I mean, think about this guy’s impact. Taking nothing away from his Attitude Era peers, think about things that you still get today. The “what?” chants are Austin’s doing.Every time you hear one, you have to think of Austin.
Austin made being anti-establishment cool. He disliked authority, and probably would feel the same about The Authority. You don’t see the kinds of things he used to do, anymore. No beer trucks down to the ring. No brawls from the middle of the ring and out to the city’s waterfront. No flinging of Championship belts into a body of water. No really cool custom championship belts, either.
Nowadays? No one would dare go that far (and yes, I know McMahon has final approval on scripts and such, but you don’t see it happening, do you?). Creative is in full control, like it or not. Either we’ve got control freaks running things, or there just isn’t a talent on the roster that deserves the carte blanche that so many Attitude Era stars had.
So can there be, is there, an Austin 2.0?
Yes, and no.
Yes, because I think some on the roster are capable of that. No, because no one needs to be someone else. Don’t want to be the next Austin. Be the first you.
So, who on the roster could be in that mold?
I see five guys who I think really lend themselves to that. Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt and Finn Balor. You might be able to make a case for AJ Styles or others, but I think the five I’ve listed have shown signs of being able to come up with things on their own. To ad-lib. To push the envelope. And, most importantly, to draw. As much as some might not have liked Rollins, the PPV he headlined were among the most fiscally strong for WWE last year. Was that all on Rollins? No. But let’s not diminish his role, either.
If you are Vince, and you see yourself building this next era on those five, much like the Attitude Era was built on the backs of Austin, Rock, DX and others? I think things compare favorably.
But who is Austin of that group? Who comes closest? I see that as either Rollins, or possibly Owens. I think both men could play either face or heel perfectly, and they both have an edge to them. There won’t ever be another Austin, but I think those two could be the Austin of their generation.
WNZ readers, who do you like in that role?