Originally Posted by Frootbrute
Wrestlemania 2000 was definitely a misfire during a very hot time for the WWF with no single matches and a really weak main event. However, the next month was the terrific Backlash 2000, and the main event of that event including the ending with Stone Cold returning to lay waste to the McMahon Helmsley regime was so perfectly booked, I almost wonder if that was the original plan for WM but Austin wasn't fit to perform, hence the 4 way mess we did get with heel HHH going over. Does anyone know if this was the case or did they just want a bigger buyrate for the april PPV?
He wasn't fit at all. Rock was originally scheduled to get the strap at WM but they waited until Backlash and that main event, title change and Austin appearing to get a high buy-rate.
Austin only appeared at Backlash and then disappeared again until September 2000 when he made his proper return and they started the who ran over Austin storyline.
I haven't seen or read the reason behind Austin's temporary appearance at Backlash 2000 but I do have a theory. In January of 2000 JR did a piece for MNR interviewing Austin at his home and seeing how his recovery was going. In that interview Austin promised the fans he'd be back within 3-4 months.
I think his appearance at Backlash was likely down to a number of factors, but this promise that Austin made and wanting to keep was a large part of why he was on Backlash.
He wasn't ready to return even at that stage in April, his rehab went on for a further 5 months before making his full return.