In a country where Donald Trump can legitimately become our next President, it’s nice to know that there’s one uprising that is truly in the best interest of its constituents and that’s the ascension of Paul “Triple H” Levesque. Whether it’s his seemingly intuitiveness for what we want as fans in terms by placing stock in the future of WWE through NXT and placing emphasis on talent and marketability rather than size and flash, or his surprising accessibility that says “Hey, I’m still a fan, just like you. I wanna see this place thrive”, Trips’ is investing in young talent and cultivating interest in this business for years to come.
But you, you already knew that.
Which begs the question: Why are people still doubtful of Hunter Suit McMahon (thanks, John)? Why are people still narrowing their eyes at Triple H the same way they did when he decided he wanted to marry the boss’ daughter, not because he’s the boss’ daughter? Why is he still being cherry-picked as the heel despite showing his success with NXT and growing the brand from a passe’ neo-farm territory to a thriving, entertaining entity almost independent of WWE? You know the man is doing something right when we clamor for our NXT favorites like Sami Zayn not to get “called down” to the main roster. So why hasn’t he won over his detractors?
It’s because they (maybe you?) still see him as the same ruthless son-of-a-female dog who would do anything to get to the top of the mountain, even if it meant burying fellow wrestlers or sitting in the boss’ ear. What you fail to realize is that it’s that same killer instinct that not only makes winners, champions, legends, other various sports-related clichés, but also makes Triple H the perfect candidate to take WWE into the future.
Lest we forget, there was another man before Trips that had that same vicious killer instinct, that mentality that “I’m gonna get mine even if it means at your expense” and that’s Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Without that conquering attitude, territories wouldn’t have been bought out during Vince’s aggressive expansion period. Wrestlemania would’ve never happened. We wouldn’t have been exposed to a grand World Wrestling Federation renaissance period that gave us legends that wore red and yellow and hated black people behind closed doors, brother. Which in turn, would’ve never given way to the Attitude Era, which so many of us grew up on or relished in. That’s why Vince is so high on Trips – he sees himself in him. It’s why he trusted him with his championship title thirteen times. It’s why he trusted him with his daughter’s hand in marriage. And it’s also why he trusted Triple H with the keys to the second most important thing to him other than his family, his company.
So no, I’m not saying I expect Triple H to raid, pillage and plunder TNA (they’re doing a good job of that themselves), ROH, New Japan, etc. In fact, he has the foresight to see the importance of these companies as places for talent to ply their trade, even though he wants to build images and star power in-house. Who knows what the future holds going forward as the Performance Center continues to build credibility, they may not even need to recruit international and independently-established stars anymore if they can self-sustain. However, the man is thinking towards the future. That’s what’s of utmost importance. We saw what happened when WCW just relied on past-prime stars for roster depth. Eric Bischoff even admitted this week that the only creations he made were the NWO and Goldberg, and basically signed WCW’s death certificate in the process. But Hunter sees the necessity in investing in the future, in cultivating new stars and growing the digital content brand of the WWE Network.
I regard the WWE Network as this generation’s Pay-Per-View and how Vince had the wherewithal to invest in it in the eighties. Yes, digital streaming content isn’t new territory (Netflix and chill) but the WWE Network is. And if you’ve been keeping score at home, Triple H has been an ardent supporter of it and its growth. Think of the expansion of the Network as a groundwork for more opportunities, perhaps in the same way social media has been used to get stars over, shows like WWE 24 and the upcoming Breaking Ground humanizes our larger-than-life heroes and heroines, villains and feminine villain counterparts (Villainesses? Villainesses.) I immediately gained a whole new respect for Roman Reigns in his WWE 24 documentary.
If I were a betting man, I could see the wheels spinning in Triple H’s head about how the Network can benefit in this, and other ways. Who’s to say that one day the WWE won’t show Raw or Smackdown exclusively on the Network? Who’s to say that thought hasn’t crossed Hunter’s mind? Who’s to say that ruthless son-of-a-female dog mentality is creeping back into his psyche and one day he will aggressively acquire all broadcasting rights for the Network?
Either I’m way off base or more diabolical than I’d like to think I am.
Only time will tell. Watch an episode of NXT and tell me you don’t get excited for the future of WWE. Thank Triple H for that. Look at the evolution of Seth Rollins from the (in my mind) quiet yet talented member of The Shield to breakout superstar who is showing just how damn good he truly is each and every single week and tell me you aren’t excited for the future of WWE. Thank Triple H for that. Thank Triple H for the Ironwoman match we have in October between Sasha Banks and Bayley and thank him for that non-Cena match of the year candidate they had in my hometown of Brooklyn. Thank Triple H for the once-excommunicated Bruno Sammartino being in the Hall of Fame and quietly stew in the hopes that he can do the same for Owen Hart. I implore you to stop spitting at Hunter with the same old “HE BURIES TALENT” rhetoric and thank him for growing it.
And if for nothing else, if his appearance on Stone Cold’s podcast is any indication, the man might be the only way we get the bloated Raw back down to two hours. Future-date a thank you for that.