Two characters forever impacted professional wrestling with what they contributed to the business during their active years in WWE: ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
And unlike other Mt. Rushmore-worthy WWE stars like John Cena, The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, etc., The Rock and Stone Cold hit their strides at basically the exact same point in their careers. They would lead the charge into ‘The Attitude Era’ of WWE, the most-watched era of professional wrestling in the United States where shows averaged around 5 million viewers weekly.
But did one of the two WWE stars make a bigger impact on the industry than the other? It’s an ongoing debate that has stood the test of time, or, has at least stood the test of the last 30 years.
On the most recent episode of “Complex Unsanctioned”, ROH Women’s Champion Mercedes Martinez stopped by the show and was the latest pro wrestling star to weigh in on the argument. For her, nobody stands up to Stone Cold because “he’s like Batman” in WWE.
“Everyone wants to love the rebel and he defied all of society’s rules,” she explained. “He said, ‘Fu*k you guys, I’m gonna do this sh*t my way because the way y’all are doing it ain’t right. So I’m going to come in here, I’m going to fu*k up the system. I’m going to do this sh*t and you’re either going to like it or you’re not, but I don’t give a fu*k,’ and that’s what people needed and he changed the game. He literally changed the game.
“Don’t get me wrong, The Rock did too, but it was Stone Cold who changed the game for that attitude era. It was because of him people loved that attitude era.”
Martinez has recently been teaming with another wrestling veteran on AEW television, Serena Deeb. On both the June 11 AEW “Dark” taping and the June 8 “Dark: Elevation” taping, the duo picked up victories over unsigned AEW talent. Since winning the Interim ROH Women’s Title at “SuperCard of Honor” in April and subsequentially defeating Deonna Purrazo to become Undisputed ROH Women’s Champion, Mercedes has had 5 successful Title defenses.
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Complex Unsanctioned with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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