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  #1  
Old 01-30-2016, 08:59 AM
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Default Yeah yeah, we're not supposed to say anything bad about Owen Hart but......

How much did that botched sit-down piledriver Owen performed on Steve Austin at Summerslam '97 affect Stone Cold 's carrer?

True, he didn't retire until '03 but even at age 39, it seemed way too early for him to pack it in, especially since Austin was in the midst of one of the greatest careers any pro wrestler ever knew.

We know he was out of action for almost a year due to the neck surgery he was forced to endure, but do you believe he was in terrible pain for the rest of his active tenure? Could he have accomplished even more than he did?

True, some of his greatest achievements came after the piledriver (the Austin vs. Vince McMahon program, for example) but what would Stone Cold's resume have looked like had the neck injury never happened?

Or was there no essential difference......that everything would have been the same?

Broken necks do tend to have a negative effect on a wrestler's career, no? How about Austin's?
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  #2  
Old 01-30-2016, 10:13 AM
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I think the only thing the neck injury really affected was Austin's longevity in the ring. It didn't stop him from becoming one of the most popular wrestlers of all time and it certainly didn't take away from the career that he had. In a strange sort of way, it kind of added fuel to the fire and got the Stone Cold character to really take off. That image of Austin, broken neck and all, crawling his way into a school-boy to win the IC title is almost iconic at this point. Upon his return is when the fans really started to rally around Stone Cold in my opinion.

Also, it forced him to change up his style in the ring. The brawling, no nonsense offense that has become synonymous with Stone Cold, was partially only brought out because of the injury to his spine. I didn't necessarily see Austin having a better career sans the botched piledriver, but probably a longer one. He may even have come out for a match or two since his retirement. Also, it may have affected the push that HHH ultimately got. Would the show still have revolved around H and Steph had both Austin and Rock been present throughout 2000? Would HHH have won 3 World title that year? I doubt it.

As for pain, I've never heard Austin talk about being in constant pain or anything. I think it just got to the point where it was too risky for him to bump again. Ultimately, I think it would be foolish to say that the neck injury hindered or negatively effected Austin's career path. I can't think of one wrestler with as many iconic moments in history than Stone Cold. Or at least, definitely not in the time span that he had them in.
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  #3  
Old 01-30-2016, 10:14 AM
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It had an impact on Austin's wrestling style, but it didn't really hurt him in terms of his career. Honestly, the neck injury kind of helped him.

When Ausitn was injured, they did an angle where he wanted to wrestle but management, namely Vince McMahon, would not allow it. This marked the early stages of the Austin/McMahon feud, and Austin's real-life injury was ultimately the catalyst for it. The angle felt real because it was portrayed as 100% real, and everybody saw Austin legitimately break his neck in that match. Without the injury, we probably still would've gotten Austin vs. McMahon at some point, but the injury offered a realistic basis for the feud that would go on to be the greatest rivalry in WWF history.
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Old 01-30-2016, 10:17 AM
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It is a shame. I remember reading Austin's book and he was saying that they were discussing the spot before the match and he kept reiterating to Owen not to do a sit down one, yet he still did it. In retrospect they shouldn't have done the spot period cause if Owen went down on his knees it would've been a tombstone so he obviously couldn't do that. He basically had no choice but to sit down and do it.

Anyway I don't think Austin would've stuck along that much longer anyway. It seemed to me that he was starting to get frustrated with things and tired of wrestling. But that is just a speculation though. I do think he may have appeared in a Rock type role and wrestle a few matches here and there though if it wasn't for the injury.
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Old 01-30-2016, 10:17 AM
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Injuries always do have some negative effects on a wrestler's career. It sort of makes him/her fragile and the body wouldn't cope along with the work schedule. But I reckon we can't write what would've happened in that 1 year when he was at rest. Even if we can make a predicament, it certainly will have a lot of loopholes and there will be a plenty of critics that will follow.

But injuries are the worst, it broke wrestlers body as well his soul. How many wrestlers have lost their career after their injuries? Plenty. How many had went through drug problems after injuries as they consider them as painkillers? Plenty more.

In the case of Stone Cold, it was different. He went through that phase only because of Owen Hart and that's true. He achieved greater heights after that and you agreed it to yourself. That's the story of it.
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Old 01-30-2016, 11:28 AM
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People use "blessing in disguise" and "it helped Austin develop his character" to always describe that situation. Here's the thing; Austin would have still have become all those things. What Owen did severely cut down on Austin's career and earning potential. What's worse is that he never apologized for it.
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Or was there no essential difference......that everything would have been the same?

Broken necks do tend to have a negative effect on a wrestler's career, no? How about Austin's?
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I think everything more or less would've been the same in terms of his push and the popularity he would ultimately achieve but I do agree it forced him to change his style from more technical to more of a brawling style to protect his neck. It did, however, ultimately shorten his career. Once he had neck surgery in either 1999 or 2000 his career was more or less finished. I do think the neck injury also contributed to his addiction to painkillers who ultimately caused him to walk out on WWE and eventually get him fired in 2003.

I think it was ultimately a detriment to Austin's career and overall health. I think it's the one blemish on Owen's record and for the record he felt TERRIBLE about it.
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  #8  
Old 01-30-2016, 01:08 PM
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Like some of the posters on this thread, I'm in the camp that believes that the injury had very little impact on the overall legacy of Steve Austin's career. The only thing that would've changed is his availability in 1999-2000 but with the rise of the Rock I'm sure WWE Creative is grateful they didn't have to deal with that.

Austin was great in his prime but he became very difficult to book as soon as someone reached his level. Had he been healthy during that stretch I'd go as far to say he probably would've walked out sooner and maybe wouldn't be remembered as fondly as we remember him today, look at CM Punk.

As others pointed out, the injury ultimately helped create a lot of the things we love most about him. The genesis of the McMahon feud, the adaptation to the brawling style, the memorable returns and non-wrestling antics (the beer truck, destroying the dx express etc.) that are now synonymous with Austin. I would never wish injury on anyone, but no one in history benefited from injury the way Austin did. I think a better injury complaint would've been Goldberg ending Bret's career or even Sting's legacy if that match with Rollins ends up being his last.
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  #9  
Old 01-30-2016, 02:27 PM
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I'd say that it affected his longevity and his style but, obviously, it didn't seem to have any effect on his popularity.

I like Owen Hart as much as the next guy but, since his death, his level of greatness has been heavily exaggerated. When you take away the aspect of his untimely death and the fact that he's Bret Hart's little brother, Owen Hart was almost exclusively a mid-card & tag team wrestler; he was talented and entertaining but he was still ultimately someone who spent the vast majority of his career in WWE as a mid-carder.

I know that sometimes we toss around the word "mid-carder" as if someone has gotten bubonic plague or something, but just because someone is a mid-carder doesn't mean that they can't have or haven't had a great career. Could Owen have possibly risen to bigger things? Sure, he was only 34 years old when he died so he still had time to potentially rise further up the card. However, the fact remains that he didn't and while talented, he's not someone that I see as being this huge, all time great that many fans since his death have attempted to build him up as.
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  #10  
Old 01-30-2016, 02:47 PM
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Was the neck injury was the main reason for Austin's retirement? I don't think those braced up knees had much to do with the neck did they? Kurt Angle wrestles at age 47 with a similarly damaged neck. Austin's career was always going to be shortened because of his knees.

Maybe there's some correlation, I don't know, I'm not a doctor. It seems to me though that Austin initially walked away from WWE before he decided that he could no longer compete due to injury.

Owen was one of the best wrestlers of all time. That's not exaggeration, he was talented. Was he marketable? Was he going to be an Austin level star? No, he wasn't. I doubt he decided he was going to break Steve Austin's neck that night. Hart is a guy who was always described as being one of the good guys, one of the nicest. I doubt he went all neck snapper that night, or as we like to say in Vancouver, Canada, went all "Todd Bertuzzi."

Accidents happen, if the story was different and Owen bragged about it or was found to be malicious in his intent, it would be a different story. The way things stand, Austin burned out instead of fading away. Personally I wonder if they could have developed the Stone Cold character further. He was pretty stale as the Raw GM from the jump.

The injury (if it alone and not the knees retired him) robbed us of programs with Hogan, Lesnar, Goldberg, Cena, Orton, Batista, Edge, Michaels (again), and maybe even Punk if Austin managed to wrestle into his late 40s. The way things stand his career has a great last match (vs Rock III at Mania 19) and didn't overstay his welcome.
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