Scott Steiner went by many different monikers over his wrestling career. No matter what you called him — you had to respect the amount of success he had, from his amateur background to WCW, into WWE and now as he enters the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in Waterloo, Iowa.
Coming out of the University of Michigan, Steiner had already made a name for himself as an amateur wrestler. He was an All-American in 1986 and finished second in the Big Ten wrestling championships in 1983, 1985 and 1986. Luckily for Scott, he had a conduit to joining professional wrestling, as his older brother Rick (who is also entering the Hall of Fame) had beat him to it by two years.
Steiner explained how it all came about in an interview with Slam Sports.:
My brother was two years older than I was and he went up to Verne Gagne’s camp in Minnesota. He (Gagne) was also an Olympic wrestler. At the time, I was watching a lot of professional wrestling on TV and I actually thought I could beat some of those guys; beat a lot of them up.
For a lot of amateur wrestlers, the path goes from college to the Olympics and then to professional wrestling (see: Angle, Kurt). That route wasn’t for Steiner — he saw the bright lights and the earning potential of becoming a professional wrestler and decided to forego the Olympics altogether.
In Slam Sports’ interview with Steiner, he explains how winning the WCW World title for the first time was essentially him winning a gold medal — though I bet WCW paid a lot better.
Steiner was always one of the most…we’ll just call him original…professional wrestlers out there. His transformation from All-American amateur wrestler at the beginning to his brash, metal aventail-wearing potty mouth in the later days was impressive. His mic work was…we’ll stick with original…but he was also a trendsetter early on. His size combined with his athleticism allowed him to do moves that others hadn’t seen in the United States — namely the Frankensteiner. Take a look for yourself:
Considering how massive Steiner is, that makes it all the more impressive.
He had the look, he had the background and he was…we’ll continue with original…enough on the microphone to become a professional wrestling Hall-of-Famer. I do have to wonder if Steiner’s attitude (which made him entertaining) is also the same thing that pushed him out of the business. He certainly couldn’t wrestle today, but one would think he’d have hung around in one way or another.