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Steve Austin turned down working with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8 (read description)

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Over the years I've engaged in many debates with those who asserted the reason a Hulk Hogan vs. Steve Austin match never occurred at WrestleMania X8 was because A) Hogan refused to do a job for Austin (despite the fact he did jobs for The Rock, The Undertaker, Triple H, Kurt Angle & Brock Lesnar that same year) and B) Rock was first choice to work with Hogan. It's time to lay these two fallacies to rest once & for all. I have always maintained that the reason the match never occurred was because Austin refused to work with Hogan. Wrestling Observer [28th February 2002] Sources claim Steve Austin was outspoken backstage for his dislike of face-pops the nWo received when making their entrances, bringing out the spray paint, & a lot of the "Rocky Sucks" chants returning loud & clear in the arena's during the Rock/Hogan promo. Wrestling Observer [28th March 2002] At first, Steve Austin had refused to work with Hogan upon his return to the WWF. Before signing, Hogan stated that he would have no problem at all putting over either Austin or Rock, basically meaning that he would gladly do a clean job for either or both of them at WrestleMania if given the match. Austin's decision not to work with Hogan may have hurt his star power a bit due to the fact that Rock got all of the hype as the all-time legend leading up to the event, while Austin was the “odd man out”. Many wrestlers felt that Austin made the right decision not to work with Hogan after seeing Hogan basically eat up Rock & take away a lot of his fan base for the moment that they were feuding. Austin then became so frustrated over creative, that even though the finish for his match with Scott Hall was changed during the week, he still got up & flew home after WrestleMania while missing the WWF television tapings that took place in Montreal & Ottawa the following two nights. Austin was scheduled to do just an interview on RAW & nothing more due to the main focus of the show being built around the Hogan & Rock vs. Hall & Nash match for that evening. RAW Magazine [February 2003] "When I took off for a couple of weeks after WrestleMania X8, I heard & read a lot of people saying it was because I was pissed off about the nWo coming in & because of my match at ‘Mania with Scott Hall. I really didn’t have a problem with the nWo. Me & Kevin Nash used to be riding partners. He’s a damn good friend of mine. When Hall & Nash were in WCW, they stirred up a lot of crap. The only one I heard that was a pile of trash was Hulk Hogan, because he’s a manipulator & does backstage politics; he’s proven that to this day." - Steve Austin [20th February 2005] “Austin did refuse to drop the IC title to Rock, & did refuse to work a program with Owen Hart & would never work with Jeff Jarrett. He also refused to work with Hogan at Mania in Toronto, which is why Rock got the match. I think he may regret that one since he wasn't hot on working with Scott Hall, which was what he ended up doing.” - Dave Meltzer Interview with Arda Ocal of The Score Television Network [November 2012] Austin on why he never wrestled Hogan: “It could have happened. I just never really wanted to wrestle the guy I guess. That's the most honest answer. That's a matchup that looks good on paper, but I don't think it would have looked that good once it got in the ring.” Powerslam Magazine issue 221 [February 2013] “Hogan knew precisely what he was doing at WrestleMania X8 deliberately stealing Rock's thunder & guiding the cheers his way. Hogan subtly did the same to Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI but against Rock it was blatant. Rock was played by the old master. It's feasible the same thing could've happened to Austin - McMahon's first choice to wrestle Hogan at WrestleMania X8. From what we understand this is one of the reasons Austin refused to wrestle Hogan.” - Fin Martin Powerslam Magazine issue 222 [March 2013] “You were offered a match with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8, is it a regret of yours that the match never happened?” Steve Austin responds “I was in a different place at that time, I tried to make that make happen in WCW & obviously I wasn't high enough on totem pole for him to consider it. When it came time to when it could of happened while I was in WWE when he came back there the timing wasn't right.” Powerslam Magazine issue 229 [October 2013] “When it comes to crowd control, Hogan from the second half of 1981, when he turned babyface in the AWA, through the remainder of his in-ring career was the greatest ever. No wrestler could read & work an audience better. Even Steve Austin wasn't willing to take Hogan on in 2002. Bret Hart should thank his lucky stars that Hogan chose to drop the WWF title to Yokozuna in summer 1993. In a babyface vs. babyface meeting, Hogan would have humiliated The Hitman.” - Fin Martin

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