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Would Vince have had his hands tied behind his back and be required to have Bret as the guy until Austin exploded?

Would WWF been able to survive? Who would Bret feud with if Shawn was gone

Taker, Austin who else?
 

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It's hard to say. Austin only got the push because HHH was being punished for the curtain call incident. If Shawn left, would that of still happened? Would Hall and Nash still be there> Austin might of never got the push. You would like to think Rock would still have gotten over. This is a really fascinating debate topic, with so many different outcomes.
 
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The Babyface of WF
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Tbh sounds like a possible nightmare that gladly didn't happen for a number of reasons.

-Replace Shawn with Bret who drew less as a Top guy but should be fine keeping the ship fairly stead for a while since Austin would still breakout as a future megastar who's crucial for WWF's survival.

-No DX who were an integral part of grooming the AE with Shawn serving as a chief antagonist for the Montreal Screwjob(Birth of the evil McMahon character) and passing the torch to Austin at WM14(It was either him or Bret)

-Bret still had the strong possibility of leaving depending on contract negotiations falling through but likely despite being the Top guy through 96-97 he still leaves for WCW for more money because I doubt his ego>financial stability(Unless his dislike for Shawn's influence over there prevents this somehow he may still make the jump)

-Vince would have to cook something up fast while losing consistently to WCW with some of these changes you are removing two important players before the AE truly took off on a hitch, This would be a tougher path for the WWF imo I'd feel optimistic pretending they would be fine in an alternate reality.

There's also a very possible chance the NWO could have been Shawn, Nash, Hall without Hogan being the third man too I read that a while ago in an archive but it sounds fairly plausible and would have completely changed the direction for WCW not capitalizing on the biggest star in the world of wrestling with the Heel turn, It could have been Kliq WCW version but an on screen presence as a group instead.

sounds like something I'd rather not have witnessed thankfully.
 

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Bret was the guy though? Like I've said before, I think they were building Ahmed Johnson to be the guy in 96-97. If anything I think they would have pushed him harder and faster if he stayed injury free in this scenario. Of course once Austin started rising in popularity in 97 he would have petered off regardless.
 

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I don’t understand at all. Shawn Michaels was ‘the guy’ for less than a year from Wrestlemania 12 till he lost his smile. I think WWE could have survived that stretch without him, sure. It’s not like business was good and they’d have lost anything but a few great matches. Who was the guy for like 2 years prior to that? Oh yeah, Bret. Something tells me he could have managed a year more.

Also, Bret was gone after Wrestlemania in 96 anyway, so if you’re suggesting that Shawn left when his buddies did I’m sure Vince would have just offered Bret the crazy contract he did a few months earlier and without Shawn around he’d have come back in a heartbeat.
 

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Depending on when he leaves, dictates what happens.

Does Triple H win KOTR 96 without the Kliq influence? Or is he still punished for the curtain call. If its the latter then Vader likely wins KOTR, as they had a special gown made for him. Without Shawn there to say no to losing to Vader, Vader becomes Brets main foe for the title. We also get a Taker/Vader programme and probably a rehash of Mankind/Vader.

Triple H likely goes back to WCW.

The NWO is essentially DX with Shawn, Nash, Hall, Triple H, Syxx and Ted DiBiase/Rick Rude.

With Hogan not turning heel, he doesn't sign a new contract with WCW and likely spends the rest of 96 looking for tv/movie work or wrestling in Japan.

Bret was originally the winner of Royal Rumble 97, but Vince changed it on the day to swerve the leak that got out. Without Shawn there, I imagine Vince isn't going to gamble on Austin and instead a returning Hulk Hogan wins Royal Rumble 97.

Remembering what happened a few years before, Bret lobbies against Hogan. Bret loses the title to Taker, so he doesn't have to lose to Hogan at Mania. Bret champions Austin and they feud for most of the year for the IC title, alongside Rocky. Bret reunites with the Hart Foundation against the Nation. Hulk feuds with Taker, Vader and Jerry Lawler who wins KOTR 97. He beats Taker in the 1st Hell in a Cell before facing Bret at Survivor Series. Vince tells Hulk that he owes Bret one and to take the pin and after much deliberation the Montreal Screw Job still happens except Bret is in on it. Bret turns baby face and Hogan turns heel as Corporation Hogan alongside Mr. Mcmahon.

Savage gets the series that he wanted to retire to, against Michaels. Flairs career is rejuvenated thanks to the love of Michaels and Triple H.
 

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I think they would have pushed Ahmed Johnson super hard. During late 1995/1996 it was clear they wanted Ahmed to be their world champion in a few years, Ahmed was super hot when he won the IC title and he probably would have gotten a world title title the next year had his dumb ass not gotten injured. His injury killed all his momentum and Austin took his place during his time away.
 

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Bret was the one who really got Austin over. HBK's my favourite wrestler, but Hart's match against Austin at WM 13 did more to get him over than beating Michaels for the title IMO. 95-97 was really a combination of Bret, Taker and Shawn collectively carrying the company.
 

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It's hard to say. Austin only got the push because HHH was being punished for the curtain call incident. If Shawn left, would that of still happened? Would Hall and Nash still be there> Austin might of never got the push. You would like to think Rock would still have gotten over. This is a really fascinating debate topic, with so many different outcomes.
I'm pretty sure Austin didn't get his big push in late 96 because of KOTR. He wrestled on the pre show at Summer Slam. Bret asked to work with Austin and that program is what catapulted him into the main event,
 

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Agree with those saying Ahmed was being groomed for the top spot, up until the point where he was obviously too injury prone while at the same time Austin became undeniable.
 

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Bret always felt like the bigger star even in 96 and early 97. Shawn's 96 babyface run was booked terribly and him being a grade A asshole didn't help either, the moment Bret returned he was automatically the top guy again. I think Shawn reached his full potential as a top guy when he turned heel in late 97, he was untouchable.
 
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Depends on when he leaves.

If it's after May 1996, when the infamous curtain call took place, I'd say the WWF's gonna be relatively fine. Austin would've still got the KOTR nod, his star would've still started to shine, Bret would've probably just returned earlier. More reliance on guys like Taker and Sid, too.
 

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I think if shaw was the third guy the nwo would of been over within 6-8 months as hogan would of feuded with them and been the wcw savior and hbk would of ended up in the cruiserweight division

Bret was always the guy in 96 when he came back shawn took time off anyway and wwe was fine without him then shawn did royal rumble 97 and bret carried wwe most of 1997 so wwe would been fine,
 

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Depends on when he leaves.

If it's after May 1996, when the infamous curtain call took place, I'd say the WWF's gonna be relatively fine. Austin would've still got the KOTR nod, his star would've still started to shine.
I agree that WWF would have been more than fine.

Vader was 2nd choice behind Triple H to win KOTR, not Austin. So that would have likely been the case, it also depends when Shawn leaves, because if he leaves not long after the curtain call, Vince would be in full on panic mode. Austin isn't getting a push in this case.
 

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I think if shaw was the third guy the nwo would of been over within 6-8 months as hogan would of feuded with them and been the wcw savior and hbk would of ended up in the cruiserweight division
Hogans contract was up for renewal around April/May time, he was advised to turn heel if he wanted a new contract. If Shawn ends up being the 3rd man then Hogan leaves WCW. If WCW sign Shawn on similar money to Hall and Nash, Hogan is also leaving.

There is no way in hell Shawn is ending up in the cruiserweight division, that's just a silly suggestion.
 

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Bret was barely the guy the entire time. The era started with Vince wanting Luger, then he tried Diesel, then Shawn. Bret was the fallback guy. If Shawn bolted they may turn to Ahmed. Bret would likely be putting someone over at 12 in any scenario. But it would eventually go back to him and he'd still have his feud with Austin.
 

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Not even a chance. Shawn was the top guy since WM 12, but if he left for WCW anytime in 1996 or 1997, Austin becomes the top guy.
 

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....but...up until Survivor Series Bret WAS the main guy.
No he wasn't. Shawn pinned Bret clean for the title at Wrestlemania that year.

You could argue that Bret was the bigger draw and you could be right, however booking-wise the company was geared towards Shawn. He was the WWF's poster child of 96 and 97
 

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Bret always felt like the bigger star even in 96 and early 97. Shawn's 96 babyface run was booked terribly and him being a grade A asshole didn't help either, the moment Bret returned he was automatically the top guy again. I think Shawn reached his full potential as a top guy when he turned heel in late 97, he was untouchable.
Well until that bald guy with a goatee got so over that Michaels was playing second banana to him. Untouchable was never a description of Michaels' overness. He was always over enough to be near the top but never over enough to truly be the guy and he was aware of that himself because anytime that he would slip in popularity he'd take a powder.
 
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