Hello everyone. Welcome to yet another edition of the Prime Cut here at TBL. After a tough sickness last week, I am back on-line and back on here for my column. Today’s column will focus on the man who seems to be getting all the heat, and the man who personifies all that is wrong about this business people like me and you love. Yes, this week’s column is on Triple H, his relationship with Stephanie McMahon, his backstage power, his politics, as well as where other people stand on the issue of Triple H.
In 2001, Hunter Heart Helmsley spent 2/3 of the whole year rehabbing a torn quadriceps injury. The Game was out of the WWF (back then) for 8 whole months. The last storyline he engaged himself into was the Power Trips alliance between Triple H himself and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Vince McMahon was their leader, and Stephanie played along as the cheerleader. Nothing out of the ordinary. With The Rock out to shoot a movie, Chris Benoit injuring his neck, and Triple H leaving for his quad injury, the WWF found themselves in a tough position and realized that there’s nowhere to go but start the awaited InVasion storyline as soon as possible. Triple H was not present for this, but his wife Stephanie McMahon had a quite significant role, and so did Steve Austin.
Triple H returned to WWF Television on the January 7 edition of WWF RAW from Madison Square Garden. Upon his arrival, Triple H stated that he has entered himself in the Royal Rumble PPV. The rest of the month of January saw Triple H lose completely all the rust from his absence, and play a babyface role which quite frankly suited him well according to some, but sucked for a great heel like him, which has been the main consensus on-line. Triple H won the Royal Rumble match at the PPV and automatically received a shot at the WWF Undisputed Championship (back then) at WrestleMania. Until that day came, The Game found himself in a short-term feud with Kurt Angle where he continued to play the babyface role.
It didn’t take long before Triple H won the WWF Undisputed Championship at WrestleMania X8, as he ended the long title reign of Chris Jericho. Stephanie McMahon was written into this storyline, however, and that’s where the focus should begin. Around WrestleMania X8, Steve Austin’s situation and status in the WWF was getting more and more complex. He was in the midst of a storyline with the nWo, and had a match with Scott Hall at ‘Mania. As you all know, Austin refused to show up to work on the RAW after, which was the beginning of the end of his run. Steve Austin, thanks to his long experience and everything he’s given to help build the company, was the wrestler with probably the biggest say in the direction of the company, as well as the direction of all storylines backstage. Austin had Triple H banned from management meetings backstage, and now I can truly see why. Anyway, we’ll get into that.
Let’s look at WrestleMania a bit closer. Like I was saying, with Steve Austin busy with other issues, Triple H took it upon himself to use his backstage pull, only this time, the things he was doing were stronger than ever. Triple H hasn’t exactly been a fan of Chris Jericho ever since Jericho arrived at the company (both on TV and in real life). The first example of what people like Dave Scherer call the “Triple H Effect” today was to have Chris Jericho walk his dog “Lucy” around and then clean her poop. The WWF Undisputed Heavyweight Champion had to clean poop. What was even worse, the WWF Undisputed Champion was scheduled to fight Triple H in the main event at WrestleMania, but not only was that match less expected from the legendary Hogan vs. Rock bout, but there was almost NOTHING behind it. Quite frankly, the feud was Stephanie McMahon vs. Triple H, and Chris Jericho was pretty much an addition to it. That’s the first example of the Triple H Effect right there. It should be important to note from this info that The Triple H Effect also depends on other people backstage. About 50% of it comes from Stephanie McMahon.
So after WrestleMania, Triple H was the WWF Champion once again and all was well, no? The Game finished the storyline with his wife on RAW in a Triple Threat Match that also pinned Chris Jericho, who wasn’t involved in the decision. Triple H pinned Stephanie and the stipulations said that if that happens, Stephanie would be out of the WWF forever (good one). After that edition of WWF RAW, it would take Chris Jericho 6 months, all the way until this past Sunday’s WWE Unforgiven, to win a PPV match!!! The Triple H Effect was in control.
With Stephanie McMahon out and the WWF doing poor ratings, the company gave the title to Hulk Hogan and had Triple H job to him at Backlash. The Game then felt like being successful again at a PPV, so squashing Chris Jericho one more time seemed like a very fun idea! Oh what a joy Triple H got as he defeated Chris Jericho at Judgment Day in a Hell In A Cell match. Huge step forward for the Triple H Effect as well. As far as Jericho goes, it was yet another huge step down.
Shortly after Judgment Day, the newly formed WWE was already on TV. Steve Austin, however, walked away. The next sentence is the whole point of this column and the whole point I wanted to share… The day Stone Cold Steve Austin left the WWE, the company has turned into what RAW has turned lately — The Triple H Show. It’s been like that since. At King of the Ring, Triple H found himself in the main event yet again, this time facing The Undertaker for the WWE Championship. With an interference of a returning Rock, The Undertaker held on to his title and defeated Triple H. Since Rock and ‘Taker were two of the biggest players besides Triple H at that time, The Game didn’t seem to have any troubles doing the screwjob finish, since he was never pinned clearly.
The Rock was now back in the WWE, and Vince’s plans after Austin left were to elevate at least one new star. His name was Brock Lesnar. Triple H could no longer be in the main event, or find himself at the top of the card. That was because The Rock was back for a couple of months and Vince was to milk that for all it’s worth by having Rock job to Brock for the title at SummerSlam, a shot which Lesnar received after becoming the 2002 King of the Ring. With Brock and Rock planned for SummerSlam, The Rock was to face The Undertaker at Vengeance, which meant no Triple H in the main event of a PPV, ever since he’s returned to Television. What’s even worse was that The Game was probably going to end up on the PPV card if it wasn’t for an elbow injury he suffered!!! So the WWE then comes up with a storyline pinning friend Shawn Michaels and the really desperate for new ideas and doings, nWo.
The next week on WWE RAW, Kevin Nash injures his quad muscle, the same injury Triple H suffered and the storyline is now over, as Vince McMahon kills the nWo. Vince then brings Eric Bischoff to WWE TV as the General Manager of RAW and appoints his lovely daughter and the person who’s behind the Triple H Effect today, Stephanie McMahon. Before we knew it, Triple H was sure to appear at Vengeance as the plan was now for Eric Bischoff to steal him and bring him to RAW from SmackDown!. Constantly having in mind that Rock vs. Brock will be the main event at SummerSlam, The Game and Vince McMahon still found a way to top what they have planned and Triple H was now secured a match with a returning Shawn Michaels at SummerSlam. That was probably Triple H’s best match ever since his injury and the ONLY match that showed him as his old “Cerebral Assassin” character that people actually LOVED to hate.
So then you might ask what’s the big deal here of reminding us all about the past? The big deal, my friends, is that Triple H has been a powerful man backstage for years. Since the Clique you might even say. Anyway, Triple H has had supreme backstage power ever since he started dating Stephanie McMahon. However, there was one man who was always able to keep his ego and usage of that power in check — Steve Austin. The Rattlesnake is gone, and what many sites feared did indeed happen — Triple H presumed the position of the backstage leader in politics, matches, storylines, and what have you. Though it’s happened slowly and it took some good 3 months to realize it, the WWE has turned into The Triple H show.
Triple H was recently given the World Heavyweight Championship, a title which no matter what they come up with will be known as the WCW Championship on-line, and The Game didn’t even have to defeat anyone for the belt. He decided that he needed a belt… Triple H decides, Stephanie writes. The cycle is completed. This cycle, however, never stops.
The WWE, now in ratings troubles and into tons of media problems as well, find themselves in a hole after an incredible SummerSlam PPV, so for Unforgiven they book Triple H to defend his newly “won” (another good one!) World Heavyweight Championship against Rob Van Dam. All Triple H had to do was job. All Triple H had to do was give Rob the rub. You see, the WWE keeps on going and rambling about having new superstars and all, and creating new characters with new ideas, etc. They keep saying that it won’t happen overnight. I completely agreed and supported that theory. That’s no more. If you need to create new characters and bring new forms of sports entertainment, you have guys with names like The Undertaker and Triple H give the rub to the upcoming guys. Would it have been that horrible to give the belt to RVD? That’s why my friends, I call Rob the Chris Jericho of Yesteryear (see my first column on the site in the archive section below). You see, just like Chris Jericho, RVD was just another victim (nice phrase Tazz) of the Triple H Effect. No, it wasn’t right to have Rob pin Hunter. It was better to have Ric Flair, who’s in the end of his career and God knows why is embarrassing himself the way he’s been doing lately, interfere in the match and give the rub to Triple H… Why, I ask you, Why is that?! Some say because some members of management don’t feel secure having 2 guys as their champions (Brock and RVD) at the top yet not so experienced. Well, guys, if you want a change and you want a huge transformation in the business you’ll have to sacrifice the big guys. Suspend the egos. You see, the famous names like Mr. Scherer himself have talked about all the problems the WWE keeps putting themselves into, rating-wise, storylines-wise, etc. These problems will not stop, until the duo of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon is stopped backstage. It’s just embarrassing and humiliating if you are a wrestling fan to sit at home every Monday and watch the disgraces they come up with. Triple H defends his title against Spike Dudley with a sleeper. Triple H is in every second segment on RAW. Triple H’s promos can’t be shorter than 20 minutes. Triple H has to get the rub from everyone, including Flair and Jericho. Triple H has to keep the World Heavyweight Title. Well, then to me, WWE RAW is no longer WWE RAW, it’s The Triple H Show and unless they realize that soon, I don’t think the WWE will see anything higher than a 4.0 rating (which they haven’t gotten in weeks) on RAW.
You see, what makes this even worse, is that Triple H is a legend in his own words. His infamous speech several months ago that was even talked about on WWE.com was simply embarrassing for the business. If you don’t remember, Triple H came out in front of the gathered superstars and talked to them about transforming the company and changing things around. He insisted that they all spend time watching tapes, and that they all spend more time talking about their matches, and that they all spend time watching the show backstage. The push would then come. Well, what happens when you do that Triple H? The payback these guys get for working their asses off is listening through another one of your promos? If the answer is No or if you are trying to come up with anything to defend The Game, I am immediately going to tell you that if Triple H was to support the words that came out of his mouth, Rob Van Dam will be the current Heavyweight Champion. If Triple H wasn’t the hypocrite he is, Booker T wouldn’t have to worry about surviving the Un-Americans, but will be an established main-eventer who can pull more youngsters to the top and work with them. If Triple H wasn’t so full of himself, Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle, RAW’s and SmackDown!’s top guys would be where they should be, at the top.
I know when to defend the company I love and I know when to bash on it. And bashing is not a bad thing, it’s not being a smark either. The man, whose awesome and brilliant feuds with people like The Rock and Steve Austin made me love and watch with excitement every week, has become a sad parody of his character. He’s the cerebral assassin, but he does his dirty work behind the scenes, where it really counts these days. Feel free to send me your thoughts on this and any other subject that deals with wrestling or whatever it is you have in mind. I will respond to you. Thank you very much for reading, it does mean a lot!
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