Kevin Owens made his attempt at a Stone Cold Stunner on Roman Reigns at this year’s Royal Rumble. Owens’s delivery was messy:
Because of the situation, Owens delivered a knee to Reigns’s head—instead of the usual kick to the opponent’s gut—and didn’t have a proper grip as he dropped to the mat. Reigns sold it pretty well anyway, but the owner of the move noticed the sloppy execution:
Owens showed up on Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast for the Feb. 28 episode, and the expert laid down a lesson for the Stunner novice. The conversation’s genuinely funny, because although Austin’s “scientific” explanation is kayfabe—since it’s talking about how the move actually, truly devastates wrestlers—the tips on proper grip and placement are legitimate ways for Owens to make the move look better. Like the move itself, Austin’s coaching blurs the line between pain and performance.
The chat starts at about the 41-minute mark. A partial transcript:
AUSTIN: Sometimes, when you get deep into your oxygen reserves, what happens? You kinda start to lose the thought process. You can’t perform up to your utmost ability. Well, see, that’s what’s the beauty of—when you kick the guy right in the gut, right in the diaphragm, boom. You sap his lungs full out of all the oxygen. You suck the oxygen right out of his lungs. All of a sudden, his brain’s like [choking noise]. “I need to breathe. I’m ‘bout halfway blown up.” This is deep in the match. “I need oxygen.”
OWENS: So that kick isn’t just about bending him over a little so that you have easier access to the head.
AUSTIN: You’re very correct. It is a positional mechanism.
OWENS: But there’s more to it.
AUSTIN: There’s more to it than positioning, yeah. You’re robbing the lungs of oxygen, precious oxygen, which that heart needs to pump to the cranial region, which houses the brain. [...] Here’s the thing. You didn’t really secure Roman’s head hard enough on your shoulder, because what happens—are you a boxing fan at all? Can you appreciate a great uppercut?
OWENS: Yes, I can.
AUSTIN: Okay, like a Mike Tyson-style uppercut, right underneath the jaw. You’ve got two holes here in each side of your jaw, the foramen nerves. That’s where people get knocked out. So, basically, when you grab that head, put it on top of your collarbone, this AC region, your trapezoid, right at the end of your shoulder, you’re locking that jaw down—underneath the jaw. So all of a sudden, I’m like a spring.
OWENS: I’m learning. I’m learning right now.
AUSTIN: You ever see someone—okay, let’s say like someone comes in that weighs 120 pounds and they’re going to hit you with an uppercut.
AUSTIN: Okay, now let’s say someone 250 hits you with an uppercut, okay?
AUSTIN: Now, let’s take double body weight: 500 pounds, give or take, hittin’ you with an uppercut. That’s both men’s weight coming down on that shoulder. You hit your ass on the mat, the mat springs you back up.
OWENS: The rebound. That’s right.
AUSTIN: The vertebrae in your back give that energy a direct path through the shoulder to his damn jawbone. Wham. Lights out. That’s how scientific it is, Kevin.
OWENS: See, this is very interesting to me.
AUSTIN: You gotta do it. It’s a one-two-three step process. Destruction on the other end if executed to perfection.
Austin complimented Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for his ability to take a Stunner, and really poured it on later in the conversation when he talked about how the move has made some of his opponents lose control of their bodily functions. “A couple of times I hit a guy with that Stunner, they pissed their trunks. A couple of them even crapped themselves.”
H/t to Tom Breihan