Hey Scott, the other day I realized I was in attendance both when Owen nearly paralyzed Steve Austin (and broke his neck) at Summerslam 97 and when D-Lo did paralyze Droz a few years later at a Smackdown taping. This got me thinking, how come Owen’s career didn’t suffer to the same degree D-lo’s did in the aftermath? Was it because Steve (somewhat) recovered?
Also it seems to me that a wrestler – especially one of Owens skill and pedigree- doing a move so incorrectly as to break his opponent’s neck (if i remember right, Owen set Steve up for a tombstone, with Steve facing him, and then sat out in a standard piledriver motion, instead of kneeling for the tombstone, giving Steve nowhere to tuck his head and pretty much driving him headfirst into the mat) is a much bigger “sin” than just botching a move by dropping a guy the way D-Lo did. Hell, Miz is being jobbed out just for forgetting to catch a guy. So I guess the question is, how did Owen skate after he almost crippled the cash cow?
Well, Owen was a guy with an impeccable safety record before that, and Austin had already agreed to the piledriver. It wasn’t like Owen went out there and went into business for himself, he told Austin that he was doing the move like that. The thing is that with Austin, his neck was already in such bad shape that any little incident was going to be bad news. I don’t think anyone blamed Owen for it, because it was obvious that something would have happened to Austin anyway next time he took a piledriver. D-Lo, on the other hand, did not have the track record that Owen did, and in fact was always kind of sloppy, so dropping Droz like that was more a bad end to an ongoing pattern, as I understand it. Plus D-Lo didn’t have the long-term upside that Owen did, so he was more expendable by that point anyway. And Miz is getting jobbed out for way more than just the missed catch. There’s a bunch of stuff going on with Maryse and perceived attitude problems. The highspot was just the more public thing.