I know it might seem mean to say this was a bad idea, since, hey, this segment is technically iconic. However, all the appreciation for this moment is when it's stripped totally out of context. People love this the 'Higher Power' reveal because of Vince McMahon's facial expression, the way he says "It's me, Austin," and Jim Ross' exclamation of "Aw, sonofab*ch."
But the storyline which culminated with scene? Crap. And it's indicative of the "write week-to-week" crash TV style that Russo is famous for.
In mid-1999, Undertaker was leading the largest faction in the company: The Ministry of Darkness. Soon, it joined forces with Shane McMahon and The Corporation, and the merged forces were wreaking havoc on WWE - particularly Vince. They went as far as kidnapping a young Stephanie and holding her for ransom. Vince was driven to the point of begging his arch nemesis Steve Austin for help.
Promising start! However, 'Taker soon revealed that he was under the guidance of a higher power. Eventually, that was revealed as... Vince McMahon.
According to Bruce Prichard, Russo's original plan was to debut a then-unknown Christopher Daniels in the role. When Vince nixed that idea, Russo's backup plan: nonsensically contradict months of storytelling.
Look, there's being backed into a corner, and then there's having an idea you know won't make it past pitch, and having no suitable contingency plan.