When HBK came back in 2002, he was a heel leader of the nWo and superkicked Booker T out of the group. HBK and Nash kept dropping hints about Triple H joining the group right up to the point where Nash got injured and they abruptly ended the nWo storyline. Was the original plan to do a heel nWo HBK vs face (non-nWo) HHH at SummerSlam 2002? It seems like they were going to keep the nWo going for a while until Nash got hurt and Austin "took his ball and went home" and they kind of did a creative reset, but that seems like a weird dynamic for Shawn’s return match. Also, if Austin hadn’t left the company what would his role have been at that SummerSlam — maybe Guerrero or Benoit?
I can tell you for a fact that they were literally making all that s--- up as they went along at that point, outside of the major stuff like the Brock Lesnar push. Austin’s whole problem is that they had no clear plan for him and no idea where he was going, and the whole nWo thing was a frustrating mess for everyone involved that basically amounted to "Well, we need a new member tonight, let’s throw Shawn out there". Shawn had no idea he was going to be making his return until pretty late in the game and then they pretty much threw together the angle with HHH turning on him to set it up. Not to mention changing the f------ WWF title every month from WM to Summerslam. Thankfully things calmed down once Heyman got control of Smackdown and Brock established himself as legit main eventer, because those mid-2002 shows were just AWFUL.