It's awful tempting to sit in my chair and pick apart what happened. To wonder why it happened, to speculate as to motives, to attempt to explain. I'm sure that the second McMahon tossed Austin that chair hundreds of people flocked to their keyboards and attempted to get inside the heads of Vince, Stephanie, Steve, Brian Gerwitz, Jim Ross, or anyone else they'd consider holding responsible for storyline development.
Why in God's name would they ever do this, people will wonder. Turn the biggest star in the industry, the figure most dear to the hearts of the fans, into a bad guy? Toss all that merchandising money into the toilet? I mean...my God, the fans were booing the Rock during the match...no way would they ever choose him over their hero. Legions of armchair bookers and Monday morning Comissioners toss potential explanations at keyboards like Austin tosses back N.A. beer.
The possibilities are endless. Hey, maybe it was a stockholder decision at the last big company meeting. Man, it's never good when the bean-counters start creeping in on the creative process. Or...or maybe they just wanted to continue to heap dirt on the tradition of fans leaving Wrestlemania happy with a victory for the good guy. Yeah, that's it...the writers and bookers are crafting and molding audience reaction and perception over the years. Maybe it happened because they've wanted to do it for a long time, and now that WCW's not a rival, wrestling fans dissatisfied with the turn of events won't have any alternative to watch. It's just Vince sticking it to us now that we're at his mercy. Or maybe that's wrong. Maybe it's designed to create some dissatisfaction with the WWF, to help create an audience for the new WCW. Austin was at the forefront of wrestling's meteoric rise to the top of our cultural perception, so effectively killing off the character the fans fell in love with is the way to move wrestling off in another direction. Maybe it's because Vince or whoever didn't want the entire company so focused around Austin. He's just one bad bump away from becoming a cripple. Dangerous. Or maybe they did it to bring in somebody else. Did you HEAR the pop Goldberg got the other night?
And I'm sure there's already a whole lot of debate about how successful an Austin heel turn will be. Nobody was sure what was happening in Houston. The live crowd didn't think what he was doing was all that bad. The fans will never accept him as a heel, he still drank beer, he just used Vince to get what he wanted...he'll stunner him in just a second. Well, after this beer. Ok, one more...Steve?
Not a damned bit of that matters. None of the speculation, the rumors, the scoops from Dave or Bob or JR hisself. What matters is that no good son of a bitch Steve Austin sold me down the river. That spineless gutless piece of shit joined up with the enemy. The enemy that we fought together...when Steve beat the shit out of his boss, I thought just for a second about how he struck a blow for all us working guys. How he kept fighting the fight I wished I could fight--and he won.
And now it's gone. Traitor. Scum sucking son of a bitch. I hope you get drunk and flip that monster truck. It doesn't matter who does it, but somebody damn sure oughta beat the hell out of you. But whoever it is, it won't ever quite be the same.
Time to make a new tombstone for the character graveyard. But this one doesn't say R.I.P:
I shoulda listened.