AUSTIN!! AUSTIN!!

Morning boys and girl.  For all the talk that goes on here about HHH, Flairs A+ credentials,  Montreal, Invasion, and some jobber named Chris Walker, it’s rare that we ever discuss one of the few real game changers we’ve ever seen…Mr. Steve Austin. He’s a personal favorite of mine, so I’m gonna give him some dap and go to him for our “what if.”

What if Stone Cold never returns after his broken neck?  It seems like with the passing of time, the severity of Austins neck injury is really forgotten.  Things to consider…

– The Austin “rise to prominence” timeline:  Austin wins KOTR/debuts “Austin 3:16” June 23, 1996.  Austin/Brett submission match: WM 13, March 23, 1997.  Austin breaks neck: Summerslam, August 3, 1997. Austin wins first WWE title, WM 14, March 29, 1998.  Also, WCW would beat the WWF in ratings every week from June 17, 1996 to April 6, 1998.

– Does Austins loss force Vince to keep Bret due to the lack of depth on top?

– Who fills his spot?  If Shawn goes away after WM 14 with his back injury, does WWE have ANYONE who can headline at that point?

– Does Vince ever fully transition to the Attitude Era philosophy without the perfect babyface to usher it in?

– Does WWE ever get out of the financial doldrums they were?  If not, do they collapse or fall back into a regional promotion?

– Was Austin so crucial to the rejuvenation of the WWF, that losing him enables Turner to kill the WWF?

Just some food for thought.  Go in any direction you like.

** Random sidebar of the day** I’ve got another 2 weeks off from the E.R., and am trying to find a good tv series to watch.  Any suggestions?  I’ve seen Oz, The Wire, Sopranos, Homeland; Breaking Bad, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Parks and Rec. through completion at some point in my life, so please avoid those.

** Also, how fucking awesome is this guy…
   
http://deadspin.com/warning-if-you-troll-a-professional-boxer-on-twitter-452727665

Tootaloo Motherfluckers

Promo of the Day: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

This is Stone Cold Steve Austin on LiveWire right before Bret comes back to face him in the critically acclaimed Survivor Series 96 match. 

Can we get a 2013 Scott Sez? What happened to that gimmick? Did it go to the red-hot "Abeyance"?


Anyways, great live promo work from Steve as he is running the gamut. He is hard-selling Bret's return. He is making you laugh. He is making you want to see him get his ass kicked as well at the PPV. It just shows that, while not a "money promo", he is using his time on camera to the fullest of his ability.

Toad Pedophile and Sunny (looking great in the whore-red lipstick) are virtual non-factors as soon as Austin comes on set. 


As an aside, how awesome would you think Austin would have been with no neck injury? The knees would probably been shot to shit, but 2000 with Austin? Does HHH ascend and have the critically acclaimed year he has? Does Mick become 3 time champ? Does Rock host SNL and start the process to becoming a crossover star?

Your thoughts… as well as the rest of the midcarders and Obi-Wan Jabronis from the BoD.

Imagine Austin's resurgence in 2001 with Angle and multiply that over the years he was active, and that's how awesome he would have been if he didn't have the neck of a crippled 80 year old.  
And really, when DIDN'T Sunny look great in 1996?  

Austin vs Today

Hi Scott,

Just read about you naming Austin #1 worker out of Austin, Brock, Rock, Cena.

I've been thinking a lot about what I used to like about Austin during the Attitude era, and what's missing from a lot of today's wrestlers, and I think a lot of it is attention to detail. Austin did all of the little things really well – things like rolling onto his stomach to avoid a pinfall after a big move, or after kicking out; the way he'd sell moves convincingly without going over the top, making guys look like a threat even though he was billed for a long time as the top guy; the fact that he could throw a punch.

There's lots of other things of course, but it's these little things I pay attention to now when I watch his (and others) old matches on YouTube compared to some of the stale, lazy crap being thrown out on WWE TV nowadays.

Wondered what you thought about the lazy style of some of today's workers.

I

don't think it's lazy, it's just the style that they're taught in and it doesn't lend itself well to details like that.  I honestly don't blame the guys for it, because they're working stadium-style (big cartoonish selling and exchanging finishers) and the previous generation learned arena-style (details in selling and psychology).  It's just different, not necessarily worse or better.  

Steve Austin, cowardly heel

Greetings, Scott.

I wanted to present a topic before you and your loyal Blog of Doom-ites. I'm doming some WWF 2001 reviews for my website (kingsrecaps.wordpress.com in cane you're interested) and naturally I'm talking about the Steve Austin heel-turn that failed. I think one problem that doesn't get pointed out enough was the way it was first presented, and you know how important first impressions are. We've grown used to see Ausitn as the gruff tough-guy, but once the heel turn happened as Wrestlemania, he suddenly had to follow the WWF rulebook which states "All WWF heels must be cowardly". Suddenly Austin's stalling, running from battles, begging off during matches, and the biggest kicker occured on the May 10th Smackdown.

If you remember on that show The Undertaker wet into Austin's lockerroom where his stuff is and waited for him to arrive. So what does Austin do? He whines to Vince McMahon about it. Read that again: Austin whines to Vince. The guy who ususaly beats everyone up is complaining to the authority figure. That's what really killed the heel turn right there.

Anyway I wanted to bring this up for a discusson with your readers. Keep up the good work and all that.

Yeah, there was a lot of problems with the Austin heel turn, and that was among them.  Although the character itself wasn't bad — an insecure Austin who had to turn to his biggest enemy for help because of failing health or mental state was a really clever one.  But they totally changed the guy in too short of a span, and not in a good way.  Having him get mixed up in the Invasion didn't help either.  

Did Austin put a hit on Owen?

I'd like to start this off by saying I was at Kemper that night. I was 13 years old at the time, and after finding out that he had passed my parents banned WWF tv from our house, only lifting the ban after WCW went out of business. My father still thinks that them not telling us in the crowd what happened is one of the most deplorable things ever to happen in wrestling. He's only recently started watching old Wrestling at The Chase shows on youtube. What I'm trying to say is that I'm not some sicko trying to troll or sully anyone's good name, nor am I trying to make you mad by bringing it up. In many ways, I'm still that scared, confused kid who witnessed something traumatic, still trying to compartmentalize the most horrible thing I've ever seen in my life.
I feel dirty even thinking this…

I can't help it Scott. I don't have this big conspiracy theory or anything, I just keep seeing Austin saying, "Fuck it, let'em drop."

Is there any way? Could there have been some sick, twisted plan set in motion to "get even" for dropping Austin on his head?

————————————–
I'm gonna go with "no".

Steve Austin interview on the Paul Mecurio Show

Hi Scott,

As always, a huge fan of your blog and your work. I work for the Sideshow Network and one of our hosts, comedian Paul Mecurio, recently did a 2-part interview with Stone Cold Steve Austin. Here's the link to part 1:


Part 2 comes out next Monday.

If you could possibly promote it on

our blog of doom, I would greatly appreciated.


Thanks,

Austin is just all over the podcasts these days, innit he?  

Why did Kane win the title from Austin?

I'll never understand this one-day title change. Austin was the new Hogan..completely over and there to carry the company. And three months and he jobs in a stupid gimmick match only to win the title back the next day? Just weird to look back on his first title reign and see it was so short (though the Dude Love matches rule). Also, it totally made Kane look like a loser; winning the title while laying on his back in the first blood match and then losing it cleanly the next night. Just one of those strange attitude-era title changes I guess. 

Far as I remember from reading the WON at the time, it was just a wacky Vince Russo ratings stunt where they wanted to pop a number by changing the belt on TV.  And Kane was a guy they didn't particularly care about protecting, so there ya go.  

Austin v. Angle


Thanks to my fellow blog of doomers, i found the match i was asking you about.  Figure this could act as match of the day:



Kurt Angle vs. Stone Cold – WWF Title by sir-roddick

The internet… is there ANYTHING it can’t do?

As a bonus, here’s my original rant on the match:

–        
WWF Title match:  Kurt Angle v. Steve Austin.  Austin stomps him to start and rams him into
the turnbuckles about a thousand times. 
Superplex attempt is blocked and Angle kicks him down.  Austin comes back with the Thesz Press and a
pair of elbows for two.  Gut wrench gets
two.  Vertical suplex gets two.  Angle reverses another suplex into a
legsweep.  Crowd is surprisingly
quiet.  Angle goes to the headlock, and
gets a crossbody off the criss-cross for two. 
Small package gets two.  Austin
tosses Angle, and they brawl on the floor. 
Austin puts him into the crowd, and William Regal joins us, but gets
beat up.  Angle gets dumped into the
crowd, again, and Austin comes off the barricade with a clothesline.  LUCHA STEVE~! 
Austin posts Angle, and covers for two back in the ring.  The crowd TOTALLY buys that as a
near-fall.  Wow.  10 shots to the head get two, and now the
crowd is WAY into it.  Austin goes up,
but gets caught with a belly-to-belly. 
Angle gets another one to block a stunner attempt.  Another suplex, and two more follow, which
gets two.  Two backdrop suplexes, and Austin
is out of it.  Great psychology, but the
announcers are too busy thinking of new ways to pimp the XFL to follow up on
the neck injury storyline and Austin having his own tactics thrown back at him
with better success by the champion. 
Angle gets a gutwrench suplex, but Austin tries for a slam.  Angle falls back on him, showing Austin’s
weakened back and neck, and gets a two count. 
Another gutwrench follows, but Austin blocks the Olympic Slam with a
HUGE kneelift for the double-KO.  You can
never go wrong with a double knockout in a big match, because the crowd always
counts along and it builds the drama. 
Slugfest, and surprisingly Angle wins it before Austin makes the
comeback and stomps the requisite mudhole. 
Spinebuster and double-bird elbow, and Austin doesn’t cover, preferring
to wait for the finisher.  Stunner is
blocked, Angle’s reversal is blocked, KICK WHAM STUNNER…and in what is the
saddest sight for me to see, the crowd IMMEDIATELY looks to the aisleway, just
like they were trained to do by WCW when they did all those screwjob finishes
on Nitro.  And indeed, here’s HHH to punk
out the ref at two and give us a non-finish for the best TV match I’ve seen
since almost a year ago.  ****1/4 

Vader vs Austin?

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.

Austin vs. Eddie

Hey Scott,


Longtime reader, written to you several times, blah blah blah.

I just need a memory refresher. In 2002, Eddie returned to WWE, and I THINK it was to set up a feud with Austin. There may have even been a segment on TV that was going to set it up. Was this at Austin's request because Vince knew he was getting unhappy, and never happened because of the Lesnar debacle? I'm pretty certain this is the story but I can't seem to find a definitive answer anywhere I look, so I turn to the master (now you HAVE to bury The Fuj for this compliment) for a response.

Thanks a ton!

I don't have the definitive answer, but yes, this is more or less what I remember from my conversations with Ed Koskey around that time.  Basically Austin wanted to work a program with Eddie, but left after the Brock thing and Eddie was basically left swinging in the wind as a result.  

Austin Heel Turn in Retrospect

Scott,


With over 11 years of perspective on the Austin heel turn at Wrestlemania 17, what is your take today?  Should they have done the heel turn and just conducted it differently?  Should they have just had him win the belt from Rock as a face and do one more run on top against Angle, Benoit, Jericho, and HHH, then return the face vs. face job to a returning Rock at SummerSlam?  Should they have kept him face and had the Invasion start the next night, with DDP, Booker, et al challenging him?

I think a face Austin made the most sense, given the fact that Rock was leaving for a while and Stone Cold was still the fan favorite.  Rock & Austin could do a respect handshake and beer toast on Raw only to have Shane unleash the WCW guys, 'injuring' Rock til summer and beating down Austin.  You could have a precarious Austin/McMahon tandem brought together against a common enemy despite their disdain for each other.  Team WWF vs. Team WCW at Backlash 2001?  Austin could perhaps face DDP and Booker for a couple PPVs.  Then, when Rock returns in summer, you could have Steve go heel and join the WCW guys just to stick it to Vince and reinforce the DTA thing.  Heel-ish Austin vs. babyface Rock could happen somewhere in there, maybe with Rock leading the WWF against Austin and the WCW guys at Survivor Series.  Maybe Austin vs. Rock vs. HHH at Wrestlemania 18?

Hey!  No sneaky "rebooking the Invasion" questions, buddy. 

The problem was not Austin turning heel.  The problem was Austin turning heel on THAT night in THAT stadium.  Clearly the character was staler than John Cena and needed to shook up, I don't think anyone's arguing against that.  However, they rebuilt him by having him win the Rumble and then beating Rock in his hometown to win the World title, which is all kind of a babyface thing to do.  If they did that as a babyface and then had him go mad with power over the next couple of months and shockingly join the Alliance at the Invasion PPV, then you've got something.  Anything further would be rebooking the Invasion, so I shall say no more.

Austin heel turn

Scott,
Was the Steve Austin heel turn at Wrestlemania 17 the game plan far in advance?  Everything about his return seemed to indicate a recovery from career-threatening injury, gaining revenge against HHH, and regaining the WWF Title.  We got all that to some degree, but the heel turn still seems odd, even 11 years later.  With Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, and HHH as strong heel counterparts (not to mention The Rock leaving to shoot Scorpion King), what was the point of the Austin turn that seemed so out of character?  It seemed that one more run on top as babyface champion could have made guys like Angle, Benoit, and a heel-turned Jericho.  At the very least, you've got the proven top babyface and box office draw to oppose the newly-acquired WCW and work fresh programs with guys like Booker T. and DDP.  The whole Austin turn just seemed so convoluted at the time and has left me wondering: how far back was that The Plan for Wrestlemania?


A long ways back.  There had been rumblings of pulling the trigger on it as early as Royal Rumble, and it was basically the worst-kept secret in wrestling for months beforehand.  I'd estimate that by mid-late 2000, with the HHH feud not exactly setting the box office on fire, they were getting ready to do the deed.  You'd think that the Goldberg turn in 2000 would have taught them a valuable lesson, but apparently not.  

Austin v. Daniels

Okay, so normally I would never bother you with stuff going on at another site, but right now cageside seats is having their wrestler tourney to decide the best of all time.  And in the first round it's 1 seeded Steve Austin versus 16 seeded Daniel Bryan.  And Austin is winning, but people have actually voted for Bryan claiming he's been the best worker for 10 years or was a better worker…
 
Okay, this bothers me.  Wasn't Austin a better worker, both pre and post neck injury, than Bryan?  I get it, Bryan has great matches and has had some really great stuff.  But has he even done something that would rank with austin's top five matches?  The match with Bret at survivor series and WM, the match with foley (with the rules ever changing and undertaker being the enforcer), the 2/3 falls match with HHH, the main event with Rocky at WM 17 are all matches I would EASILY put above anything DB ever did.  That's excluding the stuff he did with Angle, the tag match with hunter/benoit/jericho, other matches with Rocky, Canadian Stampede (where Austin quickly went heel unlike Shamrock, to the match's benefit), underrated matches with Shawn (both of them), etc.
 
I guess my point is, have we accepted Austin pop culture phenom so much that we forget he's like one of the 10 best workers ever.  Or have I overrated him?

Well, it's not like there's any objective criteria for this sort of thing.  If you think Austin's the best, you can pretty much back it up with whatever you want and be "right".  I think it's apples and oranges anyway, because Austin worked two totally different styles pre and post injury. I will say that he became one of the smartest workers in history after the injury, but could still do a great "normal" match when he had to (like the Angle series in 2001).  If you're just talking pure technical skill, Daniels is probably better, but Austin delivered in the clutch.  
If you want to compare apples to apples, you could always judge their 18 second title losses against each other.  Because at least Daniels got to lose to Sheamus, whereas Austin had to get squashed by Jim Duggan.  

Cena v Austin

Hi Scott,
Big fan of your rants, read 'em after every show, and read old rants to pass the time at work. I got into wwe wrestling in 2001, so I missed most of the Attitude Era. I read a lot about Austin, my favourite wrestler, but I was hoping I could get your opinion on how popular he really was. You say a lot of times in the rants that Cena carried the company on his back, and Batista turned it around, but how does their popularity compare to Austin? And was he a bigger star than The Rock? Or was he bigger in 98-99, but The Rock took over in 2000?
Thanks,
Roel from Holland.

Cena and Batista compare to Austin like a bug compares to the person about to squash them under his boot as far as popularity goes.  Steve Austin transcended wrestling, taking an entire company from the verge of bankruptcy and making it into a billion dollar publicly owned juggernaut.  In 1998, you could walk down the street and see regular people wearing Austin 3:16 t-shirts, and these are people who would never have watched wrestling in their life before that.  Rock is a bigger star overall now, but Austin destroyed him in box office and merchandise.  The WWE's own quote on the number of shirts sold by Austin, according to Dave Meltzer, is "a shitload".  Basically so many that he still essentially lives off the residuals.  
So yes, Austin was a bigger star than ANYONE.  The only other person, and I mean the ONLY one, who is even in the conversation is Hulk Hogan.  

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. 

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. 

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.