Wrestlemania 15: Undertaker vs Steve Austin
Yes, I know that the title of this never happened. This thread is really a question on if the WWE had any long term planning in place for Wrestlemania 15. I'm sure McMahon didn't expect to lose both Bret Hart and Michaels in a span of 6 months, but it's clear that Austin was going to get pushed.
It's obvious Austin was always going to headline Mania 14. He was being pushed since before Mania 13 as the next top guy, getting a title shot as early as Final Four 1997. Michaels caught the back injury at Royal Rumble '98. I'm sure they knew he was gone for a while.
So if I'm McMahon in March 1998, I'm looking at a few guys to Main Event 15.
Undertaker, Mick Foley being the easy front runners. Kane, Owen Hart and HHH being long shots. Faarooq and Ken Shamrock being far, far long shots, but wouldn't been completely out of the question if the Nation kept strong.
Shamrock never moved up the card, Faarooq was replaced by the Rock as the leader of the nation and eventually repackaged completely. So that would've ruled them out.
Owen never screamed main eventer, let alone WM Main eventer, but the backstory of breaking Austin's next could've helped his chances.
HHH was given a leadership role of a stable and in a years time with proper booking could've been a strong option. In reality in only took him two years.
Kane would've been a strong monster, by WM15could've been a serious contender.
Still, the only concrete options by WM14 to look at would've been Mick Foley and Taker. Even Foley hadn't touched a world title until January of the next year.
So Undertaker would've been the closest thing to a lock, if planning a year ahead.
There's no way to think that from WM14 The Rock would've main evented. He was just a midcard heel and not even the head of the Nation yet. Granted, he had a singles match at WM14 and Faarooq didn't.
But instantly after Austin wins the belt at 14, he's put in a program against Foley, and then Undertaker. Pretty much eliminating them from being a WM15 threat.
So does anyone know if there was any long term booking plans? Or did Michaels injury throw them off so much that they didn;t have a clue and The Rock happened to start really getting over.