During the Attitude Era, Steve Austin was one of the centerpieces of WWE, having one of the greatest feuds of all time against Vince McMahon. In 2001, at WrestleMania 17, Austin turned on The Rock and aligned with Vince McMahon. Months later, WCW and ECW partnered up as The Alliance, to compete against WWE. This alliance was led by WWE Champion, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
During a segment on SmackDown, Austin called the Alliance in the ring to be assured that they trusted him, despite Vince McMahon stating that he was going to turn on them and defect back to WWE. Austin asked several wrestlers, including Chavo Guerrero, Bill DeMott, Shawn Stasiak, The Hurricane, and Billy Kidman whether they trusted him, and they all said yes. This segment has also been credited for the advent of the “What?” chants, which became increasingly popular.
For a few years following the Alliance angle, Austin remained using the “What?” chant, and fans started using it even when he was not around. However, many fans have felt that this chant was good while it lasted in the early 2000s, but can be a bit annoying nowadays.
Austin addressed this chant on his latest The Steve Austin Show podcast, and how it can be more harmful nowadays than before.
“I never knew the ‘What?’ chant would stick around as long as it’s stuck around,” said Austin. He later continued, “it can really mess with a guys’ or girls’ rhythm, what they are really trying to say. Sometimes they can get flustered. Sometimes that ‘What?’ chant could really be overwhelming, and you think people aren’t paying attention to what you’re saying, and sometimes on a really strong, heart-felt promo is happening, they’ll start with that ‘What?’ chant.
“The audience is missing out what the wrestler’s saying, so sometimes you gotta time that ‘What?’ chant when there’s some bulls–t going on and you gotta be able to listen to a real deal promo so you know what’s going on in the story. I feel for ya, and I feel for when they’re trying to cut a good promo. It interrupts your rhythm, plain and simple.”
Although Austin still feels honored that the chant still exist, he stated that he gets cussed out on Twitter all the time by fans critiquing the ‘What?’ chant.
If any portion of these quotes are used, please be sure to credit The Steve Austin Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Steve Austin Show