Triple H once told a great story on the Talk Is Jericho podcast. He was talking about the culture of WWE around the time of his first year with the company. He recounted a story about The Clique calling a meeting with Vince McMahon and the crux of the pow-wow was to voice their displeasure with the cartoonish characters Vince and company kept churning out even though fans had long-since outgrown the idea of wrestling garbage men and evil dentists. I hadn’t though, dentists are scary as shit!
Triple H said one of the men in the meeting asked Vince “why do we all have to have side jobs? Why can’t the guys just be wrestlers?” It’s believed that right then and there is when the Attitude Era of the WWE actually began.
Right before the sweeping change in attitude, Steve Austin was looking for a change. His Ring Master schtick had fallen flat — probably because WWE didn’t make him go full boat with a top hat and whip and he didn’t follow a chain of elephants to the ring — and Austin was in talks with McMahon and company about his next rebirth in the WWE.
Austin’s former wife and valet, Jeanie Clark, is credited with coming up with the “Stone Cold” name. In a recent interview, Clarke reveals where the name and character came from but also spilled the beans on just how off-base the WWE was with character names for Austin’s proposed gimmick change and the evolving tastes of the fans.
“Yes, I did, over a cup of tea…Basically, the concept was Steve’s, because Steve and I were just sitting watching TV, flicking channels, and this show came on called “The Iceman” about a killer, a hit man type guy. Steve just said, “I want a character like that”, meaning someone cold, and he called Vince (McMahon) and he said this is the character he wanted. The office, they were just sending all these faxes of these temperature-based names like Fang McFrost…they were so hokey. I remember Brian Pillman and Steve in hysterics over these names, but none of them worked for Steve. One day he was just kind of pensive, a little bit worried-looking, and I just said, “Drink your tea before it gets stone cold” and I went, “There it is, Stone Cold.” He got a big smile on his face, and he liked it, so that’s how it started, over that cup of tea.”
“And that’s the bottom line, because FANG MCFROST said so!” When he was wrestling, he was moonlighting as the villain in Rankin/Bass cartoon specials.
FANG MCFROST! Arguably the most popular wrestler in the history of the sport WAS ALMOST NAMED FANG MCFROST. Jesus Christ, sometimes I miss the old WWF.
OK, I don’t.