This Day in Wrestling History (3/30) – The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Austin’s Final Match

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This Day in Wrestling History (3/30) – The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin - Austin’s Final Match

All good things must come to an end. It’s as true now as it was when the world was created. Time continues to march on, but there are moments that seem to last forever, yet end way too soon. One of those moments happened on this day in wrestling history, March 30, 2003, when The Rock beat Austin in their third and final WrestleMania main event match at WrestleMania 19.

It had to be the Rock

It was fitting that this was the match that closed out Steve Austin’s in-ring career. For years, the Rock and Austin feuded from pillar to post in what was one of professional wrestling’s greatest pairings.

As entertaining as their matches and rivalries were, one point continues to stand out to me. It was early on in the Monday Night Wars just before Thanksgiving when the two traded barbs. Austin finished by saying something along the lines of “here’s a little bird for your Thanksgiving,” and he flipped off the Rock. The poor camera guy didn’t seem to know if he should film it or not as he’d pan up to show Austin’s middle digit, then down, then back up again.

It was effectively, the beginning of the WWE entering the Attitude Era.

It was the kickoff of their years long run of storylines that saw them join forces numerous times, but also face off in spectacular fashion.

In that sense, no one has been their equal as they’re the only duo to headline three WrestleManias, and their matches are often heralded among the best in history, if not the best.

Their final confrontation came at WrestleMania 19, where the Rock would finally beat Austin on the biggest stage. But it wasn’t going to be easy. After exchanging each others finishers, the Rock had to hit his Rock Bottom numerous times before Austin was pinned.

Brothers

What makes this day in wrestling history truly special is though they were often rivals in the ring, they, like many other wrestlers, share a brotherhood and friendship that’s transcended their careers.

Since that match, they’ve often praised one another for their careers and other endeavors, and the Rock recently did a Q&A on Instagram where he talked about his and Austin’s WrestleMania matches.

The Rock shared as a caption to his video taped response: Great question from you guys on how did I feel headlining a record three WrestleManias with @steveaustinbsr and how he influenced my career.

It’s so simple ~ I love and respect that man and was truly TRULY my honor to share the ring and make history with him and create “magic” that will never be duplicated.

Love you brother and as always, “thank you for the house”

He also explained the whispered exchange between he and Austin had after their WrestleMania 19 match:

“I whispered to him, ‘I thank you so much for everything that you’ve done for me. And, I said, ‘I love you.’ He said, ‘I love you, too.’ I hit him on the chest and I left, left him in the ring.”

It was a fitting end to Austin’s career as the Rock gave him and the fans a final moment before the event ended.

While Austin was “fired” by Eric Bischoff on the following night’s Raw for medical reasons, this day in wrestling history is considered Steve Austin’s retirement. He’d been suffering from health issue tied to his neck injury he suffered in the 1997 Summer Slam against Owen Hart.

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