Something To Wrestle With – When Hunter Married Stephanie
Release Date: 10/26/18
Run Time: 2:02:33
Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo
Triple H in 1998
- Triple H had a big year in 1998. He had won the world championship twice and became a constant. He made the heel turn in WM 15 and joined the Corporation He wanted to do an evolution of the character.
- Initially, Vince saw HHH as a mid-card IC title type guy and would stay in the mid card if he didn’t make any changes. Vince also didn’t like HHH’s hair and always said he was going to get that hair one day. Russo really pushed for HHH to win the WWE championship.
- In 1999 Stephanie was 23 and had graduated from Boston University in communications and started working at the WWE full time. She would be around the McMahon household during the booking meetings.
- When Steph graduated, Bruce asked Louise (Pat Patterson’s partner) to get a gift for Stephanie which ended up being an ankle bracelet.
- During this time, Vince had Stephanie sit in during production meetings. Bruce says Jim Cornette was the first to suggest Stephanie be on TV
- During meetings she was a fly on a wall, however after the meetings would ask a lot of questions. She was interested in learning the psychology of wrestling
- During this time, Shane was working with the magazine. Russo and McMahon wanted to get him on air as well and got him into storylines
- Creative for Stephanie would have been written by Cornette and Russo however Vince McMahon was protective of Stephanie even more so than Shane. Vince felt Stephanie would be a better on-air talent than Shane
- Backlash 1999, Austin beats the Rock for the WWF title and the Undertaker abducts Stephanie. This was a Vince Russo idea.
- Vince McMahon was particular about how Stephanie was portrayed on TV.
- Prior to the angle, Stephanie was nervous and inside her head. Plus Vince was overproducing everything she was doing. The pressure was brutal.
- On Raw, the Ministry of Darkness brought Stephanie out tied to the Taker’s signal. Austin saved Stephanie. This story went over really well.
- Andrew ‘Test’ Martin was a student from the first Funkin Dojo. He had the size and look and they thought they could do something with him.
- When Russo saw him, he saw a ‘young Kevin Nash’ and thought Test could be a heater for DX. Russo pitched the idea to Triple H and DX and they said Test was no Kevin Nash. Plus Test was green and had only worked 11 matches.
- DX went to Vince and Test did not join DX but to stick it to DX a little, they put Test in a romantic storyline with Stephanie.
- Russo wanted to prove they could make Test a star. Putting him with Steph was a high profile storyline
Test Proposes to Stephanie
- Bruce says Russo didn’t have a clue of what they were doing
- SummerSlam ’99, Test wrestled Shane McMahon in a love her or leave her match. It was the convoluted storytelling at the time. Test won and Stephanie came out to celebrate.
- August 23rd Raw, Test asks Stephanie to marry him and she says she needs more time. A few days later on Smackdown, he does the same and she accepts.
- Bruce says one of his pet peeves at the time was that they were doing things that could have been spread over 6 months and did them in 6 minutes. The marriage proposal between Test and Steph was rushed. The wedding was scheduled for October 11th at the Georgia Dome
- There are differing opinions about the end game of the angle. Russo said he had a plan. Vince McMahon just wanted to get it over with. He wasn’t buying Test and didn’t buy the storyline.
- September 20th – Test and Stephanie wrestle Jeff Jarrett and Deborah. Stephanie pinned Jeff. It was Russo’s idea to get her in the ring and beat Jeff. Bruce hated it and said it didn’t make any sense.
- Stephanie trained with Tom Prichard in the warehouse prior to the match. She trained with him every night. She would come after work and they would train late because she wanted to learn the right way and do it safely. The only way Vince McMahon was going to let her in the ring is if she trained.
- Jeff didn’t care about getting pinned by Stephanie. In this instance he was a pro.
- Linda was fine with everything. She may have been more hesitant about Steph getting involved versus Shane. It was a strange time with regards to how the business was going and how fantasy mirrored reality and vice versa
- Rebellion PPV October 2 – Davey Boy Smith hits Stephanie with a trash can and the next night on Raw she has amnesia. By this time, Vince Russo was gone. Vince McMahon wasn’t a fan of Test and didn’t think the storyline was going anywhere. The amnesia angle was used to buy time until they could figure out what to do.
- On the October 11th Raw, Stephanie refuses to marry test.
- Triple H pitched the idea of him marrying Steph to Vince and they worked on it together. Vince did not want to go through the Test deal and try to get her out of that angle. Triple H gave him an alternative
- November 1st RAW, Nov 1 RAW, Stephanie proposes to Test in the Ring.
- November 8th, Triple H wrestles Test for title. Triple H wins by count out. During the match, there is a video of a woman about to be attached. Vince, Shane and Test think it’s Stephanie and they all run out.
- November 29th, the wedding for Test and Stephanie takes place. Bridal shower segments are shown from the week before. DX attacks Test and stuff him in the trunk of a car. They also show Stephanie’s bridal shower with her getting loaded. Additionally her drink gets spiked because the waiters are in cahoots with Triple H.
- Later in the show it’s time for the wedding video footage of Triple H marrying Stephanie. A lot of people point to this storyline as putting him on the map on TV and behind the scenes. There were rumblings backstage about Triple H. There was no writing team at the time…he had told everyone that they could go to Vince directly with ideas. Guys in the back thought this was going to be Shawn Part 2.
- Test was disappointed with what happened during the storyline. Bruce tried to encourage him and told him to learn as much as he could and keep his nose clean. Keep getting better.
- At this point, Stephanie is working in creative and Triple H is with Chyna.
- Stephanie had a boyfriend at this time until 2001. Her last boyfriend before Triple H was a baseball player. She had also dated someone from high school.
- It was understood that Steph was not to date any of the boys.
- December 6th, RAW – Stephanie tries to get Triple H to get an annulment.
- They wanted people to believe that Steph married against her will.
- On Smackdown, X-Pac does a run in and attacks Test.
- Armageddon PPV – during the Triple H/Vince match, Triple H looks like he’s going to hit Steph but they end up hugging and kissing to end the show.
- Next night on Raw, Vince calls out Triple H but Stephanie comes out and says she’s not daddy’s little girl anymore and she’ll do things her way. She likes how Triple H stood up to Vince.
Working Themselves Into A Shoot
- No one knows the real timeline of their real romance except Triple H and Stephanie
- In January 2001, Gerry Brisco and Bruce used to watch Stephanie and Triple H and said they were going to work themselves into a shoot.
- Bruce knew it was a real thing during the first XFL game. (around Feb 3 2001).
- Chyna and Stephanie had a great relationship and Stephanie was Chyna’s biggest cheerleader at all times until the day Chyna walked out.
- Chyna says Triple H started getting grumpier towards her. Their routine was that she would wait for him to grab her before leaving the building however he would sometimes take long or leave without her.
- Chyna found roses in Triple H’s locker room which were sent to him from Stephanie.
- Bruce says there were rumblings, gossip and rumour but nobody knew for sure.
- There were people who were close to Triple H and Stephanie who didn’t know.
- Chyna confronted Triple H who denied it but she picked the lock to his briefcase and found a love letter from Stephanie
- Bruce says the meeting between Chyna’s memory of her meeting with Vince are not correct
- Chyna had approached Vince about Triple H and Stephanie. Vince didn’t want to get involved.
- Chyna wanted to have a meeting with Vince and Bruce was asked to be there as a witness.
- She asked for a new contract and wanted 2 million dollars guaranteed in a contract, a deal with Playboy and some other stuff.
- Vince couldn’t do what she was asking but did offer her a great deal.
- Chyna said she couldn’t work under the current conditions
- Vince asked her to think about it but she decided she couldn’t and they let her contract run out.
- Bruce hated being at that meeting.
- Despite what Chyna has said in the past, there was no confrontation with Stephanie.
- During an interview, Steph said Triple H was being flirtatious. She thought Chyna and Triple H hadn’t broken up so she split from Triple H for awhile.
- When they got back together, Vince gave them his blessing but then took it away.
- Stephanie and Triple H was not a topic Bruce discussed with Vince.
. Triple H and Steph Wedding
- Reception and wedding festivities at a compound in upstate NY. All guests received a gold coin which indicated you were a wedding guest. You had to carry that coin around in order to get into the wedding and related areas.
- Michael Hayes got a little drunk. He had sang Jailhouse Rock and did a great job. Then he tried to sing another song and eventually got the hook from Linda McMahon.
This was an OK podcast. There were some interesting stories but I’ll admit, I had a hard time getting into this episode. Plus, I’m not a fan of Triple H or Stephanie which also made it hard to get into the show. That said, like all the Something To Wrestle podcasts, this was full of tons of details.
Joe is a long time wrestling fan from Toronto. He is a co-host on the Pull Apart Podcast with Jeff Rush and Caitlin Lavelle as well as a contributor to www.pwpodcasts.com. One of his life goals is to be a guest host on one of Wade Keller’s post show podcasts. He doesn’t consider himself any sort of expert, he just likes wrestling. Check him out on twitter and instagram @ja113.