WWE News WWE News: Revealing and insightful Triple H interview - younger stars he sees as the future, answers critics of the Punk-Taker feud
Oct 26, 2009 - 2:39:42 PM
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By James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
WWE star Triple H acknowledged in an interview there aren't enough places for aspiring wrestlers to learn how to be wrestlers, which impairs WWE's ability to make new stars to replace the current stars. Hunter called WWE a "victim of their own success" with the decline of territories and viable places for wrestlers to find work.
"When I was coming up, there were lots of places to work and learn your craft and, by the time you got called up to the WWE, you already had plenty of ability - whereas now, you achieve a bit of success and you come in before you've learned," Hunter told boxing writer Danny Flexon in an interview for Powerslam Magazine. "There's fewer places to send wrestlers where you can let them make mistakes. Guys used to say that WWE wouldn't even look at you until you've had five years' experience. But, now, we're looking at guys who've had between six months and a year."
Hunter also went specific on younger wrestlers currently on the WWE roster he sees as having the most potential. The list includes many of the same names other veterans have pointed to.
"C.M. Punk is obviously already on his way to becoming a big star. Jack Swagger, I like. Sheamus. Evan Bourne is very good. Kofi Kingston," Hunter said. "They are all moving up, but slowly, which is the right way."
Hunter was also philosophical on how to build up the young talent. He claimed it was his idea for Legacy members Ted DiBiase, Jr. and Cody Rhodes to jump DX during their reunion promo a few months ago that jump-started the feud. He gave his philosophy that the top stars need to be strong, though, and shot down critics of how the Undertaker vs. C.M. Punk feud has played out.
"You put C.M. Punk in a 30-minute match with The Undertaker, it's 50-50 all the way and then Punk wins clean, the fans won't accept it. It does nothing for C.M. Punk, and it's also detrimental to the Undertaker," Hunter said. "Some people think we're (HBK and himself) scheming all the time to improve our own situations. But the more people we make stars, the more money we all make, and everyone's happy."
Hunter used the example of Steve Austin making himself a star at the 1996 King of the Ring and against Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13 to show how a good wrestler becomes a star. He said younger talent need to find a way to stand out, even if they're only given four minutes of TV time.
At the end of the interview, Hunter said he works out Sheamus on the road as his work-out program. Hunter singled him out as a protege that he sees as a future star for WWE because he does the little things to impress people backstage.
"The closest (younger star) to me is probably Sheamus, because we always train together on the road. But I try to watch all the young guys' matches and give them advice, if they want to hear it," he said, almost if he had to defend himself for giving advice. "If they take advice to heart and really want to improve, them I am wanting to help. As for seeing some of myself in someone? That's tough. Sheamus just the other day showed up at a show he didn't have to be at. He does whatever he's asked to do without complaining, he goes to every show and is always wanting to work: he does it all, goes above and beyond. That's what I was like."
Caldwell's Analysis: Hunter hit many points I agree and disagree with. I go back to the theme from earlier this month based on the Eric Bischoff Torch Talk that WWE is so much like a machine that many wrestlers appear on TV looking like they're cut from the same mold and they wrestle the same formula match without pre-match build-up that it's difficult to stand out. The key, though, is patience. In an instant-gratification world, people want to see Jack Swagger in the main event of the next WWE PPV, but it might take a few years for that to be a reality. WWE also has to balance the top stars being strong, but not at the expense of the younger talent. The Miz vs. John Cena program is a good case study from the Triple H playbook. Miz looked weak in the short-term taking three clean losses, but he's looking better in the long-term after being put on the same level as Cena as far as character focus and emphasis. Hunter would argue it wouldn't have helped Miz or Cena for Miz to score a win in that situation. Now, we see how Miz's character has evolved into a more serious wrestler after WWE fans were given a taste of his personality during the Cena feud. The personality was already in place, now the serious tone of his wrestling ability is coming along for the ride.
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