How WWE Botched Scott Steiner’s Second Run in The Company
Scott Steiner is legitimately one of the most entertaining individuals to step foot inside the squared circle, even if in an unconventional sense as he was never the most gifted ring general, nor the most charismatic mic worker. However, Scott Steiner was unpredictable to the bone and possessed a mean-streak; two qualities that make up for must-watch television. The guy looked like a wrecking machine and carried himself as such and with his unscripted promos. Steiner was regarded as one of the more popular WCW stars due to his eccentric personality and wild promos.
However, his second run in the WWE was a massive let-down and while Big Poppa Pump did provide a couple of entertaining zingers, the overall impact fell fall short of what it could have been. The WWE botched one of the most over stars near the end of WCW, here’s how.
WWE Debut and BotchMania
To the credit of WWE, the initial booking of Steiner was well done and generated much hype. Big Poppa Pump debuted during the Survivor Series 2002 PPV, at Madison Square Garden. After a massive ovation from the crowd, Steiner marched down to the ring and did what he did best, manhandling guys and then going off the rails with a hilarious promo.
The following couple of weeks, Steiner was presented as the biggest free agent in wrestling and so a bidding war began between Stephanie McMahon and Eric Bishoff. At the end, Steiner opted to sign with Bishoff and went to RAW and his first feud on the flagship show was with Triple H.
Triple H was in the middle of his infamous “Reign of Terror” and he ruled RAW with an iron fist, demolishing challenger after challenger. Steiner was no different but the lead-up to the fight was exemplary cringe as the two engaged in an arm-wrestling contest, a posedown, and push-ups. These competitions lasted for weeks and ultimately amounted to nothing as Triple H dismissed the significance of said challenges and went on his usual 20-minute promo about how he was the best in the world at what he did. It is no wonder that Triple H and CM Punk have had heat.
The first matchup between the pairing took place at Royal Rumble 2003 and after two minutes, Steiner was gassed and Triple H at that point in time was not at the peak of his powers. Therefore, the contest was abysmal. Steiner took The Game to belly-to-belly Suplex City and the match ended in a disqualification, after which Steiner laid out Triple H.
Steiner vs. Triple H Part 2 took place the following month, at the No Way Out PPV and with Evolution behind his back, Triple H defeated Steiner and that was the end of Big Poppa Pump at the main event scene. After his unforgettable for all the wrong reasons rivalry with Triple H, Steiner engaged in minor feuds, including the 2003 version of the Lana-Rusev-Lashley feud, alongside Stacy Keibler and Test. His last appearance came at the Royal Rumble 2004, and he lasted only six minutes before being eliminated. Steiner was on the sidelines with an injury when his contract expired and he left the promotion.
What Went Wrong For Scott Steiner In WWE
Scott Steiner was past his physical prime when he made the second run in WWE and to worsen his already declining in-ring capability, Steiner had a lingering foot injury from his WCW days. Big Poppa Pump had drop foot syndrome and that left his foot paralyzed, as confirmed by the superstar himself. He was brought in to wrestle a bit too soon and that was evident by his work in the ring.
Aside from the physical problems, Steiner was shot straight to the main event and feuded with Triple H of all people. Triple H was the last guy Steiner should have worked with as he was incapable of carrying the declining Steiner to a decent match. The dreadful match at the Royal Rumble derailed any sort of hype that Steiner had and people did not care anymore. Moreover, Triple H and Scott Steiner had legitimate heat backstage and did not like each other, which might have played a part in the ring as people have speculated that Triple H was sandbagging. Thereafter, it was obvious that WWE had no interest in Steiner as a main event player and he wasted time in meaningless mid-card feuds.
Lastly but most importantly, WWE creatively stifled Scott Steiner. FreakZilla was popular for being a short-tempered and uncensored antagonist in the WCW. That is what got him over with the crowds but WWE debuted him as a babyface and scripted his promos, restricting him from going on scathing and obscene rants as he did in WCW.
Scott Steiner was just another wrestler in the promotion and not Big Poppa Pump. WWE had a physically declining but still quite capable main event wrestler in their hands and they botched it up.