During Vince Russo’s time with the WWF during the Attitude Era, several wrestlers got a chance to prove themselves and make an attempt on being a major star during the company’s most popular run, but not all of those pushes really panned out as planned.
Russo appeared on Fightful’s “The List & Ya Boy” podcast to talk about some of the wrestlers whose push in 1999 never really succeeded, mainly Billy Gunn and Test. Test, a former WWF European Champion, was involved in a major love storyline with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H where Test and Stephanie were getting married until Triple H revealed he and Stephanie had gotten married beforehand.
The former WWF head writer spoke about that storyline and revealed that the wedding angle had a different ending.
“We had Test standing Stephanie McMahon at the altar. That’s where we were going with it. If we would have continued to have Test, I think we would have turned him into a major star. I really believe that because once Triple H married Stephanie McMahon, Test would be out of the picture. I think if we would have kept the focus on Test, he would have been a bigger star,” Russo said.
As for Gunn, he also had a big push in 1999, winning the King of the Ring tournament that year and having a high-profile match against The Rock at that year’s SummerSlam. Russo was befuddled as to why Gunn never got to get truly over with the crowd as a singles wrestler and pondered whether it was the WWF’s booking or even the name Billy Gunn had any negative effects that hindered his push.
“I can’t put my finger on why Billy Gunn was never huge. Maybe the name had something to do with it. Having the name Gunn, it just doesn’t sound like the name of a star. I say this all the time, Billy Gunn was the greatest athlete I have ever worked with and I’m not just talking about wrestling. I’m talking about basketball, rodeo, football, this guy was a great athlete. He looked like a million bucks. His promos were very underrated in my opinion, but I don’t know what it was. I would love to talk to him about that and see what he thinks. I don’t know, maybe he thinks it’s because of the way he was booked, but the New Age Outlaws were pretty over. The thing about it is that Brian James (Road Dogg) is very good on the mic. No matter how good Billy was, he was never going to be as good as Brian. [Billy Gunn] had it all,” Russo said.
While Gunn never had the success as a singles wrestler WWF had hoped, he did find a lot of success working with Road Dogg and with D-Generation X, winning the WWF/E Tag Team titles six times together.
“The List & Ya Boy,” hosted by Fightful owner Jimmy Van and managing editor Sean Ross Sapp can be seen live every Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET on Fightful.com and on YouTube.