Steve Austin originally came to the WWF as The Ringmaster after being fired by WCW, and had a brief run in ECW. He took on Ted DiBiase as his manager. He quickly changed his name to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, and beat Savio Vega at WrestleMania XII. That summer, he beat Bob Holly, Savio, Marc Mero , and Jake Roberts to win the 1996 King of the Ring.
"You sit there and you thump your Bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn't get you anywhere. Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16... Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your a#$!"
And Austin 3:16 was born. At Survivor Series of that year, he challenged Bret Hart to a match. As Austin applied the Million Dollar Dream, Bret kicked back from the turnbuckles, and wound up on top of Austin for the three count. Steve's next order of business was the 1997 Royal Rumble. He drew number five, and lasted until the end. Bret threw him over the ropes, but there was no referee where he landed, so he climbed back in and dumped Hart out to win.
Then Austin faced Bret at WrestleMania XIII in a submission match. Austin was busted open, but when Bret applied the Sharpshooter, Austin refused to submit, and eventually lost conciousness. Special referee Ken Shamrock stopped the match and gave it to Bret. The next night on Raw, Bret Hart turned against the American fans, and when Austin insulted Hart the following week, people started to cheer him. At IYH: Revenge of the Taker he beat Bret by DQ. That got him a WWF Title match with the Undertaker at IYH: A Cold Day in Hell. He lost the match due to The Hart Foundation's interference, and a tombstone by the Undertaker.
Austin and Shawn Michaels were forced to team together one night on Raw, and in Michaels's comeback match, won the tag team titles from Davey Boy Smith and Owen Hart. Michaels soon reinjured his knee, and Austin was forced to pick a partner to wrestle Bulldog and Owen at the end of a tournament. That partner turned out to be Dude Love, and Austin had a second reign as a tag champ. At SummerSlam, Austin beat Owen Hart for the IC title, but an ill-timed piledriver nearly paralyzed Austin and he eventually had to give up both of his titles.
This made him angry at the WWF, Vince McMahon especially. He made his comeback at Survivor Series, beating Owen Hart for the IC belt.
At IYH: D-generation X, he beat The Rock, but refused to wrestle him the next night on Raw. Vince then awarded the title to the Rock. Steve won the 1998 Royal Rumble for the second year in a row, last eliminating the Rock, and wrestled WWF Champion Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XIV.
Austin won with the Stunner, and defended his title against people like Mick Foley and Kane. He lost the title to Kane at King of the Ring, but won it back one night later. He has also had another reign as tag champ with the Undertaker. He and UT lost the titles to Kane & Mankind in a four corners match a few weeks later, and had a much anticipated match with each other at SummerSlam. Austin won, and continued his title reign until IYH: Breakdown, where he was pinned by The Undertaker and Kane simultaneously in a Triple Threat Match. McMahon held up the belt and said that Kane and UT would battle it out at IYH: Judgement Day, with Austin as the ref. After a chair shot to Kane by UT, and a stunner on UT by Austin, Stone Cold counted to three and declared himself the winner. However, McMahon had said before that if a new champ wasn't crowned that he would fire Austin, which he did.
The next night, Austin appeared in hunting gear and systematically hunted down McMahon. He said he'd been rehired by Shane McMahon, and after threatening to shoot Vince, he revealed it was a fake gun, and a flag popped out that said "Bang 3:16." Austin beat The Big Bossman by DQ in the first round of the WWF Title Tournament at Survivor Series. A double count out in the Regal/X-pac match gave Austin a bye to face Mankind in the semi finals. The ref was knocked out, but Austin managed to stunner Mankind and cover him. Shane McMahon ran in to make a three count but flicked Austin off instead. Mankind DDTed Austin, and Shane made a quick count, reconciling with his dad, and revealing that it had been a plot all along. After The Rock, Vince's Corporate Champion, won the tourney, the next night on Raw, Austin revealed that the contract with Shane McMahon guaranteed him a WWF Title shot. The Austin/Rock match took place that very night, and The Rock was DQed because of the outside interference. McMahon then stated that if Austin won the Royal Rumble, he would get his title shot, but to qualify, he had to beat The Undertaker at IYH: Rock Bottom in a Buried Alive Match. Austin won, with help from Kane, and McMahon drew him no. 1 in the Royal Rumble, while entering himself, and coincidentally enough, drew no. 30. Commissioner Shawn Michaels, however, made McMahon no. 2. Austin nearly won the Royal Rumble, but was dumped out by Vince while he was tangling with the Rock on the ropes. The next night, McMahon relinquished his shot, but Shawn Michaels once again intervened, saying that the WWF rulebook stated that should the winner be unable or unwilling to get the title shot, it would go to the Rumble runner-up which was Austin.
Austin got a steel cage match with Vince at IYH: St. Valentine's Day Massacre. He won the match when Paul Wight emerged from under the ring and threw Austin into the side of the cage. The cage broke, and Austin tumbled to the outside for the win. He regained the title at WrestleMania XV, over The Rock. Austin said he wanted his rattlesnake belt back from Vince, and Vince, who was otherwise preoccupied, said he could have it. When it fell into Shane's hands to deliver it to Austin, he had the Rock steal it instead. He beat Rock in a rematch at IYH: Backlash to regain his special belt. However, a month later, he lost it to The Undertaker at Over the Edge '99. Throughout the months since WrestleMania he had developed an alliance with Vince, but when Vince revealed himself as the Greater Power behind the Corporate Ministry, Austin was chosen by his wife and daughter to be the new CEO in their place. Vince and Shane regained the 50% ownership of the company at King of the Ring in a ladder match. The next night, Austin beat The Undertaker to win the WWF Title. They met in a First Blood Match at Fully Loaded, and due to stipulations, Vince was barred from conducting business in the WWF when Austin won. He lost the belt in a Triple Threat Match to Mankind at SummerSLam. The other participant, Triple H, attacked him with a chair, putting him out for a few weeks. He cost HHH the belt a few days before Unforgiven to a returning Vince McMahon and reffed the Six Pack Challenge for the belt at the event when Vince vacated the belt. The next night, Austin said he'd reinstate Vince if he gave him the title shot at No Mercy. Vince agreed, but Austin didn't win the belt back. He was scheduled for a Triple Threat Match between himself, The Rock, and HHH at the Survivor Series, but after chasing HHH re: an attack before the match, he was hit by a car and sent to the hospital and was laid out with a neck injury.
He came back briefly in April, to be the special enforcer for the Triple H vs. Rock title match at Backlash. In response to HHH's shenanigans, Austin helped the Rock win by waffling HHH with a chair. He was finally ready to come back in the Fall, and he set his sights on finding out who ran him over. He interrogated WWF Superstars at Unforgiven, but found out nothing. Commissioner Mick Foley brought back Billy Gunn, who was one of the suspects, as the only DX member not accounted for during the assault. He said as he was pulling into the arena, he saw the car drive by, and the driver had blond hair. When Austin started interfering in matches, Foley suspended him until the culprit was found. Foley interrogated Linda McMahon, Debra, Shawn Michaels, and Edge & Christian among others, and found out the Rock's name was coming up a lot. After a tag team match where Rock teamed with Rikishi, Foley confronted the Rock and told him he knew he didn't do it. He then revealed it was actually Rikishi who did it. Rikishi came forward and confessed, saying the WWF's always been about the Great White Hope, and the Island Boys were never given a fair shake. He said he did it for The Rock. Austin's suspension was lifted, and they had a no-holds barred match at No Mercy, which ended in a no-contest when Austin tried to run over Rikishi with his truck. The police stopped him and took him to jail. A few weeks later, Triple H revealed that it was he who was behind the plot all along, and that Rikishi was just a hired thug. Austin met HHH at Survivor Series and went to another no-contest when HHH tried to lure him out into the parking lot to get run over again. Austin didn'f fall for it, and rammed HHH's car with a forklift, lifted it into the air, and dropped it to the ground. He got a title shot in a six-man Hell in a Cell Match at Armageddon against Kurt Angle, The Rock, HHH, Rikishi, and The Undertaker, but was unsuccessful.
Suprisingly, he encountered little resistance from Vince McMahon for getting in the Royal Rumble match. Triple H returned in January and attacked Austin. Austin retaliated by costing Triple H his title match against Kurt Angle at the Royal Rumble. Austin won the Rumble match, but before WrestleMania had a score to settle with HHH at No Way Out. McMahon stated that he didn't want either one of them touching the other until the PPV, or Austin would lose his shot at WM, and HHH would be suspended for six months. They played mind games right up until their match. Triple H won rights to choose the stipulation. He chose Two out of Three Falls, but made each fall special. The first fall would be straight wrestling, the second a streetfight and the third, a cage match. It went to the third fall, with Triple H barely squeaking out a win. Nevertheless, Austin still had WrestleMania. He won the title from the Rock at the event, thanks to help from McMahon. They revealed that they had joined forces and Triple H joined them the next night in beating down the Rock. Austin and Triple H terrorized the WWF until the Undertaker and Kane tried stopping them. Triple H and Ausitn won the tag belts from them at Backlash. However, Austin had to defend his WWF title against the Undertaker at Judgment Day. He won, but Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit won the right to take them on for the tag titles. Benoit and Jericho won the belts the next night, and Triple H sustained an injury. Austin was able to cheat his way to wins in title defenses against Benoit and Jericho, but Vince's wife Linda put him in a Triple Threat Match against the two at King of the Ring. Austin barely managed to win when Benoit sustained a neck injury. When WCW and ECW formed the Alliance, they sent Booker T, DDP, Rhyno and the Dudley Boyz to take on Austin, Angle, Undertaker, Kane and Jericho at Invasion. Austin turned on the WWF and sided with the Alliance during the match. Kurt Angle hounded him the next few weeks and nearly won the WWF Title from him at SummerSlam. Angle finally won the belt from Austin at Unforgiven, but lost it back to him a few weeks later when William Regal turned on the WWF and helped Austin. He retained the title at No Mercy, over Angle and Rob Van Dam, but the Alliance lost the winner-take-all match at Survivor Series, and McMahon tried to strip Austin of the title. However, his new business partner Ric Flair intervened and a tourney to crown an undisputed champ at Vengeance was made. Austin beat Angle to retain the WWF Title, but lost to Chris Jericho later, who had just beat the Rock to regain the WCW Title, making Jericho undisputed champ.