For all of Shawn Michaels’ faults and issues in the 90’s, one thing he deserves a mountain of credit for is main eventing WrestleMania with a broken back in order to pass the torch to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and usher in one of the most popular eras in wrestling history.
But what if HBK isn’t able to tough it out and Austin has to challenge someone else? The Undertaker seems like he’s about the only other guy on the roster capable of main eventing a WrestleMania and he’s the only other former WWF Champion even on the show, but he’s occupied with the Kane saga. The Rock and Triple H both make sense but neither was really on that level yet.
Does it change the course of history at all if Shawn isn’t crazy enough to wrestle with a broken back? Or was Austin so white hot that they could have had Savio Vega replace HBK (again) and it wouldn’t have made a difference?
I think that if the situation with his back was at that level, push come to shove they would have put Hunter in the spot and let Austin squash him instead. But there’s no good answer honestly.