”It’s all about the Game, and how you play it, all about control, and if you can take it!” growls the gravely tones of the late Lemmy Kilmeister during the opening of Triple H’s iconic entrance music. It’s synonymous with the Cerebral Assasin and never have the lyrics of a wrestler’s entrance been so appropriate to the superstar themselves!
The man is a decorated veteran of the ring, and one of the most iconic men in the company today. His music still elicits that response from a crowd of “Oh wow, something huge is about to happen!” and more often than not, something big happens.
It’s just that, well, recently Triple H appears to be more interested in The Game than in promoting the younger talent he’s got at his disposal. Now, I understand that the match against Seth Rollins at WrestleMania was extremely good storytelling, and yes of course the right man won, but recently, this seems to be a minority case.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (or Paul Leveque depending on who you ask) is approaching 50 years of age, and though he is in possibly the best shape of his life some would argue, the amount he can perform in the ring is limited by that age. Yes I agree he has never been the most mobile in the ring or indeed the most exciting to watch, it always been more about the gravitas of the character in truth, but at 50 years old, a lot of people are finding themselves asking now, when is it enough?
Take this year’s Survivor Series (2017) as an example. In the main event of this PPV, which was already beautifully saturated with storylines, we came away from it feeling confused and slightly cheated.
It is no secret that of the 10 men in the main event, the average age of the contingent was 40.6 and the youngest man in the match was 34 years old. But that’s not the problem, the problem is that Triple H was a sole survivor from the RAW team, a team that included Finn Balor and Samoa Joe, almost single handedly setting up three WrestleMania matches for himself!
Don’t get me wrong, he did put over Braun Strowman, but the fact that he was still there at the end, effectively making it all about him really ground my gears. It didn’t need to happen.
On the 8th of December, the WWE performed another live date in India, a market they have been trying to crack for months via a shoddy title run from Canadian Jinder Mahal. The main event of this show? Triple H vs. Jinder Mahal. Okay, there’s nothing wrong with that - after all, the WWE will want to continue to build Jinder Mahal as a legitimate main event guy after investing so much time and energy into him, so putting him in the ring with Triple H could be a way of doing that.
The only problem is, Triple H won.
Some will say well that is because Jinder isn’t as big a star as Triple H, but how do you become a bigger star than Triple H when he beats talent on the current roster? Sure he said some nice words at the end to Jinder to make him feel better, but he still ultimately lost!
Another example is the match at WrestleMania 31 between Triple H and Sting. Why oh why did Triple H need to win that match, apart from the huge ego boost it evidently provided? It wasn’t because Triple H was the bigger draw in that match, Stings reception far eclipsed the 4 and a half hour terminator opera HHH afforded himself.
WWE are an embarrassment of riches at the moment, with a roster so deep and so talented that it is a crime every time the WWE cannot fit them all on programming. It is hard enough for people like Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, even great wrestlers like Apollo Crews and other nearly men to break through the ceiling into world championship contenders without Triple H putting himself as the ceiling.
The truth is, HHH has had his time. Everyone remembers The Reign of Terror period in the middle of the Ruthless Aggression Era, where talent after talent was buried at the hands of Triple H and his ego. Please understand that I know that it is not that bad now, but the question is, do we even need Triple H as a wrestler anymore? The man does unbelievable work as the COO and the brain behind the NXT juggernaut, he doesn’t need to occupy a space on the WrestleMania card every year at the expense of talent that have worked all year to achieve it!