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On this date in WWF history: The Owen Hart piledriver finally catches up to Stone Cold Steve Austin

On January 17, 2000, World Wrestling Federation (WWF) superstar "Stone Cold" Steve Austin received an "anterior cervical diskectomy" from chief of neurosurgery, Lloyd Youngblood, at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.

In layman's terms, "The Rattlesnake" had neck surgery to repair the damage he suffered two years earlier from a botched piledriver by Owen Hart at SummerSlam.

But how do you get one of the biggest draws in the company off television for nine months?

Very easily, actually.

After all, this is professional wrestling, and injury angles are a piece of cake, especially when you have a 400-pound Samoan willing to run people down with a rented sedan just to give a distant relative his due (he did it, for da Rock).

See Austin's neck implode (along with Stone Cold commentary) after the jump.

Austin would return later that year, but anyone care to speculate how the business might have been different had Stone Cold not been forced to sit on the sidelines, in his prime, for nearly a year?

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