R. T. & O.: Episode 1 - Triple H; seperating the executive from the wrestler.
by, 03-10-2014 at 08:39 AM (3112 Views)
So for my first proper crack at this I thought I'd take on something that I've pondered a lot; namely why does Triple H the wrestler receive the same hate as Triple H the executive/backstage politician? As will be usual for this blog; I urge you to read what I have to say then take part in the conversation.
I'm going to lay my cards on the table here; I'm a Triple H fan and have been since he first dumped the Greenwich Blue-Blood persona to become a part of Degeneration-X. For long periods the man was the best heel in the business; and his match quality was better than most of his contemporaries during the height of his run (The Rock, Goldberg, J.B.L., Cena & Batista to name a few). When you add in all the other variables used to measure someones standing in the business (look, mike skills etc.) then I feel there's a pretty strong argument for Triple H's inclusion in the discussion on the best of an era/all time; but it's almost as if saying that is tantamount to besmirching one's sainted mother.
Yes; there's another side to this argument and that is Triple H the backstage politician and executive. Though I find a lot of the actions of that man indefensible; allow me to throw up an some counter points to the outpouring of hate the guy receives.
Firstly; wrestling is entertainment. As someone who grew up and still works in the entertainment industry I can testify that it attracts people with ego who will screw others over and take advantage of situations to get themselves ahead; even those who are nice people who rely on their high talent have management or members of their staff that will do this for them. It's the nature of the beast unfortunately; and it seems to be even more prevalent in professional wrestling.
But it's not like Triple H is the first master politician this industry has seen; the business goes hand in hand with Machiavellian power plays (maybe it's to do with it's carnival roots). Names such as Hogan, Kevin Nash, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, The Undertaker and Ric Flair have all pulled power plays, refused to put people over or held others down to varying levels at different points in their career; yet we as smart marks seem more willing to forgive and forget when it comes to those names (with the exception of Nash).
"But;" you're now going to say. "None of them married the bosses daughter;" and I say so what? Even trying to get into a relationship with her could have had a detrimental effect on the man's career; and, in my humble opinion, I think their relationship and marriage is genuine. They have three children and there have been no reports over the years, to my knowledge, that indicate problems in the relationship, even a dubious one, or that one has cheated on the other; maybe, just maybe, isn't it possible that these two people actually love each other? Yes this opens up more opportunities and leverage to play the politics game at a higher level than most before him; but again I say it's the nature of the beast. Both in entertainment and in life as a whole; there are few out there who could say that they don't exploit contacts and relationships to get a step ahead in life. So why is this basic part of the human condition more abhorrent when it comes to Triple H, I ask?
I'm a huge Undertaker fan; but I still don't like the way he power played C.M. Punk out of the main event picture during their series after Jeff Hardy's exit from WWE over a perceived lack of respect backstage. Does it effect my ability to enjoy the man's in ring work? No; and I imagine it's the same for those of you out there that know the story and are 'Taker fans. It has no effect on your enjoyment of what he does as a wrestler; so why does it work differently when it comes to Triple H?
It's got to the point where someone like Sheamus seems to pick up unwarranted hate by association; was he over-pushed at first? Yes; but he is by no means, now at least, the worst of WWE's upper mid-card to main event players. I agree he still needs to do some work to be perceived as a true main event player; but the level of negativity leveled at him seems disproportionate to his skills set and ability. And it all seems to stem from the association with Triple H.
Don't get me wrong; a lot of Triple H's actions over the years have been indefensible (I personally feel Montreal might not have gone down the way it did without his input for example; and of course the recent debacle of potentially ruining the Wrestlemania main event by bringing back his friend and letting him walk back into the top spot. Something I haven't seen said about this issue; the frustration by the fans is stemmed from the fact we all assumed the screwy booking of Daniel Bryan's main event run all pointed to him winning the Rumble and taking the belt at 'Mania. That's how it has played out before with other stars.). But even for all our frustrations with what we attribute to him as an executive; there have been good things (NXT, the performance center). But that is not the point of this posting.
Trust me; I accept and acknowledge all the wrongs of the man and the executive. But my point in all this is not to let it cloud the legacy of a debatable all time great as a performer; we don't do it with Hogan or Shawn or Austin so why do we do it with Triple H? Keep the hate, never forget or forgive, but don't let it cloud your opinion on his standing and legacy as an onscreen performer whom has been involved in many classic matches over the years with names such as Austin, Michaels and even a way past his best Flair.
Just weigh it up and give some credit where credit is due when it comes to Triple H the wrestler; that's all I'm saying. I encourage and look forward to any intelligent discussion on this subject; so have at me.
Stay well until we speak again
All the best
P.S. Going to put my head on the block (again) and make a prediction here; Hogan's announcement tonight on Raw will be that has booking power over the show as host. He'll make the Triple H vs Daniel Bryan match and attach the "if D-Bry wins he gets added to the main event" stipulation because it serves two purposes. Firstly, it massages Hogan's ego and allows him to look the big hero; something I imagine he has in his contract. Secondly, if that's the way they're going then they'll have to let us know in advance or risk the buy-rate for the show (among those of us who don't/can't get the network) tanking; who's honestly going to fork out the best part of $70/£30 for a show headlined by Bootista versus Snoreton? In my humble opinion; you'd have to be mad...