‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin must win the WWE Moment of the Year ESPY
Every year, at least since 2021, fans across the WWE Universe have a chance to vote on their favorite moment of the past calendar year via the ESPN Espys.
While this hasn’t been the only representation WWE has had at the awards show, as noted nice guy Titus O’Neal was nominated for the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award in 2020, the WWE moment that took the prize last year was, you guessed it, a WrestleMania moment, and a historic one at that: Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair main eventing WrestleMania. That’s right, long before any walkouts and potential firings, Banks and Belair brought home the trophy for being the first black women to main event the “Show of Shows,” and considering the historical significance and the fantastic match that came out of it, it was an honor well-deserved.
Well, the polls are now open for the 2022 ESPYS, and while there are plenty of great moments on the list of nominees, this year’s award is the perfect opportunity to celebrate a certain larger-than-life superstar’s last great WrestleMania moment.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin, better clear some more space in your trophy case.
Who's taking home WWE Moment of the Year at the @ESPYS?
Vote now to decide who's taking home the hardware!https://t.co/PjBPAQfvF5
— WWE (@WWE) June 30, 2022
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s retirement match from WWE is award-worthy.
WrestleMania 38 could have been renamed Stone ColdMania 38 with how the superstar was received by the AT&T Stadium crowd.
Between the show taking place in Austin’s home state of Texas and WWE’s love of nostalgia, even if it’s sometimes out of desperation, “Stone Cold” being at the show was a no-brainer, and the angle Vince McMahon and company chose to bring him in with was basic yet serviceable. Have Kevin Owens express his disdain of the Lone Star State, have Austin be a guest on his talk show, and profit.
If that was all that happened that night, it would have worked well enough. WrestleMania 38 was a solid “Showcase of the Immortals,” and this segment would have been a nice crowd-pleasing addition.
However, as we all know, Austin did way more than talk that fateful night.
That’s right, after almost two(!) decades away from any ring, the WWE Universe was treated to a No Holds Barred match between KO and “Stone Cold,” with the eventual victor being fairly obvious. It was a total surprise, Owens played his role in the match extremely well, and Austin could move around quite well considering his age and injury history, complete with suplexes given and taken on the hard ground. Once the match was over and the beer-soaked celebration started, it was hard not to feel like one was witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime moment in history.
At least, until Night 2 of WrestleMania 38, when Austin came back once more and stunned everyone, even Vince McMahon one more time in a hilariously half-botched maneuver. 90’s kids everywhere no doubt shed a single tear as they watched their childhood anti-hero take down authority one more time.
Now, both of Austin’s appearances at WrestleMania are up for the ESPY, you frankly couldn’t go wrong with either, and, since the voting is in a bracket-style, you don’t have to choose one over the other right away. Austin’s Night 1 match is currently up against Brock Lesnar returning to confront Roman Reigns at Summerslam – a happening that sounds oddly familiar – and his Night 2 moment is up against the first SmackDown in front of a live crowd post-pandemic, which was nice but felt more like a promising new beginning than a climactic moment.
“Stone Cold’s” WrestleMania antics were the kind of big spectacles that WrestleMania was made for, and served as a nice final ride for the “Texas Rattlesnake.” Honoring him at the ESPYS just feels right.