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Why would any independent contractor (i.e. wrestler or “superstar” as they are supposed to be called up north) sign an agreement to work for World Wrestling Entertainment? Sure, I understand that working with the WWE will guarantee a higher income than working with Ring of Honor or Total Nonstop Action, but at what cost to the contractor? What I’m getting at here is the lack of upward mobility in WWE due to Triple H taking over the company via his marriage into the McMahon family.
It was recently revealed that THQ has been ordered not to make Triple H look weak in any of the promotional material for Smackdown vs. RAW 2009. No other superstar received such preferential treatment by WWE – just Triple H. The Undertaker has been with the company since 1990 and for nearly two decades has been a top performer for WWE. He didn’t get an edict in favor of his character handed down by WwE to THQ. CM Punk is a rising star in the company and he wasn’t given that preferential treatment either. And Batista is the current World Heavyweight Champion – why wouldn’t WWE want to protect their investment in Chris Jericho’s title reign, too?
This follows Rob Van Dam’s comments from a January 2008 interview (previously covered in Balrog Babblings) where he talks about what Triple H is like backstage:
Just like when he pretends that he cares when he says, “Hey, how’s it going today? OK, good, good.” And he just has that smugness about him where you know when he’s walking away from you that he’s rolling his eyes or something. There’s something about that kind of guy that vibrates at such a different speed than me, that I don’t enjoy being around someone like that.
Wait, there’s more. If you pick up Bret Hart’s autobiography and give it a read he talks about how – in his mind – Triple H and Shawn Michaels ruined the professional wrestling business. I could go on about whether or not Shawn Michaels is negative for professional wrestling, but Triple H is certainly destroying all that is around him, especially younger talent. Just because a Jeff Hardy or a CM Punk or someone young gets a victory over you doesn’t mean that you’ve helped establish them. When Triple H comes back and always wins the feud, it actually HURTS the wrestler in the long-term. Any child can understand this logic yet the McMahons don’t seem to be able to get it.
In the mean time, his direct relationship with the McMahon family has allowed him to rewrite the history books by giving himself a total of 12 world championship reigns so far. For comparison’s sake, let’s look at Triple H’s title reigns against Ric Flair’s title reigns. Triple H entered WWE in 1995. Over the course of the last 13 years, he’s won 12 world championships. Ric Flair entered the NWA in 1974. He won his twelfth world championship in 1995. It took Flair 21 years to win 12 world championships while it took Triple H only 13. While the wrestling business changed dramatically from 1974 to 2008 one of the most overlooked changes is what Flair had to go through to win those early titles. Unlike today’s WWE where you need to be thought of as marketable by Vince and Stephanie (and Triple H), Flair had to win over the votes of the NWA management committee. Without their trust in his ability to draw in their territories, he would have never received those early world titles…much unlike Triple H who has received his recent world titles thanks to who he sleeps next to at night.
Of course long-time fans of this column may choose to write off this column as another one of my rants against Triple H and how he will kill “this industry.” That’s fine – it’s your right as a reader and a fan. However, it is interesting how – as time goes on – there is more evidence to support the idea that Triple H has a deathgrip on WWE (and thus, professional wrestling). In January 2008 it was Rob Van Dam suggesting that Triple H is ingenuine. In October 2008, it was Bret Hart directly suggesting that Triple H helped ruin the professional wrestling business. In October 2008/November 2008 it’s the leaked memo showing how Triple H is not to look weak in promotion for WWE’s latest video game.
For these reasons (and so many more), I really hope that TNA can get their act together and present a reasonable alternative to WWE’s dominance in the professional wrestling market. And while the small group out of the southern United States is not yet a feasible alternative to WWE’s market dominance, we can only hope for more competition and soon. Because at this rate, Triple H will be a 43 time world champion by 2020 and I’ll still be unable to watch WWE programming.
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