The Steve Austin Show
Austin Reviews Rock-Mankind in April 1999
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Recap by Corey Freedman
Top Newsworthy Items
– Austin is providing commentary while watching The Rock vs. Mankind from RAW on April 1, 1999. The match is widely regarded as containing one of, if not the, biggest pop of Austin’s career (possibly WWE history).
– Austin breaks down this match detail by detail and talks about everything from the commentary, referee work, wrestling technique, and more.
Subjects Covered (w/timestamps)
0:00 – Sponsor Ad
2:10 – Introduction
13:45 – Sponsor Ads
16:00 – Beginning of Rock vs Mankind match breakdown
25:03 – Austin hits play on the match video (link above)
27:30 – Pause the match video (2:28 on the video link)
31:27 – Unpause the match video
32:45 – Pause the video
34:33 – Unpause the video
37:07 – Pause the video
38:38 – Unpause the video
39:30 – Pause the video (7:19 on the video link)
40:10 – Unpause the video
41:25 – Pause the video (8:32 on the video link)
42:48 – Unpause the video
43:43 – Pause the video (9:27 on the video link)
43:43 – Sponsor ads
47:25 – Return from sponsor ads
48:33 – Unpause the video
49:01 – Pause the video (9:56 on the video link)
51:32 – Unpause the video
52:56 – Pause the video (10:50 on the video link)
55:43 – Unpause the video
57:25 – Pause the video (11:59 on the video link)
59:06 – Unpause the video
59:46 – Pause the video (12:08 on the video link)
1:00:50 – Unpause the video
1:03:00 – Match video ends
1:06:24 – Sponsor ads
1:12:31 – Show ends
Introduction: Steve starts the show by mentioning some fans who have endured some tough times and enjoy the Steve Austin show. Steve then reads an email from a fan who asks Austin about the pop Austin received when he interfered in The Rock vs. Mankind WWF Title match on Raw in April 1999. Austin is going to breakdown this match and his involvement on this episode. Austin said he didn’t remember much of this match before watching it again because of this email. Austin praises Earl Hebner’s ability to sell distractions. He also praises the in-ring work of the Rock and Mankind. Austin then mentions Todd C. from the Broken Skull Challenge. He can’t say enough about his effort on the Skullbuster.
Rock vs Mankind introduction: Austin introduces the video. He describes both Rock and Mankind as close friends that he has the utmost respect for. Austin again mentions the great work of Earl Hebner. Austin calls Michael Cole’s commentary for this match some of the best work of his career. He praises he and Jerry Lawler’s work in laying out the stakes for this match as the wrestlers made their way to the ring. Austin mentions that this is the match that led WCW broadcasters to poke fun at the WWF for putting the title on Mankind. He notes that the mention of a title change would obviously lead many people to tune in because they wanted to see how it happened. Austin gives Hebner credit for being the master of the distraction and managing to not get heat on the talent or himself for the distractions.
Austin specifically mentions a moment in the match where Big Boss Man distracts Hebner when the belt is thrown in the ring as being a good example of Hebner’s ability to make the distractions feel genuine. He wants to point out two blind-feeds that occur in the match. One is when the Rock feeds Mankind for Mr. Socko. Austin praises Foley for being able to get a gimmick with a sock over like he did. The other blind-feed is for Austin’s chair shot. He explains that a blind-feed is when the wrestler turns into something he can’t see that is coming for him. Austin says the Rock demonstrates great timing in this match on the blind-feeds, that mostly stems from trusting the other person. He talks about the deliberate nature of the 3-count that ends this match to really highlight the magnitude of the title change.
Rock vs. Mankind: Austin plays the audio of Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler announcing Mankind and The Rock to the ring. Austin notes that Cole referred to the Championship as “the centerpiece of the company.” Austin says if you are not in the business to be the World Champion, you are in the wrong business. While paused Austin talks through Rock’s entrance and how it sets the scene for the match with DX and the Corporation at ringside. Austin says Rock was at full swagger during this match, and he commends his work as a heel during this period. Austin unpauses and the match beings while he provides his thoughts. Austin is pointing out a ton of things while watching the match. He pauses the video to talk about the stairs. He says the stairs are a really tough bump to take and comments that many people today just ram their shoulder into them. He wants to drive home how painful/dangerous these stairs can be. Austin says one thing he always respected about Ken Shamrock was that he was always willing to lay his body on the line for other people. He notes the thud you can hear when Rock hits Mankind with the stairs.
Austin turns up the audio when Rock gets on commentary. He talks about he and the Rock loving to go near the table because it meant they could grab a drink of water. He also plays the audio when Mankind gets on commentary. Austin pauses again to talk about the tables. He says they remove the TV monitors because they have sharp edges that can hurt someone. He talks about how rough table spots can be, especially because even after you go through the table you still have a 200+ pound man falling on top of you. Austin wants to draw attention to the way Mankind comes back to a vertical base only to be knocked down again at the 7:11 mark of the video. During the pause he talks about Mankind keeping himself open for Rock to attack him and getting back to a vertical base to sell the big knockdown. He says this was a great sell job by Mankind. Austin talks through the People’s Elbow, highlighting its ability as a move to be quite entertaining but still have a shoot element to not make it look weak.
When the show returns from the ads, Austin recaps what has happened and sets the scene for how this match is going to end. He wants to highlight the belt shot Rock gives to Mankind. Steve talks about how the Rock gets caught by the camera here watching the ref while he is being pinned. He says that when he took moves that were near-falls, he liked to keep his eyes closed and rely on the cadence of the referee to enhance the realism. He does say that the Rock didn’t commit some sort of sin, it was just his style. He also points out how well the Rock sold the DDT as a move that inflicts a lot of damage. Austin pauses the video to note the great chair shot from Ken Shamrock. He also talks about Billy Gunn running down Shamrock being executed really well. He praises the outsiders doing a good job of keeping up the sense of urgency this match has around it (e.g. they have to move quickly and with purpose because we’re only a three count away from a new champion).
As we near the Austin pop, Steve again praises the set up for this moment. He compliments everyone involved including the commentary for setting the stakes and making it feel like Mankind didn’t stand a chance and Earl Hebner for making all the shenanigans feel realistic. Austin then plays the audio when he appears (he plays it a few times so the time may be a little behind. Enjoy it about four times yourself and you’ll be caught up with him). He says this was one of the biggest pops he ever received and it is extremely gratifying to get a pop like this. He pauses to talk about props. He also notices Jim Dotson in the background and mentions that he recently passed away. Austin says that any time he had the opportunity to use a prop he would. Austin pauses to talk about how he wanted to exit quickly. He wanted to leave the crowd wanting more, and also allow Mankind to get his moment.
Match ends/Conclusion: Austin notes how many of the people around/in the ring for this match are current or future Hall of Famers. He makes sure to note how hard everyone worked to pull this match off. Austin again praises the work of Michael Cole. He says that he is a great commentator but is saddled with too much info/promotions to get across in today’s environment.
Score and Review
Score (10) – Amazing episode of the Steve Austin Show. In this episode Austin breaks down the Rock vs. Mankind from Raw in 1999 when Mankind wins the WWF Title. Austin provides incredible insight throughout the entire match. He comments on everything from the overall story to each individual strike. I would definitely say this is a must-listen for any wrestling fan. Austin talks through one of the biggest moments in the company’s history, and he talks through every little detail in the match. Follow the timestamps to keep up with the video Steve is watching and you will really enjoy this episode.