During the latest edition of his “Grilling JR” podcast, WWE Hall of Famer and AEW commentator Jim Ross commented on the first time Steve Austin hit a Stunner on Vince McMahon back in 1997, the reaction backstage to how McMahon sold the move, and more.
You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:
On Steve Austin’s first Stunner on Vince McMahon in 1997: “I had a feeling it was gonna be significant, and it was. It was as significant as any angle that we had done on Raw maybe ever. Vince getting involved with physicality, it put that marriage together, and let’s not forget what that attitude between McMahon and Austin meant. It was huge. You couldn’t have booked it any better because it was perfect. The timing was good, Vince’s character was spot-on. Best heel we had in the Attitude Era. It kept the babyface in jeopardy – the babyface being Austin. He knew Vince was gonna get retribution because Vince had more soldiers in his army than Austin did, which again, puts the babyface in jeopardy and outmanned, shall we say. Austin loved that. It showed him overcoming all obstacles, and it worked out really well I thought.”
On the backstage reaction to Vince’s Stunner sell and Vince and Stephanie McMahon being the top two heels in the Attitude Era: “He got ribbed unmercifully. I can always say I didn’t take the ugliest Stunner. Hey look, I admire the fact that he did it, and he kind of humbled himself becoming a wrestler to some degree. He became Austin’s nemesis, and the nemesis went beyond normal when you have the president and owner of the company put to get physical and you catch him with your finish. Vince sold the hell out of it. The audience popped big time for it, and you knew we were off to something big because there’s no way that the owner of the company, with this ego and so forth as a heel, is going to – it wasn’t going to be the last time we heard from Vince based on what Austin did to him. I thought the Stunner was a way to launch the Austin/McMahon scenario because nothing in the Attitude Era, in my view, came close to comparing to that angle, that marriage, that booking. Vince was perfect in that role. I’ve always said Vince and Stephanie were the two best heels in the Attitude Era. They were perfect for those roles, and they had been preparing for those roles in the eyes of the public for a long, long time. They carried their load and did really, really well, and it helped us a lot. Stephanie and Vince were huge assets to the Attitude Era because they had an issue with Austin.”
(h/t – 411 Wrestling)