A trip down memory lane for this topic.
It was sixteen years ago today that World Wrestling Entertainment presented the 2003 Royal Rumble pay-per-view from what was then known as the 'Fleet Center' (TD Garden) in Boston, Massachusets. Matches on the show included Brock Lesnar versus Big Show, Torrie Wilson versus Dawn Marie, Chris Benoit versus Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship and of course the traditional Royal Rumble match.
The match prior to the Angle versus Benoit bout was the World Heavyweight Title match between Scott Steiner and the champion Triple H and the match according to those who were working in WWE at the time was not enjoyable to watch. The feud between Steiner and Triple H started when Scott came over to RAW and according to former WWE creative writer Bruce Prichard there was some concern from WWE officials and Triple H himself about Scott not being able to hang in the ring long enough to have a singles match so when creative did not having segments lined up for him, he would be in a tag matches so he could get in and out of the ring.
“Well there was concern there because Scott wasn’t in ring shape and he was in great shape, but he hadn’t been in the ring, on a regular basis." Prichard said on Something To Wrestle. "So, to protect him, they did tag matches just to make sure that he could tag in and out and get the best out of him. He just wasn’t ready.” Prichard was asked who was saying those aforementioned things about Scott Steiner and he responded with the following, “Triple H is saying it, the agents are saying it, and you can just watch the matches. He’s running out of gas a lot faster, and he’s a step off, so he’s gotta get -- and that’s strictly from being, you know, God damn he was out for a long time and now he’s coming back in and now he’s going back into a regular schedule and unless you’re in the ring working, three, four, five times a week, it takes a while to get your ring legs back under you.”
Eventually it was time for Steiner to stand on his own ten in a singles match against Triple H at the 2003 Royal Rumble PPV with the World Title on the line. The Boston faithful booed the match and the ending to it saw Scott defeat Triple H via DQ and locking HHH in the "Steiner Recliner" submission hold while the blood rushed from Triple H's face. Prichard stated the match stunk up the house and no matter what city it could've been in, it would've gotten booed.
“And it was [bad], everybody looking at it going, ‘Wow. Is he more injured than we were led to believe?’ We had heard he had the back [injury]. We knew he had the drop foot, but, it just wasn’t there to be able to carry a singles match, and we had tried doing the stuff getting him ready by putting him in house shows prior to that, it stunk. It just stunk the house… it was a clash of styles, and it sucked and that audience, I think you could’ve put that match anywhere in the country and people would’ve sh*t on it. Not just Boston." Prichard shared.
The 2019 Royal Rumble pay-per-view is upon us and to see the updated list of participants in the men's and women's Rumble matches, check out Fightful's published article on the topic.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Something To Wrestle with an H/T to Fightful for the transcriptions.