One of the most infamous story twists or reveals in wrestling history has to be the “IT’S ME, AUSTIN” reveal of Vince McMahon as the “higher power” that was behind Undertaker‘s Ministry of Darkness. The move came at the end of several months’ worth of teasing, but it ended up being the same old authority figure, and reset the Mr. McMahon/Steve Austin feud. In retrospect, memes aside, it seems like the reveal was a missed opportunity and a bit of a letdown. But Bruce Prichard, who was serving as McMahon’s right-hand man behind the scenes at that time, said he had someone very specific in mind for the angle.
But first, if it’s been a while since you’ve seen the reveal of the greater/higher power, please enjoy the breakneck pacing of the Attitude Era:
On the latest episode of Prichard’s podcast, the former Brother Love revealed that he had someone lined up to play the higher power … and shockingly, the character was going to be used to reveal and launch a brand-new star, Christopher Daniels, who at the time was working all over the indies and in ECW, but had already developed his “Fallen Angel” gimmick of an evil priest. It certainly seems like a natural fit, and even an inspired choice, but Vince McMahon took one look at him and said, “Nah.” As Prichard tells it:
“The original idea was ‘The Fallen Angel’ Christopher Daniels. And then Vince saw him and said, ‘absolutely not’. [McMahon did not like Daniels’] size. [He] just didn’t see it.” Prichard continued, “Chris was working out in California and Chris was working indies and different things an I was a big fan of Chris Daniels too at the time. I liked the ‘Fallen Angel’ gimmick and I want to say we had Chris under a developmental deal for a little while. [He] just didn’t see it. He just looked at him and he didn’t see it. He was dead from the get-go.
“Height, height, height, and again, first impressions of Vince looking at him. And I don’t know where Vince saw him or what the presentation was at all, but all of a sudden, it was, ‘nope, not him — don’t have anything for him.'”
For the record, Daniels is billed at six feet even. McMahon is billed at 6’2. But it all came down to those couple inches, apparently. That’s why they refer to pro wrestling as “a game of inches.” It’s pretty wild to imagine how different wrestling — and specifically, Christopher Daniels’ lengthy career — would be if they had done with Prichard’s original plan. It’s totally possible that it would have flopped, and they would have pulled the plug on Daniels like so many other “sure-fire” main event performers before him. But it’s also possible we might be talking about “Christopher Daniels, [X-time] WWE Champion” right now. It’s possible!