One of the most infamous storylines during the Attitude Era was finding out who ran over Stone Cold Steve Austin at Survivor Series 1999. The angle was done to write Austin off TV for a while as he underwent neck surgery, but the big reveal of Rikishi being the one who drove the car was a bit underwhelming.
Bruce Prichard talked about the angle on his Something to Wrestle podcast and he admits that WWE Creative dropped the ball with the storyline.
“This is a prime example of what happens when you don’t start with the finish. What I mean by that is when you write a book, or you go to a movie, no matter what it is, if you are creating it with ending in mind you have to know that this is going to be the way to end it. Everything from the beginning, middle and end gets to the big finish,” stated Prichard.
“When they ran Steve Austin over they had no clue whether to get rid of Steve. They figured that we would figure it out when we got there. Along the way when we got to the point of getting hit with the car and who it was who ran him over with the car, everybody had an idea, which I don’t even remember who came up with Rikishi, and Vince McMahon loved it and thought that no one was going to guess that. Well, of course nobody was going to guess that because it makes no sense for Rikishi to be the guy who ran over Steve Austin, so then we force fed the whole storyline. Not a bright spot during our creative tenure during this time.”
It took 11 months for the big reveal to take place that Rikishi was driving the car that ran over Austin. Rikishi was more of comic relief than a main-eventer at that point and the fans reacted to the reveal accordingly.
“Good God, I seriously recall a groan,” Prichard said of the fan reaction to Rikishi’s reveal. “You can feel the air coming out of a building this time, when the reveal came and people were dumbfounded. They were waiting for that, come on, come on, who is it really? And it never came. I was involved in it and tried, but it sucked. It wasn’t one of our brightest spots, but we ran with it.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Something Else to Wrestle with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.