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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Truth About The Game
June 14, 2005 by Erick Bernard


I can honestly admit that at one time, as of late actually, I completely despised Triple H. I joined hands with "smarks" across the web in propounding my disgust for this superstar because of his back-stage politics, marriage to Stephanie, talent-squashing ways, blah, blah, blah. I mean I honestly thought I had Paul pinned down as pro-wrestling's anti-Christ and if need be could reel off every excuse in the book for what now seems to be just a blatantly ignorant viewpoint.

What led me to my proverbial "seeing of the light" so-to-speak were two things: first, that at one time I considered HHH to be my favorite wrestler next only to The Rock and second, I recently did some digging for any and all information on the "Cerebral Assassin". Much to my surprise, I was dumb-founded with what I had uncovered.

Seems like Paul Levesque, aka Hunter Hearst-Helmsley aka The Game, is that damn good. However I must credit www.triplehunleashed.com for making me see the error of my ways. Had I not come across this site out of boredom, I may still be among the legions of naysayers who have issues with Levesque and HHH. Gratefully, my once skewed viewpoint has been straightened to a certain degree.

Don't get me wrong, I still had my gripes. The 30-minute promos, the predictable matches, the dominant title reigns: HHH has used all of these tactics much to the chagrin of the avid internet smark. But who hasn't" On top of that, once I really thought about those three factors and how they pertain to the business, those gripes turned to gratitude.

If you want to hate on his promos, at least the guy can get fans to listen, at least he deserves to have a mic in his hand (compared to some of the lackluster orators who find it the epitome of difficulty to even string together a coherent sentence, much less a monologue riveted with passion and intensity). If I had a choice of a heel promo, give me Trip's any day of the week.

If you want to hate on his predictable matches than go ahead and throw Flair, Cena, HBK, Austin, Hogan, Rock, hell, throw 75% of the marquee superstars of this industry into the exact same category because like it or not: when a wrestler is "over" with the fans, they know the fans want to see those signature spots. It's smart money-making.

If you want to hate on his title reigns, then you must really not understand the business as well as you think you do. I don't know about you, but HHH restored so much credibility to the championship that I couldn't wait to see him drop the belt, it made me salivate that much more for a deserving star to grab the ball and run with it. Or would you rather have the days of WCW when the belt meant nothing more than some gold and leather, because it was being switched left and right to undeserving "wrestlers". (David Arquette anyone")

The truth is this: HHH has done his job better than anyone on the current roster, both shows included. Why" Because he's truly made all us smarks hate him, loathe him and BELIEVE IN THE UNDERCARD. That's the whole point of a heel, right" They make us hate them, make us hurl obscenities, even drive us to the point of swearing off wrestling... but we still watch with baited breath for the moment that heel is toppled and makes way for the new blood. HHH is the best heel in the history of this industry because during a time of low ratings and weak buy rates, he has given the belt the legacy it deserves, the respect it commands.

More importantly, Levesque himself is the complete opposite of the character he portrays. While HHH has turned on his friends time and time again for the sake of power (X-Pac, Nash, HBK), Levesque on the other hand supported his friends during the infamous Kliq-Madison Square Garden incident, stood by his decision and took his punishment like a man.

While HHH has a hunger for violence and destruction, Levesque seems like a sincerely "good" person. His "confrontation" with Bill Goldberg at a certain convention was more so Goldberg's immaturity and lack of professionalism to which Levesque laughed off with the best of intentions.

While HHH has had an iron-grip on the title, seemingly reluctant to drop it, Levesque has stated his desire to work with many of today's top workers. He truly believes in a lot of talent out there, but he knows the nature of this business. He knows what draws money and he, despite many insider accounts, sees promise in working with young up-and-comers and looks forward to helping them become a "polished stone".

Trust me, I read a lot on the net about Trip. I've read articles from "insider professionals" which do nothing but spew venom claiming the WWE is heading for disaster because of Levesque's supposed "pull" with Vince. I've read countless entries from smarks saying he's holding people down. I used to believe all this, all because I refused to give him his due. Scores of wrestlers say HHH is everything he claims to be and more. Ric Flair has said, "Triple H is the best wrestler alive in the business today. Coming from me that's about as strong of an assessment there can be." The Undertaker himself said, "Triple H has definitely earned my respect....and uh, you know, I don't throw praise lightly."

And if you honestly believe he's the nail in the WWE's coffin than why not read what many other wrestlers say about him. I mean that should be as close as getting it from the source as us smark's are going to get. If you search, you'll see they respect him for being a dedicated wrestler who has a passion for the industry paralleled by few wrestlers. If you search, read about the kind of work ethic he brings to table, read about the commitment to excellence he harbours, read about the countless number of superstars he's helped create, legacies he's helped preserve. If you search, you'll see a side of HHH that may surprise you, like it did me.

Search and seek, for the truth will set HHH free.

by Erick Bernard ..


Simon Key wrote:
First of all what an interesting read. Thank god more and more people are looking past all the rubbish that's written about HHH. He's where he is today because he's worked bloody hard and continues to do so, not because he's married to Steph - the people who believe this need to grow up! - there are very few wrestlers around today that have the all round ring talent that Trip has.
Matty G wrote:
It's about time ! What a great read Erick. Finally someone on the net has the guts to show everyone that Triple H is that damn good ! People soon forget how he almost single handedly made Shelton Benjamin a break out star, and that he dropped the title to internet favourite Chris Benoit. I for one can not wait to see how this feud with Kurt Angle ends up. I would rather watch Triple H in the ring and on the mic a million times more than a kendo stick on a pole match between two people who could never hope to be in Trips' league.
Tris Xavier wrote:
Your article is good, to be straight flat-out honest. No, it's 'THAT DAMN GOOD'. I must admit your article has changed some of my perceptions on Triple H, and that I must be honest and man enough to say that he is a great heel character, and still one of the better promo-givers in the Federation. And yes, these admissions surprised me, big time.

I watch RAW to see HHH get pummeled, toppled, beaten. Well, not solely, but it is a big factor. Something which your article has helped me to see. That even as I resent Triple H's continual grabbing of the belt (he's not really a 10 time champion, since he won the World Heavyweight Championship 4 times and was given it once; and won the WWE Championship 5 times, which is now the SD! Championship...), he's probably encouraging people to watch it. Well, some of us anyway.

That said, I'm not sure I agree with the concluding part of your article... You seem to forget that Triple H is married to Stephanie McMahon, and hence wields incredible power in the WWE. That wouldn't be a problem but even away from his ring personality, he exercises choice. And need I mention too that Joanie Laurer remains angry at the way Triple H dumped her to marry the boss' daughter, which sounds rather power-play-ish.

Chris Jericho has not gotten his talent so obviously deserves because Triple H doesn't like him. Is it any wonder that Jericho increasingly wishes to concentrate on Fozzy" Triple H works with people he likes, and while this has worked for previously talent-less dopes like Batista being able to get a better profile; it hasn't worked for people who are on the wrong side of HHH. And for all the good comments, Triple H does pull weight in the dressing room, and uses it. And if HHH were as magnanimous as you suggest, then perhaps, in all honesty, he should move to SmackDown! to improve their ratings, because they NEED a top-level superstar; something perhaps The Game could provide.

If Jean-Paul stays on RAW, then for all the talent in the world, he still remains someone who's incredibly self-interested, and not as generous as you suggest he is. And in the end, The Game would have refused to play the game. Which, I say, remains true.
S.Adjei wrote:
This is in response to The Truth About The Game article on June 14. Don't get me wrong, I feel HHH offers alot to the WWE in terms of experience, however where I disagree with this article is that Raw seems almost entirely based on HHH to the point where you might as well call it "HHH Night Raw". This, in turn, has made fans, both Smark and casual, hate him with a passion not because of his heel character but because of his reported backstage politics. Virtually every major storyline and/or world title match on Raw or PPV, bar a few, since 2002 has featured HHH. Even the title matches that haven't involved HHH such as Orton vs Benoit, HHH was regularly mentioned or involved in some capacity. WWE need to let other stars share the spotlight on a regualar basis in the same vain HHH has in the past three years. Another gripe I think fans have is that whenever a wrestler loses a world title match, they get shifted down the card and are almost forgotten as world title contenders yet when HHH loses a title match he will get a title shot almost straight away at the next PPV. Granted HHH has been a fine heel, in the past, but he's gotten somwewhat stale now. You only have to recall Raw a few weeks ago where you had fans chanting "Boring, Boring" because he spoke for far too long during his promo (which by your own admission admitted HHH does do alot of). Now if HHH was such a great heel like he was back in 2000-2001, you would not have had fans chanting that. Also how many WWE wrestlers do you hear criticise fellow WWE workers in public" Not that often. So I am not surprised that Undertaker and Flair said what they said. And on a final note: HHH is not Ric Flair and it makes me sad that such a legend such as Flair is sucking up to HHH, whether it be storyline or otherwise.
Eduver3 wrote:
THANK YOU.thats all i gotta say, finally triple h is getting exposed as the great man he is behind his evil tv persona, thanks for the article.
Wesley Martinez wrote:
Bravo! I, too, used to hate Trips, but as of late he's become a favorite of mine. I'm really sick and tired of people just bashing him while overlooking everything he's done in his career and every superstar who respects the hell out of him and sincerely believes he's one of the best. Also, Triple H Unleashed is definitely an excellent website; it's where I did a good portion of the research for my "He's That Damn Good" article.
S.Adjei wrote:
Don't get me wrong, I feel HHH offers alot to the WWE in terms of experience, however where I disagree with this article is that Raw seems almost entirely based on HHH to the point where you might as well call it "HHH Night Raw". This, in turn, has made fans, both Smark and casual, hate him with a passion not because of his heel character but because of his reported backstage politics. Virtually every major storyline and/or world title match on Raw or PPV, bar a few, since 2002 has featured HHH. Even the title matches that haven't involved HHH such as Orton vs Benoit, HHH was regularly mentioned or involved in some capacity. WWE need to let other stars share the spotlight on a regualar basis in the same vain HHH has in the past three years. Another gripe I think fans have is that whenever a wrestler loses a world title match, they get shifted down the card and are almost forgotten as world title contenders yet when HHH loses a title match he will get a title shot almost straight away at the next PPV. Granted HHH has been a fine heel, in the past, but he's gotten somwewhat stale now. You only have to recall Raw a few weeks ago where you had fans chanting "Boring, Boring" because he spoke for far too long during his promo (which by your own admission admitted HHH does do alot of). Now if HHH was such a great heel like he was back in 2000-2001, you would not have had fans chanting that. Also how many WWE wrestlers do you hear criticise fellow WWE workers in public" Not that often. So I am not surprised that Undertaker and Flair said what they said. And on a final note: HHH is not Ric Flair and it makes me sad that such a legend such as Flair is sucking up to HHH, whether it be storyline or otherwise.
Erkka Järvinen wrote:
YES, support triplehunleashed.com because that has become my favourite site lately :) People talk too much crap about HHH today simply because HHH is married to boss's daughter and dont even start with that crap on how that has made him a star!

Column Triple H vs The World has been most half-assed attempt to bash HHH lately and its a shame how low people go. How about the other guy who made the reply on the same column saying how i am an idiot and i got no sense of humor" Very mature i can tell. You know, i guess you whoever wrote that reply would be pissed off and not laughing if your favourite superstar would be dissed like that.

Now as another note, if you "smarks" out there think that HHH has held down talent for 3 years i suggest you think it from many view points. Sure HHH might have held down Jericho...but then again who was the one jobbing to Shelton twice making him a star in two weeks" Or who agreed to release the title to Benoit and losing to the guy, TWICE! Oh ye, it was Triple H. I dont even bother defending HHH more because obviously this column and fellow HHH fans has done it quite well already.

PS. If you say that HHH has too long/too much title reigns and got no respect for him then how you can respect guys like Bruno Sammartino who held the title for 4 years squashing/burying everyone or Hulk Hogan who held down ALL the talent for many years AND had no wrestling skills!
Jack Malone wrote:
I have to disagree with several points here. To quote what you said about his heel status:

"HHH has done his job better than anyone on the current roster, both shows included. Why" Because he's truly made all us smarks hate him"

I see Triple H defended on the internet a lot by this comment, but when you think about it, it really doesn't make a lot of sense. That's like saying he's good because he's bad, which just cannot be considered true. For instance, I strongly dislike Gene Snitzky, because his wrestling talent is distinctly lacking. Therefore, I want to see him lose matches and hopefully be pulled back down the card. Does that make Snitzky a good heel" Is he doing his job" No. Same applies to Triple H. I dislike him because I find him very boring now; hell, I would find anyone boring after this much time at the top. So most of the time, I want him to lose and hopefully not re-gain the belt for a while. But this isn't good heel heat...this is more like "get off my TV" heat. Triple H's title run in 2003 actually drove me to turning off RAW several times, because the promos became so repetitive.

Also, you pointed out that he has brought credibility to the belt. Again, I strongly disagree. When anybody holds a belt as much as he has over the past three years, it becomes thought of as their title. That's what has happened here. You see, whenever Benoit or Batista held the title, they never became the focus of raw. They remained second in line to Triple H, who told his story of wanting the belt back. That's why it always feels like Triple H's title and nothing else. He's either champ or he's not. No variation.

Look back over the past three years. Guys like Jericho, Kane, Booker T and Van Dam never got their chance to break through because Triple H was always the top guy. Jericho had already proved he could carry the show, RVD was still very over and the fans were starting to get into Booker and Kane very much. Yet WWE never capitalised on this at all. Even throughout Benoit's run, Triple H's feuds with HBK and Eugene were considered more important. That is my point. Triple H is TOO dominant, to the point of holding others back.

Take a look at Smackdown. Whoever holds the title truly has the show based around them. Eddie, Lesnar, JBL...all became the focus of the roster. We never see Angle or Undertaker taking over, they feud with other main eventers, without consideration of the title. In fact, Angle hasn't held a belt in almost two years and Undertaker in three.

Just examine the statistics. Following Vengeance, the WH Title will have been defended 25 times on PPV. Of those 25, Triple H has featured in 23. That is overkill of the worst kind. Sure, he's still got the goods to an extent, but there are other guys who deserve an equal shot.
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