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Austin '99

> Hi Scott,
> I've been rattling through '99 WWF and was wondering exactly what the story was with Austin leading up to Summerslam and through Survivor Series. Why was Mankind (not seen since around April) suddenly added to the title match? Why was Austin not in the 6-Pack Challenge at Unforgiven? What led to him finally jobbing to HHH and then being pulled from the triple threat at SS? I wasn't watching RAW around this time and just wanted some history.
>
> Thanks,
> Evan

Most of the buildup was "Because Russo" but Austins absence after Summerslam was due to his neck injury.  That's about it. 

Comments

  1. They wanted to get the title to HHH at Summerslam, but when they brought in Ventura as the special referee, they didn't want him to award the title to a heel. So they brought in Foley for a cheapie 24 hour hotshot reign, allowed him to get the CLEAN(!!) pin on Austin, and protected HHH's claim for a title shot. Of course, HHH weaseled his way into the title shot the following night on Raw by "breaking" JR's arm after holding him hostage to get the match, and won the title with some help from Chyna and Shane McMahon.

    The best part of that angle was JR no-selling the arm injury within a few weeks and Lawler randomly asking him on commentary how his arm was coming along.

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  2. Worst_in_the_WorldJune 5, 2015 at 8:51 AM

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: the build for Summerslam '99 absolutely should have been Austin defending the title against an undefeated Big Show.

    Big Show (preferably with a better name, but ok) should have come in, chokeslammed everyone for 4 months, and been built up as the monster who would finally destroy Austin. Do that shit in a goddamn stadium and have it be Austin's defining challenge. Could have been all the money.

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  3. Wasn't it also the case that Austin didn't want to job to HHH?

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  4. They have to maintain that though.

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  5. Definitly, HHH is trying some new things in NXT, so you can't really judge this like if it was a few years ago. People thatm ay not have a second look before might get a Ryhno type of deal to help build NXT as a touring brand. If some of these guys impress the power that be they may get more down the road

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  6. As long as you stay pre 1998 it's actually not that bad.

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  7. Macklin, Man Without FearJune 5, 2015 at 8:56 AM

    Okay Sid "oh so" Vicious.

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  8. I don't disagree, but imagine if WWE had been ballsy enough to actually run with Austin vs. Chyna for the title. The shock factor alone over such a match even happening would have probably drawn the biggest buyrate ever.

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  9. That's why Mankind was added. So they could do th Austin-Foley-Hunter transition without Austin having to job to Triple H directly, and Jesse could raise the hand of a babyface (Mankind) at SS.

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  10. They were in that mode where they felt they had to build these guys up (show, Jericho) as their own and give them their own moments first. It made no sense at all, both could've been slotted right in the main event scene and been fine. Your idea is def better than anything they ever did with the Big Show. And his name came during that time where they felt they had to drop names and go strictly with gimmicks like Mr. Ass, the big show, and probably others I'm forgetting

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  11. Can you imagine a Summerslam with Austin vs. a (well built not jobbed and turned repeatedly) Big Show and Rock vs. Jericho in 99?

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  12. And that's not even a pipe dream, it was so easily attainable and they just ignored it.

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  13. Bingo on both counts.

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  14. I was always confused by people that claimed Austin didn't want to job to HHH because he laid down clean for him in October at No Mercy '99. And I remember that being the scuttle back then, too.

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  15. Hell, he'd already destroyed Mankind at Wrestlemania/Backlash. Have him put Foley on the shelf, take out Shamrock in May. Win the King of the Ring in June over three mid-high card babyfaces. (Road Dogg, X-Pac, Kane?) Pin the Rock clean as a sheet in July.

    There's your undefeated #1 contender.

    But no, let's have him riding motorcycles in the desert with Undertaker.

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  16. I don't think Jericho could have been a main eventer in WWE right away. Yes, they gave him a huge rub right off the bat by having him interrupt The Rock, but he had never been a main event guy in WCW. To think he could hang at that level right out the gates would have been a bit presumptuous, and even Jericho admits that he didn't necessarily have the right attitude or skills to make it in WWE right when he got there.

    Big Show, on the other hand, had already main evented multiple PPVs in WCW, so I think they could have used him better, of course.

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  17. Big Show talked about this on Austin's podcast - the WWF locker room was completely unlike the WCW one where he was coddled. He said he remembers doing house shows with Austin and just stinking the place out and everyone getting down on him. He could be lazy in WCW and nobody cared, but in WWF he just couldn't keep up. At least that's what they say now.

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  18. That wasn't exactly clean though. I know Rocky and the sledgehammer were involved in the finish.

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  19. Worst_in_the_WorldJune 5, 2015 at 9:52 AM

    Sure, but you know what? Job him out after you do the big Austin match. It's just a waste of your own money and the fans to bring The Giant in and within 2 months have him be a midcard jobber.

    Have him squash nobodies for 5 months and then job him out in a huge PPV match to Austin, and then go from there at least.

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  20. not for nothing but he did end the year as WWF champion.

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  21. Worst_in_the_WorldJune 5, 2015 at 9:54 AM

    I dont know man, I bet that would have bombed.

    I heard an interesting take from meltzer once where he said that Vince's matches, including Vince vs Austin, did bad numbers on PPV. Fans don't want to pay to watch a non-wrestler hang with a top guy.

    I'd say Chyna vs Austin would fall into that category.

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  22. Worst_in_the_WorldJune 5, 2015 at 9:55 AM

    In a terrible short reign where he was jumping on caskets and wrestling teh Bossman in midcard matches.

    That's not the same as bringing the guy in and trying to build him for a PPV main event against Austin.

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  23. Listen pal, I only promise you an opportunity!


    I get what your saying tho. And six months later he was sent to the fat farm.

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  24. It really wouldn't have.

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  25. AverageJoeEverymanJune 5, 2015 at 9:57 AM

    That whole motorcycle riding time with UT and BS gets shit on rightly but I really enjoy the tag title match at Summerslam 99. X-Pac did a good job bumping around for everybody and that was during Kane's slimmed down inverted color scheme outfit days when he was moving really well.

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  26. Was there a single clean finish in any Russo era match?

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  27. Yeah true. That late '99 "Triple H is getting over as a heel and you'll like it" time was weird with Austin's neck finally catching up to him, Rock and Mankind in a tag team, Undertaker gone after Summerslam and Jeff Jarrett beating up women.

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  28. St.Valentines Massacre did the 5th best buy rate of 1999.

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  29. Yeah, but that was the show that was sandwiched between the Rumble and WM, right in the middle of WWE's hot season. It was an outlier.

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  30. Austin himself has said that he didn't have any problems putting Triple H over, so who knows.

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  31. I was surprised they gave that match away on Raw before WM15 and Show did a clean job.

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  32. Austin did bash him in the head with a chair a few times before he stunned him but I guess that was about as clean of a finish as you were going to get in 1999 WWF.

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  33. 1999 was a really really hot time for the WWF, but most of that stuff from that year is awfully unwatchable now. The Rock and Foley stuff was good, but the ministry, that Russorific Summerslam buildup, Owen passing...just all bad.

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  34. Ventura didn't want to raise a heels hand in victory, thus Mankind was slotted into the match

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  35. Instead we got Jericho humiliating Road Dogg on the mic.

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  36. He shot down a program with Mero, as well. Austin politicked a lot more than people wanted to admit.

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  37. I'm not defending the use of Jose, but:


    a.) He was Shawn's legit trainer, unlike Verne or Harley


    b.) He was a huge name in Texas wrestling and the use of him and Mascaras and AAA was supposed to draw Mexican fans to the Rumble because they had to fill the AlamoDome somehow. That said, Lothario's heyday was way too long ago to mean something in '97.


    c.) The Rocky-and-Mickey gimmick they were going for may have worked if they'd had any chemistry at all.


    d.) I've heard from a few places that Jose was legit in charge of babysitting Shawn on the road and trying to keep him out of trouble.


    I get the logic behind doing it, but the execution was a failure and it made Shawn even less cool than he really was (which wasn't very, despite or maybe even because of Vince's commentary).

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  38. I disagree. He was never more over than he was when he debuted. It's one of those cases where they nailed the whole introduction and inserted him into a ready made feud. Sometimes you just have to take a chance - it's not like the fate of the promotion was hanging on him or anything. If it flopped, then shoot him down do the midcard

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  39. Jarrett was no where near ready for a feud with Austin

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  40. Lol he's got his defenders here.

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  41. Hell, Austin flat-out admits several times he would tell Vince and others "I ain't doing that bullshit". But unlike others, Austin didn't really need to politic to keep his spot; I think he was just wanting to pick and choose his opponents to get whoever would draw the most. He seemed to understand you only get so much time on top so get what you can out of it. That could just be his hindsight justification, though he has no problem admitting when he's fucked up.

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  42. Nothing like that was going to work during the hip aggressive NWO culture at the time.

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  43. Yep. He held a grudge against Jarrett from back in his early days where he got paid nothing and Jarrett's dad was booking ... i think Jarrett said something to him like "starring at it won't make it get any bigger" or something like that.

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  44. King of the Ring 99 is one of the worst shows they ever did.

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  45. He also didn't like Jarrett calling Austin 3:16 blasphemous.

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  46. King of the Ring 2000 was pretty horrendous too.

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  47. they teased it tho ... at Fully Loaded after Jarrett beat Edge Austin came out and stunned him. Not sure what that was about since Austin didn't want to work with him. This, however, is a big reason why Jarrett jumped with Russo.


    Jarrett in 99 was more over than I think some of you are giving him credit for.

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  48. Possible since we generally give him no credit for being over, since he wasn't! He did have him moments, competent wrestler, just dull as hell

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  49. And...it was fucking JEFF JARRETT. The only two people who ever thought he was a star were Jeff Jarrett and Vince Russo.

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  50. I personally only want to be involved in discussions about exactly how much money Vince McMahon made on any particular venture and/or show.

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  51. What about Raisin!?!?!?

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  52. At least the king crowned in 2000 wasn't an ass

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  53. Yep. Aren't there only a handful of matches from 1999 that went above ***? And that's counting WWF AND WCW.


    WWF matches didn't start routinely putting on a decent in-ring product until Jericho and the Radicalz showed up.

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  54. In a later interview Big Show said that he had not yet earned the right to beat Austin. Thankfully they have changed their mind-set now.

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  55. I like how drizzling shits is the big buzzword now. If 1999 was the drizzling shits then what was 1995?

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  56. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogJune 5, 2015 at 11:31 AM

    Sunny. Not an old man. The hottest chick with the champion. Nobody cared about the "boyhood dream"

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  57. Good point. The mid-card of 98-99 could be truly awful. IC Champion Road Dogg? Thank you, no.

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  58. Remember when the plans for summer slam '99 was Chyna vs. Austin. I'm guessing that was "Because Russo" too.

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  59. Chyna was more over than Hunter.

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  60. Didn't he also refuse a program with Mr Ass. Although I don't blame him on that one.

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  61. I suspect, like most times this has happened in the last, Scott simply doesn't have a huge amount of available time to spend reviewing shows anymore. Frankly, I'm glad he's choosing to spend more time with his growing children than review old wrestling shows. The shows will still be there to watch I. 10 years, but his kids won't be kids anymore.

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  62. You're telling me. I was there. Just awful.

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  63. Who raised the briefcase!?!?!

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  64. in 1998-1999 it was pretty bad. But in 2000, they had some of the best workers ever. HHH and the Rock both signifigantly stepped up their game. Kurt Angle, Jericho, the Radicalz came over from WCW. The Hardys E & C and the dudleyz made the tag team division the best it was in probably over a decade. The change in quality from 1999 to 2000 was unreal.

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  65. The difference was: 1995 had a good midcard but shitty main events, 1999 had gread main events but a shitty midcard.

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  66. To be fair, Mero had just gotten beat up by his wife on live TV, so he shouldn't be challenging for any world titles anywhere

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  67. 100% correct.

    HHH wasn't over, and they just kept force-feeding him until it happened. But Chyna was the heat machine at that point.

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  68. At least 1999 was entertaining. Lots of good promos, funny skits mixed in with all the garbage. 95 had Bret and Shawn being awesome and ... a whole lot of crap.

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  69. I vaguely remember that rumor.

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  70. That would be perfectly reasonable if it weren't for the fact that he's still watching a show and reviewing it; only he's wasting his time on an inferior product. You'd think with your rationale he'd be more judicious with what he's watching and spending time reviewing, right? I mean, if my time were limited and I had a choice to review a Kardashian show and an Episode of Breaking Bad, I'd review Breaking Bad.

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  71. Agreed. Jarrett was over that year. And at various points. I remember at that time thinking, "Hey, this will actually be a fresh feud for stale Austin." Jarrett was CERTAINLY more over than heel HHH at that point.

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  72. 1999 WWF was literally the only time his career he wasn't dull.

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  73. Eh, I think if it were Hogan or even Flair, people wouldn't be making the excuses for them.

    Personally I get it -- every top wrestling star ever has politicked. But I do think certain wrestlers are given a pass by a lot of folks when they're not that different from Hogan, etc.

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  74. But HHH was?

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  75. re: Jarrett, I think it might be leftover bad blood from Memphis

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  76. You are literally wrong. He's dull as dishwater all the time. The only time he wasn't totally dull was the first time he called someone slapnuts

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  77. I'm with you, I came around on Jarrett during the taking on females phase of his career.

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  78. I think it all depends on what you're actually doing. "Politicking" covers a fairly broad spectrum. And frankly, I don't have a problem with what Hogan or Flair did while on top in most instances. Should they just let someone else take their job "for the good of the company", which leads to less money in their pocket? Fuck no.

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  79. Ignore my other comment, I read that wrong. Thought you were saying he was mostly interesting. Shame on me ....

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  80. I've heard that Foley got the title so Ventura didn't have to raise a heel's hand. But I remember Shawn going on a rant on Byte This about Austin not putting Triple H over that got him sent home again after he turned heel on Smackdown and aligned with Hunter again. But Austin did end up jobbing to him in October, so who knows?

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  81. Jericho's debut promo was pretty much bang on.

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  82. Yeah, I remember Jarrett and Gunn as the two he shot down. I don't remember any specific time he was supposed to work with Owen and refused to, I think that was just an over-all "I won't work with him again" thing. I think he was legit pissed about the Owen 3:16 shirt too.

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  83. Actually he was IMO.

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  84. Somewhat. He had the DX run, so he was something of a big deal on the verge of the main event. It just took a while to get him over again once he turned heel.

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  85. Hogan, Shawn, the Clique - bad. Bret, Austin, Flair - understandable.

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  86. The Attitude Era was mostly the WWF's shitty roster from prior to the Attitude Era with better characters and crazy storylines.

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  87. Lol he had one eight month window of being interesting. Mostly because they drastically changed every element of his look and persona. By the time he got to WCW the shock had worn off and he was boring old JJ again.

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  88. I know this place loves to use the tired narrative that HHH wasn't over but dude had been over since the original DX days. Another narrative of Scott's that seems to have stuck with the more influenceable folks around here.

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  89. One is one hour and the other is two. Trust me, when you're a dad, the difference between one hour and two is astronomical.

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  90. Yep - it took a storyline with all four McMahons and Mick Foley killing himself nearly to get Hunter over for good. It was almost a full year from his WMXV turn the Rumble in 2000.

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  91. This times a million. I'll always look at that as one of the biggest wastes and money loses of all time. Wight was hot coming in and it was practically written out for them to do Austin vs. Show at SS that year or WM the next, but for whatever reason they jobbed Show out almost immediately and destroyed any heat or momentum he had. Story now is Show did blow it himself by his laziness and attitude, but he must have done this *really* quickly upon entering the company or something, because he was practically screwed 1 month into his tenure. That's the part that doesn't make sense to me.

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  92. I still remember that show vividly and can't shake me head enough about it. Such a dumbass thing to do.

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  93. The new narrative from WWE's Official History is that HHH got over immediately after the "Game" promo.

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  94. Did I miss the review for the 07.08.96 Raw? Or did it get skipped?

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  95. also HHH's DX is what got the Attitude over.

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  96. I think I would have rather seen that feud then them rehashing Taker vs Austin again which was way played out by that point.

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  97. No, some of us were actually watching wrestling then and knew, even then, that HHH wasn't over as a heel in 99. He just wasn't. Everybody talked about it online at the time.

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  98. I know this place loves to use the tired narrative that HHH wasn't over but dude had been over since the original DX days. Another narrative of Scott's that seems to have stuck with the more influenceable folks around here.

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  99. Not only that, but because of Russo and Jarrett's buddy relationship, Double-J had entirely too much screen time on WCW programming. I remember one three hour NItro where Jarrett was featured in all but two or three segments in some shape or form.

    Hearing that Kid Rock ripoff song almost gave me the same effect as Beethoven's 9th Symphony did on Alex DeLarge near the end of A Clockwork Orange.

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  100. Hunter got over during his string of January 2000 matches against Rikishi, Benoit and Foley in a weeks time. Before that, he was not over. I remember that time frame like it was yesterday.

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  101. Very, very bad sex where both participants look like deer in headlights.

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  102. He got over in late 1999 and after but before then? No way.

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  103. That was for all of a week, I believe and was never the plan.

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  104. On top of a weird barn that doubles as an apartment.

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  105. Harlan Leverage IIIJune 5, 2015 at 3:16 PM

    A triple-coiler.

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  106. He was over as a babyface.

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  107. Well if you say so then it must be true!

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  108. Couldn't we say the same about your argument?

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  109. Haha online the foremost authority on who's over.

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  110. Totally agree, but I'm been trying to tell my wife that for years now.

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  111. I thought he meant the heel version.

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  112. No, if you say so, then it must be true!

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  113. He was over as a face in DX, but his heel run started off poorly. He eventually became the best heel in the world, but there were growing pains.

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  114. Thing is, DX HHH was over - the obnoxious, peurile midcard heel, with Chyna helping him cheat to win.



    HHH as charismaless, Chynaless, no real character, no real motivation champion absolutely was not over. In fact, I distinctly remember the shock and bewilderment when they started to position him in the title picture halfway through the year. He spent the second quarter of the year doing nothing of note - a feud with fucking X-Pac, a brief spat with Rock where he looked in no way an equal, didn't even compete at the KOTR event, and then suddenly he's in a number one contender match?

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  115. You pretty much nailed it there.

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  116. He was over by the fall of '99. Over enough to merit the push he was getting? Maybe not, but the narrative that he was coming out to crickets up until the Foley feud is revisionist history that most people here seem to have bought into. He oftentimes got really good heat and "asshole" chants and whatnot before the Foley feud.

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  117. I was really surprised the next day to read the internet and see that not everyone came to the immediate conclusion that I did (within about two seconds), which was, "Oh... Blackman raised the briefcase. Plan A was for him to wrestle the match but Plan B was to have him go work the pulley system." According to Google, I am like the only person who ever thought this, but oh well.

    Also, huge missed opportunity because they were just about to go public and they could have had Austin win ownership of the company and then say, "Hell I ain't no corporate scumbag, I'm a man who whoops people's asses, so I'm going to make sure this company belongs to the people Vince hates the most, and that's everyone here and everyone watching at home, cause this sum-bitch is goin' public!" Then have Shane and Vince react in disgust and drive home the idea that every share of stock you buy is sticking it to the McMahons and suddenly you've got all the little Stone Cold fans begging their parents to buy them stock!

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  118. No. I was sick of the Triple H push by Fully Loaded '99

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  119. Standing by my statement. Hate that guy, hated his damn show.

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  120. Jim Neidhart lost a bet. It's the only explanation.

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  121. A lot of the Von Erich's tragedy was self-inflicted.

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  122. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogJune 6, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    Austin leaving for surgery saved that character from getting stale too. If he sticks around, I think he is returning the job to Rock at Wrestlemania 2000 because Austin was getting close to that breakover point.

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  123. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogJune 6, 2015 at 10:54 AM

    He was over, but he wasnt over as a main event level guy til the Stephanie turn and the Flair type run in early 2000

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  124. His matches were dead unless he was against Rock or Austin, usually. And there were plenty of shows -- including a UK one I just watched -- where he got the Attitude Era-equivalent of crickets.

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  125. Scott, you leave out the biggest and real reason. Foley wanted time off, Austin was leaving for surgery and HHH was the next guy. Austin was going to drop the title to trips in the main at SummerSlam but Jesse Ventura vetoed it. Thus why Foley, who wanted time off was inserted in the match so that Ventura could raise the hand of a "face" as he was governor of Minnesota. Foley agreed to get back in shop following this to put HHH over like Austin couldn't.

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  126. Austin's injury helped him stay current and freshened up the product massively. You simply don't get the elevation of HHH and Rock with him there, yoi don't get the Jericho semi-push, you don't get the rise of Angle. It's that simple.

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  127. Just goes to show how much a hot crowd can sell the product. Even terrible matches and PPVs and performers are elevated by association.

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  128. Austin's injuries came at a perfect time, because it forced WWE to elevate people. 98 and 99 are shit in large part because there are no credible challengers to Austin, not really. By the time he returned you have a crowded main event and some legit main eventers.

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  129. Jarrett is the perfect counter to claims that all heat = good heat. He is the epitome of people hating a wrestler for being featured at all, not for their heel aptitude

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  130. Every KOTR is

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  131. Austin also had a knee injury around that same time, which took him out for a bit even before the neck surgery thing. Remember he started wearing a brace on both knees around that time instead of just one. The neck surgery was inevitable but I remember them hearing they were thinking they could keep trying to put it off and put it off.

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