Originally Posted by klunderbunker
Rock was not at Austin's level when Austin left. At Summerslam 1999, Rock fought Billy Gunn. At No Mercy 1999, Rock fought British Bulldog. He was main eventing around the time, but those matches are dipping down into the midcard.
As for Rock becoming as big as Austin, I stand by what I said: Austin leaving left the void that Rock filled and filled very well. If Austin is there though, the attention and the time are on him and there's no need for the new alpha male in Rock.
He was fighting nobody's yes you're right....I wonder if that was more to do with the fact Austin was leaving and they HAD to focus more on Austin than The Rock to get what they could out of him before he left. Rock's booking was terrible after he left the Corporation, he got screwed out of the WWF Title more times than Austin ever did and to have the guy who was at least number 2, if not number 1/joint number 1 feuding with Billy Gunn, British Bulldog and Al Snow is beyond a joke. That's like a John Cena or Roman Reigns feuding with Bo Dallas or Curt Hawkins.
Both from memory and re-watching Raw's and Smackdown's at that time, Rock was just as popular as Austin. Not turning this into a who is bigger thread but to insinuate/say Rock would not have been as big had Austin stayed is wrong.
I believe (if you're interested) that if Austin had not taken 10 months off Rock would have become WWF champion and had the re-match with Austin and defeated him (face vs face), perhaps even winning the title from him. The booking would have been similar to the end of 2000/beginning of 2001 where Austin didn't main event every PPV (No Mercy 2000, No Way Out 2001) as even Austin had said he felt he was getting a little stale before he took time off. Maybe then WM17 could have been Austin vs Triple H in Texas, a perfect time for Austin to regain the title.
So, had Austin been healthy, how do you see the main event scene of 2000 playing out?