He has one of the most iconic names in wrestling history, but Stone Cold Steve Austin could have followed a completely different path had he gone with the name WWF proposed to him many years ago.
In a recent podcast with Chris Jericho, Triple H discussed how a meeting once went down in the early days of the WWF, which was organised by some of the top names and staff behind the scenes.
HHH explained how the meeting revolved around finally killing off the over-the-top ‘side job’ characters that just leaked of gimmicks. The general consensus was that fans were getting tired of garbage men and evil dentists, and it’s said that at this meeting was when the ‘Attitude’ Era was born.
The Attitude Era is basically what propelled the WWF (now WWE) into dizzy heights, and expelled the more controversial storylines and characters that were deemed as not very politically correct. It broadened the appeal of professional wrestling and gave new life to a lot of wrestlers at the time.
One being Steve Austin. Austin was performing as The Ringmaster back in 1995, but wasn’t happy with his character, and decided to take advantage of the meeting that had just happened. In response, WWF officials gave him a host of new names, which included Otto Von Ruthless, Ice Dagger and Fang McFrost. Obviously, he wasn’t happy with any of them, because, well, they are f*cking hilarious.
Eventually, it was his former wife, Jeanie Clark, who finally chose his name, and it happened over a cup of tea, apparently…
In a recent interview, she said:
Yes, I did, over a cup of tea…Basically, the concept was Steve’s, because Steve and I were just sitting watching TV, flicking channels, and this show came on called “The Iceman” about a killer, a hit man type guy. Steve just said, “I want a character like that”, meaning someone cold, and he called Vince (McMahon) and he said this is the character he wanted. The office, they were just sending all these faxes of these temperature-based names like Fang McFrost…they were so hokey.
I remember Brian Pillman and Steve in hysterics over these names, but none of them worked for Steve. One day he was just kind of pensive, a little bit worried-looking, and I just said, “Drink your tea before it gets stone cold” and I went, “There it is, Stone Cold.” He got a big smile on his face, and he liked it, so that’s how it started, over that cup of tea.
So there you have it. If it wasn’t for the quick thinking of his former wife, we could have all been screaming “And that’s the bottom line, because FANG MCFROST SAID SO!!”.
Admittedly, that sounds amazing, but realistically, he’d have gotten nowhere.