Ahmed & Austin

Hi Scott, Long time reader since the Rantsylvania days with some random questions…

1) Ahmed Johnson, I was surprised to see his IC title win make it on the KOTR DVD and I’ve always wondered how far his push was going to go. Summer ’96 he wins a RAW battle royal to earn a title shot against either Shawn or Vader after Summerslam.   But Faarooq debuts and the kidney injury happens. Summer ’97 he joins the Nation Of Domination by turning on ‘Taker which sets up the Canadian Stampede title match.  But Ahmed got injured again and Vader was inserted into his spot. Was Ahmed going to win the WWF title in either scenario? I figure yes because he was being pushed so strongly in each case, but it’s hard to figure out what affect it has on later events. Like do we get Shawn vs Ahmed instead of Shawn vs Sid in ’96?  Or Bret vs Ahmed at Summerslam ’97?  2) Steve Austin,  A lot of people today reference the KOTR ’96 promo as Austin’s big break out moment, if so what was going on that summer/fall of ’96?   I mean it seems Austin’s push actually died a bit after KOTR… International Incident – mid card vs Marc Mero Summerslam – Free for all vs Yokozuna Mind Games – no match Buried Alive – opening match vs HHH (and wasn’t Austin a sub for someone else?) Survivor Series – Finally gets a high profile match against Bret. Any reason why he wasn’t featured on PPV a lot more?

1.  There was never any specific plans or timeframe for Ahmed to get the title in 96, although it seemed like a logical next step based on his push.  In 97, no chance, he was just a stopgap challenger for Undertaker and nothing more.  Bret was getting that belt, period.  2.  There’s something of a revisionist history that has Austin catching fire at KOTR 96, but he didn’t really.  Bret Hart had to fight REALLY hard to feud with Austin because Vince just didn’t see the star potential there, no matter that people were bringing “Austin 3:16” signs and such to the shows.  It was really the Survivor Series match against Bret that made Austin into the bigger star, not the KOTR promo.  Had they suddenly shoved Austin into main events earlier in the year, it wouldn’t have worked and might have permanently damaged him, in fact.