When I think of the Rattlesnake, I think of the guy who first came to WWE with a big chip on his shoulder. The guy who was delivering ace promos in ECW, putting guys over, and having great matches. The guy who used the same formula soon after in WWE, and became one of the biggest stars in pro wrestling history. The guy who wasn’t afraid to drop a bunch of four-letter words and kick a lot of ass along the way.
You know what I choose NOT to remember? I’ll give you a one-word hint: WHAT?!
So with all this in mind, it really shouldn’t be hard to figure out why I’m shining the Indy Spotlight on Mr. Wrestling, Kevin Steen.
Much like pre-WWE Steve Austin, many have said Kevin Steen will never be a star in professional wrestling. Whether it’s his style, his look, or his weight—a lot of people seem to write Steen off. Instead of hiding behind that chip on his shoulder, though, Steen embraces it – and uses it to fuel himself in the ring.
Steen brings a very hard-hitting style to his matches. I’ve watched him beat the hell out of El Generico more times than I can count. And his run with SCUM in Ring of Honor may be the last thing actually worth watching in Ring of Honor.
It’s not all about violence and profanity with Steen. Much like Austin, Steen understands how to connect with different audiences. His appearances in Chikara were a lot of fun. Seeing him in Young Bucks-style tights was pretty amusing. And really, any time he’s in a PWG ring, you know you’re going to get something good.
Unlike Austin, I don’t expect Steen to make it to WWE. His weight has hurt his work, and his look. It’s also caused some unnecessary injuries that WWE probably won’t overlook. If you remember, WWE passed on Nigel McGuinness over pre-existing injuries. Nigel had a way better look, and had far more profit-potential than Steen. With that in mind, I just can’t see it happening. Sad, but true.
But unlike Austin, and unlike Nigel, there are still chapters to write in Steen’s story. If he wants to, he’ll live out his career at the top of the ROH food chain. He could probably be a decent fit in TNA’s revolving-door locker room. If Jeff Jarrett and Toby Keith really are putting together a new wrestling promotion, Steen should be one of the first wrestlers the call.
Steve Austin’s career was cut short, but Steen is still running strong. If he plays his cards right, the best is yet to come.