Owen & Austin: Reopening Old Wounds

Discussion in 'Old School Wrestling' started by THTRobtaylor, Jul 28, 2017.

  1. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    It's interesting to read that Steve Austin's ex-wife Jeannie Clarke has been talking about the Owen Hart situation and claims that Austin not only refused to attend Owen's funeral but also believed he may have DELIBERATELY injured him at the time.

    While Clarke has been out of the business for some time, she was previously married to Billy Jack Haynes and Chris Adams, guys who were known for a tall tale or two about others so I think it's fair to say there should be a pinch of salt taken.

    One thing that does ring true however, is how Owen DID screw up that day despite being told repeatedly that he had to do a proper tombstone, rather than the sit out version he eventually did. I've heard Austin describe it as him having a "mental block" on doing the move as told, and was perhaps reverting to a Hart taught version of the move. However it would be quite shocking to suggest Owen intentionally did it to cripple Austin.

    My questions to people are:-

    1) Was Austin right then to hold a grudge, even when he'd died as he did?

    2) Should Austin have gone to the funeral?

    3) What does Austin do now? Does he admit his feelings then or stay silent? as it's not likely to make him look good either way.

    My view is that Austin should have let it go when Owen was killed. It was clear very quickly Owen didn't want to do the stunt, and it can be argued even then that he was only in that position because of Austin's reaction to the injury. It's hard to say Steve "overreacted" but at the same time, if he'd spread that Owen had intentionally done it, even to one or two WWF people, then that would lead to the "punishment" Owen seemed to receive with the Blue Blazer that backfired so terribly.

    As for the funeral, sorry Steve, you should have taken one for the team that day. While you may not have liked Owen the way others did, or forgiven him, you still were the LEADER of that company at the time and not honoring one of them when they literally fell is bad form at best and spiteful at worst. You were still there, he wasn't. What harm could it have done you to go, stay quiet and be seen?

    It's unfortunate that Jeannie has decided to bring all this up, but let's face it - it is going to be dragged up again at some point soon as we near the 20th anniversary of Owen's death. Personally I hope to hear Steve's next podcast dedicated to this topic and speaking 100% truthfully. If people don't like what he says, take it on the chin... none of the usual platitude answers please. If your ex is lying, tell us... if she's not... tell us your side however uncomfortable you may feel or what damage it does to your rep. Don't go the "I was angry, now I get it with distance".. if you're still mad, say so...
     
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  2. @smarkmouth

    @smarkmouth Friendly Neighborhood

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    To throw more speculation and hearsay into this stew, I recall reading that in spite of the neck injury, Owen never reached out to Austin with any form of apology. That's certainly a far cry from deliberately trying to injure someone, but both acts merit a grudge.

    Was he "right" to hold a grudge. Well, that's his business. I would say that he has handled the grudge correctly. He doesn't speak about it all that much, and certainly doesn't drag a dead man's name through the mud in public. I respect that.

    Absolutely. I feel like his omission from the funeral probably undoes my first answer, but complicated is man. Let's also revisit the possibility that if Austin deliberately spread such rumors, he might have been unwelcome to the memorial by any Harts privy to what Austin may have been saying.

    Stay silent. If he Austin still feels the way about Owen Hart that we are speculating here, well, you don't speak ill of those who aren't here anymore, especially if it's over a personal grudge. If anything, Austin sits down privately with any Harts that he holds in esteem and lays it out on the table. No one outside of that group needs any closure on this.
     
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  3. LODemolition

    LODemolition Championship Contender

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    1. I personally don't believe in holding grudges, so I have to say no here. It does neither person any good, especially the one holding onto it. It just tears you up inside and I imagine in this case it has to be 100x harder because of course Austin will never get the apology or at least some sort of cloaure he was probably hoping for.

    2. That's 100% his decision, but it were me, I would have gone just out of respect for a colleague and his family. I must admit though that I do respect Austin for not doing a 180 degree turn and pretending like he and Owen were best buds when he died. Some people speak of the dead like they were absolute saints and did no wrong. My dad recently died and a lot of people will talk about him like that in my presence when I know that they didn't always see eye to eye and get along the way they try to make it seem in retrospect. But yes, differences aside, Austin should have been at the funeral. He was the franchise player at the time and all eyes were on him. Do the right thing.
     
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  4. Kodo Sawaki

    Kodo Sawaki Championship Contender

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    Austin is(as most of top superstars) ego maniacal man. One other example of that is how he refused to put over Lesnar. One such man, psychologically speaking, would be mad for less then somebody hurting him and probably shorten his career on long track. So its kinda normal for a ego maniacal Austin to hold grudge for that.

    Eh, if he considered him a friend and wanted to pay respect. But in his mind he probably wasnt that so its kinda better then "Oh, he was such a good man, I remember a time when he injured me even if they said him move he did was reckless to do" speech he would do if he was honest and not pretending.

    Does it really matter? I mean, Owen died almost 20 years ago, does it really matter what Austin thinks now or does he still holds a grudge?

    Heck, same opinion he probably had or has(how Owen was reckless and shortened Austin career as well as his move set) I read on numerous occasions here and on other sites. Its just an opinion that holds no real value now after all this time.
     
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  5. OYDK

    OYDK King Of The Ring

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    If Austin's story is to be believed, than Owen was completely at fault for breaking his neck and I believe anybody would have held a grudge for the way he handled the whole situation. Austin apparently repeatedly told him that he wasn't comfortable taking the move and kept iterating that he should drop to his knees instead of his ass. Owen botched the move, severely injured Austin, and then never apologized for it or visited him in the hospital. So, if this is how everything really played out, I think it was completely justified for Austin to be pissed off at Owen while they worked together.

    I'm sure Austin obviously felt some grief and shock over Owen's death but at the same time, those feelings of anger and bitterness probably still lingered. I don't think anybody can really answer if it was "right" for Austin to continue holding a grudge after Owen's accident. People are going to feel the way they feel. Austin has never badmouthed Owen or made a huge deal out of the whole situation so I don't see a problem with it if he does still harbor resentment to this day. Maybe it's a little juvenile, but I think people should also try to imagine nearly being crippled by somebody and then having that person, for all intents and purposes, act like they didn't give a shit.

    Yeah, probably. Even if he did feel a certain way, the classy move would have been showing up in solidarity with the rest of the locker room and at least having enough respect to see Owen off. It wasn't as if Owen died of a heart attack or complications, he died in the middle of the ring after a failed and dangerous stunt. He didn't have to give a speech or act as if he was devastated or anything, but just going would have been the right thing to do in my eyes.

    Nah, he should and he will stay silent just as he pretty much has done for the past 20 years. There's absolutely no reason to dredge up this topic again. Just let things lie.
     
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  6. Jack-Hammer

    Jack-Hammer YOU WILL RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH!!!!
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    1) Was Austin right then to hold a grudge, even when he'd died as he did?

    When it's a grudge over something that's primarily due to ego or pettiness, I generally don't believe in holding grudges but it's ultimately Austin's business. However, we'll never know the full story of what went on. Was Owen genuinely told not to perform the piledriver the way he did? Did he intentionally try to cripple Austin? We'll never know but it's something that sounds extremely out of character based on what's been told by numerous wrestlers over the years about Owen Hart. In any case, Owen was sloppy and Austin was lucky; he could've been paralyzed, killed or essentially made into a vegetable and I can't say that Austin is wrong or right for feeling the way he ALLEGEDLY feels. MAYBE if someone did something similar to me, I'd feel the same way but hopefully I'll never be in that sort of situation.

    2) Should Austin have gone to the funeral?

    Again, it's such a complicated question and we certainly don't remotely have the answers needed to form a coherent opinion. There are so many if's that we have to ask because we just don't know and never truly will know. Speaking for myself and if a man I believed in my heart deliberately tried to cripple or kill me died, I wouldn't attend his funeral. It'd be part of my way of legitimately moving on, just leaving him in the past and simply try not to think of or talk about him again.

    3) What does Austin do now? Does he admit his feelings then or stay silent? as it's not likely to make him look good either way.

    The best thing for Austin to do, in my opinion, is to just keep his mouth shut because stating his feelings, trying to defend his position, etc. will only result in more muckraking when it's all said and done. Nobody can claim that their position in this thing is 100% right as there's no sort of concrete proof; Owen didn't make some sort of written or taped confession, he's not alive to defend himself, the whole thing would devolve into nothing more than a game of he said/she said. If someone asks Austin about it, I'm of the opinion that he should say that it's something he doesn't want to talk about or discuss as there are some things that're too personal to bring up. If that's not enough for some people, tell them to go fuck themselves with a ***** wrapped in barbed wire.
     
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  7. Azane

    Azane Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Few simple thoughts.

    A. Owen wasnt the kind of guy who'd hurt someone on purpose, He screwed up, accidents happen. There's no way this was intentional. Even taking away the death goggles, Owen was more respectful than that.

    B. Outside of The fact Austin didn't attend the funeral, and his wife saying this, I havent seen any other evidence that Austin avoided the funeral on purpose. I don't think there's enough to judge him on this point.

    C. Death Goggles. Owen is given a wide berth of space and a ton of people who posthumously say he was a perfect person. This is something that makes most stories about Owen turn into one sided stories about how everyone on the opposite side of Owen has to be wrong, because of his tragedy.

    To Answer the questions directly:

    1. Unless he has proof or Owen flat out told him he did it on purpose, I don't see how that move could have been purposeful, The micro-expression that Owen makes right after he lands it, shows someone who just realized they made a potentially life ending mistake, not someone looking to steal a spotlight.

    2. I don't know the circumstances around Austin's life at the time. a Co-workers funeral could be pushed below a ton of life priorities. If we make a hypothetical assumption that Owen did hurt him on purpose, he's right to not attend, the man attempted murder if it was an on purpose botched Tombstone.

    3. Again - Hypothetical assumption hes holding a grudge and hated Owen; Don't say anything. Steve still is in the spotlight often, Broken Skull, Podcast, occasional RAW or ppv appearances. Arguing with a dead man is pointless, because the only thing Austin has to gain from this would be to lose.
     
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  8. Garak

    Garak Occasional Pre-Show

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    Considering how some of the Hart family have behaved, back then and now, I think Austin made the right choice. I am a huge Owen fan - my favourite of the entire Hard family, just about my favourite wrestler of the day. Austin had to do what felt right to him.

    There's nothing wrong with being angry at someone and not attending his funeral. As unfortunate as it is, we all have enemies, and in a big workplace, we're going to have workplace enemies.

    I won't comment on who's at fault here. I don't think Owen did anything intentional, but that's really not the point. Austin did what he felt was right, and was under no obligation.
     
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  9. EastCoastFan

    EastCoastFan Championship Contender

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    In his book, Austin has said he was pissed off over the whole incident, especially since Owen never came to apologize for screwing up and nearly ending his career (JR has said Owen felt badly about injuring Austin, but they never had "the talk" afterwards).

    He talked about how they were going over the match beforehand and the piledriver spot, and they argued over how Owen was supposed to do it - drop to his knees (Austin) or his butt (Owen). He also said that Owen was such a notorious ribber that he wasn't sure if Owen was playing around, or really thought he should do the piledriver like that.

    Either way, at the end of the chapter, Austin did say that, despite what happened between them, he was "very, very sorry" about Owen's death, so I don't think he holds that much of a grudge.

    As for whether or not Austin should have gone to the funeral, that was his choice. He's said he was never very close with Owen, so if he didn't feel a need to go, he didn't have to.
     
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  10. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    This is the most interesting response... went back and looked and yes... Owen DID look like he knew he'd fucked up, even with how he handled the botch pin... But the truth is that Austin probably bought into the Bret backstage hype at the time rather than truly believed Owen intended it.

    As for the "real life priorities" nah... Your co-worker just died horribly in public... you show up, even if he hurt you, be it inadvertently or not... you show up to prove no malice etc... you do it for your friends there who are in BITS he died, even if you personally aren't.... someone mentioned not liking their dad... I'll show up... only cos I know I get an open mic and the choice to say...or not say things. Austin had that choice but the Harts and the "boys" would have appreciated him showing up, talking or not...

    The one I disagree with is that everyone seems to be saying "keep quiet Austin"...WHY? At this point what good does it do other than preserve a falling star (Austin isn't really as big any more) He was known for being truthful and he has a chance now to take it out, before the 20 year vultures come looking... "I resented him and even hated him...but I hated he died... I couldn't put that into any meaningful form... I can now..." and that's all it takes from him... silence... just keeps it going... or is he THAT scared of Martha or more likely running into Oj or Athena and them asking him?
     
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  11. Big Nick Dudley

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    I don't recall Austin talking about why he didn't go to the funeral so it's hard to pass judgement.

    I will say, however, people tend to be rather fake when someone passes away. If Austin didn't care for Owen in life (not sure that's even true), he shouldn't attend the funeral.

    Owen was careless and apparently never apologized. If that caused Austin to dislike Owen, I think that was a fair way to feel.
     
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  12. Y 2 Jake

    Y 2 Jake Slightly Autistic

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    Austin doesn't attend funerals from what I read. Probably because it became quite time consuming with people from his erase.
     
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  13. MrMojoRisin

    MrMojoRisin Championship Contender

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    1) Was Austin right then to hold a grudge, even when he'd died as he did?

    Austin was a far different person back then from most accounts. He was on a pretty meteoric rise to the absolute peak of his profession, and the pressure and stress that came with that couldn't have been easy to cope with. Remember just a couple years earlier, he had been fired from WCW, and had never really been more than an upper mid card guy at best. He'd probably had a few questions about where his career was going, then all of the sudden, he's on his way to being the biggest thing since Hulk Hogan.

    That's pressure that none of us can relate to.

    So, he didn't handle everything as good as he could have, and he's probably the first guy today to admit that. Plus a sudden, tragic death like that is hard to handle. Austin didn't make his peace with Owen before he died, and now he would never get that chance. That's hard to deal with.

    So I don't know that he necessarily was holding a grudge still. He just dealt with Owen's death in his own way.

    2) Should Austin have gone to the funeral?


    I will never say anyone should go to a funeral, because everyone deals with death differently. I've never heard of any Hart holding ill will towards Austin, and they're the ones who's opinions on that subject matter the most.

    3) What does Austin do now? Does he admit his feelings then or stay silent? as it's not likely to make him look good either way.

    Is there anything he needs to say? His ex-wife wanted to say some things that may or may not even be true. That's all that happened.

    Austin would have understood better than most how private Owen was (they worked and travelled together for years). He probably gets that the last thing Owen would have wanted is people talking about this over and over. He probably gets that Owen's family doesn't want to keep hearing about it. Maybe the most respect he can show for Owen, and to show that he doesn't hold a grudge, and is at peace with Owen Hart, is to respect the privacy he craved, and not use Owen to keep his name in the spotlight?

    One story to keep in mind when hearing about the grudge Austin carried for Owen is this:

    A few months after the accident, Austin still wasn't cleared to compete, but was doing the circuit because the WWE needed him to sell tickets. Owen was doing a series of 'hardcore' matches with Mick Foley in his Dude Love character. And Owen and the Dude decided that they were going to have some fun and make these the most ridiculous 'hardcore' matches ever. Austin's role in these matches was to be at ringside in the Dude's corner, and their goal was to get him to break character and laugh every night. They'd do things like hit each other with bags of popcorn that Owen would sell like death. Almost every night, Owen and Foley would have Austin burying his head into his arms to hide how hard he was laughing.

    If Austin has that deep a grudge with Owen, I don't know that he's finding those antics so funny.

    Just a thought.
     
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  14. Wolf Pac

    Wolf Pac Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Except isn't that what Austin did on the Raw Owen Tribute show? He came out at the end of the show, toasted him and honoured him in front of the world on TV. What more do you want? A funeral is a different thing, that's private, it wasn't aired for TV, nobody was watching, so what did Austin have to prove? And isn't it also known that Austin didn't attend Brian Pillman's funeral, who was his former tag team partner? Austin probably didn't attend because he couldn't handle it emotionally, which is understandable in that situation and it's probably the same case for Owen's too. All this he carried a grudge for Owen is just speculation. No one knows how Austin thinks, not even Jeanie. Or if he did hold a grudge, which you can't blame him for, it's perhaps a combination of both. No one has any right to question Austin about it especially 20 years later. Austin hasn't said about a bad word about Owen since it happened, people should just be happy with that and move on instead of pestering him. If you were in the same situation, I'm sure you wouldn't appreciate people hassling you about it. He shouldn't have to answer to a bunch of thirsty online vultures just to satisfy them who will most likely twist his words even if he talks about it in a positive way and turn his word into a negative, ripping into him.

    Austin is anything but a falling star. He has two current long running reality TV series at the same time, Broken Skull Challenge and Redneck Island, one of which is currently getting reruns every day here in the UK on a popular channel called Dave, runs the biggest wrestling podcast out there, some of his straight to DVD films have been a huge sales success especially in the UK, he was on the Arsenio Hall show a couple of years ago, just recently he was the only wrestler to make it onto a countdown list of the 100 Toughest TV Badasses from the UK and US on ITV, and appeared in some recent notable films and TV shows, not to mention he still makes appearances for WWE here and there. If Austin gets any backlash for what he says about Owen, it might affect his post-wrestling mainstream success. I mean just look at Jesse Ventura's show, it got cancelled after his comments about Chris Kyle. Austin can only lose from speaking out.
     
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  15. FromGlasgow

    FromGlasgow Championship Contender

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    All we have is rumours, The only person to know for sure what went on is Austin himself and he stayed quite quiet on the subject, I think he done the right thing it doesn't do anyone any good to speak ill of the dead and completely false and hypocritical to pretend they were both best friends. To be fair his neck never really seemed the same after that injury and it happened at the worst time as his career was reaching its peak so I wouldn't blame Austin for having some hostility.
     
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  16. harrythem

    harrythem Championship Contender

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    1) Austin was pretty much on course to be the biggest star in the WWF by that point, if I'd gone through the shit he'd gone through to get there, I'd probably hold a grudge as think of the years of his career he lost due to Owen screwing up. Even after he died it still doesn't change what he took away from Austin and the extra money from his kids future and Austin's notoriously careful with his money.


    2) Should Austin have gone to the funeral?
    Nope, if you don't like someone where they're alive it's hypocritical to praise them in death. I didn't go to my great-grandmothers funeral because I disliked her when she was alive, wasn't going to go mourn her.

    3) What does Austin do now? Does he admit his feelings then or stay silent? as it's not likely to make him look good either way.

    Go down then "it is what it is. great worker, blah blah" route.
     
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  17. Just Do It

    Just Do It Getting Noticed By Management

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    Old wounds should stay just that. I'm sure it's still a sore spot with Steve, but honestly what good is it holding resentment at this point in time?
     
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  18. WWEWrestleFest

    WWEWrestleFest Pre-Show Stalwart

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    One thing that bugged me about the Raw after Owen died, even back then when I was watching it, they ended the show with Austin coming out and giving him a toast, and the show ended with a picture of Owen while Austin's music was still playing. I know he's the biggest wrestler on the planet at his point, but does his music really need to close out the show about Owen Hart? I know it probably wasn't intentional, but it still kind of bugged me.

    And an ironic thing was if Owen didn't injure Austin, there's a chance Austin wouldn't have gotten as big as he did. We know Vince McMahon has a history of shoving anything that's even slightly working down our troughs. But he couldn't do that with Austin because he couldn't wrestle. And that helped make Vince the bad guy because he "would let Austin wrestle." Sure, it took a few years off the back end of his career, but the injury really helped him reach the peak that he reached.
     
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  19. GameOver

    GameOver Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    If the MSG Curtain Call never happened there's a chance that Triple H woulda been in Austin's shoes, but regardless Austin was more then just a character so either way he woulda been on top
     
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  20. shooter_mcgavin

    shooter_mcgavin Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    1. ) Yes. Austin was close to being in the same condition as Darren Drozdov was. Also the fact that Owen never approached Austin and it was Owen that executed the move I would say yes.

    If I was working at a construction site and I was working with someone who I had to trust for my own well being and safety, becomes careless, almost got me paralyzed, and didn't approached me and paralyzed I'd be really angry at that guy too.

    2.) Should? Yeah I mean as bad as Austin had it and as close as Austin was to being paralyzed and how it cut his career much shorter, Austin still ended up being one of the biggest wrestling stars of all time and made a lot of Money out of it. Out of respect to, not just Owen but, for his family including Bret Hart (who Austin has a good relationship with) it would have been nice to do so.

    3.) Maybe he said something about this? There might be a podcast or shoot somewhere in which someone asked that question. Though I think Austin is at a very good place in his life so I guess he would be open to it if someone asked him about it.

    It probably doesn't help that Owen Hart didn't exactly have an iconic entrance theme they could play. I believe he had 4 entrance themes over the past 2 years (if you include his entrance with Jeff Jarrett).

    I guess the best option was for there to be no music

    Nah. I don't believe that one bit. When Austin couldn't compete 3 months he was entertaining sure with him stunning non-wrestlers and causing havoc and chaos but Austin probably would have done some amazing things in those 3 months if he could have wrestled (being both an IC and Tag Champ gets you over big at a time when titles meant something).

    Also with regards to Austin's character he was already huge around late 1997 and the extra push to get Austin the next level was his program with Tyson and Vince McMahon turning heel. And both of these would have happened w/o getting hurt or being sidelined since the Montreal Screw Job would have happened regardless and the WWE was in desperate need to get a celebrity like Tyson at WM.

    Austin said it plenty of items that he didn't want to put over Lesnar because it was done on free TV and felt that a match between him and Lesnar should be built up and done on PPV.

    Of course he was already frustrated beforehand since he felt the WWE was pushing him back to a #3 baby face behind The Rock and Triple H but Austin wasn't wrong since there was so much money on an Austin/Lesnar feud for Austin, Lesnar, and the Company.
     
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  21. AnthonyM4

    AnthonyM4 Getting Noticed By Management

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    Austin thinks Owen may have did that on purpose. That's his theory. In Martha Hart's book she actually did say that Owen did not like Steve personally, but of course didn't say that what her husband did was intentional. BTW, Undertaker didn't attend the funeral either and he was Owen's friend.
     
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  22. FlairFan2003

    FlairFan2003 Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Should Austin have attended the funeral ? Absolutely NOT. If he didnt like Owen & they were not friends why should he attend ?

    If Hulk Hogan died today should Brett Hart attend ? No, Hart to this day has serious dislike for Hogan and Hogan seems content not to make any attempts to reconcile.

    I havent seen any criticism of Ric Flair not attending Ultimate Warrior's funeral

    Hogan didnt attend Rick Rude's services did he ?

    Its insulting, not too mention disgusting for someone who is not friends and does not like them to mock them by attending their funeral, it mocks the sincere grief loved ones at the service have for the deceased.

    Now, as for Austin speaking now, no he should not. Wether he liked him or not Owen is dead, he has loved ones who miss him and he isnt here to defend himself. No reason for Austin to speak about him now, at least not in a derogatory light.
     
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  23. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    In the case of Rude's funeral, he didn't attend because Eric Bischoff was advised not to attend as the family had some heat with him (rightly or wrongly) and Eric chose not to put himself or them in that difficult position... If they had heat with Bischoff, you can guarantee they had it with Hulk for refusing to work with him point blank in 1990.

    Austin made his decision and it's difficult to fault him as we all make decisions at the time... however I still maintain that he had a role to play that day and that decision could be seen as a bad one just as much as a fair one.
     
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