David Hart Smith / WWE, Steve Austin On Origins Of The Stunner
"I guess the year was 1996," Austin wrote. "We were in Fayetteville, NC. at a Monday Night Raw. It was just a normal Monday. I was hanging around the arena killing time before the show started, minding my own business when Michael P.S. Hayes came up to me and said 'Hey, Kid…You got a minute? I wanna show you something'. I said 'Sure' and followed him to the ring. As we walked he started explaining to me that he had maybe come up with a better finishing move for me than the one I was using at the time. I had been using the Million Dollar Dream, H.O.F'er Ted DiBiase's old finish that I had been given when I first came into WWF, with Ted as my manager. It had been a great finisher for Ted, and it was working well for me too, but I needed something a little more explosive that fit my personality. Michael explained that Johnny 'Ace' Laurinaitus had been using a version of the this finish in Japan with great success. Johnny had also shown his version of the finish to my buddy Diamond Dallas Page. DDP was starting to run roughshod in WCW with a helluva run and called his version of it the Diamond Cutter. The difference that Michael would show me was that instead of going flat, I would drop down on my ass, theoretically driving my shoulder into the opponent's throat. We were assisted by several willing 'volunteers' that were around ringside. These guys let me experiment and get the hang of it. I was sold. This would be my new finish from that point on.
"When I first started using the Stunner as it would come to be named (I'm not sure who named it, maybe Jim Ross or someone in the office), I simply went into the maneuver without a set up. It was simply delivered with no anticipation. And I'm a little fuzzy on this, but I'm almost positive that Michael and I were talking about the move happening too fast, and that the crowd could not anticipate the action because it happened out of the blue. I needed some type of setup maneuver ala Jake 'The Snake' Robert's signature short arm clothesline that he delivered before unleashing one of the most devastating finishers of all time…The DDT. An easy, and quick solution to this was the kick to the gut, which perfectly set the victim into an effective 'ready position'. Not only was the kick effective as a weapon to neutralize my opponent, it was also a visual 'signal' to the crowd that the Stunner was next… Or was it? Any kind of curveball could be worked into the equation at that point, but from a storytelling standpoint, the Stunner was 'supposed' to happen next."
Much more is contained in Austin's latest blog, which is always a great read, you can check it out by clicking here.
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