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He retained the title against The Rock in a Boiler Room Brawl at Backlash 1999.
He was defeated by Mankind ('Mick Foley'), and later that night, The Rock won the championship and joined the Corporation.
Austin was then welcomed back to wrestle in October 2000 at No Mercy, when he fought Rikishi ('Solofa Fatu') in a No Holds Barred match which had to be stopped when Austin was about to run Rikishi over but was arrested by the police.
The mystery was revealed that it was Triple H who had Rikishi run Austin over, and Austin battled Triple H at Survivor Series 2000, and won the match.
However, Austin said he didn't care about that title, and set his sights on the Heavyweight Championship.
Although Austin had won the 1997 Royal Rumble to qualify as the Number 1 Contender for the championship at Wrestle Mania XIII, he didn't get the place because he was eliminated but referees didn't notice, so instead, Austin fought Bret Hart in an Iron Man match which Hart won when Austin passed out from blood loss when he was trapped in a Sharpshooter.