WWE Classic of the Week: Remembering Triple H vs. Big Show at Raw, January 2000
One of the hottest angles in today's WWE is the war between The Big Show and his bosses, COO Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
For months, Big Show has been manipulated and humiliated. A victim of poor financial maneuvers, the giant had fallen on hard times and needed his job more than ever. He had no choice but to go along with whatever devious plan or action Triple H and Stephanie wanted.
On the October 7 edition of Raw, weeks of frustration caused Big Show to reach his boiling point. To the delight of the fans in attendance, he delivered the knockout punch to Triple H and regained his pride.
Though he lost his job, Big Show still managed to play a key role in the main event of the October 14 edition of Raw, rushing through the stands, hopping the guardrail and destroying The Shield, successfully helping Cody Rhodes and Goldust win the WWE Tag Team Championship.
The current dispute between Big Show and Triple H is not the first time they have crossed paths.
In 2000, Triple H was the undeniable top heel in the industry, and a major rivalry between he and The Rock over the WWE title was slated to carry the company through the first half of the year.
For that to happen, The Game needed to win the WWE title.
And that title belonged to Big Show.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley assumed control of WWE in late 1999 and proceed to make the lives of the top babyfaces a living hell, including WWE champion Big Show.
Show had just come out of an angle with Big Boss Man and was riding a wave of momentum heading into the new millennium.
The giant also had the title The Game so coveted, and Triple H would stop at nothing to take it.
To soften Big Show up for their battle on January 3, 2000, he booked the champion in a match against X-Pac. Just as it looked like Big Show would win the match handily, Road Dogg was added to the mix, making the bout a handicap match.
When Big Show again had the upper hand, Billy Gunn rushed to the ring and the match became a three-on-one assault. Finally, Triple H entered the fray, and D-Generation X would leave the big man lying supine to close out that December episode of SmackDown.
Between the D-Generation X theme “My Time,” “The Game” and “King of Kings,” has any Superstar ever been on the receiving end of a string of awesome entrance songs like Triple H?
After being assaulted on SmackDown, Big Show attacks Triple H during his entrance, not allowing the glitz and glam to delay his chance at revenge. He backs him into a corner and punishes The Game with a series of blows to the upper body, including one of his trademark open-hand chops.
Triple H takes control momentarily, but the champion flattens him with a big headbutt.
Big Show whips The Game into the ropes but makes the mistake of lowering his head and takes a kick to the shoulder for his trouble. He rebounds nicely, though, delivering another headbutt that takes the challenger to the mat.
The giant delivers a thunderous bodyslam while DX and Stephanie watch from the top of the ramp. A big elbow by the WWE champion nets him a two-count.
Triple H feigns pleading with Show, drawing him into the corner and leaving him open for a big boot to the midsection. He delivers a series of hard rights to the face but, again, fails to string together a series of offensive maneuvers as Show whips him into the corner and over the top rope.
Big Show delivers yet another headbutt followed by a clubbing forearm to the back, stopping momentarily to taunt DX. He scoops the challenger up and appears poised to deliver a powerslam of sorts, but Triple H ducks down and sends the champion over the guardrail and to the arena floor.
DX celebrates while Triple H regains his composure following Show’s early-match assault.
Triple H delivers a few hard rights, but Big Show tosses him over the guardrail and back to ringside. He tries an Irish whip, but The Game reverses, sending Big Show into the steel steps. Giving the champion very little room to breath, he follows up by tossing him over the announce table and pounding away with rights to the face.
He slams Big Show into the timekeeper’s table and a steel chair before rolling him back into the squared circle.
Triple H catches Big Show with his patented face buster, followed by a running knee to the face, but he can only keep the big man down for two.
A series of hard rights by Triple H have no affect on Big Show, who has quickly recovered from the assault. A big sidewalk slam nearly nets the champion a victory, and a big powerslam keeps The Game down for two.
Big Show looks to have Triple H finished following a chokeslam, but the battered challenger is too close to the ropes and drapes his foot over the bottom one to break the referee’s count.
The champion climbs to the middle rope and comes off with a big elbow drop, but Triple H rolls out of the way in time for Show to come crashing to the mat.
The challenger sets his opponent up for the Pedigree, but Big Show delivers a back body drop. This draws X-Pac to ringside, drawing the referee’s attention and allowing Triple H to catch Big Show with a low blow, followed by the Pedigree for the pinfall victory.
The aforementioned X-Pac, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and Stephanie hit the ring to celebrate with the new champion. Pyro erupts and green and black balloons fall from the rafters in celebration of the McMahon-Helmsley regime collecting the top prize in the company.
The quality of the match was secondary in importance to the outcome.
Big Show was still a very raw performer at the time and nowhere near the level of the in-ring worker he is today.
Triple H was just beginning the greatest year of his (perhaps any) career, and he had ability to bump around the ring to make his opponent's pedestrian big-man offense look far more devastating than it actually was.
What the match lacked in complex in-ring work was made up for by a hot crowd.
The first six months of World Wrestling Entertainment storylines in 2000 relied on Triple H being the WWE champion or manipulating his way to regaining it. This match against Big Show set in motion months of programming that is still fondly remembered as some of the best Vince McMahon's promotion has ever produced.
It was also a noteworthy occurrence during the Monday Night Wars in that it was a major title change on free television, a huge blow to WCW, which was on its last legs as a promotion.
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