Hey Scott, loooooong time reader of all your stuff, you are one of the guys on the web whose opinion I truly respect in regards to our favorite so called sport. I have a question about Steve Austin's first WWF title run in 1998. It seems like with Shawn's retirement due to back problems and DX basically turning babyface, they weren't left with much in regards to compelling heel challengers to Austin's title, hence the rushed Dude Love alliance with McMahon. But, the other day I was trying to think of who else they could have gone with and I came up with Vader. He was still under contract at the time, and although his star had fallen quite a bit since he debuted in 1996, they could have gotten a couple PPV's out of that match. They could have done some video packages to remind people of what a monster Vader was and Vince could have allied himself with Vader in the hopes that Vader could take the title off Austin and "destroy him" in the process. Obviously everything worked out in the end, but was just curious as to your thoughts on if that feud would have worked for a couple months. I'm sure it's also possible Austin didn't want to work with Vader due to his reputation as a very stiff worker and I'm sure Austin was pretty worried about protecting his neck during that time, but I suspect the matches could have been pretty good, especially with the brawl all over the arena WWF style at the time. Anyways, thought it might make for good blog discussion, keep up the good work!
Well, by 98 Vader was of course WAAAAAAAY out of WWF's favor, but yeah, that totally could have worked for a couple of months' worth of PPV main events. You'd have to rehab him beforehand again, of course, but having him run through some guys in the Rumble and then destroying Cactus Jack or Terry Funk at Wrestlemania (obviously that changes the tag title feud, but whatever) would pretty much set him up as a badass to be reckoned with again. That of course is not how they wanted to present him at that point, but Vader could have pulled off the corporate stooge "hired gun" deal just fine.