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What If… Part 1 by Tony Kegger

What If…..Part 1 Written (and linked) by Tony Kegger


What are the greatest moments in WWE history? When I see that question, I think of a lot of things. I think of Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant. I think of the epic Stone Cold “Austin 3:16” speech. I think of Mankind getting thrown off the top of the Hell In A Cell structure. I think of Stone Cold wearing a crimson mask while Bret Hart has him in the Sharpshooter. I even think of The Miz cashing in his Money In The Bank briefcase to become WWE Champion. Those are some of the greatest moments to ever happen in the WWE. They are also events that very easily could have never taken place. A lot of things could have prevented those things from happening and a lot of things DID almost prevent them from happening. I am going to present several “What Ifs” in this column and in future “What If” columns. First, all of these “What Ifs” are incidents that affected the WWE. I did not include any “What Ifs” that might have affected another wrestling company like WCW or TNA. Second, I only included “What Ifs” that had a really decent chance at actually happening. I’m not going to do a “What if The Rock was never born?” or “What if Vince McMahon didn’t make John Cena into the face of the WWE?” unless I found research that Rocky Johnson forgot to wear a condom or that Vince McMahon was originally against giving Cena a push. I also want to mention that you might notice a lot of “What Ifs” related to The Rock, Stone Cold and Shawn Michaels. It just so happens that they all have some really good “What Ifs”. This is part one of what will be a “What If” trilogy. These “What Ifs” are in order of when the events happened.

What if Hulk Hogan never appeared in “Rocky III”?

In 1980, actor Sylvester Stallone contacted Hulk Hogan and asked him if he was interested in being in Stallone’s next movie. Stallone was going to start shooting Rocky III and Hogan eventually met Stallone in a gym for an audition. If Hogan got the part, he would be cast as a professional wrestler so Stallone wanted to see how Hogan looked in a ring. Stallone liked what he saw from Hogan so he offered him a part in the movie. After meeting with Stallone, Hogan called Vince McMahon Sr. to tell him he would have to take a couple months off to do his role as “Thunderlips” in Rocky III. According to Hogan, McMahon said, “Terry, you’re a wrestler, not an actor. If you go do this Rocky movie, you’re fired and you’ll never work here again.” Despite what McMahon said, Hogan did the movie anyway. McMahon fired Hogan from the WWF like he said he would and Hogan went on to work for New Japan Pro Wrestling and the American Wrestling Association from 1980 to 1983. After Rocky III premiered in 1982, Hogan became very popular because the movie made a lot of money and people liked Hogan’s character in the movie. Soon after that, Hulkamania was born and Hulk Hogan became the biggest name in pro wrestling history. But what if Hulk Hogan listened to McMahon? What if Hogan decided working for the WWF was more important than a small part in Rocky III? Hogan didn’t become really popular until after Rocky III came out in 1982. Maybe Hogan would have become a popular superstar no matter what, but I think his role in Rocky III really helped his career a lot. If Hogan wasn’t in Rocky III, I think Hulkamania would have never happen and without Hulkamania, I’m not sure Vince McMahon Jr. would have created Wrestlemania and without Wrestlemania, the WWE wouldn’t be the very successful business it is today.

What if Hulk Hogan never joined WCW?

When Hogan left the WWF in 1993, he didn’t join WCW right away. The first thing Hogan did after leaving the WWF was star in a TV show called Thunder in Paradise. While Hogan was acting in the show, he considered himself retired from pro wrestling. In his autobiography “My Life Outside The Ring”, Hogan wrote, “I really thought I was done with wrestling. My reputation was so damaged, and I was just so hurt and tired.” The show was shot at the Disney Studios in Orlando which was ironically the same location where WCW taped their matches. Hogan was in Studio A and WCW was in Studio B. Soon Ric Flair and Eric Bischoff began visiting Hogan. They were able to convince Hogan to join WCW and Hogan had his debut match against Flair on July 17, 1994. Eventually Hogan became a member of the New World Order and WCW started killing the WWF in the TV ratings which forced the WWF to start the Attitude Era. What if Hogan stayed retired? That would mean no NWO which was one of the greatest wrestling stables of all-time, but more importantly, we might have never seen the Attitude Era. Without Hogan in WCW, the WWF may have continued to beat WCW in the ratings and they wouldn’t have needed to start the Attitude Era to compete with WCW’s more adult-friendlier product. The Attitude Era was what really made the WWF into a great company and where would the WWE be right now if the Attitude Era never happened?

What if WCW never fired Stone Cold Steve Austin?

In 1995, Steve Austin had to miss some time in WCW due to a torn tricep. It was taking Austin longer to get back in the ring than WCW had hoped so WCW vice president Eric Bischoff got Austin on the phone and told him that WCW had decided to terminate Austin’s contract due to the amount of days he was incapacitated. Steve Austin was badly used in WCW. He was part of a successful tag team with Brian Pillman known as The Hollywood Blondes, but his singles career in WCW was not great. Being fired from WCW was the best thing that could have happened to Austin. He first joined ECW, but then in late 1995, Austin joined the WWF. Austin started as “The Ringmaster”, but eventually became known as “Stone Cold” who went on to became arguably the greatest Superstar in WWE history. Would Steve Austin be able to rise to fame if he stayed in WCW? Probably not. Would Austin decide to leave WCW on his own eventually? I would hope so, but Austin mentioned in his book that he was making $300,000 a year at WCW. I think Austin knew what he was capable of, but it is hard for anyone in the pro wrestling business to walk away from $300,000 a year. Even if Austin did eventually leave WCW, when would that be? Would he stay with WCW until 1998? If so, that means no Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Wrestlemania 13 match. That means Austin 3:16 may have never been born. The only good news would be that it would have prevented Owen Hart from breaking Stone Cold’s neck. WCW’s loss ended up being the WWF’s huge gain. I do believe that if WCW never fired Steve Austin, we would have never got to see Stone Cold and there would be a good chance that WCW would have won the Monday Night War and put the WWF out of business.

What if The Rock was able to make it to the NFL?

When The Rock was in college, he played football for the University of Miami. Although The Rock came from a pro wrestling family, The Rock’s biggest passion when he was younger was football. The Rock’s goal was to play in the National Football League. When The Rock failed to get drafted or signed by an NFL team after graduating from college in 1995, The Rock joined the Canadian Football League. The Rock was hoping to play in the CFL until a team from the NFL decided to give him a chance, but he never received an offer from an NFL team. The Rock was assigned to the practice squad when he joined his CFL team and after the season, the team told him someone would be taking his spot next year. The Rock’s short football career was over and he didn’t even try to get his job back because he was making very little money in the CFL. The Rock decided to give up his dream of becoming an NFL player and tried to become a professional wrestler instead. His career switch ended up being a great decision for The Rock and he ended up becoming a bigger pro wrestling star than his father Rocky Johnson and grandfather Peter Maivia. WWE fans should be happy that The Rock didn’t land a job in the NFL. If he did, we would have never got to see one of the most entertaining Superstars in WWE history. We would have never got to see the epic Rock-Austin rivalry, and right now, the WWE would still be trying to decide who would be John Cena’s opponent at Wrestlemania 28. I think it is highly unlikely we would have ever seen The Rock in the WWE if he had a career in the NFL. The Rock is my favorite WWE Superstar of all-time so I am very happy The Rock never made it to the NFL.

What if Kurt Angle didn’t win a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics?

People may not know this, but Kurt Angle barely won his Olympic gold medal. His gold medal wrestling match at the 1996 Summer Olympics against Abbas Jadidi from Iran ended in a one-one draw. There was no sudden death overtime afterwards. The tie was broken by a decision by the officials. The officials decided that Kurt Angle wrestled the best and that’s how Angle won his gold medal. What if Kurt Angle didn’t win? What if the officials awarded the gold medal to Jadidi? Would Angle decide to try again for the gold in the next Summer Olympics in 2000? If so, would we have ever seen Kurt Angle in the WWE? Let’s assume that despite not winning the gold medal, nothing else changed in Kurt Angle’s life which means that he still would have debuted in the WWF in 1999. Without his gold medal, Kurt Angle isn’t introduced as an Olympic gold medalist. The fact Angle had a real gold medal from the Olympics was a huge part of Angle’s gimmick. Without the gold medal, Kurt Angle is just another ordinary pro wrestler and there would be no guarantee he would have had a Hall of Fame worthy career. One decision by a group of Olympic officials not only decided Kurt Angle’s gold medal fate, but that decision might have also affected the rest of Kurt Angle’s professional career.

What if the MSG Incident never happened?

One of the most famous non-kayfabe moments in WWE history is the Madison Square Garden hug by The Kliq also known as the MSG Incident. The Kliq was an unofficial stable in the WWF. They were a group of real-life friends. The members were Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kevin Nash (aka Diesel), Scott Hall (aka Razon Ramon), and Sean Waltman (aka 1-2-3 Kid and later X-Pac). In 1996, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were going to leave the WWF and join WCW. The MSG Incident happened on May 19, 1996. Shawn Michaels faced Kevin Nash in a cage match at a house show. At the end of the match, Triple H and Scott Hall entered the ring and the four of them had a group hug. Vince McMahon was not happy this happened because Nash and Triple H were heels at the time and Michaels and Hall were faces. McMahon did not want fans to see the good guys and the bad guys hugging each other. So McMahon had to punish someone. He couldn’t do anything to Hall or Nash because they were leaving the company soon. Michaels was the WWF Champion and one of his biggest stars so McMahon couldn’t do anything to Michaels either. The punishment went to Triple H. According to several sources, Triple H was originally going to win the 1996 King of the Ring. After the MSG Incident happened, it was decided that Stone Cold would win the King of the Ring instead. At the 1996 King of the Ring, Stone Cold defeated Jake “The Snake” Roberts in the finals and then uttered what is arguably the greatest quote in WWE history:

“You sit there and you thump your Bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn’t get you anywhere! Talk about your psalms, talk about John 3:16. Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!”

After that “Austin 3:16” was born and Stone Cold was one step closer to becoming a WWE legend. So what if the MSG Incident never happened? Triple H would most likely be the 1996 King of the Ring and he might have won the WWF Champion a little bit earlier than 1999. More importantly however is that “Austin 3:16” would have never been created. It’s just a nickname, but fans started bringing “Austin 3:16” signs to live events after that and Stone Cold’s popularity grew a lot. Without “Austin 3:16”, maybe Stone Cold never becomes a WWE Hall of Famer. That one quote had a huge impact on the rest of Stone Cold’s career and I can’t imagine how his career would have ended if he never had the chance to deliver that promo after winning the King of the Ring tournament.

That’s it for part one. Part two will focus on “What Ifs” from the beginning stages of the Attitude Era.

  1. Capt. Smooth
    May 23, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Great idea! Makes me think, but now brain hurts.

    • May 24, 2011 at 7:58 am

      Mines too. I just ate some snickers icecream for breakfast and got brain freeze, yumz.

  2. Max
    May 23, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I liked how you would book things but this is great also. Looking forward to part 2 and 3 of this.

    • May 24, 2011 at 7:59 am

      Me too 🙂

      • May 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm

        I’m going to start working on part 2 soon but I already have all the topics for the final two parts. I can say that the Hart brothers (Bret and Owen not Ace and Jack) are gonna get mentioned a lot in the next part.

        • May 24, 2011 at 7:59 pm

          Cool. I used to love the Bret vs Owen feud. I like how you link stuff 2 cuz I always try to fact check everything I post and that makes it alot easier.

          I thought Hogan got the Rocky 3 part because of Hulkamania not the other way around so that was info I didn’t know. I also remember Thunder in Paradise. Alot of people talk crap on that show but from what I remember I actually liked it.

          • May 24, 2011 at 8:32 pm

            Yeah it’s the opposite way around. I think the story is that the movie needed a guy to play the professional wrestler part and a relative of one of the producers or something like that was a wrestling fan and suggested that Hulk Hogan would be a good choice. I’m pretty sure the info about how Hogan was recommended to Stallone was discussed in Hogan’s first book. Hogan had no plans on being in the movie or in any movie before Stallone contacted him so I would say he was really lucky to get the part.

  3. Ana_ZackPack
    May 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I liked this a lot. The what if that is more important, in my opinion, is the first one. It doesn’t matter if you like Hogan (I don’t), but this guy put wrestling in the map like anyone else did.

    • May 23, 2011 at 1:39 pm

      I agree that one is the most important. However, I think my favorite of Part 1 is the MSG Incident. That is a great “What If”…..something as little as a hug is what helped make Stone Cold a legend.

      • Capt. Smooth
        May 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm

        What if Simon Dean flopped?

    • May 24, 2011 at 8:00 am

      If it wasnt Hogan it would have been the Macho Man “OOOOHHHHH YEEEAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!

  4. May 23, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    What if Tony Kegger had never written what if column? Just kidding, I really enjoyed this article, I thumbed through it the other day on your website because I was busy rushing through my day, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this style of article. Keep em coming, can’t wait till next weeks.

  5. Mr.Redlight
    May 23, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    this is pretty cool.

  6. MEek3rz
    May 24, 2011 at 4:59 am

    this was pretty cool

    • May 24, 2011 at 8:02 am

      I spit in the face of people who don’t think this is cool 🙂

      • Mr.Redlight
        May 24, 2011 at 3:51 pm


        • Capt. Smooth
          May 24, 2011 at 3:57 pm


  7. May 24, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    It sure beats starring in Mr. Nanny (The original “ToothFairy”)

    okay I re-read my book and the story is that Stallone was watching a wrestling show and saw Hogan throw three guys at once. So he calls his casting director and tells her he saw a guy who would be perfect for the Professional Wrestling role he was trying to fill. Neither Stallone or the casting director knew who Hogan was but luckily the casting director’s brother was a wrestling fan. The brother knew who Hogan was and eventually he became Hogan’s agent.

    Also worth mentioning: If Hogan wasn’t in Rocky III, he would have never met his ex-Wife Linda (the mother of Nick and Brooke Hogan). The only reason Linda noticed Hogan was because she just saw Rocky III and recognized Hogan when she saw him in public.

    • May 24, 2011 at 9:37 pm

      So Rocky 3 is the reason I became a wrestling fan and don’t even know it. Nice.

  8. May 25, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Holy crap….something people have been waiting to see has finally been released! No I’m not talking about Osama Bin Laden’s death photo….this is more important! This is what Mick Foley fans have always wanted to see….the video of Foley losing his ear! I didn’t know it existed but it does!

    • May 25, 2011 at 5:53 am

      Mick Foley was nice enough to provide play-by-play for the video:


      • Capt. Smooth
        May 25, 2011 at 5:59 am

        Wrestling’s fake!

        • May 25, 2011 at 6:08 am

          This is really big…this is one of those videos I always was interested in seeing but assumed I would never see it. I guess it’s a little creepy to admit I was hoping to see a video of someone losing their ear but it’s a historic event and people do watch stuff like this. I’m sure people would be tempted to see Owen Hart’s death video if it ever leaks (I have no doubt footage exists…I just don’t think we’ll ever see it).

          • Capt. Smooth
            May 25, 2011 at 6:12 am

            I wouldn’t want to watch it.

            • May 25, 2011 at 7:25 pm

              Nice, I always wanted to see that too and If the Owen tape was ever released I would watch it out of curiosity. That moment is too historic for me to say I wouldn’t.

  9. May 26, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    I noticed that the WrestleZone forums already has a “What if Edge didn’t retire?” thread.


    For the record, I am not going to have that as a question for any of my future “What If” columns…at least for now. It’s way way way too early. I guess if Edge didn’t retire, Christian wouldn’t be the WHC or maybe Orton wouldn’t be on Smackdown but Christian still may get his title back someday and it’s too early to guess how important it is for Orton to be on Smackdown right now.

  10. October 25, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.

    Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the
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  11. October 28, 2012 at 5:37 am

    Wow! At last I got a webpage from where I can truly obtain helpful facts regarding my study and knowledge.

  1. June 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm
  2. June 22, 2011 at 9:18 pm
  3. November 23, 2011 at 5:26 pm

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