The 411 Wrestling Top 5 9.19.12: Week 189 – Top 5 Worst Triple H Feuds
Posted by Larry Csonka on 09.19.2012
From his recent feud with Brock Lesnar and his WrestleMaina 19 feud with Booker T to his feuds with Randy Orton, Kane and more, the 411 staff breaks down the top five worst Triple H feuds of all time!
Hello everyone and welcome to 411 Wrestling's Top 5 List. What we are going to is take a topic each week and all the writers here on 411 wrestling will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic, plus up to three honorable mentions.
So, on to this week's topic…
TOP 5 WORST TRIPLE H FEUDS
Disclaimer: Being as by it's very nature this column is going to be pretty negative about Triple H, I'd like to say I'm a big fan of his and think he's made a good contribution to wrestling. You wouldn't be able to tell from the following five paragraphs though.
5. Triple H vs. Scott Steiner - This feud was never going to be one for the ages, but I don't think anyone expected it to be the prolonged disaster it was. After debuting in exciting fashion at the 2002 Survivor Series, Steiner was rushed to the main event scene for a tussle with Triple H in time for the 2003 Royal Rumble. It was a match so dreadful it's gone down in legend; an achingly slow, lifeless brawl, groaning under the weight of interminable suplexes from Big Poppa Pump. It didn't exactly help that Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle tore the house down immediately after. Perhaps assuming that their first meeting had been a blip, the WWE sanctioned a rematch the very next month, with equally disastrous consequences. The other memorable moment from this rivalry was an alarmingly homoerotic pose off live on Raw. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Anyway, this feud was woeful, and the only reason it isn't higher on the list is because there wasn't too much potential to be wasted in the first place.
4. Triple H vs. Randy Orton - In 2004, Randy Orton was one of the hottest young talents in WWE. Coming off the back of a thrilling rivalry with Mick Foley, Orton developed a cult following despite his arrogant, scheming nature, and when he became the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in history at Summerslam 2004 the world seemed to be his oyster. Then he feuded with Triple H and suddenly everything started to go wrong. Fans had bought into Orton so early in his career because he was presented as a threatening, aggressive grappler who was rarely outsmarted and usually victorious. Against Hunter, he instantaneously became your typical naive, good looking good guy, getting outsmarted by Evolution just one night after his glorious championship victory, then losing the title itself just a few weeks later. He recovered just about well enough to make a rematch between the two men at the 2005 Royal Rumble appealing, but Orton lost that as well, and his career as a fan favorite was over for quite some time. Five years later, they met again, and ostensibly things were going to be different; Orton was now an established, psychotic villain, while Triple H's stranglehold on the WWE had loosened. The two appeared to be on an equal footing. What's more, Orton as a character was red hot after winning the 2009 Royal Rumble and punt kicking Vince McMahon into oblivion. He'd regained the qualities that made him so popular in the first place. Sadly, the build up was sub-soap opera trash, with pretty much everyone involved giving woeful acting performances as Orton assaulted Stephanie McMahon and got beaten down in his own home by Hunter as recompense. Typically, the resulting Wrestlemania main event was a miserable failure. They redeemed themselves somewhat with a handful of decent matches in the coming months, but not to the extent they'd sneak off this list.
3. Triple H vs. Chris Jericho - The idea of Triple H, heroically returning from a critical injury, taking on the whiny, antagonistic WWF Champion Chris Jericho in the main event of Wrestlemania seems impossible to ruin, especially considering these two men had collided before in 2000 to great acclaim. Yet ruin it they did, thanks to the ingenious tactic of turning Chris Jericho into a Stephanie McMahon sleeper wrestler, basing much of the rivalry over the death of Triple H's beloved dog, and putting on a hugely anti-climactic Wrestlemania main event that paled in comparison to the proceeding Hogan-Rock encounter. I could do more of a rant on this, but I've already done one and I'm about to do two more, so I'll try and succinctly sum up by saying this feud was a huge waste of time and a low point in both men's careers.
2. DX vs. The McMahons - In the late nineties, D-Generation X represented everything that helped rejuvenate the struggling WWF. They were young, brash, edgy, and the personification of anti authority, qualities that garnered them a place in history as one of the most popular stables of all time. Thus, when I, as a naive, hopeful young man, heard in 2006 that they would be returning to our screens, I was filled with excitement. That excitement turned out to be misplaced. In fairness, Triple H's face turn was at least executed fairly well, but everything went downhill from that point on, as Michaels and Hunter stunk up segment after segment on Raw and PPV with stale jokes, long, meandering promos and pointless vanity matches against various friends of the McMahon family. They strolled past the more talented duo of Finlay and William Regal, they humiliated the infinitely more entertaining Spirit Squad, and they made lots and lots of jokes about Vince McMahon being a homosexual (ignoring the moment in 1997 when Michaels and Hunter actually stripped down to thongs in the middle of the ring.) When DX actually met Vince and Shane in the ring the results were respectable enough, but the main product of this feud was the dilution of the DX concept from searing anti authority stable to neutered forty-year-old men doing juvenile humor and pumping out all kinds of merchandise for vapid adults and squealing children. Which isn't really the best legacy to leave.
1. Triple H vs. Booker T - Racism! It's pretty fucking awful. The fact that it found it's way into a headline match at Wrestlemania is really all the explanation needed for this being my number one, but I'll elaborate nonetheless. In the run-up to Wrestlemania XIX, Booker T seemed finally to be regaining some momentum after a steady stream of humiliation since his 2001 WWE debut. His comic teaming with Goldust endeared him to the fans, and he backed it up with some stellar in ring performances and a World Tag Team Championship reign. With his star seemingly on the rise, a Wrestlemania program with Triple H seemed to be the ideal next step for the Book Man, but things turned very sour very quickly when Hunter referred to Booker's "kind" not being worthy of World Champion. He later would claim he wasn't referring to race, but the implications were clear. Generally I object to such heavy real life issues being brought into what's meant to be a bit of light escapism, but this would have all been tolerable if Booker had decisively beaten the bigoted champion. But that isn't what happened. Instead, Triple H gained a conclusive victory at Wrestlemania, retained his title again in a rematch, and then beat Booker again in a six-man tag team match. The racist had come out on top. There might well be a handful of people in the comments section who feel I'm overreacting, that Triple H was never meant to offend in such a way, and that even if he had his victory was hardly a huge set back to race relations. I can accept that, but even removing the more tasteless aspects of the program, it still saw a rising star in Booker T fail in three opportunities to beat the champion, slide down the card so quickly that precisely one month after their Backlash meeting he was losing in a Battle Royal on the Judgment Day undercard, and have his career so severely derailed it would take three years, a heel turn and a new gimmick for him to finally win the World Title. This was a horrific feud in every aspect, and one that's totally 'worthy' of first place on this.
5. Ultimate Warrior: The Curtain Call Bitchslap - Oh Hunter, was the Madison Square Garden Curtain Call that important to you? Hey, someone had to be punished, and unfortunately for HHH, it was either him or Shawn! Well, Wrestlemania XII had its highpoints, the Iron Man match, Piper and Goldust, and it also featured the Ultimate Warrior returning to the WWE. His opponent for the match would be Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Hunters answer for the match? He would be bringing in the most beautiful valet he anyone had ever seen. Yeah, that was the buildup. Trips was squashed by the Warrior, he blamed his valet Sable, and to add salt in the wound, a debuting Marc Mero would beat on Hunter backstage, and take his woman, Sable. HHH would later look back at that moment as bittersweet. On the bright side it would be his first Wrestlemania, the bad part was everything else!
4. Randy Orton: More Blood Please! - Wrestlemania XXV was the culmination of a feud that up to that point, was white hot! Remember kids, white fire, hotter than red. Anyways, all the cards had been played perfectly up to that point. Randy Orton was as villainous as can be, taking out HHH's extended family, Vince, Shane and the culmination was Stephanie. Now, the Stephanie portion was special. Knocking out Stephanie, HHH's real life wife for those not in the know, while HHH is handcuffed to the ring rope, and the exclamation point was Randy kissing Stephanie in the mouth while she lay unconscious. This had blood feud written all over it, it screamed for blood, it was perfect for a cage match. Oh, and did I mention the match was set for Wrestlemania? Well, the unfortunate thing is we received a match with the stipulation that if HHH was disqualified or counted out he would lose the title. Ending any edge the match had, instead we had a PG match, that completely ruined the feud for me! They would continue for a while after Wrestlemania, but by then I'd lost all interest in the feud. Long story short, this feud can be compared to the horror film the Devil Inside. The film had an interesting twist on exorcism, and at times was intense, than the ending came along and ruined it!
3. Kane: the Saga of Katie Vick - Oh my god, the shit stain on wrestling feuds history! The moment HHH announced to the world that Kane had been involved in a car accident, which left his passenger, the infamous Katey Vick, dead, and Kane had a bout of necrophilia, will be the moment that will forever haunt me. What could possibly be next, I asked myself? Will they actually run with that and make the Kane character even more twisted? No! Hardly anyone remembers that Kane and HHH met at No Mercy in a champion vs. champion match that saw the Intercontinental title unified with the World Heavyweight title. Hell, even the fact that eventually the feud would end with Kane having to be unmasked after losing to HHH in a World title match has been forgotten. What does everyone remember? The alleged video that showed HHH in a Kane mask going into a funeral home and simulating sex, or necrophilia I should say, in a casket. Fans hated it then, they still hate it today, what everyone has etched out of their memory though, is the follow-up video, that would see HHH, or shall I say, someone in a HHH mask getting an enema, now this feud was crap, no pun intended, then again, hearing HHH tell Katey Vick, "I screwed your brains out" was kinda funny, and allegedly Vince liked it, and isn't that what really matters?
2. Booker T: HHH, Now With More Racism - I challenge someone to give me a clear, positive, and smart explanation as to why it makes sense for HHH to not put over Booker T at Wrestlemania XIX! Booker T was getting himself over, while being a WCW creation didn't help his cause, the people supported him. He established himself as the number 1 contender in a 20 man battle royal, eliminating the Rock of all people to win. Triple H and his then manager Ric Flair proceeded to have a field day building up the feud, hinting, if not being flat-out racist in the process. Such gems as "Somebody like you doesn't get to be a world champion. People like you don't deserve it.", and "You're here to make people like me laugh." were spouted out in promos. To say Triple H gained a massive amount of hate would be an understatement, Booker T was in a position to get over in a huge way. Wrestlemania arrived, and I'll give the devil his due, these two put on a great match, one that people forget for an obvious reason. Triple H won, Booker T managed to hit his finisher multiple times, and Hunter kicked out. All it took was one pedigree to finish Booker. How absurd is that, when not long before that it took multiple pedigrees for HHH to beat a way past his prime Ric Flair. Many times has HHH been accused of refusing to put people over, this is the perfect example and what many point to in support of that argument. Booker T was then brought back down to the midcard, and Hunter started a new feud with Kevin Nash.
1. Scott Steiner: HHH + Scott Steiner = SUCK - While I can't fully blame Triple H for this mess, I think it is understandable why this feud, in my opinion, was the worst of his career. Scott Steiner arrived to the WWE and was immediately catapulted to a main event program with then champion HHH. Now the buildups were complete and utter crap, pose downs, pushup competitions, and arm wrestling. Ric Rude could pull this off, but Steiner and Hunter are not Ric Rude! While the buildup was a disappointment, we would at least get some matches out of this. Well we did, and if the buildup was a disappointment, the matches were an utter travesty. Steiner and HHH were like oil and water, they did not mesh well. Again, not entirely HHH's fault, Steiner looked like crap in the ring. HHH lost the first match at the Royal Rumble via DQ, and then pinned Steiner at No Way Out, thankfully putting an end to this. further humiliation would be that while Steiner and Hunter were headlining for Raw, what is considered the A show, they were putting on horrendous matches, while Benoit and Angle were putting on far greater matches, headlining for Smackdown, the B show! Legend has it, Steiner was to eventually beat HHH for the title at Wrestlemania, and thankfully this feud got the ax before we could get there.
5. Kane - Nothing sparks a feud like accusations of murder and necrophilia. Well, nothing except dressing up like your adversary and pretending to reenact the necrophilia in one of the worst segments of all time. The name "Katie Vick" will always serve as a reminder of just how bad this feud was. That both men skated through with no lasting damage to their careers was pretty remarkable. Well, except when Kane took off his mask and looked more like a dirty coal miner with a bad hair cut than a disfigured freak.
4. Scott Steiner - The Big Poppa Pump character was centered around a few core ideals. Among them were crude and barely intelligible promos, freaks, and violence. He also happened to be a monster heel in WCW, going to war with DDP, Sting, Goldberg, and Booker T. That made creative's job for his arrival in WWE easy. He needed to immediately be thrown into a 20 minute match with Trips, and booked for things like debates and arm wrestling matches. Scott Steiner's WWE singles run just solidifies the thought that Vincent Kennedy McMahon hates the idea that somebody gained any popularity without his aid and refuses to properly use them when they could instead be deconstructed. The Triple H feud was a big part of that.
3. Brock Lesnar - I've been sick of Brock Lesnar being in the public eye since he joined UFC. That makes his return to WWE as a part time performer more annoying to me than most. However, WWE managed to take three or four segments and one match and turn it into months of programming. There's boring feuds that just never really get off the ground, then there's boring feuds that are a result of one guy not appearing on television because he only has a handful of appearances before his contract runs out. It doesn't help that there's speculation that their match may have been Triple H's last match. If you're going out, why go out putting over a guy with sandwich ads on his shorts?
2. Chris Jericho - It was a moment of sheer joy when Chris Jericho almost beat Triple H for the WWE Championship, only to have it snatched away. When Jericho did break through and defeat The Rock and Steve Austin - in one night! - to become the first ever Undisputed Champion, it seemed like the IWC's darling was ready for big things. What happened next was unconscionable. While Jericho has long referred to himself as bulletproof, this feud pushed those limits. What should have been the best wrestler in the world was booked to be played by Trips and wife Stephanie. While this would have been okay had it resulted in Jericho overcoming the odds and winning in the blow off match, we all know that wasn't going to happen.
1. Booker T - "People like you don't win world titles." 'Nuff said.
5. HHH vs. Kevin Nash (2003/2011) - This includes both the most recent 2011 feud that set the world on...well, somethin. I won't talk too much about that one since it's fresh, but man was it horrible. Oh, 2003, what a horrible year in wrestling (and not the first time you'll see it on this list. Triple H and HBK were in numerous matches that lead to Trips getting super angry, and there was Nash coming off an injury to help quell the anger that had been burgeoning between the two friends. It's a shame, then that it culminated in Nash trying to end Triple H similar to how he did last year; with a sledgehammer. Of course, Nash couldn't top the great and powerful H. This had a boring build that had a boring end result and showed that the clique still had more pull than they probably deserved.
4. Triple H vs. Goldberg - This is a personal choice, really, as I just didn't like the damned thing. It lasted far too long and - once again - a WCW star looked like a fool for losing to the H's. Man, 03-04 was pretty fuckin bad because of Trips; no wonder he has such a bad rep.
3. Triple H vs. Booker T - Racism aside (although, very prevalent), this was just a boring affair that saw Booker look like a complete fool in an apparent attempt to assure that WWE > WCW. Booker's early start wasn't all that great, but he made of it what he could and actually had a following. He re-created himself as a main eventer in the WWE, and in a time where everything from WCW was not as good as WWE. The match that this culminated in was pretty good, all things considered, but one thing I'll never forget was Triple H hitting the Pedigree, after taking numerous finishers from Booker T then leaving enough time between the Pedigree and pin to do taxes, bake a cake, raise a child, start a new country and read one of Geoff Eubanks' version of the R's. Seriously, he took forever to pin Booker, and Booker still ate the loss. Just a horrible, horrible feud.
2. Triple H vs. Kane (Katie Vick) - Necrophilia. Seriously, that's all you need to say to understand how bad this feud was and why it belongs nowhere near WWE or any other show for that matter (no, not even The Walking Dead). This one storyline will forever be the moment in WWE history that can be turned to and said "see, you're fucking weird; you watch...this shit." Please point out what this was actual about and once you're done saying it was about Triple H dressing up as Kane to screw a corpse, I turn to Francisco Ramirez's recap of the actual events that transpired around the time. Kane and Triple actually unified the IC Title and World title, Kane was unmasked, and Kane got a title shot. All of the aforementioned could have easily been enough to build around, but someone thought it was so much more necessary to give Kane yet another back story and have Triple H screw a dead chick. Top notch comedy, oh yes.
1. Triple H vs. Scott Steiner - Good lord, this was horrible. Never mind the fact that the actual match that this concluded with was a mess of a match that was sloppier than a blowjob from a gumless prostitute, it was the build that gave way to the inevitable match that just left a horrible time period in wrestling that was only two months, yet felt like 15 years. Leading up to their match, this is what we had: A muscular pose down, a bench press competition, a push-up competition, and an Arm-wrestling match...I read somewhere that the gay connotations were in heavy rotation during the two months that these guys went at it. While I can see their point, I don't think that is anywhere near as significant as the horrible, horrible waste of time this was. Trips was at his career ending greatness here, as Steiner never recovered from this moment and stayed in the midcard until he left the WWE. This was just all kinds of bad that - unless you're attempting to torture someone, and can't find the Lethal Weapon Endo Beginner's Kit - you shouldn't watch at all.
YOUR TURN KNOW IT ALLS
List your Top Five for this week's topic in the comment section using the following format: