Triple H vs. Scott Steiner (WWE No Way Out 2003 2/23/03)

Match Reviews

This review was commissioned by Colette Arrand over on my Ko-fi account.

Honestly, I don’t hate it. That’s not to say that this is good, it really isn’t, but of the many Triple H matches I’ve seen over the last few months (and in my life), it’s not one that I have any real visceral anger for. So much of Hunter’s career is just so actively hateful or self-aggrandizing that something as simple as having a bad match where he beats a WCW star feels almost quaint. This isn’t even the worst in that genre of Hunter feels-bad-matches either. It just sort of exists in its own little bubble, a harmless 13 minute bout where not much goes too well.

Hell, there’s aspects of it I find actively charming too. That Evanescence hype video is such good 2000s shit. Far from the peak of the genre, but having such a memorable song play backing trap to a middle of the road Triple H title defense? Hell fucking yeah. Love that. Its abridged runtime too also means that there’s never really too much time to seethe and hate this thing. Everyone involved sort of works like they’re ashamed of what’s going on and are glad to get away from it as quickly as possible.

That said, some of your classic Levesquisms find their way into this match. Perhaps most notably is his capacity to babyface himself where it’s not called for. Commentary may chalk this up to Montreal being “Bizarro World” but the actual matter of the match kind of supports Hunter getting cheered here. What would nominally be called Scott Steiner’s shine reads a little more sinister here. Instead of thrashing and bumping Hunter with the big suplexes from the go, he instead goes after the champion’s bandaged up leg. His loud trash talk doesn’t help him here either, he reads like a bully and it’s a sly thing for Hunter to position himself this way in front of a crowd already leaning in his favor.

Mechanically as well, these two just never really pair up well. While it’s true that Steiner’s a little too stiff which leads to some awkward exchanges, it’s worth noting that a smarter wrestler than Hunter would have invested way more into bumping and feeding for Steiner instead of anything else they did here. The back half of this is at least mostly Evolution bullshit where we get one really great bump from a young Randy Orton.

Bland and bad but not nearly so hateful.

Rating: **1/4

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