Though Rikishi ended up doing it for The Rock, a former WWE writer revealed another name that was pitched to run over Stone Cold Steve Austin at Survivor Series 1999!
Wrestling loves a good whodunnit, and one of the most infamous mysteries that played out on television took place when Steve Austin was run over by an automobile at Survivor Series 1999. Still advertised until the day of the show, Austin was injured and unable to compete at his scheduled WWF Title match against The Rock and Triple H, and having him run over was the in-show excuse for him being replaced by the Big Show.
The next year, Commissioner Mick Foley held an investigation to find out who’d run over Austin that fateful night, and in the end it was revealed that Rikishi had been the culprit (though it was later revealed that Triple H had masterminded the plot).
Speaking on The Ariel Helwani Show, former WWE writer Brian Gewirtz spoke about the infamous angle and revealed that Rikishi was not always meant to be the culprit behind the attack.
“Let’s see. How do I put this? The amount of people who were gonna freakin’ run over Stone Cold Steve Austin at some point, you know, you could fill a jury with them and have alternates. There were a lot of people and it kept switching. It was kind of like a hot potato.”
“I remember at one point Vince looked at me and was like, ‘Taz.’ At one point, it was gonna be Taz. Okay, great. Let’s make it Taz. Then, you know, for whatever reason, the next week, it’s someone different.
Continuing, Gewirtz explained that the decision to have Rikishi be revealed as the attacker wasn’t as successful as they’d hoped.
I wouldn’t call that necessarily a success. Rikishi is a Hall of Fame performer, but he’s likable and a natural babyface, and people want to like him. Sometimes you just don’t know until you try. Then ultimately, it was Rikishi, but Triple H was behind it all along, and you know, it went back to the natural order of things.”