The Alliance (professional wrestling)
The Alliance known as Team WCW/ECW and The Coalition, was a professional wrestling stable in the World Wrestling Federation that lasted from July to November 2001. The stable came about as a result of the WWF's purchase of World Championship Wrestling in March 2001; the Extreme Championship Wrestling name was brought in to help boost the presence of WCW after the original promotion closed in April 2001. The original plan was for the WWF-owned WCW to be a babyface group, led by Shane McMahon to go against the heel owner of the WWF Mr. McMahon. During May and June 2001, wrestlers identified as being "under contract to WCW" "invaded" World Wrestling Federation programming, by making several run-ins; the ultimate goal was for WCW to "take over" one of the WWF's two primary programs, either Raw Is War or SmackDown!, rebrand it as its own separate entity. To test the waters for this, the final twenty minutes of the July 2 Raw Is War telecast was given over to WCW, which brought in its own commentators, ring announcer, ring apron, Chyron graphics, to present a match between Booker T and Buff Bagwell for Booker's WCW Championship.
This continued on SmackDown!, where Gregory Helms lost the WCW Cruiserweight Championship against Billy Kidman and Booker defended the WCW Championship against Diamond Dallas Page. The Booker/Bagwell title match, was poorly received both by television viewers and the live crowd in the arena, with the two other WCW matches receiving a similar reaction; the decision was thus made to make WCW a heel group, out to destroy the WWF. On the July 9 episode of Raw Is War, when then-face WCW owner Shane was scheduled to face Page in a street fight, the two instead attacked The Undertaker, turning Shane heel; that night, during a tag team match pitting Chris Jericho and Kane against WCW's Lance Storm and Mike Awesome, former Extreme Championship Wrestling stars Rob Van Dam and Tommy Dreamer interfered and attacked Jericho and Kane. Justin Credible, Tazz and The Dudley Boyz came to the ring shortly thereafter and joined Van Dam and Dreamer in attacking Jericho and Kane, Raw Is War color commentator Paul Heyman announced that together, he was forming an ECW team to take on the feuding WWF and WCW factions.
That evening and Shane agreed to join forces to take out ECW once and for all in a twenty-man brawl between Team WWF and Team WCW. When WCW and ECW faced off in the ring, they instead congratulated each other and attacked the WWF wrestlers, it was revealed that ECW had merged with WCW to form a "supergroup" to more challenge the WWF and that Stephanie McMahon had purchased the defunct company. This combined group was referred to as "WECW" on WCW.com and as "WCW/ECW," but the rights to ECW's assets were still being debated in bankruptcy court at that time, so the name of the group was shortened to The Coalition and The Alliance. At WWF Invasion, Team WCW/ECW defeated Team WWF in a ten-man tag team match billed as the "Inaugural Brawl". During the match, Austin turned on the WWF and joined The Alliance, helping them score the victory, after about a week of teasing a face turn. Over the next few months, the two sides fought forth. Except for a few wrestlers, every feud was a WWF wrestler versus an Alliance wrestler.
Ten combined WWF and WCW championships were defended among all the wrestlers in the various feuds. Over time, numerous WWF superstars would defect to the Alliance, including Test, William Regal and Christian. Former ECW and WCW wrestler Steven Richards would belatedly defect to the Alliance, bringing WCW alumni KroniK with him. In return, Chuck Palumbo and Torrie Wilson defected from The Alliance to the WWF. Kurt Angle defected to the Alliance on the October 29 episode of Raw Is War. In late October, both sides agreed to end things once and for all. A "Winner Take All" classic Survivor Series elimination tag team match was set for the Survivor Series pay-per-view, with the losing company going out of business forever. In addition, two title unification matches were signed, as the WCW World Tag Team Championship and the WWF Tag Team Championship were to be unified in a match between The Dudley Boyz and The Hardy Boyz, while Edge and Test would meet in a match to unify Edge's WCW United States Championship with Test's WWF Intercontinental Championship.
Further, 20 WWF and Alliance members would square off in what was called the "Immunity Battle Royal", with the winner of the match keeping his job for one year regardless of whether his side won or not. In the end, Team WWF defeated Team Alliance when Angle double-crossed The Alliance by turning on Austin while he was fighting The Rock during the closing stages of the match; the Rock pinned Austin, thus putting The Alliance out of business. Earlier in the night, The Dudley Boyz defeated The Hardy Boyz to unify the tag team championships while Edge defeated Test to win the Intercontinental Championship. Despite his loss, Test enter
The Invasion (professional wrestling)
The Invasion was a professional wrestling storyline in the World Wrestling Federation that ran from March–November 2001 and involved stables of wrestlers purporting to represent World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling —which merged to form The Alliance—placed against a stable of wrestlers purporting to represent the WWF. The storyline began shortly after the WWF's acquisitions of WCW and ECW in March and April 2001 and concluded with a "winner takes all" match between The Alliance and the WWF at Survivor Series; the idea of a supercard featuring the two top promotions of the Monday Night Wars was considered to be a dream match scenario in the eyes of many fans, as it would allow the fans to see which promotion would be superior in storyline. The angle began when Mr. McMahon's son, Shane McMahon, announced as part of the storyline on WWF's Raw Is War and the final episode of WCW's Nitro that he had bought WCW from under his father's nose; this led to several run-in appearances of WCW wrestlers during Raw Is War and SmackDown! over the months after WrestleMania X-Seven.
In June 2001, the angle grew in intensity as the WWF storylines somewhat abated to make room for the central Invasion storyline. WCW and ECW merged to form The Alliance and challenged the WWF's control over the wrestling industry. An Inaugural Brawl took place at the WWF Invasion pay-per-view, where Stone Cold Steve Austin defected and joined The Alliance. Many inter-promotional matches occurred after the Invasion between The Alliance and the WWF, leading up to the climax of the angle at Survivor Series, when Team WWF defeated Team Alliance in a Winner Take All elimination tag team match. During the Monday Night Wars, the WWF and WCW, the two top North American wrestling promotions, competed for ratings. Through developments such as the creation of the New World Order and the Montreal Screwjob, fans continually compared the two promotions, the Internet wrestling community was full of debate as to which of the two was superior. Among other factors, mismanagement within WCW led WCW to a downward spiral from which it never recovered.
The Monday Night Wars came to an end on March 23, 2001, when the WWF bought the rights to WCW's video library, trademarks, 24 contracts for selected wrestlers and other properties for what was considered to be a lower bargain price. The final night of the Monday Night Wars occurred on March 26, 2001: Raw Is War focused on the major storylines heading into WrestleMania X-Seven, while Nitro held their final episode with a "Night of Champions". Mr. McMahon opened up Nitro and announced a simulcast that night to address the future of WCW. Throughout Raw Is War, McMahon publicly named several WCW wrestlers. Though most would wrestle for the WWE in the ensuing years, he did legitimately fire Jeff Jarrett on TV due to animosity between the two dating back in 1999, when Jarrett blackmailed McMahon for payment when Jarrett was booked for a match at No Mercy when his contract expired the day before. After Sting defeated Ric Flair in WCW's final match, the simulcast began. McMahon talked about the buyout of WCW and toyed with the idea of making WCW into a huge media conglomerate, much like the WWF.
He asked the crowd who he should keep under his belt by mentioning names of WCW wrestlers and asking for a reaction. Lex Luger received a negative reaction from fans, Hulk Hogan, Buff Bagwell, Booker T, Scott Steiner and Goldberg received positive reactions. Vince proceeded to fire them all, however, to the cheers of the Raw Is War crowd and the jeers of the Nitro crowd. McMahon announced that he would sign the contract and make the purchase official at WrestleMania, on the condition that Ted Turner brings the contract for McMahon to sign personally. Shane McMahon, appeared on Nitro and announced in kayfabe that he had signed the contract and purchased WCW out from under his father's nose, planting the seed for what was considered a lucrative future storyline opportunity; the Invasion did not begin afterwards, as the WWF was preparing for WrestleMania X-Seven, the year's largest show, mere days away. The WWF had doubled the size of its roster through its acquisition of WCW, as a result, there was not enough screen time for everyone.
The original plan was to find a time slot on TNN to continue running WCW as a separate entity. Polls were put up on WWF.com and WCW.com to decide the name of the new show. These plans fell through when no TV station would touch WCW because of its reputation for losing money; the WWF carried out a brand extension reviving WCW under its own auspices and running two separate promotions, each with one of the WWF's two existing televised shows and SmackDown!. As part of its plans, Lance Storm became the first WCW wrestler to appear on WWF programming, by performing a run-in during a match on the May 28 episode of Raw Is War. Hugh Morrus made his WWF debut on the June episode of Raw Is War by attacking Edge. At King of the Ring on June 24, then-WCW wrestler Booker T interfered during the triple threat main event match for the WWF Championship and cost Stone Cold Steve Austin the title. Additionally, Austin legitimately suffered fractured bones in his hand from the side slam he took from Booker T into an announce table.
The next night on Raw Is War, held in New York City's Madison Square G
Monday Night Wars
The Monday Night Wars were the period of mainstream televised American professional wrestling from September 4, 1995, to March 26, 2001. During this time, the World Wrestling Federation's Monday Night Raw and World Championship Wrestling's Monday Nitro were broadcast opposite each other in a battle for Nielsen ratings each week; the rating war was part of a larger overall struggle between the two companies, originating in personal animosity between WWF owner Vince McMahon and then-owner of WCW Ted Turner. The rivalry between the companies escalated throughout the 1990s to include the use of cutthroat tactics and the defections of employees between the two companies. Extreme Championship Wrestling, while not a party to the rating battle, was involved as a tertiary player. Throughout the wars, the WWF and WCW would both adopt different concepts and narrative techniques innovated by ECW. While WCW was the dominant promotions for much of the mid-1990s, a variety of factors coalesced to turn the tide in the WWF's favor at the end of the decade, including a radical rebranding of their family-friendly product to sexualized and violent shows geared towards older teens and adults.
WCW ran into financial difficulties as a result of the amount of money they had promised wrestlers during a hiring binge in the early and middle part of the decade, aimed at acquiring large portions of the WWF's talent roster. Despite efforts to salvage the company, it was sold to Vince McMahon, ending the Monday Night Wars. In retrospect, wrestling commentators have come to see the era of the Monday Night Wars as a golden age of wrestling, with the feud between the two companies bringing out their best quality product both in terms of creativity and the performances of their wrestlers. Many have come to regard the end of the wars – and, in particular, the subsequent WWE storyline regarding the acquisition of WCW – as marking a severe decline in the quality of modern wrestling programming. Notably, as of 2018, no other company has emerged as a viable competitor to WWE since the acquisition of WCW, WWE itself has never again enjoyed the same level of mainstream success that it did during the Wars.
The Monday Night Wars sprang from a rivalry between WWF owner Vince McMahon and WCW owner Ted Turner, dating back to an incident in the 1980s known as Black Saturday, when McMahon acquired a monopoly on all nationally televised wrestling broadcasts by purchasing a stake in Georgia Championship Wrestling, whose flagship show aired on WTCG, Turner's own network. Turner, displeased with McMahon's handling of programming on his network, pressured McMahon into selling his time slot to Jim Crockett Promotions, another wrestling promotion; as wrestling began to grow in popularity in the early 1990s, the organizations – and, as a result, their programming – became a venue through which the business feud could continue, with each company working to drive the other out of business. WCW dominated the ratings through much of the mid-1990s, as Ted Turner's financial resources allowed the company to purchase the services of numerous high-profile WWF performers, including Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage; the company drew casual fans' attention by filming events at popular tourist venues such as Disney's Hollywood Studios, reached out to Mexican and Japanese wrestling fans through its cruiserweight division, which featured wrestlers from a diverse array of ethnic and racial backgrounds competing in matches featuring styles of wrestling popular in Latin America and Asia.
Under the auspices of Eric Bischoff, WCW introduced a new, complex metastory involving the defection of multiple wrestlers to a rival organization called the nWo. WWF owner Vince McMahon's controversial treatment of Bret Hart in an incident known as the Montreal Screwjob precipitated Hart's departure from the WWF to WCW, alienating a large segment of WWF's fanbase at the same time WCW came to employ all of the established wrestling stars than in competition. Throughout the late 1990s, the WWF began to rise in popularity after it rebranded itself as a more adult-themed and violent product, a period in the company's history now referred to as the Attitude Era; the shift in programming helped lead the company to achieve mainstream success similar to the 1980s professional wrestling boom. Concurrently, many WWF performers became crossover successes: During this period The Rock would become popular and would embark on a successful acting career, while Mick Foley published a New York Times-bestselling autobiography.
The heightened profiles of WWF wrestlers helped to draw the attention of both new and casual wrestling fans to the company's programming. In the late 1990s, WCW's ratings began to suffer as fans grew tired of the nWo storyline, which many viewers perceived as having been allowed to go on for too long. Fans responded negatively to several gimmicks intended to reinvigorate interest in WCW, including the introduction of actor David Arquette as the company's new champion; the company was able to reinvigorate itself after the introduction of Bill Goldberg, presented as an unbeatable force who won matches within a matter of minutes or seconds. Goldberg rose to stardom within the organi
Paul Michael Levesque, better known by the ring name Triple H, is an American business executive, professional wrestler, actor. He has been the Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative for WWE since 2013, as well as being the founder and senior producer of NXT. Levesque, under the ring name Terra Ryzing, began his professional wrestling career in 1992 with the International Wrestling Federation. In 1994, he joined World Championship Wrestling, where he was soon repackaged as a French-Canadian aristocrat named Jean-Paul Lévesque. In 1995, Levesque moved to the World Wrestling Federation, where he became Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Triple H. In 1997, he co-founded the influential D-Generation X stable, which became a major element of the WWF's "Attitude Era". After winning his first WWF Championship and beginning a storyline marriage with Stephanie McMahon in 1999, Triple H became a fixture of the company's main event scene. According to the Pro Wrestling Torch, he was "widely regarded as the best wrestler in North America" by the turn of the millennium.
After legitimately marrying Stephanie McMahon in 2003, Levesque became a member of the McMahon family, which maintains majority ownership of WWE. Since 2011, he has curtailed his in-ring appearances as he has taken on a greater behind-the-scenes role within WWE. Over the course of his career, Levesque has held a total of 25 championships including nine reigns as WWF/WWE Champion and five as WWE's World Heavyweight Champion. In addition, he was the winner of the 1997 King of the Ring tournament and the 2002 and 2016 Royal Rumbles, his total of 14 world championships is the third-most all-time behind only Ric John Cena. He has headlined WWE's flagship pay-per-view, seven times. Levesque was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of D-Generation X. Paul Michael Levesque was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, on July 27, 1969, he has a sister named Lynn. Levesque watched his first wrestling match, involving Chief Jay Strongbow, when he was five years old, he attended Nashua South High School, where he played basketball.
Following his graduation in 1987, Levesque continued to enter bodybuilding competitions—having taken up bodybuilding at the age of 14 because he wanted to look like the professional wrestlers he saw on television—and won the 1988 Mr. Teenage New Hampshire competition at the age of 19. While working as a manager at a Gold's Gym in Nashua, he was introduced to world champion powerlifter Ted Arcidi, employed by WWE at the time. After numerous attempts, Levesque persuaded Arcidi to introduce him to former wrestler Killer Kowalski, who ran a professional wrestling school in Malden, Massachusetts. In early 1992, Levesque began to train as a professional wrestler at Killer Kowalski's school in Malden, his classmates included fellow future WWF wrestlers Perry Saturn. Levesque made his professional debut on March 24, 1992 in Kowalski's promotion, the International Wrestling Federation, under the name Terra Ryzing. In the match, he defeated Tony Roy. In July 1992, he defeated Mad Dog Richard to win the IWF Heavyweight Championship.
Levesque wrestled for various promotions on the East Coast independent circuit until 1994 and during this period he was managed by John Rodeo. In early 1994, Levesque signed a one-year contract with World Championship Wrestling. In his first televised match, Levesque debuted as a villain named Terror Risin', defeating Keith Cole, his ring name was soon modified to Terra Ryzing, which he used until mid-1994, when he was renamed Jean-Paul Lévesque. This gimmick referred to his surname's French origins and he was asked to speak with a French accent, as he could not speak French. During this time, he began using the Pedigree. Lévesque had a brief feud with Alex Wright. Between late 1994 and early 1995, Lévesque teamed with Lord Steven Regal, whose upper class British persona was similar to Lévesque's character. However, the team was short-lived, as Levesque left for the World Wrestling Federation in January 1995 after WCW turned down his request to be promoted as a singles competitor. In a modified version of his gimmick in WCW, Levesque started his WWF career as a "Connecticut Blueblood".
According to Levesque, JJ Dillion gave him the name of Reginald DuPont Helmsley, but Levesque asked for a name to play with the first letters and management agreed to his suggestion of Hunter Hearst Helmsley. He appeared in taped vignettes, in which he talked about how to use proper etiquette, up until his wrestling debut on the April 30, 1995 episode of Wrestling Challenge. Helmsley made his WWF pay-per-view debut at SummerSlam. In the fall of 1995, Helmsley began a feud with the hog farmer Henry O. Godwinn, culminating in an infamous Hog Pen match at In Your House 5: Seasons Beatings, where Helmsley was victorious. Although Helmsley was promoted in the first few months after his debut, his career stalled during 1996, starting off with a feud with Duke "The Dumpster" Droese following a loss during the Free for All at 1996 Royal Rumble. Up until that event, his angle included appearing on television each week with a different female valet. Sable was his valet at WrestleMania XII and after his loss to The Ultimate Warrior, as part of the storyline, he took his aggressions out on her.
The debuting Marc Mero – her real-life husband – came to her rescue, starting a feud between the two wrestlers. On June 1, 1996, Helmsley appeared on an episode of Superstars in a match again
David Michael Bautista Jr. is an American actor, retired professional wrestler, former mixed martial artist and bodybuilder. Bautista began his wrestling career in 1999, signed with the World Wrestling Federation in 2000. From 2002 to 2010, he gained fame under the ring name Batista and became a six-time world champion by winning the World Heavyweight Championship four times and the WWE Championship twice, he holds the record for the longest reign as World Heavyweight Champion at 282 days and has won the World Tag Team Championship three times and the WWE Tag Team Championship once. He was the winner of the 2005 Royal Rumble match and went on to headline WrestleMania 21, one of the top five highest-grossing pay-per-view events in professional wrestling history. Bautista re-signed with WWE in 2013, going on to win the 2014 Royal Rumble match and headline WrestleMania XXX before again departing that June. In October 2018, Batista returned to WWE and faced Triple H at WrestleMania 35 in April 2019, before retiring from wrestling.
Bautista began acting in 2006 and has starred in The Man with the Iron Fists, the James Bond film Spectre, Blade Runner 2049. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he has played the role of Drax in the films Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Avengers: Infinity War. He has appeared in several direct-to-video films since 2009. In August 2012, Bautista signed a contract with Classic Entertainment & Sports to fight in mixed martial arts, he won his lone MMA fight on October 2012, defeating Vince Lucero via TKO in the first round. David Michael Bautista Jr. was born on January 18, 1969, in Arlington, the son of Donna Raye and hairdresser David Michael Bautista. His mother is of Greek descent, his paternal grandfather served in the Filipino military, worked as a taxi driver and barber, held other jobs to feed the family. Bautista has said that he lived in poverty, that he had a hard life—before he reached the age of nine, three murders had occurred on his front lawn; as young as age 13, he was stealing cars.
By age 17, Bautista was lived on his own. He admitted, "I am proud of my parents, they are good, hard-working folks. They taught me the values of working hard." He was a nightclub bouncer until he was arrested after a fight that left two patrons injured, one of whom was rendered unconscious. After a trial, he was sentenced to one year of probation, he worked as a lifeguard before pursuing a career in bodybuilding, crediting the latter with saving his life. Bautista tried out at the World Championship Wrestling Power Plant, but was told he would never make it in the wrestling business by Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, he went to the World Wrestling Federation, who advised him to train with Afa Anoaʻi in the Wild Samoan Training Center wrestling school, where he went to train and compete in Anoa'i's World Xtreme Wrestling promotion. He had his debut match as Khan on October 30, 1999. Bautista trained with Marrese Crump in Muay Thai and Eskrima. Most he trained at Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu under Cesar Gracie and has become a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Upon signing with the WWF in 2000, Bautista was sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling, a WWF developmental territory. He made his OVW debut that year under the ring name Leviathan, where he joined forces with Synn; as a member of the Disciples of Synn stable, he went undefeated until being beaten at Christmas Chaos by Kane with help from Stone Cold Steve Austin. He won the OVW Heavyweight Championship from "The Machine" Doug Basham before losing the belt to The Prototype. A few months Bautista left OVW after he was promoted to WWE's main roster. While still in OVW, Bautista began appearing on non-televised WWE events, he began his televised WWE career on May 9, 2002 on an episode of SmackDown! as Deacon Batista, a villainous enforcer for Reverend D'Von. He made his WWE in-ring debut in a tag team match teaming with D'Von against Faarooq and Randy Orton, pinning Orton. Over several weeks, Orton tried to beat D'Von and Batista with different partners, but lost each time. Batista suffered his first loss in a match against Rikishi after D'Von accidentally punched him, allowing Rikishi to take advantage and pin Batista.
Batista and D'Von argued over the forthcoming weeks, with Batista turning on D'Von. On the November 11 episode of SmackDown, Batista defeated D'Von to end their feud. After splitting with D'Von, he was renamed Batista, he feuded with Kane, whom he defeated at Armageddon. In January 2003, Batista joined Triple H, Ric Flair and Randy Orton to form the villainous stable Evolution. Batista, was sidelined for much of 2003 after he tore his right triceps muscle at a Raw live event in a match against Brock Lesnar. While training after the injury, Batista re-tore his triceps. Batista made his return on October 20 episode of Raw, interfering in a match between Goldberg and Shawn Michaels and "shattering" Goldberg's ankle with a chair. After the interference, Evolution came out, Triple H rewarded Batista with $100,000. On November 10 episode of Raw, Goldberg defeated Batista by disqualification when Triple H interfered. At Armageddon, Batista took. By the end of the event, all four members of Evolution
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Steve Austin, better known by the ring name "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, is an American retired professional wrestler, actor and television host. Austin is signed under a Legends contract to WWE. Austin enjoyed a successful mid-card career as "Stunning" Steve Austin in World Championship Wrestling from 1991 to 1995. After a brief stint in Extreme Championship Wrestling in late 1995, he signed with the World Wrestling Federation as The Ringmaster. Rebranded as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin the following year, he gained significant mainstream popularity as a brazen, beer-drinking antihero who defied the establishment and his boss, company chairman Vince McMahon; this persona of Austin's became the "poster boy" of the Attitude Era, a boom period in WWF business in the latter 1990s and early 2000s. He introduced the long-standing "What?" Chant in professional wrestling. A number of prominent industry figures, including McMahon, have declared Austin to be the biggest star in WWF/WWE history and stressed that he surpassed the popularity of Hulk Hogan.
Veteran professional wrestling journalist Wade Keller remarked that Austin is "in every conversation for the greatest wrestling act of all time", as well as for "the most profitable and the most influential". Austin held 19 championships throughout his wrestling career, as he is a six-time WWF World Heavyweight Champion, a two-time Intercontinental Champion and a four-time WWF Tag Team Champion—thus making him the fifth Triple Crown Champion in WWE history—while being a two-time WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, a two-time WCW World Television Champion, a one-time WCW World Tag Team Champion and a one-time NWA World Tag Team Champion in WCW, he was the winner of the 1996 King of the Ring tournament as well as the 1997, 1998 and 2001 Royal Rumbles, making him the only three-time winner of the event. Furthermore, he was awarded the unsanctioned Million Dollar Championship by Ted DiBiase. Austin has main evented multiple pay-per-view events including three WrestleManias, he was forced to retire from in-ring competition in 2003 due to a series of knee injuries and a serious neck injury.
Throughout the rest of 2003 and 2004, he was featured as the Co-General Sheriff of Raw. Since 2005, he has continued to make occasional appearances and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009 by Vince McMahon. In 2011, Austin returned to WWE to host the reboot of the reality series Tough Enough!. Austin was born in Texas, his parents and Beverly Anderson, divorced when he was around a year old. His mother moved to Victoria, in 1968, married Ken Williams. Austin adopted his stepfather's surname and legally changed his name to Steven James Williams. Austin has one younger sister. Kevin is less than a year younger, Austin has hypothesized in his autobiography that their father may have left because he could not handle another child so soon. Austin spent most of his childhood in Texas. After finishing his schooling from Edna High School, Austin got a football scholarship at Wharton County Junior College, followed by a full scholarship at the University of North Texas. Deciding to become a wrestler, Austin joined Chris Adams' school in the Dallas Sportatorium, where Adams wrestled for World Class Championship Wrestling.
Adams' training was purely technical, teaching Austin the moves, but nothing relating to kayfabe or business. His first lesson in that came from Tony Falk, the referee in his 1989 televised WCCW debut against Frogman LeBlanc, who called the spots to lead him to a pinfall and a $40 payday. Working under his real name, he was named Steve Austin by Memphis booker Dutch Mantell during the merger of World Class and the Continental Wrestling Association into the United States Wrestling Association; the name change occurred to avoid confusion with "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, a well-known wrestler during that time. Austin returned to Dallas, managed by Percy Pringle and accompanied by Jeannie Adams and feuded with Adams and his wife Toni. Austin left the USWA in 1990 and signed with WCW the next year, it was during this time Austin adopted the "Stunning" nickname that followed him to WCW. Austin was paired with a valet named Vivacious Veronica, but was joined by Jeannie Adams, known as "Lady Blossom".
Just weeks after his debut, Austin defeated Bobby Eaton for his first WCW World Television Championship on June 3, 1991 and that year joined Paul E. Dangerously's Dangerous Alliance. Austin lost the WCW World Television Championship to Barry Windham in a two out of three falls match on April 27, 1992, but regained the title from Windham on May 23 and enjoyed a second lengthy reign as champion before losing the title to Ricky Steamboat on September 2, while The Dangerous Alliance disbanded shortly thereafter. At Halloween Havoc on October 25, Austin replaced Terry Gordy, teaming with "Dr. Death" Steve Williams to wrestle Dustin Rhodes and Windham for the unified WCW and NWA World Tag Team Championships; the teams wrestled to a thirty-minute time limit draw. In January 1993, Austin formed a tag team known as The Hollywood Blonds with Brian Pillman, they won the unified NWA and WCW World Tag Team Championship on March 3 by defeating Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas and held the title for five months.
At Clash of the Champions XXIII on June 16, the Blondes faced Ric Flair and Arn Anderson in a two out of three falls tag team title match and were defeated, but retained the title as
Richard Morgan Fliehr, better known as Ric Flair, is an American professional wrestling manager and retired professional wrestler signed to WWE under its Legends program. Ranked by multiple peers and journalists as the greatest professional wrestler of all time, Flair had a career that spanned 40 years, he is noted for his tenures with Jim Crockett Promotions, World Championship Wrestling, the World Wrestling Federation and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Since the mid-1970s, he has used the moniker "The Nature Boy". A major pay-per-view attraction throughout his career, Flair headlined at the premier annual NWA/WCW event, Starrcade, on ten occasions, while co-headlining its WWF counterpart, WrestleMania, in 1992, after winning that year's Royal Rumble. PWI awarded him their Wrestler of the Year award a record six times, while Wrestling Observer Newsletter named him the Wrestler of the Year a record eight times; the first two-time WWE Hall of Fame inductee, first inducted with the class of 2008 for his individual career and again with the class of 2012 as a member of The Four Horsemen, he is a member of the NWA Hall of Fame, Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame.
Flair is recognized by WWE as a 16-time world champion, although the number of his world championship reigns varies by source, ranging from 16 to 25. He has claimed to be a 21-time champion, he was the first holder of the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship. As the inaugural WCW World Heavyweight Champion, he became the first person to complete WCW's Triple Crown, having held the United States Heavyweight and World Tag Team Championships, he completed WWE's version of the Triple Crown when he won the Intercontinental Championship, after holding the WWF Championship and the World Tag Team Championship. Fliehr was born on February 1949, in Memphis, Tennessee, his birth name is believed to be Fred Phillips, although on different documents he is credited as Fred Demaree or Stewart, while his biological parents were Luther and Olive Phillips. He was adopted, his adoptive mother, Kathleen Kinsmiller Fliehr, worked for the Star Tribune. Shortly afterward, the family settled in Edina, where the young Fliehr lived throughout his childhood.
After ninth grade, he attended Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin for four years, during which time he participated in interscholastic wrestling and track. Flair trained as a professional wrestler with Verne Gagne, he attended Gagne's first wrestling camp with Greg Gagne, Jim Brunzell, The Iron Sheik and Ken Patera at Gagne's barn outside Minneapolis in the winter of 1971. On December 10, 1972, he made his debut in Rice Lake, battling George "Scrap Iron" Gadaski to a 10-minute draw while adopting the ring name Ric Flair. During his time in the American Wrestling Association, Flair had matches with Dusty Rhodes, Chris Taylor, André the Giant, Larry Hennig and Wahoo McDaniel. Flair first competed in Japan in 1973 for International Wrestling Enterprise, due to a working agreement between AWA promoter Verne Gagne and the IWE. After Flair left the AWA for Jim Crockett Jr.'s Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in 1974, he began working tours for All Japan Pro Wrestling. On April 27, 1978, Flair challenged for the NWA United National Championship in a losing effort.
Throughout the 1980s, Flair defended the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in All Japan against the likes of Genichiro Tenryu, Riki Choshu, Jumbo Tsuruta, Harley Race, Kerry Von Erich. On October 21, 1985, Flair wrestled Rick Martel in a double title match where he defended the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and challenged for the AWA World Heavyweight Championship, but the match ended in a double countout; as All Japan withdrew from the National Wrestling Alliance in the late 1980s, World Championship Wrestling began a working agreement with New Japan Pro Wrestling. In 1989, the working agreement led to a feud between Flair and Keiji Mutoh, wrestling under The Great Muta gimmick, in the United States for WCW. On March 21, 1991, Flair defended the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and challenged Tatsumi Fujinami for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in a double title match on the WCW/New Japan Supershow at the Tokyo Dome. Fujinami beat Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, but lost the title at WCW's SuperBrawl I on May 19, 1991 in the United States.
When Flair left WCW for the World Wrestling Federation in 1991, he continued to tour Japan in the Super World of Sports promotion, due to an agreement between WWF and SWS. He defended and retained the WWF World Heavyweight Championship against Genichiro Tenryu on September 15, 1992 in a match that resulted in a draw. In August 1995, under a WCW contract, Flair participated in the G1 Climax tournament in New Japan, where he beat Shiro Koshinaka, drew Masahiro Chono, lost to Keiji Mutoh. On July 17, 1996, Flair challenged Shinya Hashimoto for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in a losing effort in NJPW. Once again under the WWE banner, Flair continued to tour Japan periodically between 2002 and 2008, he defended the Wo