THE SPECIALISTS SPECIALIST - The Original Triple H
Sep 20, 2007 - 10:50:19 PM
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By Jason Combs, PWTorch.com Specialist Contributor
There has been an abundance of negative feedback this week regarding this past Monday's WWE Raw television show, and how one man single-handedly buried five younger wrestlers. There are some people who believe what happened on Monday night was not as bad as wrestling "marks" are making it out to be. I am not going to use this week's column as my forum to bash other's opinions, or even to bash the man responsible for Monday night's massacre, Triple H. This article is designed to compare and contrast angles from today versus those of a decade earlier, and that is exactly what I am going to do.
Long before we were treated to Triple H's systematic burial of five mid-card wrestlers (including the reigning World Tag Team Champions), another man was spending a large portion of his in-ring career making sure that his fellow competitors were kept several rungs below his in the hierarchy of WCW. A man who's ego helped spark a generation of wrestlers who would achieve levels of success that many believed they couldn't. Of course, this was a generation that achieved this success in the WWE(F), and not in their original home, WCW.
I, of course, am referring to the original HHH, "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan.
We all know the story of how "The Hulkster" was the star that Vince McMahon built his empire upon during the 1980's. Hogan transcended the business, and connected with fans who had no idea that there was a wrestling business before he came along. Hulk was built up as a man who could overcome the odds, no matter how high the deck was stacked, and come out on top. This lasted for the better part of eight years in the WWF(E), and may have continued had it not been for the Federal steroid case being built against Vince McMahon in the early 90's. That sparked a philosophy change for the WWE(F) to feature smaller, more athletic, and more realistic body typed performers. This left Hulk with really only one other option for staying on top in the dwindling U.S. wrestling scene, World Championship Wrestling.
Hogan arrived in WCW in 1994, and within two months he would be the World Heavyweight Champion. He feuded with Ric Flair, The Four Horsemen, The Dungeon of Doom, The Giant, and Vader over his first two years in WCW. In 1996, however, things changed drastically. Hogan spearheaded the hottest heel group ever, the New World Order, and saw the ratings and attendance for WCW events skyrocket. Business couldn't have been better for The Immortal one.
In 1997, Hulk was the World Heavyweight Champion, and he was building towards his much-anticipated meeting with Sting at Starrcade in December. Sting was one of the few potential Hogan opponents that fans believed could stand up to "Hollywood". There was a reason for this. Sting was the only wrestler who wasn't continuously buried by the NWOduring the year, and then subsequently shoved right into a pay-per-view main event.
Countless numbers of WCW superstars and mid-carders were the victims of run-ins by the NWOduring their matches. Usually led by Hogan, the NWOwould hit the ring, destroy all the competitors that dared to be putting on a match for the fans, and then laugh and joke while they conducted their interviews. This was good to an extent. It was important, at the time, for the NWOto be that bad-ass heel group that lived by their own rules. The problem was, very rarely (if ever) did the groups of wrestlers who were destroyed during these run-ins seek revenge on the nWo. They would just be run over, buried, and given no way of getting their heat back against the nWo. Not even a failed revenge attack would come of it.
This would cause the fans to view many of the younger WCW mid-carders as inferior to the established stars that made up the nWo. Now granted, they were not on the same level as those established stars, but they weren't even being given an opportunity to benefit from their interaction with the New World Order. This is precisley the same thing that I fear will take place from the participants in this past week's burial.
Unless Cade & Murdoch find a way to cost Triple H his steel cage match with Carlito this coming Monday, then there is absolutely nothing they gain from being destroyed this past week. They will simply be viewed as two guys whose numbers advantage still wasn't enough for them to stop Triple H, and thus whatever they do in the ring from then on will not matter to the fans.
Brian Kendrick & Paul London are in the same boat, only there is no scenerio that allows for them to cost Triple H his match. They are not going to be turned heel, so interjecting them into this match will only see them get further buried under the weight of "The Game". If they spin-off their involvement with Cade & Murdoch, and give them a tag team title shot, fans still wont care because the last time they saw them, they were being pedigreed by Triple H.
Carlito has a steel cage match with Triple H scheduled for this Monday night, but I really don't see the logic behind this match. The steel cage match seems to be thrown out on free t.v. so much these days, and almost for no real reason. This week will be no exception as the last time Carlito was in the ring with Triple H, he was beaten down. Not excatly a compelling reason to put these two in a match that is usually a revenge style match.
I liken this scenerio to "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan and the NWOcontinually attacking the cruiserweight wrestlers during their matches week after week, and then suddenly after another beat down, the cruiserweights get put into a steel cage with the nWo. Fans wouldn't view this as an opportunity for the cruiserweight wrestlers to inflict punishment on their perpetrators, but rather a golden opportunity for the New World Order to use the cage to further destroy the high flyers.
"Hollywood" Hulk Hogan had complete creative control of his storylines written into his contract, so events like this were done for his benefit at his will. Triple H may not have a creative control clause in his contract, but he has an insurance policy that is just as good, his wife Stephanie McMahon-Levesque. Or should I say, Vice President of Creative, Stephanie McMahon-Levesque? Or maybe it's Vice President of Creative, who is also the daughter of the chairman, Stephanie McMahon-Levesque? Whatever he official title is, they are still married, and that certainly helps Triple H's cause when it comes to who is, and isn't, allowed to benefit from his presence.
It is just a reminder that politics are still alive and well in the world of professional wrestling. This is a reality that will probably never change. It is ironic that the world of pro wrestling is about to go before a Federal government committee for the first time, when the two entities almost seem to go hand-in-hand.
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