anything but Stone Cold.

No, he was the Ringmaster. Thankfully, he didn’t come out wearing a top hat shilling for Vince McMahon’s one ring circus. Rather, he was a bland, generic heel.

In fact, the WWF didn’t even want the guy to talk. They paired him up with “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, and instructed Austin to do his work in the ring. Sure, they gave him a chance here and there to speak , but by and large, it was DiBiase’s responsibility to get Austin over.

In fact, he was even given DiBiase’s old title belt, making The Ringmaster the Million Dollar Champion. As if all that weren’t bad enough, he debuted on the Brother Love show.

Think about that! The guy who would go on to become the biggest name in the history of pro wrestling was originally scheduled to do nothing more than defend some bogus belt that no one cared about for at least five years. And they didn’t even build him up for months and months – they just threw him out there with Brother freakin’ Love.

DiBiase departed for WCW shortly following the WrestleMania showdown with the former Kwang the Ninja. In the storyline, Austin claimed that he threw the match on purpose, so he could be his own man. Behind the scenes, Austin was pleading with the creative department to give him a new persona.

Finally, he came up with the idea of being a cold blooded killer. He looked to the booking team to come up with a name, and they suggested Chilly McFreeze.

And people wonder why I rag on WWE creative.

Thankfully, his wife came up with “Stone Cold”, and thus a star was born.

So the next time you see A-Train swagger down to the ring and you think, “Wow, this guy sucks,” just remember – with a slight gimmick change, he may go on to one day headline WrestleMania.

But God I hope not.

Brother Love: “Brother Ringmaster!”

The Ringmaster: “”I want everybody out there in TV land to touch their screen and feel what it’s like to be destined for success.”

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