Professional wrestling is the kind of business where fans can look back 10-15 years later and ask, “What were they thinking?”
[adinserter block=”1″]Never was that question asked so often as when “Stunning” Steve Austin was released by the WCW before he signed with Vinnie Mac and the boys in Stamford. Austin was one of the hidden gems in the company who released or misused or had the misfortune of going down with the sinking ship. He skills and craft was so “special” that even the great Ric Flair said of all the moves the company made over the years, letting Austin go was one of the worst.
Austin must not think so, mainly because he left one ship to ride another one, becoming one of the most popular characters of all time and helped define the “Attitude Era” of the WWE.
When the WWE made cuts this week that included 11 superstars (including one referee), did they make the right moves and did they part with the next “Steve Austin?”
Austin held 21 championships throughout his professional wrestling career, and is a 6-time WWF Champion as well as the fifth Triple Crown Champion. He was also the winner of the 1996 King of the Ring tournament, as well as the 1997, 1998 and 2001 Royal Rumbles. He was forced to retire from in ring competition in 2003, due to a series of knee and neck injuries.
Throughout the rest of 2003 and 2004, he was featured as the Co-General Manager and “Sheriff” of Raw. Since 2005, he has continued to make occasional appearances, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009 by Vince McMahon. In 2011, Steve Austin returned to WWE to host the reboot of the reality series Tough Enough.
His popularity in some reports over the years, has rivaled his good friend The Rock and some would say it has passed that of the immortal Hulk Hogan. Who else do you know would defy character and beat the hell out of their own boss to prove a point?
Austin’s shtick and of course, Austin’s success.
In the same way WCW decided to wash its hands of Austin, who just weeks after his debut, defeated Bobby Eaton for his first WCW World Television Championship on June 3, 1991, maybe the WWE washing their hands of Drew McIntyre too soon and tried to revitalize his career. The former member of 3MB was as talented as others in the business, but I don’t think he was ever really given a chance to shine on his own.
McIntyre signed with WWE in 2007.
Along with a brief stint on the SmackDown brand, he spent time in developmental territories Ohio Valley Wrestling and Florida Championship Wrestling, winning the Heavyweight and Tag Team Championships later, before returning to SmackDown and quickly winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship. In 2010, he held the WWE Tag Team Championship with Cody Rhodes. McIntyre then experienced a dramatic plunge down the card, becoming an occasional competitor on WWE Superstars. In late 2012, he became a member of 3MB before being released last week.
McIntyre had a look of a champion and a skill set that I likened to Rick Rude and Barry Windham, His speed and strength were never really used and although he has won gold before in the company, he was not able to retain it for a long period and he was not able to draw like other superstars. Austin never had that issue, but unlike McIntyre, Austin could speak and sell when needed.
Timing for Austin was right, obviously timing was wrong for McIntyre. I can see him being a huge success in TNA or another indie promotion. But when all is said and done, does he become a success to the point of us asking, “What were they thinking?”
[adinserter block=”2″]It was said once about a Texas Rattlesnake. Will be said again about a young Scotsman with a desire that was never quite quenched. This could be a huge game the WWE made. Let’s hope no one says I told you so in the near future.
Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71
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