#2 – Finally Playing The Game
Yo, in case you forgot or fell off
The champ is here again, boys and girls. Welcome back for Season 2 of the ECW Tournament. I am the defending champion, and it’s time to dance. You kids smell what the Zuma is cooking? No… of course you don’t. There isn’t any damn smell-o-vision invented yet. What we do have today is a column… and it’s going to be all about the game. And how you play it. It’s all about control, and if Triple H can take it. Damn. Alright… I’ll stop. Enough with the lyrics. See what I started. This column feels like a bad Xanman cover band so far.
This Extreme Column Writing tournament has given me a topic. It’s something that we all know, we all love, we all hate, and we all have an opinion on. You know why they say that opinions are like assholes? It’s because everyone has one. Well, to say that this man has had a column or two written on him in the Internet Wrestling Community is like saying Jesus sold a few books. Mr. Paul Michael LeVesque has been not only publicly enemy number one for years, but he also shares the distinction of being Mr. Stephanie McMahon, and Mr. Insurance Policy.
I’ve spent my entire column-writing career avoiding actually writing the obligatory Triple H column. Then, ironically enough, I get this topic assigned. At the moment, I think Triple H’s character is actually very interesting. I’m actually coming to really respect him not only as one of the greatest performers of all time, but also as someone who’s looking out for the good of the company. He’s changed not only my perception of both his on screen character, but also his off screen character. So, with that in mind – I ponder the following question:
ECW Tourney Officials — Column Topic: Is it a wise move to turn Triple H face, even for a temporary period of time? If yes, for how long?
So, you mean to tell me he’s not already kind of a face? Doesn’t Triple H have a huge fan following, and isn’t he one of the better merchandise movers at each and every live event? He’s main evented PPV after PPV for the last six years. He gets one of the loudest face pops of the night, be it house show in Columbus or Wrestlemania in Chicago. So… if that’s the case, then shouldn’t we ask ourselves – What makes a face?
During the Attitude days, calling someone a face or a heel was an interesting prospect. The only person that was truly a heel was Vince McMahon. Nobody rooted for Vince then, and nobody roots for Vince now. Past that, the lines became very blurry. And you know what? The fans really liked it that way. It lent itself to more complex storylines that didn’t necessarily have an easily determined outcome as soon as the plot was revealed. I wasn’t sure that Austin would completely embarrass Vince McMahon, since VKM is the real life owner of the company. Surely he wasn’t involving himself in a storyline to lose? He’s the boss! I marked out for the Rock no matter what anyone else in the crowd was doing. The Rock at one point pissed off a lot of the crowd with his heel turn, but he was still the reason I tuned in to watch. Even what most consider the “greatest storyline of all time” included people whose characters weren’t back and white as to their alignment. They were the New World Order and I still cheered for Hogan, Hall, and Nash. Their characters were heels, and they threatened to destroy the WCW brick by brick for f***’s sake. The crowd booed. People felt betrayed by Hogan, and were throwing things into the ring and crying foul from the moment Nitro started. Yet, I wanted to cheer them. These storylines were some of the most profitable that wrestling has ever had. They prove that having performers designated as the standard roles of either “face” or “heel” are very over rated.
What Mr. Helmsley has delivered the last few years is the classic heel persona. He’s taken a mixture of what he was – the blue blood from Greenwich – and the semi-psychopath that is the Cerebral Assassin, and merged these two seemingly different people into “The Game.” He’s crafted a complex character in the mold of the wrestling greats from bygone eras. He’s our version of Harley Race. He’s the Ric Flair for the new century. This character has existed since wrestling moved from the circus tents to the bingo halls. Buddy Rogers did it. Buddy Rose and Buddy Landel both did it… but they both had much less success with it than Rogers. Curt Hennig did it, but he was nothing but a primer for what the WWE has been able to accomplish with the cocky, brash, evil mastermind we call the King of Kings – Triple H. We know that Trips is a rat bastard, and we pay to see him get his just desserts and watch whatever “face” it happens to be go over him triumphantly to fulfill their dreams. They have invested 6 years straight into crafting this persona. Throwing that investment away doesn’t come easy.
Degeneration X brought a side out of Triple H that some thought didn’t exist. For years we had seen this rich prick prance around in his frilly shirts. He snarled, lifted his nose up at people, curtsied, and was generally an all around not cool at all guy. The Montreal Screwjob happens (damn that f***ing subject sneaks into my column again) and suddenly, he’s hanging out with Shawn Michaels. Next thing you know… it’s good times Trips hanging out with X-Pac and the Road Dogg while giving us crotch-chops and catchphrases with his hat turned back. The dude with the big nose is cool all of a sudden. Why? What changed? The crowd changed their mind. Yes, the WWE pushed them to be fan favorites by giving them microphone time and letting them feud against the ne’er do wells in the Nation of Domination… but in the end, they were being assholes and that’s what got them over. That wasn’t something that was normally part of the WWF booking repertoire. Using heel tactics against heels gave them an edge that most people hadn’t seen. It’s the same edge that a “tweener” Triple H could employ today.
Right now, the WWE seems to be at a crossroads. Their top “face”, John Cena, got booed out of the building at Wrestlemania 22. Yes, I said it. I’ve been a huge Cena supporter, but even I’ve had to realize that something needs to happen. What’s obviously in the mind of many is that Cena’s going to be turned heel. If that happens, it seems like it’s expected for Triple H to turn heel.
What I propose is that he just keeps being who he is naturally. He’s the King of Kings… he’s crafting the character that Flair has had for the last 15 years. He’s moved on to being the last vestige of a bygone era, that of the Attitude era. There aren’t many true holdovers left. He’s really the last everyday player that they have on the roster. He’s too respected to not get the crowd excited and pop, and his character is too much of a dick to be cheered by everyone. He’s got to play the middle, and he’s been doing it to a tee. He’s a tweener now. It’s not nearly time to change that, because he’s really just starting to develop this persona fully. The people will tell you what they want from this character. The WWE just needs to be patient.
Triple H plays the asshole too well, and it’s too much of a waste to just throw the bastard they’ve built for the last few years away because some smarks are booing Cena. Triple H is going to continue doing what he does. He’s got his fans, and he brings people to the arena. He’s not going to be handing out lollipops in the lobby of each arena. He’s not that kind of guy. He’s going to be a cocky, brash, egotistical asshole and some people are going to hate that and boo him when he enters the ring area. However, there will be those people that are going to bring their “King of Kings” signs and their “Triple H for WHC” signs. When that new music hits, they are going to start to bend their torsos, extend their arms, and bow down to The Game.
Who needs a face turn?
Well, the column’s changed format but there’s a couple things I want to keep. This section’s going to bring you something I want to show you each week, plus my pick for the “Hoss of the Week”, which I couldn’t just abandon!
It’s definitely an exciting time for us fans of the WWE. We’ve had a number of recent call-ups from the developmental territories, and I personally have yet to be disappointed. The WWE laid off people who had been their employees for a number of years, and the IWC cried foul. How could they do such a thing? To me, it all makes sense now. They knew that in the minor leagues, they had a plethora of potential stars that were ready to be made. Kennedy, Carlito,
Yes, “Mr. Random Booker T Jobber” from last week’s Smackdown isn’t just a jobber. His name is Brent Albright, and he’s been toiling in OVW for a while now. I’ve seen a couple of his matches, and I have yet to be disappointed. I was shocked when I saw him, and even more shocked to think that he was going to be fodder for Booker T of all people. Yet, here he was, picking up his first victory and getting the rub from Chris Benoit. Today, I’d like to share with you a gem from OVW – it’s CM Punk vs. Brent Albright… or…errrr, I guess his name is Gunner Scott now.
The Hoss of The Week has got to be the man, the myth, and the freak of nature that scares me in my sleep and eats pieces of shit like me for breakfast… Dalip Singh. Holy hell is that guy big! And yes, maybe he does eat pieces of shit for breakfast. He damn sure isn’t eating Wheaties to get that big. He towered over the Undertaker, and he immediately looks like a credible threat because unlike any human being I have ever seen that is that size… he’s in great shape. He’s not beanpole like some basketball players of that height, and he’s not overweight like Andre was, and Big Show is still. He’s literally a mountain of a man, and I’m looking forward to his in ring debut hopefully next week.
That’ll conclude this edition of Viva La Lucha. I’ve had a great time writing, and I hope you’ve had just as good a time reading this mess of a mind f*** I call a column. Any and all feedback is appreciated. Thanks to all of you that came back to read something by me. Whether you loved it, hated it, or vomited, email me at TheNewJoint@verizon.net and let me know.Until then… I leave you with these simple words:
Long Live Wrestling!
Viva La Lucha
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