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Lucy Snorebush
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I've been watching WWF 2001 the past few weeks and a few days ago I arrived at the wCw invasion (which is just after Austins heel turn and before he turns into a lunatic).

Why did they decide to turn him into a snivelling, emotional idiot? The heel turn is generally considered a black spot on his star-shining career but was actually going very well before he started giving McMahon hugs and fighting for his affection with Kurt Angle.

Originally after McMahon and Austin screwed The Rock at WM17 the heel turn was great and Austin pulled it off to a tee. You had the standard "I did everything for the fans but now they mean nothing to me, I sold out" heel and Austin did a great job in doing it, he was getting massive pops of boos and got incredibly over as a heel with the beat down on J.R during an interview segment in the ring.

It was going all so well, they ran a huge risk in turning their second best face in the company behind Rock at the time a heel and it paid off. Then suddenly they turn Austin into this emotional idiot, always hugging Mc Mahon and fighting for his affection with Angle. Now these segments are hilarious and I've laughed a few times out loud re-watching them, for example:

But it's the fact that Austin went from kicking everyones ass, even as a heel to this weird character. The most frustrating thing is that him (and Angle) were so brilliant at playing these characters anyway, that you couldn't really fault the writers at the time.

For the record I loved Austins heel turn, including the comedy character seen above, it's just a bit weird seeing such a drastic and to be honest, needless character change.

What's your take on Austin as a heel? Should they have kept with the original plan for his heel character, should they even have turned him heel?
 

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He was struggling until HHH got injured and they put him with Angle.
Austin and Kurt had amazing chemistry, segments, promos and matches. i also loved his psychic, obsessed character.
Wrestling wise? the best year in Austin's career.
 

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Heel Austin is underrated. He was absolutely HILARIOUS. And he wasn't really much of a pushover either concerning the Alliance, considering he was pushing all of them around, throwing hot coffee at them, interrogating them and bad-mouthing them. All the badass shit you'd expect from Austin. But of course since he was heel, he had to show a bit of cowardice about the top faces of the WWF, the Undertaker and the like. But he still whooped a shitload of ass and dominated the majority of the roster. Of course he was better in the 2-Man-Power Trip with Haich, but in the Alliance storyline he still played a great role.
 

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Austin's heel turn was a complete triumph. He made a seamless transistion from a cold-blooded bad ass to a paranoid nutjob. The story was well told and it all began when Triple H ran him over. After he made his comeback, he felt he needed to be more ruthless, so alligned himself with the sickest bastards on the roster, HHH and McMahon.
His work with Michael Cole legitimately creeped me out, you can really hear the hatred in his voice:


His work in 2001 was some of the best of his career. The face persona was getting a little stale and he needed a change. His metamorphisis was shocking and may have alienated some fans. But from a creative standpoint, it got me very, very excited about WWE, even whilst the Invasion angle floundered and died.
 

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Heel Austin is underrated. He was absolutely HILARIOUS. And he wasn't really much of a pushover either concerning the Alliance, considering he was pushing all of them around, throwing hot coffee at them, interrogating them and bad-mouthing them. All the badass shit you'd expect from Austin. But of course since he was heel, he had to show a bit of cowardice about the top faces of the WWF, the Undertaker and the like. But he still whooped a shitload of ass and dominated the majority of the roster. Of course he was better in the 2-Man-Power Trip with Haich, but in the Alliance storyline he still played a great role.
I agree completely. Austin had been the top face for over three years at that point. How much longer before the crowd turned on him if he just stayed the same? Change was needed, and we got hilarious segments out of it. Austin becoming an emotional coward was great entertainment. Wearing a cowboy hat, playing guitar, and trying to get Vince's attention. (Austin / Kurt trying to out do each other for Vince's attention is fucking hilarious.)

Austin having his feelings hurt and hugging Vince was always funny, but I see where people are coming from in saying that it ruined him. Honestly, who could not like this:

 

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one of the greatest heels in wrestling, pretty much. he was doing the same kind of thing as a face(and even does the same character still, now) he really needed a change up. he was paranoid, a bully, intimdating, HILARIOUS. and he even came up with the what gimmick, legendary.

i was disapointed that it didnt last longer.
 

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You're better than that Cole.
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2001 was Austin’s rejuvenation year of being a excellent wrestler in the ring (and character for that matter) for the last time. Austin was the total package and I was highly entertained from him that year. He clearly showed he wasn’t a one dimensional (I don’t know why the guy on the 1st page would say that nonsense) character.
 

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Asuka
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austin can only play one dimensional character, he isnt talented enough
And yet somebody so untalented drew more money in one month than Jericho in his entire midcard career. Funny how that works.

I hated Austin's heel turn. Having said that, he pulled off the character great, and was extremely believable. I've said it before, but he was one of the rare few guys, like Eddie Guerrero, who would go into psycho mode and actually felt like real psychos. When I watch Randy Orton or Edge go into psycho mode, I'm very aware that I'm watching a performance, and that takes away from the enjoyment of the outburst (well, in Edge's case, at least. I just plain don't like Orton no matter what, lol). Austin honestly had the feel of a genuine psychopath.

The problem was, nobody wanted to see him be a heel. He was too cool to be a heel, everybody wanted to cheer him and have him tear shit up and kick Vince's ass and all that shit. Sure, they did it before but it was more entertaining than anything in the business. I couldn't boo him because he was just too great. It never should've happened, Austin admits that himself, and having the heel turn in Texas where he got CHEERED for bashing Rock repeatedly with a chair was just ridiculous.
 

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And yet somebody so untalented drew more money in one month than Jericho in his entire midcard career. Funny how that works.

I hated Austin's heel turn. Having said that, he pulled off the character great, and was extremely believable. I've said it before, but he was one of the rare few guys, like Eddie Guerrero, who would go into psycho mode and actually felt like real psychos. When I watch Randy Orton or Edge go into psycho mode, I'm very aware that I'm watching a performance, and that takes away from the enjoyment of the outburst (well, in Edge's case, at least. I just plain don't like Orton no matter what, lol). Austin honestly had the feel of a genuine psychopath.

The problem was, nobody wanted to see him be a heel. He was too cool to be a heel, everybody wanted to cheer him and have him tear shit up and kick Vince's ass and all that shit. Sure, they did it before but it was more entertaining than anything in the business. I couldn't boo him because he was just too great. It never should've happened, Austin admits that himself, and having the heel turn in Texas where he got CHEERED for bashing Rock repeatedly with a chair was just ridiculous.
Damn straight. I mean was this AMAZING or what.

 

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I absolutely hated the 2001 heel turn, it was born from a desperate need to shock the fans for shocks sake, no way would Austin ever align with Vince after what he did to him (other than saving the WWF from the Invasion) and Vince's problem with Austin in 98 was he wasn't corporate enough, he drank beer, he swore and he didn't dress like a Champion, that didn't change in 2001 so it's unrealistic to think Vince would want him
 

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it was actually pretty hilarious, but it failed to do what it should have. everything that happened after Triple H got injured in 2001 is pretty much an ugly clusterfuck. had the two man power trip continued with two fucking maniacal badass heels obsessed with winning, power, titles and inflicting damage upon the roster it would have been quite successful.


btw they shouldn't have turned Austin heel. he was outpopping the fuck out of The Rock leading to WrestleMania.
 

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I'm sorry, but as a huge Austin mark watching him kick ass and destroy everyone in sight for years, watching him crying and literally begging Kurt Angle not to throw him off a bridge made me absolutely sick. That comedy-heel run tarnished his legacy a bit for me.
 

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He was struggling until HHH got injured and they put him with Angle.
Austin and Kurt had amazing chemistry, segments, promos and matches. i also loved his psychic, obsessed character.
Wrestling wise? the best year in Austin's career.
Wow, Rock316AE, you and I see eye to eye on something.

Austin as a face was great, but the heel turn was just as entertaining for me. By then there was so much talent, it didn't even matter, anyway, but hell did Austin pull it off and keep the limelight. The first part of it was great, where he teamed with HHH to make THE most devastating duo I'd ever seen. Then it was Austin and Angle. Looking back on it now, I can see that Austin is a fine actor. Yes, I said it. The writers really got into this comedy stuff with the Austin character and the guy pulled it off perfectly without at all destroying his character. We used to laugh and say, "Yeah, Austin has become a complete tool, but he's still f***'n Austin and it'll be a bastard getting that title off him."

And as far as wrestling was concerned, that guy had some of the greatest matches I've ever seen of his. Benoit vs Austin I. Benoit vs Austin II. Angle vs Austin. And these that I've mentioned were just TV matches. PPV quality for free! His obssession with the title, his psycotic ways, quite subtly played for a wrestling gimmick.

Another important thing that did for us casual fans, was make us see Benoit and Angle as faces and subsequently open our eyes to just how ridiculously, INHUMANLY amazing these guys were in the ring. I didn't know who RVD was until Invasion, but the more I saw his matches coupled with the fact that when Austin defected to the Alliance, he was jealous of RVD, I grew to love him. It was like he was putting over RVD in a way, I guess.

Face Austin was perfect for Vince Mchmahon, and he was perfect for the Ministry/Greater Power stuff, but heel Austin was perfect for the time too.
 
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