Plans For Austin?

Scott —
I was reading something from one of your books about Steve Austin and it got me thinking. Were there any plans for Austin after WrestleMania XIX? He put the Rock over to set up Rock/Goldberg, then he was written out of the storyline the following night on Raw due to his messed up neck and apparent panic attack the night before the show. Or whatever it was. If he had been healthy enough to keep going, was there a plan for Austin? A move to Smackdown or a feud with HHH or Flair or Michaels on Raw or something? I seem to recall from your review of Raw the night after WrestleMania where Bischoff "fired" him you wrote something like, "See you on Smackdown!"

At the time I thought that the injury thing was a work, but in hindsight it’s pretty clear they were phasing him out in favor of Brock and Angle.  Plus given that Austin’s neck had been known to be shot since the Owen injury in 1997, he had been living on borrowed time anyway.  So unless Austin really dropped a bomb on them just before Wrestlemania, I’m sure they were prepared to let go of him and they had no plans following the Rock match.