He’s caught a lot of crap over the years.
Triple H is the guy who only got to where he is thanks to being part of the Kliq and riding the coattails of Shawn Michaels, who had Vince McMahon’s ear from day one. And when Hunter began dating Stephanie McMahon, the boss’s daughter, his place in WWE history was forever cemented and it was easy street from there on out, all the way to his current corporate position.
Does all of that sound familiar?
We have all heard these notions before and for some fans, everything I just said is not just opinion, it’s gospel truth.
But I have to say that I do not recall ever really feeling that way about Triple H. While I do recognize that getting to run with Shawn helped elevate the Game in WWE, the fact is, if he could not get it done when he got there, then he would have fallen flat on his face.
It doesn’t really matter how many opportunities a guy is given, how well he is promoted or how much the company spotlights him. If he cannot take advantage of the moment when he is confronted with it, then it’s all been for nothing.
Triple H did not just capitalize on his moment—he completely owned it.
For me, he more than proved he deserved his spot in the company. He was a great heel, able to draw heat from every crowd he worked in front of, and as a baby face he conquered as well. Hunter is an old-school-minded professional wrestler who understood the psychology of the business and put that knowledge to good use in every aspect of his game.
Now, for the tricky part.
As WWE’s current Chief Operating Officer, Triple H has become a corporate executive type who works more behind a desk than he does in the ring. He is an integral part of the company behind the scenes and as he gains more responsibility, it does appear that at some point in the future, he will be handed the reins of WWE.
However, without Stephanie McMahon, none of this would have likely been possible. Though Hunter was a trusted worker, a guy who was successful at a very high level and always towed the company line, without his marriage to Stephanie, he probably would have become nothing more than a road agent backstage.
Good to have around, good to work with the younger guys, but as a future leader of WWE? A doubtful scenario, to be sure.
But considering he is a member of the family and respecting what he has given to the company and the business, Triple H is a man on pace to one day rule the land of WWE.
Should he apologize for that? Should Triple H have politely turned down his father in-law’s request to work behind the curtain because he would be accused of getting a “free ride”? Of course not.
Triple H is doing today what he did before. He is owning the moment and bringing everything he has to his role.
But perhaps the most impressive thing about today’s Triple H is that he is not back in the spotlight.
If WWE has one big issue right now, it’s the fact that they are in desperate need of main event-level Superstars. John Cena is still the man and CM Punk is the No. 2, but after that it’s a toss-up.
Ryback is on his way, but there are still a lot of questions about his ability to succeed. Randy Orton has not been pushed back to championship status since his return, a situation that could have everything to do with his last suspension. Sheamus should be the next big name, but he cannot seem to get the majority of the crowd’s support when he’s in the ring.
Knowing all of this, Triple H could very well have took it upon himself to get back into the ring full time. Deciding that he was the best man for the job, Hunter could have taken the bull by the horns and reclaimed his top spot in WWE.
No one could have stopped him and it would have done no good to even protest it. Again, this is Triple H and at this point in his career, he is calling the shots.
But Hunter understands what many from his generation did not and some are still struggling with: He knows that WWE is a young man’s game and it should be handled by the guys who are there now.
Each Superstar on the main roster is there for a reason, and it should be up to them to carry the torch and move the company forward.
His in-ring appearances will likely only be for the big pay-per-views, for the night of WrestleMania, when he will shine and once again help bring the house down.
Is this the right decision on his part? Would WWE be better served if Triple H were to return to the ring on TV? Would his star power help to increase ratings while providing some great angles and storylines for fans to sink their teeth into?
But if all of that were to happen, would he again be criticized, this time for not knowing his place and not being able to let go?
As a fan who appreciated his work, I have to say that I am looking forward to seeing Hunter back in the ring again. Stepping away from a full-time schedule causes his appearances now to mean more, and every time he returns it’s like watching a veteran player who can still score 30 coming off the bench and make an impact.
Triple H will likely always catch his fair share of criticism. In this business, it comes with the territory. But love him or hate him, Triple H is pushing on and waving the banner of WWE.
Just like he always has.
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