At Survivor Series 1999, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was run over by a car in the parking lot.
This took him out of the main event match at the show, where Triple H was set to defend the WWE Championship against Austin and The Rock.
In actuality, Austin needed writing off TV to have neck surgery, from a broken neck suffered at the hands of Owen Hart at Summerslam 1997.
The identity of the attempted assassin was kept quiet for 11 months, until Austin returned ad Rikishi revealed he ran over Steve Austin in the parking lot.
This cemented Rikishi’s first heel turn in the WWE in years, ending his incredibly popular association with Too Cool and stopping the dancing gimmick that made him a star in the WWE.
Rikishi later revealed that he “did it for The Rock”, although later on Triple H was named as the man behind the attack.
If you thought that Rikishi’s heel turn was a bad idea, then you’re not alone – Rikishi also thought the heel turn came too soon for him.
Rikishi’s Heel Turn
Rikishi has shed some light on his heel turn in 2000, claiming that he wasn’t ready to turn on Austin and become a heel in the WWE.
In conversation with the WrestleSlam Podcast, the WWE Hall of Famer opened up about his heel turn, and being the man who hit Steve Austin with a car at Survivor Series 1999.
The Samoan claimed that he “wasn’t ready” to turn heel, having finally found his grove as part of Too Cool, an uber-babyface group the regularly danced in front of the crowd.
Speaking on the podcast, Rikishi also revealed that, while he didn’t he was ready to turn heel, it was the right time for the character to turn, and he got him put into the main event of the WWE for the first time.
“I wasn’t ready to be revealed as the person who was behind that, behind the wheel there because at the time I was doing Rikishi, Rikishi explained,
“After so many characters, you finally find one that sticks and I was a babyface, really just starting to catch fire. During that time there, we were very slim pickings on a lot of heels so when the opportunity came up as far as switching over as the bad man, I kind of thought that was my time to be able to work with guys like Stone Cold, The Rock and a lot of the other babyfaces because you had so many of us.”
“I didn’t even think that they thought the Rikishi character was going to come up to that level,” Rikishi continued,
“It was just something that happened overnight, that fans loved it and they stuck with me and supported me and before you know it, I was at the top at the main event with everybody else. So that is why it was the right time for the character Rikishi to turn Rikishi the bad man.”
Rikishi wrestled Stone Cold Steve Austin at No Mercy 2000, but that match ended in a no contest.
Despite being a No Holds Barred match, Austin was attempted for trying to run over Rikishi with his truck – getting revenge on Rikishi was trying to kill him nearly a year prior.
What did you think about Rikishi’s heel turn? Tell us your thoughts in the comments, or click below to read about the worst heel turns of all time.