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Hi Scott
A few fairly random questions if you're interested.

Sure.  Maybe I'll do a whole e-book on this sort of thing one day and clean out my inbox for good.  
1) I dug out Owen-Austin SS 97 recently for the first time in ages and it got me thinking. What if Austin's injury had been serious enough to retire him at the time? Given the momentum they finally had, what do you think the most sensible strategy to employ short-to-medium term would have been in order to maintain some momentum without "Stone Cold"?

Man, the world would have been a totally different place, for sure.  I think maybe the development of Rock and HHH would have been rushed forward and they would have survived in the long term, but I don't think there would have been the same kind of boom without him.  
2) Was there ever any prospect of putting the AWA World title on Sgt. Slaughter in 1985? I'm pretty sure he was there at the time and it seems to me that he would have been the perfect champion for the promotion during the Reaganite eighties, especially when it came to competing with Vince.

There was never any thought given that I know of, no.  Slaughter was considered on the downside of his career even back then.  Please I think Gagne considered him a gimmick worker, and he always wanted "real" wrestlers to be his champions.  
3) Leaving aside whether the match was ever seriously proposed, if Hogan-Bret at Summerslam 93 had gone ahead what do you think the best way to book both the match and the buildup would have been?

I don't know, because it would have been a really weird dynamic, and the more time they had to build it up, the more time that Hogan would have to get out of doing the job.  Frankly I think Bret was fooling himself if he thought that he was ever going to get a win over Hogan without something drastic happening.  I think that Bret would have ended up doing a quasi-heel turn like Shawn Michaels in 2005, where they have a series of misunderstandings and Bret finally turns on him, only to learn his lesson in time for a team-up against the foreign heels.  Or something.  
4) What's your opinion of Slick? No real reason beyond the fact that he was one of the more prominent managers of the Hukamania era yet his name never seems to come up except in passing in any discussions.

I love Slick and was always a big fan of his in the good old days.  Once he found Jesus, not so much, but the pimped out heel character was entertaining as hell, especially on the squash shows.  He was a lot of fun to hate.   


  1. Slick = one of the top five entrance themes of all time

    Austin getting retired after SummerSlam 97 probably would've meant that WWE keeps Bret and they build towards Hart/Michaels at Wrestlemania.  Shawn turns 'degenerate' in fall 1997 as he did before except as a face, and we get Shawn/HHH/Chyna as face DX countering the staid Hart Foundation.  Survivor Series ends up being Bret defending against Undertaker or face Vader (no screwjob) with DX in an elimination match against the rest of the Harts on the undercard.

    The other big aftershock to think about with Austin not continuing is that Vince never turns heel either, so he probably just remains an announcer or, at most, they acknowledge him on-screen at WWE's owner but don't go much further than that.

  2. Vince has the performing urge. He did that heel stuff in Memphis, I'm pretty sure he would have got on screen eventually. They were mentioning how he ran the place back in January.

  3. I'd be interested in an ebook of just random questions.

  4.  I doubt Bret would have stayed still because A. Vince got out of his deal with Bret because he couldn't afford it or something along those lines. B. Bret didn't like the direction of the company anyways and in a battle of politics Bret would have lost. So I still think the Screwjob happens as it did. So the fans hate Vince but he doesn't have Austin to play off. Would they turn DX face to play off Vince? They could have since they were essentially like Austin(anti-establishment) but they lacked that everyman quality of Austin. With Bret gone and Austin retired what's the main event of WrestleMania 14? Does Shawn turn heel and align with Vince and we get face Triple H winning the title? That's my best guess seeing as Undertaker already had a match with Kane. It's honestly hard to imagine that card or that time period without Stone Cold.

  5. Yeah I'm with Tommy, Vince would've been on TV sooner or later. The weird thing is he probably would've tried to turn Shawn face and work with him against Bret.

    Although...with or without Austin Bret's contract is still what it would've depended on if Vince was willing to make Bret some huge guarantees in regards to working with Shawn whether or not Bret would've stayed (i.e. re-worked the contract)

    I think without Austin we'd be watching Nitro, to be honest.

  6. An obvious Bret/Vince feud, with Vader or Undertaker as Vince's hired gun could have happened leading up to Hart/HBK at 'Mania. Sure, why not?

  7. If Austin had to retire in '97, I figure the Hart Foundation wouldn't have lasted much longer. For crippling the guy with the rocket strapped to his back, Owen probably would have been punished and jobbed out like no other. So either he'd get turfed out of the Foundation (which would make no sense, given the "family above all else" attitude that brought them together) or everyone he was related to would get moved down the card with him.

  8. If Austin retires in 1997, they probably go back to Shawn as the top face, they have their rematch at WM, Shawn should win since he's the face, and Bret loses his shit over it. That's assuming they decided to keep Bret, which is possible since they'd be very low on star power with him and Austin gone. Maybe they could build up Shamrock very quickly but Bret/Shawn seems like the only match that could headline Wrestlemania six months from Summerslam 1997. I wouldn't want to be Owen, however.

    Isn't Bret's story that he was going to beat Hogan clean with the Sharpshooter? Because I just can't see that happening. At best, they might've done a Bret/Piper thing where things get increasingly intense between them and Bret wins with a small package of something. That's probably the best way to book it - back and fourth, could've gone either way, Bret out-wrestles him by one move...leaves the door open for a re-match, which Hogan would already be thinking about to get that win back.


  9. It still irritates me that Russo completely destroyed the Hogan/Hart match they were building up to at Starrcade 99.

  10. I know they were losing money at that point, but I don't know if it was really about money when it came to getting rid of Bret. There's other areas they could've cut costs before they ditched a guy like Bret Hart if it was just about saving money. I think he just became a pain in the ass to deal with and didn't fit into the Attitude Era direction...I picture an episode of Raw post WM14 and I just don't see how Bret Hart could fit into that world....If Austin retires, I think they keep him for a while longer (as of Summerslam 1997 Vince hadn't brought letting him go up to Bret yet), as Shawn/Bret is really the only match they had that could headline WM at that point....although Undertaker/Shawn hadn't happened yet at this stage, maybe they could've gone with that.

  11. But Vince isn't gunshy about stiffing Bret because he knows he has another cash cow on the horizon. He doesn't need Bret, because he's got Austin. Buf if he doesn't have Austin, he suddenly needs Bret worse. I see there being a regular screwjob at Survivor Series with no clear winner and that builds to Wrestlemania with a Bret/Shawn rematch.

    Also, who says the direction of the company stays the same without Austin? Austin was a big driving force between Attitude though it's a bit of a chicken/egg situation.

    I wonder if Vince would have starting going more overtly hardcore and maybe even raiding ECW, maybe even some lower end WCW guys.

  12. If I'm in a bad mood, I can always watch this to cheer up:

  13.  I believe it was also intended to take place in 1998 as well, or was at least discussed once they brought Bret in.

  14.  Vince Russo: KFC Employee.  Man, if he kept that up, he could own a whole string of franchises by now.

  15. wasnt slaughter in the awa when the gi joe movie came out?

    that should have been reason one to strap the awa belt on him and put up a million foreign heels for him to squash.

    verne was an idiot. no doubt about it.

    hogan slipped thru
    lod slipped thru
    heenan left but still come on
    and a gi joe slaughter?!?

    verne probably left more money on the table than any promoter not named vince mcmahon.

  16. oh and no austin- wwf is doa by 1998.

    wcw just waves too much money at bret and the harts and they all bail. owen gets jobbed into obiltery and hbk stays on the road a lil while longer having deterioating matches before leaving altogether.

    businesz is drastically changed without austin. he created such a prardigm shift in the way wrsstling was presented.

  17.  They seemed to be hinting at Vince being the owner, and Bret having issues with him. I remember during a lot of his freak outs over losing he'd yell at Vince, who's just an announcer at this point, for not doing something about it...and then roughing him up on Raw before Summerslam 1997. I wonder where they would've gone with that.

  18. Here's the thing with Austin, even if he was forced into retirement in 1997, the WWE would still win the Monday Night Wars through attrition anyway. The AOL Time Warner merger would still happen, WCW would still do the same shit they were doing, and Jamie Kellner would still look at wrestling as a television show that can be canceled. 

    The real question would be, who would buy WCW if not Vince McMahon, if he wasn't as successful as he became through Austin?

  19. Without Austin, the WWF would be very different, but I don't think it goes out of business.  Even during its "Dark Ages" people still said "WWF" as a synonym of pro wrestling and not WCW.  It made some good money from the international tours and Vince always had the Northeast to go back to with MSG.  The WWF might've had to go semi-regional to survive a downturn, but I don't think it goes out of business.

  20. One of my biggest markout moments of the past several years was Slick's surprise appearance at Wrestlemania 23. That was probably because he's one of those guys who completely stayed out of the spotlight and moved on with his life after leaving the business, so it was literally the first time he'd been seen in about 15 years.

    It's funny how Slick pretty much justcame to the WWF as a package deal with Butch Reed since he was his manager in the Central States territory at he time, but he had far more staying power in the company than Reed did.

  21. It shows you the depth of managerial talent in the company in the 1980s when people forget about Slick.  Bobby Heenan and Jimmy Hart may stand out more, but Slick was very solid in his role and was a great character.

  22. Had things gone any different for Owen around this time he probably wouldn't have been put into the Blue Blazer gimmick.

  23. Here's an even more fun mind bender about an alternate no-Austin WWF universe. 

    What if Austin's neck fails him in his rematch with Owen at Survivor Series 97? Say Austin is left looking paralyzed on the mat. He can't walk. He's carried out on a stretcher. It looks really bad...

    In the few minutes before the main event, does Vince then even consider calling an audible and not screwing Bret?

  24. I'm not sure. the WWF was already drastically changing in the summer of 1997 and it was clear that the promotion was heading in a new direction. so even if Shawn Michaels stays babyface he still might still become a "controversial" babyface.

  25. aol would still happen but there would be no russo to further push them into the red as bad as he did.

    he lost 60 million in a year. yikes.

    bischoff turned a profit in 97-98. no austin in 98 means the fans switch to wcw and get fed wcws shit. he is still turning a profit. the ppvs didnt dry up until like mid 99 cuz everyone was watching austin. no austin.

    it really boils to austin.

    no austin means no roc, no hhh, no mick foley, no mr mcmahon.

    none of that equals wcw stays afloat.

  26. thats cuz heenan was always the lead heel against hogan and hart managed champs pretty much his whole time there.

    slick managed the twin towers and power n glory i think?

  27. theres no way he screws bret if austin get paralyzed in the match.

    bret goes over and retires the belt.

  28. how about this one?

    everything plays out exactly except for hbk being paralyzed at rr in the casket match against taker.

    bret leaves for wcw anyways and heres austin with no champ to face, what happened then?

  29. I was actually thinking the other day What If Austin never got injured in that SummerSlam match?! Would he still be wrestling today? Would he be wrestling a part time schedule? Would he have retired years ago anyway?

  30.  John Cena "controversial"or good "controversial"?

  31. Whenever I see Jericho after the heel turn (when he cut his hair and was wearing suits) I think that Owen could have done that easily.

    Also, I wished they gave Owen a shot at being an agent.

  32. You have to also add to that list, what are the odds that he would add the anti-authority aspect to his character without the injury? It was, after all, his injury and the need to have him on air even if it's just for storylines that set him down the road of stunning Slaughter, JR, King, and Vince.

  33. I don't know if any of you have the Hulk Hogan Unreleased Collector Series DVD. (given the anti Hogan sentiment around these parts I am going to guess no) but anyway there is a really good Hogan vs Bossman match, and at one point Hogan handcuffs Slick to the ropes and just beats the hell out of him. Jesse Ventura would have howled in protest but the crowd was going NUTS watching Slick get his

  34. I think the answer in most of these doomsday scenarios is The Undertaker. They would've ditched/postponed Kane and hotshotted Shawn/Bret/Austin v. Taker. Maybe Kane costs Taker the match to keep the feud going, and we wind up with the blowoff match later in the year and no streak.

  35. Speaking of Slick, just what the FUCK were they thinking when they turned One Man Gang into Akeem, the African Dream? Not to say I didn't like the gimmick because seeing Akeem bop around and dance in the ring was hilarious. Funkasaurus ain't got nothin' on Akeem.

    Even so, I wonder who's idea it was to make the gimmick change.

  36. " I think that Bret would have ended up doing a quasi-heel turn like Shawn Michaels in 2005, where they have a series of misunderstandings and Bret finally turns on him, only to learn his lesson in time for a team-up against the foreign heels. "

    Damn...I need to find a website that still hosts EWR scenarios and try running that in a 1993 sim where Hart and Hogan do the respect thing at Summerslam 93, then in the lead-up to Survivor Series:

    The main event is announced: Hogan/Hart/Steiners vs. Yokozuna/Borga/Quebecers
    Oct 4, 1993 Raw: Steiners vs. Quebecers, ends in a big schmoz with all 8 guys brawling, Hogan accidentally boots Bret, big staredown... start a Hogan/Bret feud
    Oct 9/10 Superstars/Challenge: usual nothing shows, punctuated by Bret challenging Hogan
    Oct 11 Raw: Hogan vs. Pierre: Hogan wins, but an errant clothesline concusses Pierre, taking him out of the match
    Oct 16/17 Superstars/Challenge: more Bret challenging Hogan, unanswered
    Oct 18 Raw: Hogan/Hart vs. Borga/Jacques: Borga lays an unholy beatdown on Bret, who backs into his own corner, Hogan takes a blind tag, cleans house and wins with the legdrop. Hart is pissed. Hogan and Hart brawl for a minute before Hogan challenges Bret to a match next week.
    Oct 23/24 Superstars/Challenge: But who will replace Pierre in the Foreign Fanatics? And how will the Steiners keep the peace with their team?
    Oct 25 Raw: Hart vs. Hogan: The match wastes no time devolving into a brawl. Borga, Jaques, and Fuji come out to watch and have a laugh at their opponents fighting amongst themselves. Fuji comes up to the ring, Bret sticks his head between the ropes to yell at him, Fuji throws a handful of salt...a little higher than last time and hits Hogan. Bret gets the rollup with a handful of tights, 1-2-3, we have a winner and 4th member of the Foreign Fanatics.
    Oct 30/31 Superstars/Challenge: So the match now stands at Hogan/Steiners/? vs. Yokozuna/Borga/Jaques/Hart. Who will be the new 4th member of the All-Americans?
    Nov 1 Raw: In an interview with Sean Mooney, Hogan and the Steiners introduce their new tag team partner....The Undertaker! (and his American flag coat)

    At Survivor Series, the All-Americans pull out the win with the Hogan/Hart feud and the drama of 'Can Hogan and Undertaker coexist on the same page?', Yokozuna and Undertaker still both get counted out in their segment to begin their feud, and Hart challenges Hogan for the title at Royal Rumble to settle things between them once and for all.

    Then at the 94 Royal Rumble, you can run:
    Hogan vs. Hart for the title
    Undertaker vs. Yokozuna casket match and do their goofy casket match without the title stip.

    Have I mentioned being bored at work anywhere in tis post yet?

  37. They probably would have a few years later, though I would think he would have went to TNA. Being that close to Jarrett he would have been one of the top guys.

  38. I can see that showing up on Tosh.0 in the "Is it Racist?" segment.

  39.  I didn't get into wrestling until 95, so to me, Jimmy Hart being a face, and managing Hulk Hogan made all the sense in the world. Yet I'd always hear older fans, like Scott, talking about how it never made sense. As I got older, and saw more older footage I realized. Yeah, it didn't make sense.

    I did dig his Hogan jackets though. Love to wear one of those some where formal.

  40.  Did Hogan slip through? Wasn't he a top guy in the AWA then went back on his handshake with Verne?

  41.  If you & me are ever in the front row of a Wrestlemania together, we'll wear Jimmy Hart jackets. However, I must INSIST on including piano key ties with them to complete the ensemble.

  42. attitude era edgy babyface controversial.

  43.  Deal. You can have the megaphone if I can have the Nasty Boyz helmet.


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