The history of the WWE has had many wrestlers develop into all-time greats in the business. Stone Cold Steve Austin was one of those who left an unforgettable mark with his work in the ring and on the microphone. However, it wasn’t an entirely clean ride for Austin as he experienced his fair share of injuries in a WWE ring. That saw him nearly become paralyzed from an almost devastating situation that could have changed his life forever for the worst.
Stone Cold Steve Austin’s WWE career
Stone Cold Steve Austin put together an incredible career that saw him rise to prominence as one of the WWE’s faces.
Austin was a polarizing figure that had a strong following behind for his often brash and anti-establishment behavior that endeared him much to wrestling fans. He had many memorable moments and matches over the years that has cemented him as one of the all-time greats in the business.
However, it came with a high cost physically on a few occasions that led to significant injuries. One of which nearly led to becoming paralyzed from a botched move.
How Stone Cold Steve Austin nearly became paralyzed
During a match for the Intercontinental Championship against Owen Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin’s career took a scary turn in August 1997 at SummerSlam.
Things would take a devastating turn as Hart botched the piledrivers that saw Austin’s head and neck get pinned into the canvas below, causing a significant neck injury. The former WWE great recounted the event stating that he felt paralysis throughout his body for about a minute but somehow muscled through the match.
“Working a match with Owen Hart and we are working a gimmick. I am looking to give him a piledriver and he reverses out of it. Boom he goes down to his butt and I’m spiked in the mat and I am transic quadrapledric for about 60 seconds….As I am laying there on the mat, I tell Owen ‘don’t touch me I can’t move.’ So Owen starts buying time…When you’re paralyzed, it’s a sh**ty situation. I can’t move sh**. My arms are flapping around a little bit but my legs ain’t doing nothing.”
It occurred from a move that Austin didn’t want as he hoped to get the Tombstone piledriver, but Hart wanted that version of the move. The entire finish of the match had to be changed as Austin had to roll up Hart for a weak school pin because he couldn’t physically do anything else.
The move resulted in Austin being sidelined for around four months due to the injury before got medically cleared to return to the squared circle. The entire situation also played a part in him retiring sooner.
Owen Hart’s reaction to Stone Cold Steve Austin’s injury
The response to the entire situation was interesting on Owen Hart’s end as he played a massive part in the botched move that resulted in a significant injury for Stone Steve Austin.
Hart’s reaction to the situation covered that it went from being a great match to utter hell in the ring. It was a matter that he understood mistakes happened and felt terrible about how things transpired.
“People, they don’t know. They think wrestlers are superhuman. This isn’t supposed to happen, there’s gotta be a catch – the guy’s gonna spring up and beat Owen. I watch it back and think, ‘There is no happy ending in this. The guys is dropped on his neck (and) suffered temporary paralysis. We’re not magicians.”
There is a bit more backstory as Hart didn’t know how exactly to respond the matter as his brother, Bret Hart, told him to call Austin to apologize for what happened. It was revealed that Owen called his fellow competitor just once to air his regret for how the situation transpired.
Austin has voiced that he would have called multiple times, but it was something that Hart didn’t precisely handle in the right manner.