Matt Hardy: Steve Austin Believed He Could Make His Heel Turn Work

steve austin
Photo Credit: WWE

Matt Hardy reflects on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin‘s infamous heel turn.

Austin was WWE’s top face throughout the Attitude Era, and a large part of this success came from his popular feud with Mr. McMahon. Austin was the rebel everyone loved to cheer for, and McMahon was the perfect foil as the evil boss. But “Stone Cold” shockingly turned to the dark side at WrestleMania 17, as he joined forces with McMahon. The move is still panned to this day, but it has often been said that Austin was in favor of it.

Speaking on The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy, Hardy shared his thoughts on Austin’s heel turn. He recalled how “Stone Cold” believed he could make it work, and he compared the situation to a potential turn for Jeff Hardy, a beloved babyface like Austin.

“It was interesting,” Hardy said. “I mean Steve was really confident in himself and he thought he could make this thing work and I like that mentality, I like the approach of trying something different and new. You have to always change, you have to always evolve, right? Stone Cold became a character that was so beloved, it was very hard to get him booed and that was gonna be problematic all the way through that.

“To me, it feels very similar to Jeff Hardy. It would be hard to make Jeff Hardy a full-fledged heel because he’s just such a beloved character and people connect with him in a way that very few people do. Stone Cold was that way too. I know he went out, and it was in Texas of all places where he is absolutely put on a pedestal, and he was getting cheered when he was beating The Rock’s ass after aligning with Mr. McMahon or whatever. They knew that was going to be problematic so they said ‘How can we get some legitimate heat on this guy?’ and he said ‘Well, let’s call in these young heartthrobs, the Hardy Boyz and Lita, Team Extreme.’ Let’s get some heat on those guys.” (Transcription credit of Skylar Russell of Fightful).

Following his heel turn, Austin went on to form the Two-Man Power Trip with Triple H, and the duo had a brief run together. “Stone Cold” eventually turned face again, but his heel turn remains one of the most controversial chapters of his career.

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