So during a discussion on a forum about the worst creative decisions taken by an entertainment franchise I put forward the notion that WWE turning Steve Austin heel at Wrestlemania X-7 is up there. Every booking decisions from then until the brand split was effectively them trying to get back to the level they were at during 2000 and into 2001. OK so things might have been different if HHH hadn’t busted his thigh when they were on the verge of HHH/Austin Vs Benoit/Jericho, so my questions are.
1. Why were they so insistent on turning Austin heel, especially considering The Rock was disappearing to do a movie for a few months ?
They just got it into their head that Austin was stale as a babyface and he needed to be turned. Hindsight says he wasn’t, but believe me, at the time EVERYONE thought it was the right play.
2. What would you have done with the "Who ran over Austin ?" storyline from a few months prior, seems to me that they made a right mess of that (Rikishi FFS). Personally I’d have gone with Benoit, he wasn’t doing anything else at the time, the matches would’ve been better and the fans would have seen him as a legitimate threat to Austin. Which crucially they never did with Rikishi.
I don’t know why they couldn’t have just gone with the obvious and had it be HHH, since that’s where they were going anyway.