Sometimes, the most fun scenarios in the world of wrestling are what-if scenarios and there is perhaps no more industry-altering what-if scenario than, “What if Hulk Hogan never went to WCW in 1994?”
On the most recent episode of his podcast, 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff says that it's very probable that had Hulk Hogan never come to WCW in 1994, Steve Austin would have become a top challenger for Ric Flair's WCW Heavyweight Championship and would have stuck around with WCW indefinitely. However, Eric admits that while they would have had good matches together, working with Ric Flair would have never advanced Steve Austin's career in the way that the Stone Cold Steve Austin character would two years later in WWE.
“I mean, it's hypothetical at this point, but recognizing the hypothetical nature of the question and therefore my response, I would suggest that we probably-- had Hulk Hogan and I never had a conversation, had Hulk Hogan never come to WCW, is it likely that we would have ended up with Steve Austin and Ric Flair? Absolutely. Makes sense. Can't imagine that not ever happening had Hogan not come along,” Bischoff says. “I'm also going to say since this is hypothetical, that had Hogan not come along in WCW, had we moved forward with Ric Flair and Steve Austin, had had I ended up not firing Steve Austin, you know, all of those hypothetical things that could have happened had Hogan not come to WCW. Had we not shifted and pivoted, as you say, you know all of our efforts to Flair and Hogan, I think that Austin and Flair would have had an amazing match. Austin probably would have remained in WCW for an indefinite period of time had Hogan not come along, had we not shifted gears and we wouldn't be talking about Stone Cold Steve Austin and Austin 3:16 today, 20-some-odd years later, it wouldn't have happened. Don't believe me. Don't want to accept my perception, my take on this hypothetical situation? Again, Go find Steve's podcast where he and I dig into this and Steve talks about it. Steve talks about how his character as Stone Cold Steve Austin really emerged and all of the things that led up to it. So as we kind of look back and what if hypothetically this and hypothetically that, had Steve Austin [and] Ric Flair move forward without Hogan in the picture, none of us would have even heard of Stone Cold. Steve Austin to this day would've been a great match, but it certainly would. It would not have advanced Steve's career.”
While Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin would never work together in a one-on-one capacity, Eric Bischoff and Stone Cold Steve Austin would carry the Monday Night Raw brand in 2003 and 2004 with their rivalry as co-managerial forces of the brand.
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