The legendary manager to the stars, Jim Cornette, has given his opinion on why the fabled Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan match never occurred in WWE.
While both Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan existing in the same company, at the same time for a very minimal amount of time in 2002 – Hogan and the NWO even beat-down and spray painted ‘The Texas Rattlesnake’ at No Way Out that year – the pair never came face-to-face in the middle of the ring for one reason or another.
While Jim Ross believes that it was a matter of pride and egos getting in the way for both men, Jim Cornette believes that it was more a matter that not only would neither man agree to take a loss, but also there was no feasible scenario where Hulk Hogan could have believably triumphed on an episode of his popular Drive-Thru podcast:
“Well the reason why it never happened was because Hulk Hogan…there was never a position in time where Hulk Hogan could have won that match. You think Hogan was going to do the f***ing job for Austin? Austin is probably proud of and rightfully so that he’s the one major guy that never laid down for Hogan and I honestly believe because of the difference, The Rock could get away with doing the job for Hogan a lot easier than Austin could.”
Despite the fact that The Rock never actually lost to ‘The Immortal One’ in either of their meetings – WrestleMania 18 and No Way Out 2003 – Cornette went on to point out that theoretically, it would have been easier for Dwayne Johnson to look at the lights because of his character than Stone Cold:
“Because of The Rock’s personality, because the way they just went with that and had that match. Honestly, I don’t think Austin could have pivoted and switched to the point that The Rock was able to do in that match when he saw that the people were just going that way because Steve would have had to have been more like Steve Austin to be Steve Austin. I think it would have been a disappointment if he had started to do the stuff that Rock did. Austin’s got a badass streak but he doesn’t have a smart-ass streak. The Rock has that f***ing grin and that f***ing pie-eating look and that f***ing smart-ass streak and he can by like that just subliminally in the people’s heads. I think Hogan insisting on beating Austin would have hurt Austin more than Hogan beating The Rock because both them really came out of it fine.”
However, had the bout been able to be established, Cornette believes that it would have drawn a mega gate, arguably the likes of which professional wrestling had never seen:
“The thing is, Austin didn’t ever have to do it, there was no business reason for it to be done, and Hogan didn’t miss that match because he missed the pay-off, he missed that match because it’s the one checkmark he didn’t get to get. If Hogan had been willing to do a job for Austin, then maybe Austin would have gone for it and they could have had that match and drawn the gate – because it would have been a mega f***ing gate – but he didn’t have to.”
While The Rock got the historic match against Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8, Austin would go on to face another member of the legendary NWO in Scott Hall at the same event even though the bout paled in comparison as far as hype and excitement to a fantasy warfare that was decades in the making.
Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan did do battle in tag team action, however, when the former teamed with The Rock to battle the NWO on Monday Night Raw prior to the eighteenth edition of ‘The Grandest Stage of Them All.’
Credit for the interview: Jim Cornette’s Drive-Thru