The appearance of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 38 turns into a spectacle: After almost two decades, a wish comes true for the WWE icon – and for millions of fans.

It is the highlight of the year for wrestling fans. Even more: a dream come true. Because what happened on Sunday night at Wrestlemania 38, the biggest show of the year by industry giant World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), seemed impossible just a few weeks ago: a match with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – perhaps the biggest star in wrestling history.

For 19 years the loyal wrestling fans had to wait – Austin had fought his last real match at Wrestlemania 19 in 2003, against Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. After that, Austin was forced into early retirement by serious neck and knee injuries. Austin, of all people, was the most popular star of the “Attitude Era”, the golden phase of wrestling in the 90s. Since then, there have only been guest appearances at regular intervals, mostly on the microphone. A real farewell match, however, has so far eluded him.

Spectacular match through the whole arena

Now the sensational comeback for a match against Kevin Owens, one of the biggest stars in WWE at the moment – and the fans in the AT&T Stadium in Dallas got even more than originally announced. Actually, only an Austin appearance in an interview segment of Owens in the ring was expected – but in the end the nearly 78,000 fans in the arena got to see a full-fledged match: Owens – who had insulted Austin’s home state of Texas to provoke him as part of the “storyline” in the weeks prior – challenged Austin in the ring to a “No Holds Barred” match, a match without rules. To the frenetic cheers of the crowd, Austin accepted – as the final match of his great career.

A wild spectacle followed for 13:55 minutes across the entire arena, with a now 57-year-old Austin in top form against his 20 years younger challenger – and of course the “Rattlesnake” won the duel with his famous finishing move, the “Stunner”. The shower with several cans of beer after the victory – another Austin trademark – was also not to be missed. Austin celebrated with his brother in the ring.

The fact that the match was a complete success is also thanks to opponent Owens – in reality a great Austin admirer – who perfectly knew how to sell the actions of his fit but no longer quite so agile opponent as devastating – one of the great arts of wrestling, the “Selling”.

So “Stone Cold” Steve Austin got his longed-for farewell match after all – for a truly worthy conclusion to one of the greatest careers in wrestling history. A great moment for Austin, for Owens, for the fans in the stadium – and millions of followers worldwide.