In Defense Of… Scott Steiner

Bringing the truth to the wrestling fan!

A version of this article originally appeared on 411mania.com and was updated for the book IN DEFENSE OF… EXONERATING PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING’S MOST HATED. Learn more at https://www.jpprag.com

Certain people, events, organizations, and storylines in wrestling history have gotten a bum rap. Some writers have presented overtly critical comments and outright lies as fact, and others have followed suit. Well no more! “In Defense of…” has one reason: to bring the truth to the wrestling fan!

Intro

Some dame walked into my office and said…

Several trials back I was thinking, “I really need a good medium-length case to help close out the first year of trials.” Well, to my great surprise and happiness, Lester Romero came up with the answer:

How about something more difficult like Scott Steiner? It’s a shame how many people forget how incredible he was and how he’s mostly remembered for his later injury prone years.

Thus, I made it so!

Of course, our main fixer (#315) said:

You must have read my mind when I thought of another guy that needed defending: Scott Steiner.

Reading minds? Maybe…

But more than one person thought it would be a great defense. And more than one person thought I was out of my mind for agreeing to this case. Sounds like the perfect reason for me to take the case!

Why this?

For nearly twenty years, Scott Steiner has been a major figure in wrestling. But his career has been two-fold: one part helping to define the new tag team era, the other as the resurrection of the heel main eventer. Because Steiner has really been two, very distinct characters, his previous accomplishments are often forgotten. Not only that, but the more recent years have overshadowed even how much he accomplished in his second phase.

Instead of being recognized as a trendsetter and a major player, Steiner has become a joke. Instead of being recognized for his influence on the industry that is still prevalent to this day, Steiner has become just a bunch of quick one-liners.

Because some did not like his evolution, and others never knew him, and others yet only saw the worst he had to offer, Steiner has been buried. But here is a man whose career spans so much time and says so much; how can we sum it up with a laugh at his expense?

Before we get too far, though, we need to understand where we’ve been.

Scott Steiner Part 1 — Scott Steiner

On July 29, 1962, Rick Rechsteiner was surprised to find that he had a new baby brother. Of course, he didn’t realize that he had a baby brother since he was just a year and half old, so the two grew up together. Their parents gave the new baby the name of Scott.

Scott and Rick spent their childhood in Bay City, MI. As brothers so close in age, they found themselves as their own best friends and worst enemies. Brothers fight, and brothers support each other no matter what. Neither growing up was a fan of professional wrestling, but both found a common interest in amateur wrestling. Their love of the mat-based sport led both Rick and Scott to the University of Michigan where they met with much success. According to Obsessed with Wrestling, Scott himself stated:

[Received] 6th Place at the 1986 NCAA championships 190 lbs his senior year. He was also a 3x Big 10 Runner Up getting 2nd place his sophomore, Junior, and senior year.

Rick also met with similar success a little earlier, placing fourth in the NCAA Championship.

While in college, too, both got their full introduction to professional wrestling. Scott was not immediately drawn to the sport, but Rick was. After meeting with George “The Animal” Steele, Rick set himself to become a professional wrestler immediately after graduation. After training with Eddie Sharkey, Rick made his pro debut in 1983 and began a path that would eventually lead him to the NWA in 1988.

Meanwhile, Scott was still in school and was not sure of his direction. But, after watching his brother progress in wrestling up until that point (and listening to Rick go on about his new passion), and realizing that he could take his amateur career and turn it into a professional one, he felt it was a risk worth taking. Much like Kurt Angle, he realized that amateur and professional wrestling were two different worlds that required varied skills, but still had the same route. In order to bring about this route, he began to train in 1986 under one of the best ever: The Original Sheik.

Due to his amateur skills, Scott’s training passed quickly and he made his debut in Indianapolis for the World Wrestling Association. His abilities and charisma, while severely subdued compared to later years, helped him win over the crowd and the WWA Championship. After winning the belt from Greg Wojokowski in August 1986, Steiner would go on to hold the belt for nearly nine months before losing it back to the former champ. From there, Steiner would move on to his tag team career. This began by teaming with Jerry Graham and winning the WWA Tag Team titles.

After a couple of runs, Steiner moved on to the AWA for a short bit before finding his way to CWA in Memphis. There, be won the tag team titles with both Billy Travis and Jeb Grundy between 1988 and 1989. All of his time spent in the tag team ranks had trained Scott to have a deep understanding and appreciation of tag team wrestling that is not truly prevalent in this day and age.

Finally the time had come to join his brother and shorten his name to just Steiner.

Rick had been in the NWA since 1988 and wanted to bring his brother in, but to no avail. From Brandon Truitt’s recap of the Rick Steiner Shoot interview (July 2003):

Bringing Scott into the company- He tried to do it when Dusty was booking but couldn’t even get a minute of his time. After his face turn, he pitched it to Flair and a few other guys who ended up bringing Scott in.

There are people that said Rick just used his influence to get Scott a free ride right to the top of the NWA. This, as you have seen, cannot be further from the truth. Scott spent three years on his own in the independents and large minor organizations learning and honing his craft. At that, it took nearly a year and a change in booking power to even have his brother looked at. And so, Scott was brought in to see how the Steiners would do together.

The Steiner Brothers debuted in June 1989 and quickly lost to Mike Rotunda and Kevin Sullivan at Clash of the Champions VII. They impressed the office and the audience, though, and quickly got their win back at the Great American Bash a month later. Their feuds with Doom and the Freebirds led to the Steiner Brothers capturing the NWA Tag Team Championships on November 1, 1989, just five months after their debut. Part of that was Scott Steiner’s unique finisher: the Frankensteiner. From IMDB:

Inventor of the “Frankensteiner”, a wrestling maneuver that is more commonly used today by cruiserweight wrestlers. This move is now known as a “Hurricanrana”.

While it is debatable whether Steiner “invented” the Frankensteiner, the point is that he popularized the move in North America and Japan, and paved the way for future cruiserweight wrestlers. One problem: Steiner was no cruiserweight. At the time, Steiner was around 245–255 lbs. and was quite muscular (not as much as he was in later life), so the move was even more amazing when pulled off.

You see, Steiner realized that he could capture the audience through his look, his gimmicks, on the mic, and with his moves. He wanted to master of all of them, and this was just another step to prove how innovative he was. Steiner himself commented on keeping the move secret for a while. From Sean McCaffrey’s review of the Scott Steiner Shoot Interview:

Scott talks about inventing the Frankensteiner. He talks about the origin of the move and how he waited to debut it in NWA because he didn’t want people stealing it in Memphis.

Steiner understood the difference between the big show and the little show, and he did not want to give it all away when it would not be seen. This was a lesson that wrestlers like Nova (Simon Dean) never took to heart. The often-lamented complaint in ECW was the moves that Nova did over the weekend were guaranteed to show up on Monday Night. And you know what? They were right. But that does not mean they were smart. Steiner was smart and understood the difference in his level, and understood he needed to save his best stuff for the biggest show in town.

Scott was extremely proud of the move and his tag team status. Said Steiner to the Wrestling Digest in June 2001 when asked about his biggest moments in wrestling:

“The first time my brother and I won the NWA world tag-team title on November 1, 1989, and the first time I won the world heavyweight title this past November. Those are the two top trophies in the sport. You can’t get any bigger than that.”

Do you see what I mean? Steiner considered the tag team championships that he won with his brother in 1989 just as important as the World Heavyweight Championship he won in 2000. There is a man who truly respects tag team wrestling, which is most likely why he and his brother became such a dominating tag team. Unlike many wrestlers (or more likely writers) in this era, they wanted to be a tag team and saw prestige in it. Steiner said earlier in the same interview:

The rest of my career, I have been focused on tag-team wrestling and winning tag-team championships. The world title really wasn’t on my mind for the first part of my career.

The Steiner Brothers’ tag team career continued, not only winning the NWA/WCW championships, but also holding the IWGP Tag Team titles as well. You see, Rick and Scott had also begun to make a name for themselves in Japan and became an international super team. For the first time ever, the WCW and IWGP tag team titles were unified (for four months) until Scott was injured.

After repeating this event in 1992, Rick left WCW to concentrate on Japan. Back in the States, Scott moved into singles competition for a while, even winning the Television Title. After the Steiner Bros. lost the IWGP tag team titles in November 1992, Scott vacated the WCW Television Title and the duo moved on to the WWF. From the previously mentioned interview in the Wrestling Digest:

WD: You and Rick spent some time in the WWF and captured the tag-team rifle. What are your thoughts on your time spent there?

SS: I have a lot of respect for Vince McMahon. He took a family business and made it bigger than it was. I am sure his son, Shane, will do the same thing. The time we were with them was a bad [time], because he was going through that steroid trial and wrestling was down. So, it was unfortunate for us that we picked that time to join the WWF. We still proved a point; we still won the tag [title]. At the end, we just got a better offer and went to Japan for a few years and made better money.

And also from Sean McCaffrey’s review of Scott’s Shoot Interview:

Scott says he wanted a change of scenery and wanted some stability in his career, and that’s why the Steiners jumped to the WWF. He also said he should’ve never jumped to the WWF at the time, and said everyone was miserable there.

He says he left the WWF for Japan because the WWF was so depressing at the time.

You have to remember at that time in WCW, the boss was changing every few weeks. The organization was a mess and many people thought it was about to crumble. The Steiner Brothers hoped to find a more stable home in the WWF, but that was not to be. Due to the steroid trial, things were not going well. From the same review:

Scott talks about Vince and the steroid trial and how Vince thought he was going to jail.

That seems familiar… where have I seen that before? Oh right! It was exactly what Warrior said was happening and what Vince said. I like when guys that have nothing to do with each other separated by years back each other up.

But the Steiners made their point and won the straps a couple of times in just a year and a few months. The Steiners then went on to Japan and made sparing appearances for ECW. Japan was all about the money, as Steiner noted in his interview with Wrestling Digest:

I have always made it a point in my career to go where the money is.

ECW, though, was for different reasons. From the review of the Shoot Interview:

Scott talks about working in ECW for a cup of coffee, and how his main concern at the time was Japan.

What ECW was for Steiner was just something to do while he was stateside. His real concern (and money) was Japan. Scott was never fired from WCW or WWF and forced to work in ECW; he had chosen everywhere he wanted to go.

In 1996, WCW came calling and the Steiner Brothers left Japan to return to WCW full time. It was a different organization then, much more stable and about to grow. They began feuds with the Road Warriors and Harlem Heat, but the birth of the nWo changed everything. The Steiner Brothers became the penultimate force against the Outsiders, even winning the Tag Titles at Souled Out 1997 before having the decision reversed on them the next night.

Their feuds would continue through 1997, winning the Tag Team titles a couple of times en route. After losing the titles back to the nWo in January 1998, everything changed…

Scott Steiner Part 2 — The Big Bad Booty Daddy

From Accelerator3359:

This was when Scott’s attitude began to change. He became less of a team player, and engaged in a “body” feud with “Buff” Bagwell over who could flex better. This did not stop the two brothers from becoming 6-time WCW Tag-Team Champs, as they beat the Outsiders in February. Although the Steiners seemed united again, it was not to last. On February 22nd, at Superbrawl VIII, Scott betrayed his brother to the nWo, practically giving the titles to the Outsiders. Scott had jumped to nWo.

Scott’s next appearance showed him as a bleached blonde, with various nicknames (the White Thunder one was dropped due to possible racial suggestions). He offered an nWo membership to Rick as well, but Rick refused. Scott then had feuds with his brother Rick, Lex Luger, and others. Scottie joined “Buff” Bagwell as the two became a team, since Bagwell couldn’t wrestle due to his injury. The Steiner vs. Steiner feud then continued for months, with Rick winning the tag belts from his brother and the Giant.

It was a slow turn that people saw coming but could not wait for. Nobody knew just quite what was going to happen and who Scott Steiner would become. From Tim Baines in the Ottawa Sun:

After being a “face” much of his career, Steiner suddenly became a heel in WCW.

“Eric (Bischoff) came up to me and asked if I wanted to be a heel,” he [Scott Steiner] said. “I was ready for the change. I bleached my black hair blond.

“Eric didn’t have much faith in the booking committee so he let me do my own thing … say whatever popped into my mind.”

In something you do not see today, Steiner was really in charge of creating his new character and his new story. And what he came up with was a true heel of the modern era, one who people loved to boo, but were captivated by. His catchphrases were numerous and interesting, but always pulled the audience in. From Wikipedia:

“Say something nice and I’ll make you scream twice!”

“This goes out to all my freaks out there. Big Poppa Pump is your hookup; holler if you hear me!”

“All my hoochies say: there’s nothing finer than Scott Steiner!”

“You know where to find me: I’ll be flexin’ my PEAKS, pleasin’ my FREAKS… and when they say ‘BOOM-shakalaka!’, that’s when you KNOW that I’m the Big Booty Daddy! So Big Poppa Pump is your hook-up — HOLLA if ya hear me!!”

“Do you want to be [mesmerized] by the physical [phenomenon]?”

“All I care about is my peaks, and my freaks, nation-wide!”

But it wasn’t just the words and look, it was also the in-ring style. Steiner stopped using the ropes and became more mat and power based. Many complained that it was because he bulked up so much that he could not pull off the moves he once did. That was not the case, though. Steiner chose to change his style because he was a whole new character. After a decade as the same guy, he wanted to be completely different. That also included changing his finished to the Steiner Recliner (a submission move: a sitting camel clutch).

Steiner’s new character would cause controversy in and out of the ring (we’ll get to it), but eventually still led him from the Television to US and finally World Championship. In November 2000 at WCW Mayhem, Steiner defeated Booker T to win the WCW Championship for the first (and last) time. He would hold the title until the very last day of WCW, losing it back to Booker T in the opening contest of Night of Champions Nitro.

You have to realize that this was an extremely turbulent time in WCW and the fact that Steiner was able to stand out and find his way to the top is a testament to his professionalism and dedication. It was also during this time that he established himself as top wrestlers with impressive wins over not only Sid and Kevin Nash, but also Goldberg in a match that made him look even more powerful than the unstoppable machine.

During this phase, his rise to the title was really meteoric. If you consider Big Poppa Pump as a whole new man, then it was a relatively short time. From the Wrestling Digest interview:

WRESTLING DIGEST: As of this interview [published three months later], you are WCW’s world heavyweight champion. It was a long [time] coming. What took you so long to get there?

SCOTT STEINER: I have heard that comment before, that it has taken me a long time to get there. Well, it hasn’t taken me that long, maybe two-and-a-half years.

You see, Steiner was not looking to be the top singles competitor in the world when he was with his brother; he wanted to be the best tag team. But once he concentrated on his single’s success, he quickly found his way to the top.

But with the death of WCW, it would seem like he would be forgotten.

When and when not to go

Scott often gets criticized for not taking a buyout at the end of WCW and going directly to the (then) WWF. This, of course, led to him losing the title on the first match on Nitro. From the recap of Scott’s Sheet Interview:

Scott talks about the final Nitro, and how he refused to take a buyout. He said he had an injury that he wanted to heal anyway.

And further from IMDB:

Steiner decided to take things easy for a while to recover from some back problems that he had been having, along with a severe nerve problem in his left leg.

So Scott stayed at home and got healed up (not heeled), what is wrong with that? The guy had been on the road for fifteen years at that point and had been in some brutal matches. He needed time to get healthy, and he was still a little sour from his last time in the WWF.

Even though he made a few independent appearances and did some shows for the WWA tour at the end of his Time-Warner contract, Steiner was not desperate for work. Wrestling was his career, but he was still well off. Back to the recap of Scott’s Shoot interview:

Scott talks about joining the WWE, and how he was offered to join several times before he eventually accepted. Scott said he wanted the right amount of money to come back to wrestle, since he was financially set. He said the WWE product was some brutal shit at the time, so he wasn’t in no hurry to join WWE.

Scott talks about how he was basically brought in just to put over Hunter. Scott says that Vince didn’t know how to use any of the WCW guys right. Scott says it was brutal to work for Vince.

Scott talks about Hunter [trying] to make people look bad. Scott said he didn’t care about being buried because he was getting paid no matter what.

Scott did not need the money of the WWE, but that does not mean he would not accept it. From Scott’s interview with UCW’s Steven Goforth:

Steven: I must say that I was very disappointed with the way WWE used you during your recent time there. How did you feel about your time spent in the WWE?

Steiner: I wasn’t very happy either. I had heard rumors that the only reason they brought me in was to work Triple H. But they signed me for 3 years so I got paid regardless, so who looks stupid[?] [N]ot me. It is [their] fault they didn’t use me correctly. They never used or had good spots for any of the WCW guys. GOLDBERG didn’t get used like he should have either. Vince never won over or got the WCW fan base.

Steven: Why did WWE choose not to be more creative with your character and let you be involved in storylines with more wrestlers?

Steiner: When you go up there, they make you into a robot, they even wrote my interviews, and that never happened in WCW. The same four people wrote everything for all the guys, so no one has very much personality that’s different. But I don’t think anyone on WWE now has much character.

And from Tim Baines’ article in the Ottawa Sun:

“I had a feeling they weren’t going to do much with me,” said Steiner (real name, Scott Rechsteiner) over the phone. “But it wasn’t the first time they treated a guy from WCW like that. They seemed to s — t on the guys from WCW.

Steiner said it right. The WWE intentionally mismanaged his character because (1) they just wanted to use him to put over Triple H and (2) because there is no understanding of the WCW audience. At the time of this writing, RAW the prior week scored a 4.0 rating. Even during the low times of Nitro, the combined audience for RAW and Nitro was usually in the 7.0 range. Where are the other 3.0 ratings of people? Lost forever because Vince buried WCW.

Of course, there will be those who say that Steiner was ruined by his wrestling, especially Royal Rumble 2003. And let me tell you, that was an awful match to watch. How do I know? I was there live.

The match basically consisted of Steiner throwing the same two suplexes over and over for twenty minutes until Triple H hit him with a sledgehammer. To say the crowd turned against Steiner would be an understatement. Why, though, would the WWE put Steiner in such a position? He had a lot of ring rust and was told in the back how he should wrestle his match. And then to put him out there for twenty minutes?

Also, he had been a heel for five years, yet the WWE wanted him as a watered-down face (sound like a similar practice to, oh, John Cena? And to similar result, no doubt.).

No, that reeks of being set up for failure. That is like putting the female winner of Tough Enough in the ring a week after winning the competition and then blaming her because the match was bad. How can you do that? That is being intentionally set up to lose.

And if you watch Steiner’s later matches, especially those with/against Test, he was able to shake off the ring rust and bring back his style. Those matches were often some of the most solid on the show, even though Test is not considered much of a worker either.

After December 2003, the WWE elected to just let Steiner’s contract run out, again proving they had mismanaged him and could find nothing to do with him. The WWE somehow finds ways to use Mark Henry (nothing against Mark Henry, he’s just been around for ten years), but could find no way to use Scott Steiner. Seems quite peculiar.

Of course, this would not be the end of Scott Steiner. He would be heard from just shortly after announcing this case…

Have you seen my lost puppy?

For a while now, Steiner has been making sporadic appearances on the indy circuit, usually in organizations that he was asked to come to by friends and family (notably Buff Bagwell and Rick Steiner). But as it would happen, immediately after announcing this case, rumors began that Steiner was in talks with TNA.

And as of Destination X, it looks like Steiner has joined the company. For how long? For how much? As of the time of this writing, nothing is for sure. What we do know is that despite everything that happened in the WWE, interest in Steiner has remained high, and he has one last chance to prove what he is made of.

Of course, many have had a hard time understanding what Steiner is about.

Misunderstand this!

Throughout his Big Poppa Pump years, Steiner has been characterized as a loose cannon, someone who could go off at any second. But, much like New Jack, is Steiner just working us? Kevin Eck of the Wrestling Digest seemed to think so in February 2003:

Steiner then reminded fans why he is known for being as dangerous with his mouth on live television as he is with his fists in the ring. “Give me the [expletive deleted] [mic],” he screamed.

Less than two minutes into his WWE comeback, he already had dropped his first “f-bomb.”

That intensity and “loose cannon” quality are two of the reasons why fans find Steiner so fascinating. You never know what he’s going to say or do; whether he’s playing a role or is truly out of control.

And…

Steiner’s publicized brushes with the law and backstage conflicts only served to give credibility to his volatile heel persona in WCW. With Steiner, the fans truly believed that he could snap and go off on someone for real at any moment.

And unlike almost every other wrestling star on the current scene, Steiner refuses to ever break character in magazine or Web site interviews or acknowledge that the business is a work.

“What happened outside the ring proved that what was going on in wrestling wasn’t an act,” Steiner told WCW Magazine in 2001. “It wasn’t a character that was conjured up by someone in the back. I think the fans realize it is real with me.”

Steiner is the ultimate “swork” character. We really do not know where the character ends and the man begins, and vice versa. Yet, he has let himself be pinned by everyone from Booker T at the last Nitro, Triple H, and even Test. So on one hand he seems to be all about himself, yet at other times he seems to be the ultimate professional.

Despite this, Steiner has been known to “go into business for himself”. On two separate occasions on Nitro, Steiner actually went out with a live mic and ran down people he was not in a program with (Ric Flair and DDP, to be precise). Perhaps, though, he had good reason to act the way he did. Perhaps he was actually trying to vindicate someone. From Michael KopStick recap of Tammy Sytch’s shoot interview:

Her ECW stint didn’t end with a happy goodbye, either. The internet rumor about this firing was drugs; she says that Paul just wanted to make an example of her and Chris since everyone else was doing worse drugs than they were. The Extreme locker room featured drinking, pills, pot, heroine, coke, you name it. Tammy and Chris drank and did pills, nothing more, but that didn’t mater to Paul. “He can be a jerk that way,” Tammy shrugs. But it wasn’t that much of a big deal since they were already in talks with ECW-raider WCW.

They were three for three, getting fired next from WCW. This one was reported to be drugs, too, but the story behind this, Tammy clarifies, is that Eric Bischoff called them aside and pulled out pills, saying that the other girls found them in a bathroom stall she was using. This was the worst [concocted] story ever on the part of the WCW females because these were bodybuilding pills. Tammy doesn’t bodybuild! There were other girls on the roster that did like to bulk up, like Asia and Midaja, but not her. She [immediately] offered to take a urine test, which WCW officials [administered] the next day, eager to prove the former Boddydonna wrong. She took it and was then told that the results will be known in three weeks. In the meantime, she was given a paid suspension…

When Scott Steiner heard what was going on, he got even angrier than Tammy was. He learned that Kimberly was behind the whole thing, ran into the female locker room, grabbed the Diamond Doll by her shirt, hoisted her down the hall with her bags, and threw her out the door, threatening that if she ever shows up again in WCW he’d kill her. That was the last WCW saw of Kimberly Falkenberg.

You see, Steiner was actually trying to help someone out, someone who got fired anyway. He has always had his reasons for acting the way he did, but being a private man who did not want to break kayfabe too much, he never let out why.

And yet after that he maintained his professionalism. Steiner and DDP worked together a number of times, including just two weeks before the end of WCW. No, despite personal feelings, Steiner was always one thing: a professional.

Now that’s dedication

How far, though, would Steiner take his professionalism. We already covered that Steiner was not a fan of wrestling growing up, so that would have you believe that he would not have a dedication to do anything necessary. Steiner, though, took his job very seriously. From Brandon Truitt’s recap of Rick Steiner’s shoot interview:

Is it true Scott asked him to punch him in the face as part of an angle? Yes. Scott was supposed to have a black eye for one angle but it didn’t look good enough. He asked Rick to pop him one to make it look better but not to hit him too hard.

Now if that doesn’t show dedication to one’s craft, I don’t know what does!

The Awards

That dedication paid off with a string of awards. From Accelerator3359:

PWI Achievement Awards: (4 wins, 3 1st RUs, 3 2nd RUs, 3 3rd RUs)

1988 Rookie of the Year, 3rd Runner-Up

1989 Most Improved Wrestler

1990 Tag-Team of the Year (Steiners)

1991 Most Popular Wrestler, 3rd Runner-Up (Steiners)

1991 Match of the Year (Steiners vs. Sting & Lex Luger)

1991 Tag-Team of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Steiners)

1992 Tag-Team of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Steiners)

1993 Match of the Year, 1st Runner-Up (Steiners vs. Heavenly Bodies)

1993 Tag-Team of the Year (Steiner Brothers)

1995 Tag-Team of the Year, 3rd Runner-Up (Steiners)

1996 Tag-Team of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Steiners)

1997 Tag-Team of the Year, 1st Runner-Up (Steiners)

1998 Feud of the Year, 1st Runner-Up (nWo Hollywood vs. nWo Wolfpac)

And of course there were a string of titles en route. Same site:

WWA Heavyweight Champion (8/14/86–5/03/87)

WWA Tag-Team Champion w/ Jerry Graham Jr (10/04/87–12/06/87)

CWA Tag-Team Champion w/ Bill Travis (5/29/88–6/6/88)

CWA Tag-Team Champion(2) w/ Bill Travis (6/27/88–8/15/88)

CWA Tag-Team Champion(3) w/ Jed Grundy (2/18/89–2/25/89)

WCW World Tag-Team Champion w/ Rick Steiner (11/1/89–5/19/90)

NWA United States Tag-Team Champion w/ Rick Steiner (8/24/90–2/20/91)

PWA Tag-Team Champion w/ Rick Steiner (9/17/90–10/1/90)

WCW World Tag-Team Champion(2) w/ Rick Steiner (2/18/91–7/18/91)

IWGP Tag-Team Champion w/ Rick Steiner (3/21/91–11/5/91)

WCW World Tag-Team Champion(3) w/ Rick Steiner (5/3/92–7/5/92)

IWGP Tag-Team Champion(2) w/ Rick Steiner (6/26/92–11/22/92)

WCW World Television Champion (9/29/92–11/92)

WWF World Tag-Team Champion w/ Rick Steiner (6/14/93–6/16/93)

WWF World Tag-Team Champion(2) w/ Rick Steiner (6/19/93–9/13/93)

WCW World Tag-Team Champion(4) w/ Rick Steiner (7/24/96–7/27/96)

WCW World Tag-Team Champion(5) w/ Rick Steiner (10/13/97–1/12/98)

WCW World Tag-Team Champion(6) w/ Rick Steiner (2/9/98–2/22/98)

WCW World Television Champion (2) (12/28/98–3/14/99)

WCW United States Champion (4/11/99–7/5/99)

WCW United States Champion (2) (4/16/00–7/9/00)

WCW World Heavyweight Champion (11/26/00–3/26/01)

WWA Heavyweight Champion (4/13/02–03)

SSCW Heavyweight Champion (10/29/02–11/18/02)

Yes, Steiner has done it all in this industry. But has he done it with a little… “help”?

Mmmmm… drugs…

For years the speculation has been that Scott Steiner is not a genetic freak, but a totally drugged up pusher. This speculation has run rampant even before the Big Poppa Pump gimmick. Yet, I could not find one wrestler or associate who said they saw Steiner do steroids. I found several that said they had no problem with steroids, but none as witnesses. A few people even said that they never saw Steiner do steroids, but they just assumed.

Well great, Steiner’s own peers are assuming that he did steroids and perpetuating the rumors about him. Yet, everything available tells us otherwise.

From the Wrestling Digest in October 2000:

BA: Do you take steroids?

SS: If I was on steroids, how could I pass the drug test? We’re tested randomly once or twice a month. If I did steroids I would be out of WCW. They are pretty strict on enforcing the drug tests. People are jealous. They could never look like me because I am a genetic freak. It pisses them off so they try to cut me down by saying things like I take steroids.

I weigh 265 now, and I used to weigh around 280. I changed my diet, cut down on the carbohydrates. I’m on a really strict diet, which makes you leaner and makes your muscles stick out more. I had to get my upper body lighter just to take the pressure off my back since I had some back problems. I’m a lot leaner, and I feel a lot better.

And from the same magazine in June 2001:

PEOPLE WHO THINK I USE STEROIDS CAN:

“Kiss my ass. I have never failed a drug test in WCW or the WWF.”

Also, from Sean McCaffrey’s review of Scott Steiner’s shoot interview:

Scott talks about his rumored steroid abuse. Scott says he never failed a drug test. Scott tells a story about how WWE wanted to test him and Scott says OK, he’ll take the test with Hunter, and that was the last time the WWE ever asked him to take a drug test again.

Steiner seems pretty adamant that he’s never taken steroids, and he seems to have proof, yet everyone still doubts him. Perhaps I should bring in an expert? From Bodybuilding.com:

Q: Do you think Scott Steiner’s arms are real or do you think they are synthol?

A: Thing is that Scott’s arms were huge long before synthol was ever around. So to answer your question Steiner’s arms are as real as Monica Brandt’s ass! Now Gregg Valentino is another story. Here is a man with so much oil in his arms he could run NASCAR pit crews for a year.

You see, Scott’s physique is possible with a ton of hard work. Even if he was taking steroids, he would still have to work just as hard (if not harder) to sculpt his body in that way. I would try to explain Scott Steiner’s work out program, but I don’t have fifty pages, so feel free to check it out here.

And as for the supposed “’roid rage” incidents, Steiner has always been characterized as a malcontent. He truly does have a disdain for the human condition, and he has felt that way since he was young. Sure, Steiner is not your happy-go-lucky type of wrestler, but does that mean that he is a destructive force. TNA again seems to think he has something to add, and who’s to say that he can’t give back one more time?

To all my freaks out there…

Scott Steiner is a misunderstood man. He is a man who has had a bi-polar career, who has been viewed as the best and the worst. His last major appearance left a sour taste in many people’s mouths and demolished a legacy spanning two decades. But Steiner is a man who was dedicated to the tag team ranks and did everything from invent a prominent move to win simultaneous international championships. He was able to completely change who he was and become one of the top people in the turbulent end of WCW. Yet, being very closed and a believer in kayfabe, many misunderstand where the character ends and the man begins. Controversy follows Scott Steiner like a dog follows a treat, yet he has been a sparing man who is still a millionaire today. He is not desperate for money, he is not in need. He can only be coming back to wrestling for one reason: he wants to make a difference.

I’ll sum it all up with this quote:

“For a number of years, over in Japan and in WCW, I’ve always admired his wrestling ability, his wrestling skill and his character… He’s a true professional. When it comes to business, he’s all about it. I’d love to be able to get back in the ring with him and have some more matches. We had some great matches over in Japan, and some great matches in WCW… I’m happy to have him on the crew.”

That quote came from Chris Benoit (NOTE: This was before Benoit murdered his family and killed himself, so he was considered a worthy source at that time).

The defense rests.

After the Trial

Hung Jury

IN THE CASE OF THE IWC VS. SCOTT STEINER, STEINER HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF BEING A JUICED UP, LOOSE CANNON WHO ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING IN WRESTLING BUT STINKING UP THE RING WITH OVERALL TERRIBLE SKILLS AND WREAKING HAVOK WHEREVER HE WENT.

With 87.9% of the vote, Scott Steiner was found:

NOT GUILTY!

Definitely not as close as that Ultimate Warrior case was! Some people criticized my defense of Steiner not being on steroids by saying just because nobody has ever seen him do steroids does not mean that he hasn’t done them. What’s that saying? “The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence”? Well, check the rest of the proof: he’s already passed all the drug tests and offered to take more. Yes, muscles like that are nearly impossible, but that does not mean they cannot occur naturally. Take the right person with the right genes and the right food and the right workout regimen, and you will be able to get Big Poppa Pump. And if I’m proven wrong, so what? He’s still one of the best ever.

Response

First up, we’ll go a bit deeper into a story briefly covered above:

I don’t really get the point about the woman with the drugs and Steiner using this as a means of talking trash about DDP and Flair, but apart from that I found it enlightening.

TG Corke

To which I was happy to enlighten a bit more:

Well, a little more backstory. Scott Steiner and DDP did not get along at all. DDP’s wife, Kimberly, was known as a little… demanding backstage. Steiner and her used to get into all kinds of arguments, which of course led to a lot of arguments between him and DDP. It got so bad that Steiner took a live mic and shoot called out DDP, who in turn punched him when he got backstage. Because Vince Russo was the booker, this led to a worked feud on TV.

So anyway, among the women in WCW, Kimberly was not loved at all. There was another woman there named Tammy Lynn Sytch, who used to go by Sunny in the WWF/E. Sunny had had drug problems in the past, but had cleaned up. Kimberly basically did not like Tammy and fingered her for drug use so that she would get fired (knowing that Tammy was on probation as it was). When Steiner got wind of this, he got so mad at Kimberly for trying to get another girl fired that he literally threw her out of the building, which didn’t help matters between he and DDP.

Kimberly was not with the company for long after that either, and she and DDP got a divorce several years later, although I did hear they were dating again.

Hope that clears that one up!

With other people, it was not about educating, but discussing a shared experience:

I love Big Poppa Pump and was at the Royal Rumble when he wrestled HHH.

Adam Fitzgerald

To which I told Adam:

I had really good seats that night, down in the first level about twenty rows back. Where were you sitting?

And he let me know:

I was wicked high in the building. I could see the entrance way where they came out to the ring, but I was so high that the scoreboard at the Fleetcenter was straight ahead of me. All and all, it was still cool to be there.

Adam Fitzgerald

To wrap it all up, here are a couple of hilarious anecdotes of Scott Steiner in people’s lives:

Before I saw Steiner in WCW, I had pretty much only enjoyed local indy wrestling. I hadn’t watched wrestling in about 5 years because the PNW territory went out of business. So in a about 1998 I was at a bar when I saw this “genetic freak” get in the ring on WCW TV and cut a promo on the crowd for being fat and lazy and jealous of him. Maybe not the most original heel promo idea, but Scott made it seem so vivid. Just looking at him made me feel like a slug, and everything he said about my lazy ass was true. He forced me to admit that I’m a fat piece of crap, and I loved it. That’s a great heel promo. I became a WCW fan because of Scott Steiner.

James Norbeck

[A]nd for the record dude, my mother was/is totally in love with the man and refuses to watch wrestling he isn’t involved with.

She used to openly admit to being one of his “[hoochies]”.

It got to the point when [I] went to see the E live a few years back and I told her he’d be on the card she told me to say hello to him for her.

So there you have it, Scott Steiner, loved by middle aged women everywhere (at least in Australia).

John Dee

The original version of this article appeared on 411mania.com and can be found on jpprag.com:

Part 1 — March 8, 2006 * Part 2 — March 15, 2006

IN DEFENSE OF… EXONERATING PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING’S MOST HATED

IN DEFENSE OF…

EXONERATING PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING’S MOST HATED

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