Would Austin have turned into the megastar that he was without the Bret Hart feud? Obviously the WM 13 match was a true classic, but I think Hart's annoying whiny persona really helped Austin get over. Bret Hart's character was a huge crybaby during that feud, and it obviously started to annoy the fans. Then you had Austin calling him out for his whining, which was a huge part of him getting over as a face. Bret Hart's character was so annoying that Austin got great material, and got the crowd behind him.
No way. He needed that feud. A lot of people say that it was the King of the Ring speech that made him a mega star, but truthfully, after KOTR, he went right on to being a curtain jerker with no direction and even got left off of Summerslam to do a Pre Show Match with Yokozuna.
The feud with Bret kept Austin in the lime light while it was going and helped to get his character more attention and ultimately get over like gangbusters. Also, working such a huge program with Bret gave him a hell of a rub as it was his first time really working with one of the top stars.
No. He wasn't doing much after the Austin 3:16 speech. Bret gave him the rub needed to get noticed on a larger scale and get the fans really interested in him. Without that Bret Hart feud, Stone Cold probably becomes nothing more than what Foley was, if that.
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Re: Austin without the Bret Hart feud
Quite simply, no, Austin would not have had such an accelerated on-ramp to superstardom without that feud. Moreover, the entire WWE needed that feud. It's fundamentally what kept them afloat in the present back in 1997 and what laid the foundation for everything that followed in their comeback against WCW in the Attitude Era. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart and The Hart Foundation is what paved the way to Austin's ascendancy, the entire WWE product becoming hotter and hotter with roguish babyface Austin and heel Canadian hero Hart as the spearhead with The Undertaker's reign and the birth of D-Generation X all conspiring to make WWE a drastically more compelling product than it had been pre-1997.
Austin/McMahon is what brought WWE back to its preeminent spot as the #1 pro wrestling company in America, but without Austin/Hart you don't get to Austin/McMahon.
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Nope. I always maintain that when someone wants to re-live the Attitude era, or experience it for the first time, they have to go right back to Bret/Austin.
Bret Hart did more for the Attitude era than will ever be recognised.
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I'll go on record and say the Austin/Bret feud was what improved WWE. That feud took them to the next level and I doubt any other guy on the roster would have helped gotten Austin over. HBK was unreliable and didn't want to job and was actually the only other star Austin even had a slight chance of getting over with and thriving off the more risque WWE programming but it wouldn't have happened because HBK was an asshole.
If Bret would have jumped ship in 1996, Austin wouldn't have succeeded as fast but the chance was always there.
That was Austin's (and Bret's) greatest feud. I don't think I could say that Austin wouldn't have been huge without the feud, but it put Austin in the spotlight and he excelled with it. Amazing feud with amazing matches.