In the late 1990s, Stone Cold Steve Austin was a license to print money. Beyond the ubiquitous Austin 3:16 shirt, which had more variants than there are stars in the sky, the World Wrestling Federation really went to work on the Texas Rattlesnake. Some shirts—Blood From a Stone, Rattlesnake Arms—are iconic and go for hundreds of dollars. Some are bargain bin representations of some aspect of his character. And some are this.
Stone Cold N.Y.PD. Has all the hallmarks of a shitty Steve Austin shirt. The skull and the skeleton hand are almost certainly repurposed from a hundred other shirts, most of which feature a can of beer clutched in Austin’s bony digits.
Here, they clutch a police badge, which is, uh, fuck that. Why would a dude who’d been arrested a few times for ruining Vince McMahon’s day want to hang with cops? Why would a Texan go to New York City and join the police force? Did he want to experience things wrestlers typically don’t, like pensions and healthcare? Did he have a problem with street vendors and protests? Given that he was heralded to the ring by shattered glass, did he have an opinion on Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s Broken Windows policy?
The back, which reads “Nock Your Ass Down” clarifies nothing except the lengths the WWF’s graphic design department would stretch themselves to make an acronym work. A “nock” is a real thing—the notch in a bow that holds the string, which is relevant to the in-character bow hunter Austin—but you know what they’re going for, which is pretty uncomfortable given the N.Y.P.D.’s legacy of brutality.
- Willing to show badge number.
- Made it easy to identify the most hardcore cop apologists in a WWF crowd circa the late 90s.
- Willing to bet nobody involved in the production of this shirt had seen Men In Black.
- Uh, where do I start?
- Steve Austin canonically hated cops until he became a sheriff.
- Austin never put a cherrytop on his custom smoking skull Chevy Tahoe.
- The one case Austin tried to Columbo was the one where he got run over, which was kinda late era Columbo in quality.
- Seriously, this man did not like cops.
- Probably made some people in the N.Y.P.D. feel real tuff.
- Essentially an officially licensed challenge coin.
- Dude on Depop wants like $300 for this, what the fuck.