Booker T was never really supposed to wrestle Triple H 15 years ago at WrestleMania 19 for the World Heavyweight Championship. It seemed like the stars were aligning for a newly-signed Scott Steiner to be the challenger. But a combination of poor performances, injuries, and age forced WWE to rush through the feud at Royal Rumble and abandon the Steiner/HHH matchup, which left Triple H without a logical challenger. So when a number one contender battle royal took place on the February 24th edition of Monday Night Raw, it seemed like the most likely new opponent would be a returning Rock. Needless to say, it came as a shock when Booker tossed the People’s Champion over the top rope to earn his spot at the World Heavyweight Title.
Booker’s push to the title picture, while shocking, was deserved. He’d proven himself in WCW as a five-time champion. He main evented SummerSlam against the aforementioned Rock, had an unforgettable and iconic grocery store fight with Steve Austin, and had single-handedly turned a simple breakdancing move into one of the more popular acts in all of professional wrestling.
By 2003, Booker was hitting on all cylinders as a babyface performer and was extremely popular. Still, it wasn’t clear that he should have beaten a champion like Triple H, and if not for the angle leading up to WrestleMania, a Booker T loss wouldn’t have been that big of a deal. But given the context of the build-up, what happened at ‘Mania is inexcusable.