Question: What happens when the biggest backstage political player of all time runs up against perhaps the second biggest backstage political player of all time?
Answer: A half-assed match with multiple run-ins and a hot potato title.
Backlash 2002 was held on this date in WWE history (April 21) and it featured a match pitting Hulk Hogan vs. Triple H for the Undisputed championship. This was just a few months after Hogan had returned to the company following his extended run in WCW. He came back as a heel leader of the nWo but after his match against The Rock at WrestleMania 18 saw him get cheered out of the building, he quickly turned babyface and went on a nostalgia run.
Hearing the reactions he was consistently getting around this time, Vince McMahon's eyes lit up with dollar signs, as did "The Hulksters." So they pushed him into a title match against "The Game," who had just won the strap the previous month from Chris Jericho. Trips was still working as a babyface based on the insane reaction he got upon his return from his first quadriceps injury in January of 2002.
But because Hogan is Hogan and money is money, the decision was made to have Triple H job to him and drop the title. As it turned out, though, this nostalgia run wouldn't last long and Hulkamania ran into the Undertaker at Judgement Day less than one month later and the game of hot potato continued.
Ultimately, though, this led to Triple H turning heel and going on his incredible run of destruction from late 2002 to around early 2005. Hogan, meanwhile, was embarrassed with a Mr. America gimmick and was gone from the company by 2003.
And to think, Triple H only got his win back in a number one contender match. And he didn't even win the title off it.
See the match between the two at Backlash 2002 after the jump.