In Honor of 3/16, Let’s Enjoy Stone Cold Steve Austin Hitting the President With the Stunner
Pro wrestling has made somewhat of a mainstream comeback in recent years; it’s somehow no longer gauche for adults to admit they like to watch the tangled, psuedo-erotic spectacle of half-naked men grappling with each other in coordinated action. Certainly, the current political climate has enabled the acceptance: The President of the United States has appeared in multiple wrestling storylines, and there are people from WWE who straight-up work in his administration. Plus, the fake-real ethos of wrestling has bled into politics; all of us are stuck figuring out what’s a put-on and what’s authentic as our leaders jaw with each other in the most histrionic way possible.
Ergo we at SPIN can proudly point out that today is March 16, unofficially celebrated around the world as Stone Cold Steve Austin Day, in honor of the former wrestler star’s iconic catchphrase. And what better way to celebrate than to remember the time Donald Trump, who again is the President of the United States, got hit with a Stone Cold Stunner at Wrestlemania? The moment’s been relived again and again thanks to Trump’s political ascension, and the fact that it’s possibly the worst Stunner ever taken. Seriously, check this out.
The play-logic of the move is obvious: As Stone Cold slams your chin down into the crook of your arm, your head snaps back, along with the rest of your body. Dwayne Johnson, the biggest action star in the world, was a pro at this. But Trump was afraid to commit, or perhaps incapable, and sort of just let his body slip limply out of Austin’s control. Sad! Still, it’s an entertaining clip, because of how fucked up it looks, and also because one of the two people in it is now the most powerful man in the world.
What was the context for this moment? It’s not really important.
Anyways, how did Donald even agree to this? In January, Complex got the whole story from Austin himself:
“Vince [McMahon] says to me, ‘Steve, I’m going to see if I can get Donald to take the Stunner.’ … I said, ‘you think?’ He says, ‘Oh yeah, it’ll be great, it’ll be great.’ He goes up to Donald and says, ‘Hey Donald, this is Stone Cold Steve Austin.’ I shook Donald’s hand. He goes, ‘Listen, I want to know if after the match, when everything is done, if Steve could hit the Stone Cold Stunner on you.’ Donald says, ‘You think it’d be a good thing?’ and Vince goes, ‘Oh, of course it would be. It would just blow the roof off the place.’ And Donald’s right hand guy was saying, ‘No, no, no! You don’t need to do this, we got other things to do!’ He’s trying to talk him out of it. And Donald says to Vince, ‘You think it’ll help?’ and Vince goes, ‘I promise you it’ll help.’ And Donald says, ‘Okay, I’ll do it.’
Big lesson: The President is willing to look like an idiot if someone can convince him that people will like it.
Check this shit out, man.
He’s the President.