Great wrestling conspiracies, cover-ups, and controversies.
Hey all, and welcome to the second edition of the Wrestling Oratory. I’m your host, Rantmaster Mark, (STOP FUCKING LAUGHING.) here to write random BS about the world of wrestling in general, as is my wont to do from time to time… specifically, every Sunday. (Yeah that lasted like a month.) Technically, this one was supposed to be done LAST WEEK, but who’s counting, right? Besides, I just HAD to get that out of my system. But anyway, today I’m going to be delving into the world of wrestling controversies; things that happened in the world of wrestling that are spoken of sporadically that those of you out there may not have heard of, or may have heard of, but don’t know the specifics behind. Today, folks, I shed light on five of the better known cover-ups in the wrestling world to date, as well as offer up my opinion of them, as only I can do. Let’s go, shall we? (I’d imagine you could put the whole CM Punk deal in here as well these days, though Punk laid out the majority of it so mostly it’d be linking a Youtube video and moving on.)
Oh, and to cover it before we begin, “shoot” means it was for real, “work” means it was planned, and “worked shoot” means it was meant to LOOK real, but was planned. “Smart” means you know what’s going on backstage, and “mark” means you are a general fan with no backstage info. Yes, ha ha, my name’s Mark, I’m a mark, how original, fuck you. (At this point I feel like I’m at least somewhat “smart,” entirely because I’ve made friends with actual wrestlers in my life, so at that point you usually have a general idea of what’s going on behind the scenes. Not EVERYTHING, clearly, but enough.)
1. The Brian Pillman “Loose Cannon” story.
This one is probably foreign to anyone not watching WCW in the mid-nineties, but nevertheless, I’m including it because it’s a funny story, and explains Pillman’s “Loose Cannon” gimmick in the WWF when he arrived.
The story: Brian Pillman and Kevin Sullivan were booked in an “I Respect You” match at WCW Superbrawl VI, and after wrestling for less than a minute, Pillman got the mic, said “I respect you… booker man!” and left. (Arn Anderson had to run out and cover for a few minutes, and it was super weird in retrospect.) He shortly defected to WWF after that. (Well, TECHNICALLY he went to ECW for a month or three, THEN defected to WWE. The ECW deal was a lot more interesting, because Pillman behaved like a super weirdo, beating up pencils and threatening to piss in the ECW arena, to advance that he was a wildman, which was a gimmick he carried into WWE entirely on his own merits. You’d almost never see that today, frankly.)
What it was: This story started as an isolated worked shoot, but eventually became a full-on shoot after later events. See below.
What really happened: Pillman and Sullivan planned a weird sort of worked shoot for the smart fans that would, presumably, go on for months, and all started this very night. See, wrestling “smart” fans knew Sullivan was a booker backstage, so this was more or less meant to interest them (thus proving Sullivan was a revolutionary LONG before Vince Russo showed up.) Anyway, Sullivan and Pillman wrestled for less than a minute, Pillman says “I respect you… booker man!”, and walks out. Now, it should be noted that Sullivan and Pillman planned all of this WITHOUT letting anyone else in on the gag. (Bischoff claims in his book, Controversy Creates Cash, that he was entirely in on the gimmick and fully endorsed it, figuring it’d draw eyes to the product in the long-term.) They were going for REALISM, see. So, Sullivan stands there for a minute or two before Arn Anderson walks out and wrestles in Pillman’s place for about five minutes before Flair comes out, breaks it up, and they all head into the back. Now, Pillman, as part of the gag, went to the corporate lawyers and asked for his release, and the lawyers GAVE it to him, thus freeing him up to work elsewhere. (Essentially Bischoff allowed it, he says, because he knew there was a risk Pillman would sign elsewhere, and almost expected it, but he assumed Pillman would eventually come back and finish out the angle as intended, which his death prevented; whether he’d have done so, we’ll never know.) By the time Sullivan found out that no one had let the company in on the gag, Pillman basically had what he wanted, which was a free pass to the WWF.
Final Thoughts: It’s interesting to note that Pillman may have inadvertently ended his own life because of this; when his problems were discovered, Vince decided to keep him on the road, saying that sometimes you needed friends around you to get through it. (Well, that’s speculation but assumed to be accurate; no matter where he went he’d have ended up in the same position.) Had Pillman been in WCW, they… okay, based on Scott Hall, they’d probably have done the same thing, so I guess it would have happened either way. It’s also interesting to note that this one of the first major “shoot” angles of the time, and Sullivan did his damndest to keep everyone in the dark about it… it’s a shame that he picked Pillman to take part in it, as it might have gone somewhere. (Pillman sold that shit all the way to the end, too, behaving like a goddamn lunatic at all times and only rarely tipping people off to the fact that he was working pretty much 24/7. I admire his commitment to the same crazy method acting Dustin Rhodes swears by, but it’s a shame that his habits and injuries caught up with him. He was really amazing, and it’s terrible that his life ended as he was getting the push of his life.)
2. Hulk Hogan gets “fired”.
This one is foreign to anyone not watching WCW in the 2000-2001 era, before they packed up shop and got sold out to the WWF. It’s a weird little story that really makes you wonder what the hell Vince Russo was really thinking at times, as it made no sense, was typical of his “book for the smarts” bullshit, and has two different stories. (Probably “I LIKE TURTLES.”)
The story: Hulk Hogan and Jeff Jarrett were supposed to wrestle for the WCW World title at Bash at the Beach 2000, but before the match started, Russo came out, told Jarrett to lay down, made Hogan pin him, declared the WCW belt the “Hulk Hogan Memorial Title”, fired Hogan, and made Jarrett the correct champion so he could job to Booker T later that night. A few months later, Hogan brought claims of legal wrongdoing against WCW and Russo, and nothing ever came of it. (I skipped the part where he went into a massive tirade, but I believe that I mentioned it later.)
What it was: According to Hogan, it was a shoot. According to Vince Russo at THAT time, it was a shoot, but he was doing “crash TV”, where “Everything you’re watching here is staged, but THIS RIGHT NOW is real”. According to Vince Russo more recently, it was a work that stepped on Hogan’s toes enough that it became a shoot. (Bischoff corroborated Russo’s final assessment of the situation; it was a work that became a shoot entirely because Russo is a derp. Russo also corroborated the situation in a Kayfabe Commentaries video, explaining that had he called Hogan the next day he could’ve resolved it, but was told not to by management and did not, which caused the whole thing to explode out of control.)
What really happened: Well, that’s pretty much it, yeah. Though there are two sides to this story, depending on who you believe; Hogan’s, and Russo’s. Hogan says what I basically typed above is true, and that he feels that WCW basically destroyed his credibility and embarrassed him mortally. (Hogan says lots of stuff.) That’s not really believable because, first, why the HELL would Hogan pin Jarrett if he wasn’t aware what was going on? I’d just walk. True, if Russo’s comments after the fact weren’t supposed to happen, why didn’t Hogan, y’know, DO something about it? He was still, at this point, a relatively well known guy, he could have gotten some internet or radio or TV time and said SOMETHING to make his side known. Instead he sat on it, filed a court claim that never went anywhere, and basically made himself look full of shit. (Well, first off he DID eventually settle and apparently won a good amount of money. Second, since logically people don’t file suit in courts of law when a work is ongoing, it makes his case look more legitimate in retrospect.) Second, how did Russo embarrass him in a way that was MORE painful to his career than what he had done to himself PRIOR? I mean, from the moment the nWo first began to tank, Hogan had done nothing but embarrass himself. Anyway, Russo says it was more or less a work that turned into a shoot, because Hogan couldn’t get his way. Well, to be honest, the whole angle was more or less booked because Hogan didn’t want to give up the spotlight, wanted to keep the belt forever, and wouldn’t lay down for guys like Jarrett (hence this angle) or Sting (see Halloween Havoc ’99 for that clusterfuck that went nowhere), so no wonder it turned out the way it did. (Okay no, I totally fucked that up. The ACTUAL reason it became a shoot is because Russo tore Hogan a new one on the mic, called him a bald son of a bitch, and all kinds of other nasty shit. He went into business for himself, and while I’m sure HE thought it was compelling TV, the fans shit all over it live and at home, and it ended up pissing off Hogan so much that he left and sued the company. Oops. The laying down for Jarret part was totally a work, though, and the funniest part is no one told Jarrett. So he went out there, did his thing, and went home… well he presumably knew SOMETHING was up but no one had clued the poor guy into the situation.)
Final thoughts: The fact that WCW basically allowed Hogan veto power, creative control over his character, and full backstage clout was what more or less brought this on. Hogan wouldn’t job to anyone, and when he did, it was almost never cleanly. Russo wanted Jarrett to keep the title for a while, and Hogan kept vetoing it, so Russo got fed up and fucked him over it. (Russo cleared this up in the aforementioned shoot, basically telling Hogan after the tenth time Hogan said he wanted the belt that, if this were real, he’d fuck Hogan and fire him, and Hogan suddenly thought it was a great idea. The hilarious thing is that Hogan and Bischoff figured it’d be good money later when they had the current champ feud with Hogan over the real champ, while Russo just wanted Hogan the fuck off TV for a while because his antics were getting annoying.) Frankly, it’s what he deserved. Hogan’s a selfish bitch who was never willing to do the right thing for anyone until McMahon hired him this time and made Hogan do everything under penalty of instant termination. (Each Hogan hiring has offered him less than the last, and considering he got fleeced by his wife in his divorce hearing, he doesn’t have much choice.) The angle was obviously a work that turned into Hogan’s feelings getting hurt, but it was done in such a bizarre manner that a lot of people never really understood the whole thing. Hope this helped. (Well, now that I’ve clarified most of it anyway.)
3. The Madison Square Garden incident. (See also, The MSG incident, the Clique incident) (No one calls it the Clique incident, shut up Gretchen, you’re not going to make fetch a thing.)
This one is what I was referring to in last week’s oratory when I spoke of HHH and his jobbing for months. He makes reference to it in his new DVD, but for the most part, glosses over it almost completely. So, here you go. (He’s mentioned it a few times since then as well and clarified it a little bit.)
The story: On the last day of their WWF contract, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall celebrated their parting from their longtime friends Shawn Michaels and HHH in the ring of Madison Square Garden in front of a relatively full crowd. This totally broke kayfabe (wrestling speak for the illusion that wrestling is real; derived from carnival speak) and was a highly punishable offense.. Repercussions happened. (Entirely to Hunter.)
What it was: Oh, this was SO a shoot. See below.
What happened: Hall and Nash had been doing quite well in the WWF as Razor Ramon and Diesel, respectively, so their signing with rival company WCW was not entirely expected. (False. Hall was doing fine, but Nash was described as the lowest drawing champion in WWF history at the time, and wanted to make more money. The story, as Nash explains it, is that Hall called WCW first and got a huge offer, so he called and was basically offered a shitload of money for less dates, and he went for it. Hall’s turfing out was blamed on drugs, though as others have noted, if money hadn’t been an issue he almost certainly would’ve been resigned, while Nash simply wasn’t happy and saw the value in what Bischoff had to offer, more or less. Nash has talked about this candidly a few times, in the Legends Roundtable available on the WWE Network and other places, so I’m willing to say it’s probably true, even if he has a… history of misrepresenting the truth when a story would be better.) The money was too good to pass up, or so say the two, who signed with WCW for what was expected to be a HUGE debut. At the time, they were aligned with WWF wrestlers Michael Shawn Higgenbottom (Hickenbottom, asshole.) (Shawn Michaels), Paul Levesque (HHH), and Sean Waltman (Then the 1-2-3 Kid, now X-Pac) as a renegade group known as The Clique. (I should have noted that this was BEHIND the scenes; publicly they were feuding, but then they were almost always trying to work together to hear others tell it. Also “Kliq” is an acceptable spelling.) Now, since Vince was well aware they were leaving, he decided to do the only thing worthy of such great competitors; turn Michaels and HHH face and have Hall and Nash job to them. (That’s half wrong; Nash turned heel for various reasons, but was indeed facing the babyface Michaels, while HHH was the heel in his match with babyface Hall.) Needless to say, Vince wasn’t too sorry to see them go. Anyway, after Michaels and Nash wrestled, Michaels walked over to Nash, kissed him (EW! Come on man, it’s not bad enough I gotta see your nappy chest hair, you gotta kiss NASH?!? Well, he DOES have that lustrous hair…) (Ah, gay jokes, always a staple of early 2000’s wrestling commentary. I still don’t want to see Nash and Michaels kissing, but no longer feel the need to exert my utterly uninteresting heterosexuality by proclaiming it unless there’s actually a funny joke in there somewhere.) and Nash suddenly sat up as if magically cured. Then, Nash (Hall, because clearly I was paying attention when I wrote this.) and HHH came out and saw their friends off in one of the most touching moments in WWF history. It was also a full on shoot, something that damn near gave Vince a coronary when he found out. At the time, Vince was more about protecting the business than anything, so something was a blatant slap in the face. (Not exactly. He DID admit the business was more or less bullshit in order to get out of paying taxes in NJ not too long after this, for instance. I think it was more that he didn’t want it happening in the middle of a fucking show than that he was pissed about breaking kayfabe per say.) However, his hands were tied on this one; of the usual suspects, Nash and Hall had departed to WCW, Michaels was World Champion, and X-Pac wasn’t even THERE. (Yeah, one thing that’s been mentioned was that Waltman was basically on his way out the door due to drug issues and was essentially not being targeted for punishment due to his soon to be terminated status, but dude wasn’t even IN MSG at the time so I can’t see why you’d punish a guy who wasn’t involved, and that’s more or less my hardline stance on the matter.) So the obvious thing to do was simple: job out that motherfucker HHH, and job him GOOD. Need someone elevated? Call Paul. Got a bump no one will do? Paul’s got it. This is how HHH earned his reputation for loving the business; he spent so long being made a fool of, that he HAD to love his job to stick with it. Eventually he got put in DX with Michaels, started slipping the meat job to Steph, and the rest is history. (Well technically he got into DX in 1997 and wasn’t dating Steph until a few years later, so the two aren’t technically related; WWE always knew they were going to be pushing him up the card, so much so that prevailing wisdom is that HHH had his KOTR win taken from him as punishment, which was going to be used to start that elevation. The guy who took it, Steve Austin, used said KOTR win to elevate himself into a spot as the single highest money making Superstar of all time, and I don’t know why I didn’t mention that here. There’s obviously no guarantee this is legit, of course, but that’s the story everyone tells so fuck it, that’s good enough for government work.)
Final thoughts: I find it mildly amusing that of the four involved here (and the five in general) only one is in any kind of a main-event position anywhere. Hall is working through the clusterfuck called his life, and having no job; (Last anyone saw he was living with DDP and using DDP Yoga to turn his life around, along with Jake Roberts, and apparently doing okay after a Kickstarter helped him replace his hip and get his teeth fixed. He’s been trying to use his star power to help his son get over as a wrestler, though he apparently had some kind of episode back in May with what might be addiction relapse or depression, so one hopes he’s doing alright.) Nash pulled a muscle WALKING while in the ring, so he’s out, oh, bet on forever; (He did, in fact, come back to do the job to HHH, then went to TNA for a bunch of years where he just kind of existed, then came back to WWE to fuck CM Punk in storyline, and now he’s semi-retired again.) X-Pac just got fired (THANK YOU!); (Waltman’s story is extremely messed up; from here he went to TNA and AAA for a while, and was dating Joanie Laurer, AKA Chyna. They made a porno, which is notable for one person describing Laurer’s genitals as “unspecific,” and then got into a bunch of arguments, during which Waltman claims Laurer beat his ass, and Laurer claims Waltman beat hers. He then began dating Ryan Shamrock, AKA Alicia Webb, though I have no idea if he still is. During this time he got into an argument with her in Mexico, claiming she goaded him into hitting her because they were both miserable and constantly fighting because Waltman wasn’t getting most anything he was being offered. He hated himself for hitting her and tried to kill himself, failed, and went back to rehab on the WWE’s dime, and has been doing okay-ish ever since. Waltman’s been very candid about all of this, on multiple Kayfabe Commentaries pieces and elsewhere, and it’s honestly a really sad story, though he’s at least doing okay for himself.) Michaels is presently selling a HUGE sledgehammer beating, (He came back, won the World Title once, and put over a bunch of people before retiring at Wrestlemania in a final match against Undertaker.) and HHH just lost to said Michaels only to be pushed for #1 contender to the title the next night. (He since won a bunch of titles, pissed off a shitload of people, and then quasi-retired to run the backstage operations; most recently he’s put over Daniel Bryan, the Shield and Sting, but also pissed off CM Punk hardcore.) Who do you think won out here? Bar none, HHH learned quick how to play the game, and it’s ironic how he went from perennial jobber to main eventer, while everyone else here went from main eventer to retired, injured, or fired. The student has indeed become the master. (Well Hunter basically RUNS THE ENTIRE COMPANY now, so hell yes, he won several times over.)
4. The Montreal Screwjob.
Ah, yes… back before the days of Russo and WCW, there REALLY were shoots on TV, and this was one of the best. I wasn’t watching WWF at this point in time, but even I heard about this one, and MAN, was it a doozy. (Considering Bret Hart is back in the WWE clubhouse now and kind-of sort-of okay with Michaels, we’ve all heard everything we’re ever going to on this subject.)
The story: At Survivor Series ’97, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart faced off for the last time for the WWF Title. In front of the assembled crowd they put on a stellar match, but as Shawn put the Sharpshooter on Bret, Vince McMahon, who was seated at ringside, had the bell rung, declared Shawn the winner, and screwed Bret Hart, something he hasn’t forgiven Vince for (to) this day. (Well, that and the death of Owen; had it just been the title he’d probably have worked things out with them sooner than he did, but between Owen’s death and the ugliness that resulted it was a huge mess all around. Anyway, they managed to patch things up, finally, because Vince wanted to have Bret involved in his own documentary, and Bret wanted to have a say in how it went down. HHH may or may not have finally helped them bury the hatchet, because that’s kind of what he does now, it seems.)
What it was: Officially, it’s a shoot. (I have no idea why I said “officially,” but I hope it’s not because I’m going to advance some crackheaded idea it was a work.)
What happened: Basically, Bret Hart was on his way out. WCW was offering him a shitload more money, Bret wasn’t happy with the current WWF product, and Vince honestly told him “Go to WCW”. (Well Vince breached Bret’s contract, claiming he couldn’t pay him what they’d agreed upon, so Bret went to WCW and asked if the offer they’d made him a while back was still good with Vince’s blessing, more or less.) Bret was World Champion at the time, which was a rather large problem for Vince. Bret assured Vince that there would be no screwage on his end, so long as his two wishes were accepted; that he not lose to Michaels, and that he not lose in Canada. (It’s mostly the Michaels thing, honestly, as various discussions have revealed over the years. Bret and Shawn had huge heat with each other over some dirtsheet working angles that got too personal, combined with Shawn telling Bret point-blank that he’d never put Bret over at one point, and Bret was super pissed about it and refused to job to Shawn because of it. Bret offered to drop the title to basically anyone else beforehand, so long as it wasn’t Shawn in Canada, and Shawn was a gigantic dick about it as well in the lead-up.) Survivor Series, the last PPV before Bret’s contract expired, was to be held in Montreal, and Bret was facing Michaels for the title there. Tensions were running high; Bret believed Vince had it in for him (which he did), (Well no, if Vince could’ve resolved this in any way other than the way he did, he would’ve, but Bret wouldn’t back down and Vince didn’t want to have the match NOT be for the title, because he felt it would lose value that way.) and Vince didn’t want another Madusa (who took the women’s title to WCW and threw it away on live TV) or Jarrett (who asked for a shitload of cash to job one day outside of his contract) situation, but he wasn’t sure he could trust Bret. (I think that he was mostly sure he could trust Bret, but wanted the title to actually change that night instead of running a tournament or something else that would devalue the title to appease Bret, frankly. The Jarrett thing happened after the fact anyway so it’s not relevant, though the Madusa thing DEFINITELY had to be weighing in on that somewhat.) So Vince decided to do something underhanded: he forced the bell to be rung in the Hart/Michaels match early, thus screwing Hart, making Michaels the champ, and cementing his evil company owner role in the minds of the fans for years to come. (Specifically Michaels and Earl Hebner stooged a spot where Michaels would lock Hart in his own Sharpshooter, and Vince and company opted to use that as the screwy finish.)
Final Thoughts: First off, I’m not 100% sure this wasn’t a work, truthfully. (Oh God here we go.) Everyone ended up happy out of it: Vince got over as the evil owner, as he hoped to, Michaels denied involvement, thus leaving him clean, and Bret got to go to WCW with reputation untarnished, because after all, HE didn’t lose, Vince screwed him. (No. Vince never wanted to be the evil owner UNTIL he realized it was worth a shitload to him as a character, and Bret honestly didn’t want to leave WWF because he figured WCW wouldn’t use him right, which they didn’t, and he spent the last several years of his career doing fuck-all until he was forced to retire because Goldberg kicked him in the head. Even AT THE TIME Bret didn’t want to do it.) It was a win/win situation. A lot of the other pieces don’t fit, either: Why let Neidhart and Bulldog out of their contracts when they wanted to leave, unless you had a good reason? (Because they were worthless to Vince at that point and he figured they’d stir up shit, though Vince also made them pay cash to leave so hey, profit.) And why would Owen stay, knowing what he knew? (Because Vince WOULDN’T let him out of his contract, because he thought Owen could still be a huge star. He would’ve probably been one sooner or later, too, but between Austin refusing to work with him due to the broken neck and Michaels and Hunter never really working with him or putting him over strong, he didn’t get there, and he died before he could manage it, sadly.) Why would Bret spend all his waking moments lambasting Vince for what he did, several years after the fact? (Because of Owen’s death and Bret’s general bitterness toward the industry and Vince for causing all of this, to varying degrees.) And why didn’t half the locker room walk out after that? You’d think SOMEONE would have said spoken up about it. (Foley notably skipped the day after the PPV, as did a bunch of other people, and Undertaker threatened to kick Vince’s ass supposedly.) On the other hand, the fact that no evidence has come to the surface that supports said claim pretty much means it’s most likely a shoot, but who knows anymore. (Since basically everyone involved still, to this day, insists it’s a shoot, and since Bret insists on everything being more or less as it was then, EVEN AFTER A STROKE, I’d say it was a shoot.) All in all, it was a finale to one of the greatest storylines of all time, and it allowed for a clean break for all, so in the end, with the exception of Goldberg kicking Hart in the head, all’s well that ends well, I suppose. (Bret and Shawn officially burying the hatchet on TV and in real life was the more appropriate ending, honestly, because it allowed them to not be bitter about the whole thing anymore and just accept it and, hopefully, have fulfilling lives in retirement.)
5. Austin walks out.
If you haven’t heard about this by now, I don’t know why you’re reading this. (This was a big deal at the time; less so nowadays.)
The story: Steve Austin walked out on the WWE on two separate shows; once on the RAW show following Wrestlemania, and once on the June 10 RAW. In both instances, he was unhappy concerning his treatment, both on-air and off. The WWE decided after his second walk out that they no longer needed such an unstable wrestler, and put him on indefinite hiatus; in other words, unpaid suspension. (Not exactly; according to Austin’s biography and research done behind the scenes by others, it was a lot more complicated than that.)
What it was: This was a shoot. There’s no doubt in the minds of anyone that this is for REAL, especially with all the personal problems surfacing now.
What happened: You know, I more or less wrote this column to express my thoughts on THIS particular situation, and now that it comes to it, I don’t really have too much to say. Austin says he was pissed about having to job to the nWo, as he felt that it made him look weak. WWE says he wasn’t unhappy with them. Austin says he didn’t want to work Wrestlemania with Scott Hall, both from fear Hall wouldn’t protect him, and from fear Hall wouldn’t BE there by then. (Yeah, Austin talked about this a lot, but in essence, HE was the one originally offered the chance to work with Hogan, and his response was more or less “No,” because he wasn’t feeling it, which is one of his bigger regrets in retrospect. He was paired with Hall, and since Hall was falling off the wagon at lightning speed and Nash couldn’t be expected to work a good match, the two were cast against him in full job mode. Originally the nWo was supposed to win there to get heat on Austin, but that went to shit because he didn’t want to lose, and the angle died out of the gate.) WWE says he said nothing of the sort. (WWE says lots of stuff.) It’s a doubletalk situation, at best, with the Internet taking on the WWE at every news turn. We KNOW Austin was unhappy with his place in the company, but that’s about it. (Austin was also suffering from, as Punk was later on, latent long-term health issues that were causing his poor attitude and behavior, though Austin’s case was more “I’m not gonna tell anyone,” while Punk’s was “I’ll tell everyone and no one will help me.” It also didn’t help that the booking was handicapped by Austin’s constant challenging of it, even though his character was so limited that they COULDN’T do anything with him, of course.) After the fact, Austin beat his wife, got arrested, and filed for divorce in that order. It’s one long fucked up story that never seems to end. (We don’t exactly know what happened with Debra to this day; Austin can’t talk about it for legal reasons, and I’m not going to trust anything Debra said as part of the media circus that was Benoit’s murder/suicide deal, doubly so when she’s saying it on fucking Sean Hannity’s show. We know Austin hit her more than once, we have to believe that his injuries, depression, and substance abuse were all factors in this since Austin was banned from drinking alcohol, but beyond that, the details are more or less locked up behind legal restraining orders. Debra indicated she was only restrained from talking about it for a year, and Austin is presumably in the same boat, so unless he’s talked about it on the podcast and it wasn’t a public deal, he simply chose not to. Since it’s been implied he hit his prior wife, that’s… not great in general.)
Final Thoughts: Obviously this one is far from over. WWE says they would never hire Austin back, yet they have his contract locked down so he can’t wrestle anywhere else, and we’ve learned Vince can forgive almost anyone when money is good. (Austin wasn’t even gone a full calendar year before he came back, wrestled the Rock, then more or less was forced to retire due to accumulated injuries.) Austin says he’s a little antsy and is still working out, but has made no mention of coming back. Austin also seems as happy as he’s ever been to friends since announcing his divorce. (While I would never defend spousal abuse in any context, I will note that a good number of people who’ve interacted with Debra think she’s more or less a terrible human being, and I can certainly see Austin being happy to get out of that situation. That doesn’t by any means excuse him from hitting her, but it explains how he could be pleased it was over.) There’s no real way to figure out all the details here, but it seems like Austin’s problems were mainly work related, and his personal life was exacerbating the problem to the point where every day felt like hell. (That’s not entirely far from the truth, though the injuries have been blamed as a major part of the situation.) Frankly, I don’t necessarily agree with everything Austin did, but I can understand it, and here’s hoping we can see this to the end, with a healthy Austin returning to competition somewhere. (WWE, once, before retiring and playing an on-screen character for a bit before becoming an occasional guest star. He also got into another relationship with a lady who also claimed he abused her, Tess Broussard, but this turned into a huge mess where he claimed she was also abusive toward him, including pulling a gun on him and attempting to stab his lawyer at one point. Austin’s apparently remarried and doing fine now, so here’s hoping it stays that way.)
And that about wraps it up. I hope this was informative for you all, and if you enjoyed it, I might do a Part 2. After all, there’s enough controversy out there to fill a shitload of columns… if you liked this, I could easily do a second. Let me know what you think. (I am mostly certain I never did a sequel, but lord knows there are still a shitload of these poking around.)
World Wrestling Entertainment needs an enema.