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The W - Pro Wrestling - Steve Austin
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Spank E
Kolbasz








Since: 2.1.02
From: Bournemouth, UK

Since last post: 71 days
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#1 Posted on
Without delving too deeply (hopefully) into Fantasy Booking territory, I was sitting down with my wife the other day talking about Steve Austin and how it appears that he may be gearing himself up for possibly one more match and a thought struck me.

If he had taken say a year out to rehab after his neck injury in '97, what would the knock-on effect have been? Personally, I think it would have spelt curtains for the WWF. I just can't think of anyone else who they could have plugged into his spot? Rock was nowhere near ready, Foley was still running around in tie dye, Undertaker was busy with his program with Kane. At an absolute push, maybe they would have tried running with Ken Shamrock who, as I remember, they were quite high on in late '97, but that probably would have been a bust. The irony of this entirely hypothetical situation is that Austin would probably still be wrestling today.

What are your opinions?





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SKLOKAZOID
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Since: 20.3.02
From: California

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#2 Posted on
I don't think you can avoid fantasy booking here, but it's fun to think about how different things would be.

I think the big overall thing that would have happened would have been the WWF slowing down their plans and things would have inevitably played out as they did. Instead of Bret/Michaels at Survivor Series, you get Bret/Michaels at WM14, things like that. Maybe Owen gets another run at the top (but still no belt) and Shamrock definitely gets more main event time.

A) Bret Hart wouldn't have been released (so no Mr. McMahon). Vince would have eaten whatever costs to keep another top guy around to build up Shamrock or whoever to fill the void.

B) WM14 would have either been Bret/Michaels II or Bret/Shamrock (either way, setting the stage for the following year's Bret/Austin or Michaels/Austin main event at WM15)

C) Dude Love still would have happened, but without the edge bumping him with Austin gave it.

D) The "Attitude" branding still would have happened, but again, without the edge.

E) Vince still wins in the end, because WCW got really, really stupid in 1998 and the WWF was already starting to make a better product with more depth.

F) Like in 2000 when Austin really was out, Austin makes occasional appearances and guest referee spots (imagine Austin as the guest ref for Bret/Shamrock at WM14)

G) The Monica Lewinsky thing still happens.

Maybe Shamrock beats Bret at WrestleMania 14 but eventually loses it to Michaels who would lose it to Austin, or Bret goes over Michaels as the first heel to go over in a WM main event.

(edited by SKLOKAZOID on 16.6.11 1035)
cfgb
Lap cheong








Since: 2.1.02
From: Ottawa, Ontario

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.74
    Originally posted by Spank E
    Without delving too deeply (hopefully) into Fantasy Booking territory, I was sitting down with my wife the other day talking about Steve Austin and how it appears that he may be gearing himself up for possibly one more match and a thought struck me.

    If he had taken say a year out to rehab after his neck injury in '97, what would the knock-on effect have been? Personally, I think it would have spelt curtains for the WWF. I just can't think of anyone else who they could have plugged into his spot? Rock was nowhere near ready, Foley was still running around in tie dye, Undertaker was busy with his program with Kane. At an absolute push, maybe they would have tried running with Ken Shamrock who, as I remember, they were quite high on in late '97, but that probably would have been a bust. The irony of this entirely hypothetical situation is that Austin would probably still be wrestling today.

    What are your opinions?




Mick was actually back to Mankind by that stage.

A Vince / Owen fued could have conceivably carried the company through Mania, with Owen defeating Shawn Michaels. Wrestling was red-hot, nobody could do any wrong, and in all honesty, as long as the heat off of the Montreal Screwjob was used towards the benefit of having someone one-up Vince, they were okay. WCW flubbed Starrcade in that year, and the momentum of the WWF was coming either way.

Nobody played off McMahon better than Austin, and I am not suggesting for one moment that Owen Hart could have been their savior. They didn't need a savior, everything was hitting on all points that it really didn't matter. Steve Austin helped bring them to the Promised Land (TV ratings of 7.0+), thanks in part to his flawless work with McMahon, and the budding cast of new characters led by The Rock, Mick Foley, and DX.

In short; the ratings may not have gone to the ridiculous levels it eventually reached, but they did JUST fine in 2000 without him when he was still the hottest commodity in the business.



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JustinShapiro
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Since: 12.12.01
From: Pittsburgh, PA

Since last post: 1 day
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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.09
I agree with what's been said. They would've kept Bret Hart, Montreal wouldn't have happened, and the Tyson/Austin convergence wouldn't have happened. So only the most important events in the history of the company. Then again, Austin was on TV constantly while he was unable to wrestle so maybe they would've just stretched that angle as long as they could with him wanting to be cleared, then told his comeback story, and he would've still become the biggest star in wrestling. It's the same way WCW used Sting for a year while they were in a ratings war. But Austin and WWF would've still needed Tyson or something similar to gather attention on them to facilitate their supergrowth, same way Mr. T and Cyndi Lauper did for Hogan and Piper.

Howevs, Austin's neck problems were congenital (spinal stenosis) and accelerated by the piledriver injury, so I don't think rehabbing for a year would've changed things for his longterm outlook. Getting the complete fusion in 2000 was a miracle cure that made him good as new but all it took to undo that was bumping hard for a year.

(edited by JustinShapiro on 16.6.11 1415)
lotjx
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Since: 5.9.08

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.83
WWF loses the war. Without Austin, they lose everything. No one on at that roster could pull in fans like Austin did. Everyone that was at the top who could have filled Austin's shoes was at the top when they were bleeding money at least Vince said in the mid-90s. You have to remember a few thigns about that SummerSlam. Bret was already a heel, people couldn't stand Shawn, Taker being dominate was getting' boring. Who else you got, HHH? No. Breaking up DX would have been crazy at that point plus he wasn't the draw, Chyna was. Owen? Love Owen, but him going after DX would have looked like sour grapes by the Rumble. Shamrock? Maybe, but again not ready. Foley? No, he was loved by the fans, but he wasn't respected til KOTR '98.

I'm up in the air if Montreal does or does not have happen. If it doesn't happen WCW probably doesn't screw up Starrcade. There is no month worth of Bret Hart speculation to take away from Sting/Hogan and no need for him to stop Sting being screwed. That spot killed that match and if you take away one element especially the waiting for Bret part, it would have saved the match thus the PPV. If Bret is there and goes the same stuff happens yet, the fans forgive them, because Raw has nothing expect DX. Cena gets shit on a lot, but in very few cases does it equal the shit storms Shawn brought in during his first DX run. Half the time, he brought it on himself. Also, does anyone really believe Taker would have put up with Shawn's shit if he didn't get injured at the Rumble. Shawn was a cancer in that locker room and he would have eaten it alive.

Austin is the key guy to the entire equation. You can say wrestling was so hot, they could do no wrong. Bullshit. WWE was doing wrong til '97 and it soared in no small part, because of Austin. Nitro turned into a disaster in '99 and to some extent when they put the belt on Macho Man just to give it Hogan in '98. In my opinion, we either have no wrestling boom which really took off during the summer of 1998 or Turner would have bought out WWE at the end of '98 or '99.

(edited by lotjx on 16.6.11 1316)


The Wee Baby Sheamus.

Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
JustinShapiro
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Since: 12.12.01
From: Pittsburgh, PA

Since last post: 1 day
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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.10
WWF wasn't months away from going out of business before being bailed out just in time though. They started making good money again when they raised the price of the In Your House PPVs by 33%. They would've had Steve Austin waiting in the wings for later in '98, and Rock was already a heel in the Nation and tapping into his charisma. Rock was going to be a big wrestling star no matter what, just probably not the transcendent mainstream star he became by working with the already-established Austin and Vince. In the time without Austin, they would've gotten by using Bret, Shawn, and Undertaker on top just like they had for the previous five years. They would've just been a lot less successful.

I think WCW would've also self-destructed no matter what because the same flawed, selfish people were still going to be in charge no matter what. Thunder was already around and the seeds for their collapse were already being sewn in '98. There would've been less panic on the WCW side, but Austin not being around wasn't going to make Hogan et al any less of a self-preservationist.

The Monday Night war wasn't something that had to end or that either side had to lose. If WCW hadn't been inconceivably incompetent, both shows could still be on today and business would be a lot stronger because they'd constantly be providing new talent to each other and no one would get blocked.
lotjx
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Since: 5.9.08

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.83
Ok, you admit they would less successful without Austin. I think we all agree to that. Yet, why would anyone want to pay an extra 33% for the same three guys fighting for almost a year with random dude in thrown in to job? People wouldn't and eventual Bret/Shawn would have blown up. Neither man could stand to be in the same room as the other. If it wasn't going to be Montreal, it was going to be something similar. I think after Mania, one of them would be gone.

Let me flip the argument instead of Bret leaving, why not Shawn? Shawn's buddies would have pushed him to the top and we get Hogan/Shawn or Flair/Shawn or Sting/Shawn or Goldberg/Shawn. Those matches would have made money. Part of Bret's problem in WCW was no one watched his back that had stroke. Hall and Nash did. Even as bad as WCW was in their main events during that time, Shawn would have greatly improved it. If Shawn is there, does Jericho, Shawn mark leave or stay and find a way to talk Shawn into a match. On Raw, you have Bret, Taker, Shamrock, Foley and a bunch of no name midcard. I love Rock, but without Austin to help him with IC run does he really have a shot in hell of being over or is he another guy in the Nation?

Austin's run to the title maybe one of the most important runs in wrestling history. It affects everything. Without him, WWE gets clobbered in the ratings even if the ratings go south for both companies by '99. I just don't see how eliminating a man that people say helped save a company goes from savior to guy who just drew well. Austin is the most important person of the 90s and into the 2000s for wrestling. Without him, I don't see how WWE stays a float til 2000.



(edited by lotjx on 16.6.11 1413)


The Wee Baby Sheamus.

Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
SKLOKAZOID
Bratwurst








Since: 20.3.02
From: California

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#8 Posted on
    Originally posted by lotjx
    Austin is the key guy to the entire equation. You can say wrestling was so hot, they could do no wrong. Bullshit. WWE was doing wrong til '97 and it soared in no small part, because of Austin. Nitro turned into a disaster in '99 and to some extent when they put the belt on Macho Man just to give it Hogan in '98. In my opinion, we either have no wrestling boom which really took off during the summer of 1998 or Turner would have bought out WWE at the end of '98 or '99.
While I certainly would say that wrestling wasn't as big in 1997 as it got post-WM14, the wrestling boom really began in 1996 with the nWo and Nitro's growth, and it continued to grow in 1997 with the Rodman tag match and Nitro's live show (RAW was still being taped every other week up until 1998?). Nitro had HUGE ratings in 1997 and was really the leader of the pack at that point. The WWF one-upped them and got bigger, but it was still really big, especially with college-age people.

I'm starting to second-guess the Bret Hart thing. Maybe Vince would have let him go regardless due to financial reasons, and maybe he also knew sending Bret over here would mess up WCW's dynamic, and the DX thing would have played out anyway.

Even in that case, though, I think it would have been more of a prolonged 1997 slump continued into 1998 than anything super-serious. But using Austin in a "Sting" role and factoring in that he'd probably back in action around Survivor Series 1998, the WWF's 1998 wouldn't have been totally doomed.


EDIT: I really think that all the WWF needed to do in 1997 to not-die was distance itself from Shawn Michaels' 1996 babyface run which really didn't turn out that well towards the end and turn him heel. Face HBK just wasn't going to lure the WCW fans away from Nitro.

(edited by SKLOKAZOID on 16.6.11 1525)
BigDaddyLoco
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Since: 2.1.02

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.00
I assume Jim Ross had a lot to do with Steve Austin rising up and at least winning KotR. Without that win and the verbal beat down of Jake the Snake he was just kind of that guy that fought Savio Vega a whole bunch.

Without catching that Austin lightning in a bottle I'm not sure if DX , Foley or the Rock ever get off the ground at least not as strongly as they ended up being.

A forgotten player in the WWF comeback is Ken Shamrock, who was a pretty big deal at the time. He was never going to carry the company, but he was a huge place holder at the time and took some nasty unprotected chair shots on a regular basis.

Then again you might be able to say that if there was no ECW the WWF would have never have grown out of the wresting is a cartoon stage.

Which leads us to today where there is no competition and nobody to push the WWE to the next level. It seems like if there is nothing pushing Vince to change that he will just stay his lane and that's why we are where we are today.

JustinShapiro
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Since: 12.12.01
From: Pittsburgh, PA

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.10
    Originally posted by lotjx
    Austin's run to the title maybe one of the most important runs in wrestling history. It affects everything. Without him, WWE gets clobbered in the ratings even if the ratings go south for both companies by '99. I just don't see how eliminating a man that people say helped save a company goes from savior to guy who just drew well. Austin is the most important person of the 90s and into the 2000s for wrestling. Without him, I don't see how WWE stays a float til 2000.


You can't minimize Austin's importance or what he accomplished. There's just a difference between making less money than WCW was and losing money. And there's a difference between not becoming a fortune-making publicly traded company and going out of business.



    Yet, why would anyone want to pay an extra 33% for the same three guys fighting for almost a year with random dude in thrown in to job? People wouldn't


They already did. The price hike was in September and October on shows when Austin was hurt. Basically, people didn't 'think' they were now paying more, they just changed the shows from 2 hours to 3 and made $10 more per order.
Scottyflamingo
Bratwurst








Since: 23.6.10
From: Auburn, AL

Since last post: 406 days
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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.77
When Vince gets desperate he gets open minded. He wouldn't have let Austin flip birds and cuss had it been 5 years earlier when they were a comfortable number 1.

So, by that logic, Vince would have given others the ball. Foley would have been a solid upper midcard/lower main event guy no matter what. Rocky would've become the Rock no matter what. DX could have easily filled the antiauthority role. Bret would have still left because Vince still couldn't afford to pay him, so you'd still have Montreal. The logical follow up would be for Owen to be the last surviving Hart going after Michaels at Mania.

Either way, WCW still dies.
redsoxnation
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Since: 24.7.02

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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.52
In this counterfactual process is there still a Mike Tyson at Mania appearance that brought in a large amount of free media leading up to it? Does Shawn Michaels mess up his back at the Rumble against Taker in a Casket Match? Does Kevin Kelly's wife still think necrophilia is the happening thing of the 00's? These questions, and many others, will be answered on the next episode of Soap.

(edited by redsoxnation on 16.6.11 2125)
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