Induction: Booker T vs. Triple H – HHH goes KKK

55 Submitted by on Thu, 19 March 2015, 20:07

WWE, 2003

Wrestling storylines aren’t like any other storylines you’ll see on TV; they’re typically much, much worse. No ordinary TV series could get away with the disjointed plots that wrestling fans are subjected to on a regular basis. Even series with the most notoriously convoluted stories made up as the writers went along, like The X-Files or Twin Peaks or Lost, can’t hold a candle to the inconsistencies, plot holes, and revisionism found on a month’s worth of Raw.

hhhkkk01

“My name isn’t Laura Palmer, it’s Maddy Ferguson, and tonight I’ve got something to say to David Lynch. Lynch, you sat behind your writer’s desk and you made me play a dead body! Well, you’re not holding me back anymore!”

So when some particularly egregious development happens on wrestling, there is a large portion of the fan base that freaks out, while there’s another, seemingly more mature segment of the audience that tells those other guys to calm down and keep watching, as it will ultimately work out for the best. That latter portion of fans, of course, forgets that they’re talking about pro wrestling, where the notoriously flaky writers have shorter attention spans than the audience.

The point is: in any normal work of fiction, a disturbing turn of events in the story, like, say, the protagonist encountering terrible adversity and blatant racism, does not ruin the work but makes it better, because it all gets resolved at the end and makes the culmination of the hero’s journey all the more satisfying. In wrestling, a disturbing turn of events in the story ruins the angle half the time because nothing gets resolved.

Which takes me to this week’s induction: Triple H vs. Booker T. I don’t know whether the program was supposed to turn out how it did all along, or whether mid-way through the storyline somebody nixed the title change, but this Wrestlemania XIX feud and match turned out to be perhaps the biggest feel-bad story in all of wrestling and *the* prime example of how easily a story of Good triumphing over Evil can be transformed from inspiring to depressing simply by having Evil win.

The story of this match was that Booker T had overcome all odds to make it in wrestling, and by winning the World title and standing atop the (Monday night) wrestling world, he would prove that anything is possible. To that end, Booker T opened up about his difficult past, from his being orphaned at age 12, to serving prison time for armed robbery, to feuding over the letter T with Ahmed Johnson.  hhhkkk05 
hhhkkk06  You might have heard about this rocky past in the WWE Network documentary, less-than-tastefully titled, “Sentenced to Greatness.” 
On the flip side was his opponent, Triple H, who had been handed everything in life. not only had he been born with a silver spoon in his mouth (a gimmick backstory the announcers brought up for the first time since about 1997), but he had literally been handed the World title by Eric Bischoff back in August. Since then, he had enlisted wrestling royalty in the form of Ric Flair to help him cheat to win, a strategy that saw him vanquish worthy opponent after worthy opponent after Scott Steiner and send them packing back down the card, while retaining the title for practically the entire period leading into Wrestlemania. hhhkkk07 
hhhkkk08  Things were looking up for Booker T at the outset of this angle. Not only did he win a 20-man battle royal to earn his title shot at Wrestlemania, but he did so by eliminating The Rock, one of WWE’s biggest stars ever and the man who had shown him up at every opportunity during the Invasion storyline.
And then the promos started. First, Triple H interrupted Booker T’s victory speech and proceeded to look him up and down like a slave on the auction block. hhhkkk09
hhhkkk10  Hunter then told Booker T that “people like you” didn’t get to be world champion, while people like himself did. Uh, could he… no, no, he couldn’t have been talking about black people and white people. I mean, this was an international, publicly-traded company.
Next, he informed the uppity Booker T that he was only good for entertaining and making people like him laugh, before telling his challenger to dance for his amusement. Hmmm…. Triple H was really treading the line here, stopping just short of singling out Booker’s race. hhhkkk11 
hhhkkk12 Still, he could maintain plausible deniability on the racism front as long as he limited himself to digs at a) Booker T’s dancing, b) his nappy hair, or c) his thick, Little Black Sambo-like lips. The worst part is that I only made one of those up.
Later, WWE would go into damage control, with Triple H indignantly denying any racial connotation to his promo on Booker T (the same way he flipped off anyone who found his Katie Vick stunt offensive) while accusing the people who thought otherwise of being the real racists, and one announcer trying to claim that by “people like you,” he meant WCW guys. hhhkkk13 
hhhkkk14 So I guess when he said Booker T was only there to dance and entertain, he was alluding to Disco Inferno and Alex Wright.
So what did Booker T do while Triple H demeaned him and his accomplishments? In the words of Edwin Starr, one of those people like Booker T (by which I mean, an entertainer), absolutely nothin’! Well, he did offer up a rebuttal where he actually admitted that “some of the stuff” Triple H said was true, but that he’d win the title anyway, to which Triple H smirked and talked down to him like a child — or, in keeping with the Jim Crow-era spirit of the promo, a pickaninny. hhhkkk15 
hhhkkk16  In fairness to Booker, he did show some backbone the next week, punching out Ric Flair after he suggest Book carry Triple H’s bags and drive his limo
…then taking down Triple H after The Game threw a dollar at him and ordered him to fetch a towel. It served Naitch and Aitch right for trying to reduce Booker to a degrading stereotype. You know, that stereotype about WCW guys. hhhkkk17 
hhhkkk18 I know this feud had absolutely nothing to do with race, so do you think it was a coincidence that Triple H’s hand-picked opponent that night was Maven, who one announcer from Memphis suggested should “know his place”
Racism aside, a win for Booker at Wrestlemania would make everything right, no matter how tasteless the build-up. Perhaps hoping to test that theory, one announcer from Memphis in a crown took it upon himself to act like a total jackass. Jerry Lawler thought the fact that Booker T had been in prison was gut-bustingly funny, when in fact the only thing funny about it was his mug shot. hhhkkk19
hhhkkk20  All match long, Lawler incessantly harped on the fact that Booker T had been to prison, while Jim Ross got seriously peeved at King driving that point into “the godda—  to the ground,” then alluded to Lawler’s own past legal troubles. When Lawler joked that Booker T had been born on a pool table, Ross wondered whether he had learned that from a drunken Howard Finkel. (Nah, sounds more like something Michael Hayes would say)
With the unrelenting bickering between announcers distracting from the match, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were watching a current Raw telecast. hhhkkk21
hhhkkk22 Booker T valiantly fought to overcome the odds — symbolic of the great odds he had had to surmount just to get into the wrestling business — shaking off Ric Flair repeatedly and finally delivering a Houston Hangover to Triple H.
Of course, he took way too long to go for a cover, and when he managed that, he could only muster the strength to cover Triple H with one arm, so obviously this was not the finish of the match. No one ever, ever won after that much hesitation and a weak cover. Remember that in a minute. hhhkkk23
hhhkkk24 Booker T then regrouped and attempted his patented running scissor kick, but just a few steps short of his opponent, he simply collapsed and clutched his leg. Triple H followed up with a Pedigree and both men lay on the canvas.
This was a standard double-down: the part of the match where both men are knocked to the mat and struggle to get back to their feet. This spot essentially resets the match, meaning it’s anyone’s ball game as the two opponents each desperately try to put the other man down for the count. hhhkkk25 
hhhkkk26  Understand that there should have been no way the match would end here. Everyone knew it. Not only did the fans think this Pedigree was simply a transition move, but so did the announcers, who called it a desperation move as they casually waited for either man to make his next move.
That next move was, as expected, a slow, weak cover by Triple H, who, after 23 seconds of rest time, draped his arm over his opponent just as Booker T had done a minute earlier. This time, the referee simply counted to three and the bell rang.  hhhkkk27
 hhhkkk28 There was no kickout. There was no triumphant comeback. There was no “dreams do come true” moment of redemption for the lifelong underdog. Instead, the man whom everyone from the champion to the color commentary had said was a loser who would never amount to anything simply proved his critics correct.
The message wasn’t so much that Triple H was great, just that Booker T just wasn’t that good, stumbling at the finish line, as it were, and getting beaten in a scenario that every single wrestler before him had survived.
hhhkkk29

Any guesses why this match got cut from the Wrestlemania XIX documentary?

hhhkkk30  There’s a certain amount of time after a finishing move is hit after which it is acceptable, nay, mandatory that an opponent kick out. Sure, no one’s allowed to get up a second or two after the Pedigree (unless it’s 1996 and you’re The Ultimate Warrior… or Freddie Joe Floyd)…
…but a rest period that long — longer than the entire *match* for that very title nine Wrestlemanias later — would have obviously given Triple H an excuse for his signature move not putting away his opponent. Instead, Booker T lost where no man had lost before. hhhkkk31
hhhkkk32

The racist won that night, too.

 

The match itself was actually pretty good, but its abrupt and unsatisfying ending completely overshadowed everything that preceded it. After all, practically no one remembers “Our American Cousin,” and if they do, they know it only as the play Lincoln was watching when he got shot by John Wilkes Booth.
Hunter never did get his comeuppance from Booker or pay any price for his racist worldview. hhhkkk33
hhhkkk34 In fact, Triple H making Booker T look like a total chump seems to be a running gag in WWE, with The Game beating him at Summerslam 2007 and, more recently, mock-firing him just to demonstrate that he could.
Booker T, African-American symbol of redemption and hope, would never become World Champion. hhhkkk35
hhhkkk36 Instead, King Booker, comically delusional cartoon character, would win the title three years later from a fellow WCW veteran who had somehow been booked as an even bigger loser than Booker, Rey Mysterio.
As for the racist, arrogant Triple H? He eventually lost his title to Goldberg, at last proving that a WCW guy could win the big one… hhhkkk37
 

 …provided he wasn’t, like, black or anything.

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at: art@wrestlecrap.com
55 Responses to "Induction: Booker T vs. Triple H – HHH goes KKK"
  1. Adam says:

    Just to make him more of a failure, by losing he also failed to get revenge for Evolution (accidentally?) electrocuting Goldust. Which reminds me, has Tourette’s Goldust been an induction?

    I mostly remember this for Droz making a blog-post, to the effect of “Well, maybe it is racist… Hunter’s playing the heel, after all. Why can’t the bad guy be a prick?” on the WWE site. To be fair to Droz, it was long before the actual squash.

  2. Mister Forth says:

    Too bad Linda doesn’t try for a 3rd Senate run. This being used would be hilarious.

  3. RD Reynolds says:

    I think the guys over on the F4W Board had it best with this image:

    http://www.wrestlecrap.com/bookerthhhmspaint.jpg

  4. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    Great job on this induction, Art. This is one of those induction topics that makes me angry instead of making me laugh.

  5. Knutcase says:

    It should be noted that in addition to this match, WM XIX featured three other main-event caliber matches (four if you count Y2J vs. HBK, but it won’t help make the point I’m making here). They ended as follows:

    Hulk Hogan defeats Vince McMahon after hitting three leg drops.
    The Rock defeats Stone Cold Steve Austin after hitting three Rock Bottoms.
    Brock Lesnar defeats Kurt Angle after hitting three F-5s.

    Compare that to:

    Triple H defeats Booker T after hitting one weak-ass Pedigree and waiting approximately 7 years before making the cover.

    Yeah, that seems balanced.

    • Glappy says:

      I remember that annoying me more actually, the fact that three consecutive main event matches ended with three finishers. It became almost laughably predictable. However, in hindsight, they all had different stories. Hogan’s three leg drops were all in a row with no rest time or cover attempts between them; Rock saw Austin kick out of the first Rock Bottom then hit the second after a series of finisher reversals followed by a long, drawn-out third that served as the full stop of their epic rivalry; and Lesnar’s third F5 was an improvised finish after the planned finish, the SSP, was botched by Lesnar landing on his head. Even though they had a superficial similarity they were all refreshingly unique. The other than that annoyed me was Jericho kicking Michaels in the balls after their match, but obviously that just served to show what a massive heel he was. It just seemed a bit forced for Wrestlemania, though. I’d rather he’d just refused the handshake instead, it would have got the same message across.

      So yeah, looking back at it, and not even being particularly bothered about the racial undertones of this angle (I don’t see how you can get offended by something designed to be so over the top, and if Booker was happy to go along with it then it’s not up to Art or anyone else to be insulted on his behalf – enough of this PC false empathy liberalism junk) this was by far the worst booked angle and match on the entire card, and Booker never really recovered. In fact, two months later he was humiliated again by having a phantom IC battle royal win that saw Christian turn out to have not been eliminated and throw Booker out while he was celebrating. GOod job on re-establishing a damaged talent, Vince.

      • The Dog says:

        How do you know he was happy about it? It’s not like he was HHH or The Rock or someone who has the ability to complain about an angle and actually be taken seriously. And it’s not like he had the choice to quit and go elsewhere, considering this was the only major wrestling promotion in town in America at that time.

        He was pretty much in a situation where he either grinned and bared this humiliating, racist angle or he got fired and took his chances with the Japanese circuit.

  6. The Doctor of Style says:

    “Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances.”

    “But Governor Tarkin, sir, the… Oh wow! Look at the rebel base go up in flames! Just like that pesky X-Wing Lord Vader fried!”

    “I told you! The Death Star never loses.”

  7. ChrisV says:

    Wasn’t there also an even more overt racist comment made by Ric Flair during this feud? I think it took place in a conversation between Flair and HHH in the locker room?
    Maybe that was the usage of the term “uppity”?

    I also vividly recall the rebuttal promo, where Booker T admitted “some of that stuff may be true”. I was just shaking my head.
    That was truly Triple H at his worst. Being a despicable heel is fine, but when you control 100% of the feud and have your opponent kissing your ass, it’s just pathetic.

    Yeah, and I remember looking back after this feud ended, and realizing that Booker T’s big comeback from dealing with racism and being told he was a loser, was getting to beat up Flair on RAW.

  8. Hulk6785 says:

    At least, Goldberg was Jewish. That’s gotta count for something, right?

  9. Scrooge McSuck says:

    12 years later, I still hate this angle. The basic concept of story-telling is broken for no good fucking reason.

  10. Alexandru says:

    Yeah this angle was dumb just to bring Race into it was obviously pathetic/pointless. Why Booker Agreed to this angle, as it went a long, is beyond me (he wasn’t some rookie fighting for a spot obviously). Yeah Lawler showed his worst throughout this version of bury a WCW guy because we’re petty as hell (now with added racial overtones).

  11. Sir Thomas says:

    I remember this being the only blemish on an otherwise good WrestleMania. Then again, I remember screw all about XIX aside from Brock Lesnar piledriving himself trying to do a shooting star press.

    • Autrach Sejanoz says:

      There was arguably another blemish – Stacy Kiebler vs. Torrie Wilson vs. The Miller Lite Catfight Girls in a pillow fight. The low point was the world seeing Johnathan Coachman’s underwear due to a pantsing.

      • CP says:

        Undertaker’s match between A-Train and Big Show wasn’t very good either.

        • Scrooge McSuck says:

          The Miller Light Girls ate up 4-5 segments and 15 minutes of PPV. Taker v. Show/Albert was probably a *1/2 match, but it was still something that belongs on a wrestling show. RVD/Kane vs. Storm/Morley was bumped to a Heat match and rebooked to accommodate the garbage of a D- level “celebrity.”

        • Cameron A. says:

          Let’s not forget Nathan Jones, who was SUPPOSED to be in the Undertaker/A-Train & Big Show match, but ended up doing a run-in before he was OVWed for retooling. Frankly, it’s easy to forget Nathan Jones’ WWE career. I’m surprised I haven’t.

          • dennett316 says:

            The only thing I remember about Nathan Jones was the story about him being on so much gas that he began lactating. Actually, that’s not fair, I also remember the fairly cool promos they aired about the guy before we finally got to see him stink up the ring.

  12. Down With OPC says:

    This represents everything wrong with wrestling in 2003.

  13. SCFNL says:

    To this day, this match still makes no sense to me. Like many of the others above, still get angry at how much they ruined Booker T’s momentum with this one. HHH during this time period truly was in full blown burial mode!

    • King Of Kings says:

      It’s always been that way. There’s not been a single Wrestlemania (with the exception of 23) that Triple H hasn’t put himself over in or at least injected himself into a high profile feud/spot that could’ve gone to someone much more deserving. Much as I hate to say it, I wouldn’t be surprised if he buries Sting at this year’s Wrestlemania.

      • dennett316 says:

        What about Wrestlemania 20 where he tapped clean to Benoit? He also put Batista over at 21, Cena at 22, Taker at 17 and then twice again at 27 and 28. At 27 Taker had to be carried out, but that seemed to be a long term thing to set up the rematch a year later where Taker decisively beat him.
        Yes those were all high profile matches, but the fact is he was a legit main event guy, so he’s bound to get used high up the card.

  14. CP says:

    In all the funny inductions, once in awhile ya gotta have one that just ate at ya and not in a good way. This was an awful angle and the fact that it had such a lame payoff…damn near ruined that WrestleMania for me.

    At least the next time they tried a race angle it ended with someone laying unconscious in a pile of shit, so…

  15. Glappy says:

    The Muhammed Hassan butchering was worse than this. Here was a character whose backstory was that he had grown resentful of Americans because he had Arabic lineage and, in the post-9/11 landscape, Americans had become distrusting of him. There was no real enemy in this, it’s just a sad but understandable fallout to a horrific event, but naturally they portrayed him as a heel because he was pigeonholing all Americans and being arrogant to boot. Ok, that’s fine. But then what do they do? They have him introduce a masked group to beat down the Undertaker literally days after London had four Islamic suicide bombings killing over 50 people. Granted the episode was taped before this but they should have just cut the angle or, better yet, not done it in the first place since Hassan was fine with Daivari as two jaded dicks who had no gratitude for the opportunities available to them (kind of like all minorities for that matter, though it’s only a minority OF the minorities who are like that and the rest are good, honest and hard-working people). They could even have brought in a new audience for WWE that was otherwise ostracised, a middle-eastern American fanbase that I’m sure exists but isn’t given much representation on TV. Once they went the terror route, they represented absolutely no decent human beings. Maybe IS would jerk themselves off to them but nobody who lives in the real world. Obviously they then had no choice but to job him out to Taker in short order when he was originally being lined up for the world title, and he was never seen again.

  16. Jerm says:

    Twelve years later and I’m still not over this. A shame, too, cos it was a damn fine match before the bullshit ending. I do enjoy hearing JR go full shoot angry on the King, though.

    Further, this is the major blemish on what is otherwise my favorite WrestleMania of all time, just beating out X-Seven.

  17. I'm Not Using My Real Name says:

    Lawler was so obnoxious during this match. I agree the way it was booked was bad but Lawler made it so much worse. This match, and the Kane vs Triple H match at No Mercy 2002 when Kane was supposedly a murderer, ruined my opinion of Lawler on commentary. He ruined both of those matches by taking a bad joke and running it into the ground.

    • Kyle Casey says:

      Wasn’t Lawler pretty damned obnoxious during this enitire period? I seem to recall commentary being completely unlistenable pretty much from Lawler’s return in November 2001 all throughout the period in question. Lawler was actually worse then than he was in the midst of the Attitude Era. Hell, I’d even go so far as to say he was worse during that period than he is NOW!

      Now that I think of it, was there any time when Lawler was actually good, and not merely less bad?

  18. Drew says:

    The only time that race should be involved in wrestling is when it’s name is Harley. Other than that, we have enough racial divides in this country without meaningless pandering to the lesser angels of our nature.

    Hopefully, this will be my first and last non-snarky post at Wrestlecrap, but we do need to call out stupid stereotypes when WWE – or any other promotion – sees fit to try to capitalize on race or ethnicity based nonsense … the sneaky Arab, the shiftless African American, and every other moronic brainstorm that passes for creativity at idea-starved Titan Tower.

    • Ze Frenchie says:

      Funny you should say that, considering Race was managing Vader when he lost the WCW World Title to Ron Simmons. I believe the build up also had a few racial undertones, but in the end, justice prevailed. As opposed to what happened here.

  19. Davey says:

    This had nothing to do with ethnicity. It was rich snob vs. poor hoodrat, not white guy vs black guy. F**k this PC bulls**t where everything is racism and your feelings are hurt.

    • "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

      So he would have done this same angle with… say… The Brooklyn Brawler?

    • Rob Brown says:

      Oh come on, WWE actually brought up the fact that lots of things Hunter and Flair said sounded racist. Did you not listen to the sound clips?

      But you know what? Let’s just say that you were actually right and race wasn’t even a factor. Even if that were true, this would still be wrestlecrap because of how weak it made Booker T look. Tell me, who the fuck takes ONE finisher, and still can’t kick out after 20 seconds? Particularly at WrestleMania, where lots of matches have multiple finishers used as mentioned above?

      Wrestlers, it may surprise you to learn, care a lot about how good or bad they look. When DDP had a match against Goldberg, the latter wound up getting knocked loopy and forgetting a lot of what he was supposed to do and not do. One of the things he forgot was that he was supposed to kick out of the Diamond Cutter at the LAST SECOND. Instead, he kicked out of the Diamond Cutter right at two. And DDP said in a shoot interview that this pissed him off. After the match ended, in the back, DDP was like “What the fuck are you doing kicking out of my finisher at two, you trying to make me look bad?” Goldberg was like “Dude, I got knocked out, I don’t even remember the last part of the match, sorry if I did that though.” And DDP was like “Oh, okay, we’re cool then.”

      The point is that what Triple H did to Booker was WAY worse than somebody kicking out of a finisher right at two. Booker hit him with TWO finishers, and still wasn’t able to put him away. Hunter hit him with ONE finisher, waited forever, covered Booker in a way that didn’t even appear to be trying to hold him down, and still got the three count.

      And Booker had to go along with this. It must have killed him to do it. To the guy several posts earlier who said “Well, Booker went along with it, so clearly he didn’t have a problem with it,” that’s not how WWE works. If you sign a WWE contract, you have to do pretty much whatever they tell you to, no matter how humiliating. Otherwise you will be out of a job. Daniel Bryan did not lose in 18 seconds because he wanted to. Terry Taylor did not make an ass of himself as the Red Rooster because he wanted to. Dusty Rhodes didn’t wear polka dots and do all those “common man” vignettes where he was cleaning toilets because he wanted to. Ricky Steamboat didn’t put on the “dragon” costume because he wanted to. And finally, Tony Atlas didn’t play Saba Simba because he wanted to. It sucked for all of those guys, but they did it because they thought it still beat getting fired.

      • Jackwagon says:

        The funny thing is that WMXIX was the fact that this PPV had several matches in which the loser took three finishers before staying down for good (or for 3 seconds, whichever comes first). I remember some comment Tom Zenk printed on his site way back when, essentially saying “It took three F5s to beat Kurt Angle. It took three Rock Bottoms to beat Steve Austin. It took three Leg Drops to beat Vince McMahon. But it only took one Pedigree to beat Booker T.”

        That’s something that makes this even worse in context (which, in light of everything else about the angle, is actually kind of impressive). Angle was leaving for what was likely months to get neck surgery, and he was allowed to go down fighting. Austin ultimately would never be able to wrestle full-time again, and he was allowed to go down fighting. Even Vince McMahon was allowed to go down fighting. Booker T, on the other hand, was forced to look weak in a setup that only had one possible payoff that would have made sense. They managed to mess up a poorly-executed angle just to feed HHH’s ego.

    • Adam says:

      “Hoodrat”… wow. Yep, totally not racist at all.

  20. dave says:

    i remember this. I stopped watching WWE because of this.

  21. Fred says:

    When it comes to segments like this and after the nonsense I’ve seen since a certain RAW in 2011… no one would have a problem with this if it was CM Punk in the role of Triple H. To me… that’s all what this comes down to, a strong dislike for Triple H who was in a period of time was establishing the World Heavyweight title by beating guys who held the same belt in WCW (Steiner, Booker, Nash),if Diamond Dallas Page was still performing in 2003, I’d expect him to be one of the guys Triple H defeated before eventually losing the title.

    • dennett316 says:

      Lots of people had a huge problem with the build to CM Punk vs Undertaker due to how far Punk went regarding the death of Paul Bearer. They’d have similar problems if he was outwardly racist and then was victorious in the end while the victim of his abuse was made to look weak as hell.
      The issue isn’t the racist allusions, it’s that the racist won in the end in dominant fashion.

      • Saint Stryfe says:

        The difference with Paul Bearer is he was a company guy who, if was asked, probably would have said “Please god use my corpse if it’ll sell some tickets”, because that’s who he was – anything to get the product over. So anything Punk did might have been in poor taste, but it’s within reason. Also, hey, the guy has “Punk” right in his name. Triple H was the strong champion who was taking on an up-and-comer, and he buried him, and shat on him both racially and professionally, and set his career back so it’s never quite recovered.

        This is why I can’t watch it. It’s simply in bad taste.

        I like wrestling. I like the art, the athleticism, the backstage fun, the silliness. But this was none of that. It was a shatstorm of poor ideas, poor writing, poor execution, tone deaf, stupid, arrogant and the highest sin of all in entertainment, NOT FUN.

  22. Guest says:

    To paraphrase Booker T from the Wrestlemania XIX The Video Game Commercial

    Tonight you gone see something special and complain about it on the internet :V

  23. Thomas Moffatt says:

    You mention annoying commentators – when is Tony Dawson getting his overdue induction?

  24. Huw Roma says:

    I was thinking about this angle while watching ‘Sentenced to Greatness’ and it still pisses me off all these years later. I remember while watching WM19 and getting angry because King wouldn’t let the racist angle go through the whole match, along withe the jailbird bit. It seriously was pathetic and overshadowed what was a good match. The whole angle was terrible though. A real low point for the WWE, as if there haven’t been enough.

  25. Jerichoholic Ninja says:

    My favourite part of Sentenced to Greatness is that they act like Booker T won the title at WMXIX and don’t mention the loss. Of course, that would have made sense, but let’s not forget who the opponent was.

    If memory serves, there was a story out in 2003 that Trips was supposed to lose, but hade the finish nixed. Of course, this was in the middle of the Internet’s Everyone Hates Triple H phase, so who knows if it’s true.

  26. Justin says:

    But ya know, Vince isn’t a racist or anything……

  27. Rex says:

    The way the racial angle went unresolved was definitely a bad look. But the analysis of the finish of the match always drives me crazy. It’s like in their circa 2003 HHH rage it goes right over people’s heads.

    From the writeup:

    “Of course, he took way too long to go for a cover, and when he managed that, he could only muster the strength to cover Triple H with one arm, so obviously this was not the finish of the match. No one ever, ever won after that much hesitation and a weak cover. Remember that in a minute. ”

    No, it wasn’t the finish. But WHY wasn’t it the finish?

    Because HHH kicked out of the finisher after such a long hesitation? No. He didn’t kick out at all. It wasn’t the finish because Flair put HHH’s foot on the ropes.

    HHH got hit with a finisher, didn’t kick out after a hesitation of 20 some seconds, and in total actually laid there for over a full minute before starting to stir. And even while the writeup says it’s mandatory for someone to kick out after such a long delay between hitting their finisher and making the pin attempt, it’s never acknowledged that HHH didn’t kick out either. The only reason HHH wasn’t pinned was because Flair cheated and saved him.

    Then the exact same thing played out in reverse. And it did so immediately, not 5 minute later where you might have forgotten how HHH was clearly beaten and needed to be saved. But Booker didn’t have someone like Flair to cheat for him. There was nobody to save Booker like HHH was saved. And he lost.

    That was the difference in the match. By all rights, Booker should have won. But HHH had someone to cheat for him and Booker didn’t. In no way does that make the message of the match that “Booker just wasn’t that good”.

  28. rey says:

    the whole story had racial undertones. however, i dont think it had anything to do with race. it was vince reminding everyone who won the monday night wars.
    during this period as world champ, HHH beat booker t, scott steiner, kevin nash, and goldberg. all former wcw champions. and it want a coincidence when booker did win the world title. it wasnt as his wcw character booker t. it was as a wwe character king booker.

  29. rey says:

    another forgotten aspect of the feud is wm19 as a whole.

    the rock used 3 rock bottoms to beat austin. hogan beat vince with 3 leg drops. brock defeated kurt angle with 3 F5s. Triple H beat booker t with ONE pedigree.

  30. Cha0s says:

    I entered the comments section fully expected people to deny this obviously being racial and was not mistaken.

    This was, is and will always be a racist, garbage storyline. I remember watching this unfold back in 2003 and shaking my head wondering why Booker’s race had to be the focal point like it was something 40 to 50 years prior in other sports. When Hunter and Flair’s(Lawler too) horrible comments were made I said to myself it was OK. “Booker T will win the World Title.” I told myself. “This way of doing it will make fans get behind him.” These were my thoughts and probably the thoughts of many watching at home.

    A few weeks in, They started denying the racial element and everyone but Lawler backed off on it. “Oh ****! He’s going to lose now.” I thought. The night comes and with my still hopeful friends and I watching that abomination went down. “B*******!B*******! ” My friends of varying races said as the match ended.

    WWE should have never used race if Booker was slated to lose. It was in poor taste and moronic. In 2003, race was not needed. Once it used there was only one way to end the match. Booker could have even lost the next night on Raw. They did what they wanted to do as usual. A lot of people are(or were) mad about the likely outcome of this Sunday’s main event. But it and likely nothing else will come close to this. The end of this match and feud was and is the total embodiment of Wrestlecrap.

  31. Arcane Azmadi says:

    I think the most pathetic thing of all was the way WWE booked a BLATANTLY racist angle, then when they began (justifiably) receiving flak for, you know, BOOKING AN APPALLINGLY RACIST ANGLE they tried to make pathetic excuses about how “guys like [Booker]” means WCW guys, not nig-um, black guys.

    Oh really, because that’s SO much better? Basically admitting openly that WWE is biased against all guys who worked for the competition and only employ them as jobbers? Actually, it IS so much better- but it’s also something they’d NEVER admit because it would be as good as reminding people “oh yeah, don’t forget that not only is wrestling fake, but backstage politics control everything”, so it’s also OBVIOUSLY BULLCRAP. So they try to shrug off the racist overtones of the angle with the lamest of lame excuses, but then GO AHEAD WITH THE RACIST ANGLE ANYWAY. Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.

    While it’s hard to make clear judgement calls on Triple H (remember he WAS still just an employee, he even had to hump a dummy in a casket once), this angle is basically yet MORE proof that at least Vincent K. McMahon is a disgusting human being.

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