QUICK QUOTES: Steve Austin recalls his infamous SummerSlam ’97 match against Owen Hart, thinking he’d been paralyzed in the ring

Court Bauer joined this week’s episode of The Steve Austin Show – Unleashed!, and he and Austin broke down In Your House: Canadian Stampede. Bauer asked if the finish of his match with Owen Hart at SummerSlam ’97 was meant to mirror the finish of the Stampede match. Steve explains, in detail, what led to the finish:

“We were working SummerSlam and were having a damn good match and we had them hook, line and sinker. The original finish was going to be a Stone Cold Stunner in the middle of the ring – 1, 2, 3. Man, we had about five minutes left and we were getting in some good s**t. We did that reversal and wow, goddangit. Planted me right on my head. That’s called an ‘Actual load,’ when you get dropped on the top of your head, that’s the number one cause of quadriplegia.

“It was so weird when my head hit that mat, you know, we’re in action. We’re in full force, adrenaline, we got ‘em, we’re going through all our s**t, and boom, it all came to a crashing halt. It was like someone just hit a big gong, that’s just what it felt and sounded like to me. I believe I was probably concussed, because I was a little looped up. I didn’t get knocked out. I was still razor sharp, I was still there. He was kind of looking at me. It looked like he figured something was wrong, and as soon as he looked down at me, I was looking right at him. I never lost my train of thought, I stayed very composed.

“As soon as it happened, I was thinking, because Christopher Reeve had just gotten dropped off that horse and gotten paralyzed, I thought right there on the spot, in real time, as I’m laying there in front of however many people are at the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, I’m thinking to myself Man, ‘I’m Christopher Reeve. I’m never going to move again.’

“At the same time, I’ve got to look at him and say ‘Don’t touch me, I can’t move.’ So there was a stipulation on this match. Whoever lost has to kiss the other guys a**. I said ‘Don’t touch me, I can’t move.’ Owen starts buying some time, and that’s when he says ‘He’s going to kiss my a**,’ and he’s looking back at me, it’s about sixty seconds, give or take. Finally, I tell the referee, I believe it was Earl (Hebner), I said ‘Tell him roll up for the win.’ So I called an audible because I could not do a Stone Cold Stunner.

“When I said ‘Tell him roll up for the win,’ you’ve got to understand when something like this happens and you’re lying there and have got no motor skills whatsoever… Jim Ross clearly says ‘Well, his legs are moving, at least,’ my legs weren’t moving. My arms were doing some involuntary movement that you see. I wasn’t doing that. That was my arms doing whatever they could do. I wasn’t moving s**t, so when I told him ‘Roll up for the win,’ that was when kind of my faculties started coming back, but I mean really slow.

“If you watch that package they did afterward, when I’m turning over, my interior delts are already on fire. It feels like someone has rubbed Icy Hot on them. I’m concussed, I just know I’ve got to finish this g**amn match. When I turned over, I was going to try to crawl. Well, I can’t crawl because I can’t use my hands, so I’ve got to crawl on my forearms. The deal was, I needed to bend my knees, to crawl you’ve got to bend your knees and get on them. Well, they were still straight.

“So if you watch that back in slow motion, it’s like trying to move a rusty hinge, and finally someone squirted WD-40 on it. All the strength and an act of god to get into a crawl position, and I crawled over to him, one or two crawls, and I barely grabbed his singlet and pulled back and then he comes tumbling over.

“It took me two or three seconds to get on top of him. It was the worst roll up in the history of the business, we all know that, but we were trying to protect, we were trying to do the finish, and that was me winning the match.

“I called the audible, and here’s the thing – Owen was the senior guy in the ring, but I was the hot guy in the ring and it was my time. I’ve got seniority by de facto, I guess. So I called the finish, he did it, respect to him for doing that. When he kicked out on three, because Davey Boy was livid afterward, when we got to the back, I was all f**ked up. Davey was ‘What the f**k, g**amn it,’ because you could clearly see that he was laying there for me to pin him. So Davey Boy was livid just about the way the pin went down.

“Anyway, so he kicks out on three after I get the win. Then he rolls out to give me my time in the ring, and I was the champion. I remember they sent those other referees out there, I think it was Jimmy Korderas and Timmy White, maybe Earl. Man, those guys all picked me up and I had my arms on their shoulders. I think Earl handed me that belt, the Intercontinental belt, I’ve got it in my safe, right next door.

“Man, at that point, I knew I needed to signal that crowd to say ‘Hey man,’ they knew I got f**ked up, and give them the sign that I was cool. So man, I raise that belt up with my right hand, that camera shines on my eyes. The lights are on, but there ain’t nobody home. I’m basically walking while I’m knocked out, but I’m there. I throw that belt down, I roll out of the ring, whoever it was put their arms around me and I go walking up that ramp, dragging that damn left leg. It was a son of a b**ch. That’s how it went down.”

Austin and Bauer also break down the entire Canadian Stampede card and take listener questions. To listen to the entire show, check out The Steve Austin Show – Unleashed!

Please credit PWPodcasts when using any part of this transcription.

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