Tuesday, May 11, 1999
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
Can The Rock and Austin co-exist?
Ever since Summerslam of last year, The Rock has been waiting to climb out of his shell. He had just had his memorable Ladder Match with HHH and even though he was the heel in the match, the fans ended up giving him louder face pops then his opponent.
In the next few weeks, the 'Rocky Sucks' chants had turned into 'Rocky' chants. The fans had fell victim to Rocky's trade mark famous sayings and his entertaining "People's Elbow". He had it all to reach the popularity of Stone Cold Steve Austin and even exceed it. He had even delivered the "People' Elbow" to the Federation's top heel in Vince McMahon. That was when the WWF threw a swerve in the road for the former Rocky Miavia. The WWF decided to turn him heel once again and become Vince McMahon's "Corporate Champion".
Even during his run as the "Corporate Champion" the fans still wanted to cheer for the "Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment". That was until he started his collision course fued with Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The fans loved everything Steve Austin stood for. The drinking of beer on national television, his colorful language, and his hatred for Vince McMahon. Those were all the things The Rock hated about Stone Cold. The two had their fued which ended at Backlash with Stone Cold getting the best of Rocky.
But even during the months of March and April you could see all the Rock's millions upon millions of fans cheering for him once again. The WWF was in a tough position. The Stone Cold angle was all played out, the "Corporate Champion" angle was played out. They had no choice but to turn the "Great One" face.
It was Monday, April 27th. The night after the Rock had lost the Smoking Skull title to Stone Cold with blotched interference from Shane McMahon. He opened the show and still refused to show respect for Steve Austin. It seemed as if Rocky would remain taking the "Corporate Shortcut". That was until he called out Shane McMahon calling him the biggest piece of "Monkey Crap" he had ever seen.
The second he did that, the fans erupted. It finally gave them a chance to cheer for the Brahma Bull.
That encounter led to the firing of The Rock. Later that night, when Stone Cold came out he still got a huge pop, but did you notice how it didn't seem as impressive as it always had seemed in the past? It was because The Rock got the same exact pop earlier in the night. That night it seemed clear, Stone Cold Steve Austin is going to lose some popularity due to The Rock's face turn.
The WWF is now in a really hard position again. With Stone Cold as the top face and The Rock as a close second. The question was inevitable, When will it become The Rock's day to be the top face instead of Stone Cold's? Stone Cold has been the WWF's top dog ever since the USA/Canada feud.
What else can he add to his gimmick that he hasn't before. Every week he comes out using his colorful language, drinking beer, flipping people off, when will it come to the fact where people will simply get tired of his gimmick? I can see it happening. The Austin-Undertaker fued has been done before and the people are gonna get tired of that pretty quickly. What should the WWF do? Simple, Turn the mega-face Stone Cold Steve Austin heel.
If the WWF turned Austin heel and had him join the Corporation it would get the fans attention. If you had Stone Cold Steve Austin turning on the Rock and Vince McMahon to join Shane McMahon it would turn the whole storyline upside down. Imagine having Stone Cold Steve Austin helping the Undertaker kidnap Stephanie for the Undertaker? It would frustrate the fans beyond imagination. That would lead to Austin becoming the Federation's top heel in my opinion. Who would save Stephanie from Stone Cold, Shane McMahon, and the Undertaker? Well its elementary. It would be the Federation's top face, the most popular wrestler of his time, of course I am talking about The Rock.
Jeffrey Kostyniuk is from Saskatoon, SK, and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.