One of the biggest matches WWE could have had was Steve Austin against Hulk Hogan. For a brief period of time, the two were together on the WWE roster when Hogan returned as part of the nWo. Instead, Hogan wound up facing The Rock at WrestleMania 18, leaving Austin to face Scott Hall in a match most people have forgotten.
Most people have said it was real life issues between Hogan and Austin that prevented the match from ever happening, but Jim Ross says otherwise. On his Grilling JR podcast, Hogan said that problem was never an issue, it was more about a clash of styles.
Ross went on to say it had everything to do with a lack of in-ring chemistry the two would’ve had that caused the match to not make place. Austin has always been about making money and working with people if it made sense, but it was also about putting together the proper product, which he didn’t feel was the case here.
“It would’ve been interesting to see. You have two of the most amazing attractions in the history of pro wrestling, so I’m sure it would have been a success financially. However, artistically? Maybe, not so much. Austin never had the confidence that he and Hogan would have enough chemistry to live up to the hype.”
“There’s always been the stories that Austin didn’t like Hogan, he didn’t want to work with Hogan, which is great for the internet gossip and chatter but I just think the styles clash was more than what Steve wanted to attempt. I don’t think it had anything to do personally with Hogan.”
“Steve’s issue was just that Steve had a very high pace. Intense, aggressive, somewhat snug, high pace,” Ross said. “That just may not have fit Hogan’s styles at the time because of his back [issues]. It would’ve been an interesting attraction. It would’ve been a great poster, a great promo, it would’ve made money. But I don’t think the match had a chance in hell of living up to the hype of the two stars.”
Austin’s insistence on wanting things to make for both a good match and a good story and good money for everyone was part of the reason he walked out on the WWE once after being asked to take a loss to Brock Lesnar on an episode of Raw. Austin felt that a barely advertised encounter for what should’ve been a marquee one on one match would have been better, and he would have been all too happy to take the loss as they helped build Lesnar back in 2002.
h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the quote
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