Is Triple H the greatest wrestler of the past decade?
Well ask 10 people and you'll get 10 different answers and 10 different wrestlers.
I've heard it all about Triple H recently.
And well quite frankly I'm tired of hearing it.
Recently there's been rumblings that Triple H is selfish and won't let guys like Shelton Benjamin and others on Smackdown get over on his expense.
In fact people in the wrestling circles have been saying for a while now that Triple H doesn't like helping up and coming wrestlers and doesnt want to give up his top spot.
Combine this with the sudden and rekindled love affair for Chris Jericho that the intelllectual wrestling fans have currently for him and one could say Triple H's stock is slipping.
I say it'll never slip because he has cemented his place in history and here'w why.
Every great wrestler has been accused of not wanting to lay down for anyone.
Hogan has been accused of this, Shawn Michaels in the '90s during his first title run, Bret Hart, etc etc. Even Ric Flair can be accused of this.
The fact of the matter is, there's a reason all the aforementioned are legends and that damn good. Why?
Because they didnt lay down for every shmoe who came along.
How many lessons do we need to learn from the likes of social and career jumpers like Brock Lesner and Goldberg to know you have to guard and protect your business from opportunists who dont have the best interest for their profession.
I'm proud to know someone like Triple H is in wrestling because he respects the business and protects the integrity of the title.
Way back when, 1999 to be extact, WWE then WWF before the Panda layed the smackdown on them, "The Federation" was chocked full of a new generation of promising and exciting stars. They were deemed "The Attitude Era" as all wrestling fans know.
Amoung this group were Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, The Big Show, X-Pac, Triple H, Chris Jericho., and Mick Foley. They all had so much promise and quite frankly every name I mentioned in this group had caught the WWF by storm and were there biggest stars. I'll leave Undertaker out of this group seeing he wasnt a new and up and coming star, and was pre attitude era.
The Undertaker is the Undertaker, he has been a staple in WWE/WWF. The Undertaker may have taken breaks but he never goes away. He's kinda like Regis Philbin (probably the same age just with alot less exhuberance).
I'll also leave Shawn Michaels out of this converation and list because Shawn had his most success before attitude era and had one more championship towards the start of the attitude era. Michaels left in early '98 due to back injuries and didnt come back to 2002. Due to this he doesnt apply to this conversation other then the fact that he too left wrestling (albeit for personal issues of drug problems and back problems).
Out of all these wrestlers from the Attitude area who's still at the top of their game and even in WWE? That would only be one: Triple H. And out of these stars who has domitated WWE since 1999 as a major if not main event star? Triple H.
For some reason or another ,every other star went on to do other things. Chris Jericho left wrestling in 2005 to persue acting, and stand up improv comedy, then tour with his band Fozzy. Jericho also made a exit in the first round of Celebrity Duets.
The Big Show got burned out and wanted to leave wrestling and act and persue a career boxing. While he was gone he did neither. Steve Austin left four dozen times, came back, had a girlfriend nearly stab him at a resturant, then made a movie that I myself and Santino Marella would say is painful to watch.
X-PAC? He was let go from WWE for his airline antics among other things. X-pac went on to marry Chyna, then show up on The Surreal Life drunk. Mick Foley appeared on 20/20 in 2000 and soon after retired from a full time schedule at the hands of Triple H. And as much as I like Mick Foley, he still found a way to wrestle once or twice a year but yet still promote his latest book every chance he got.
Mick Foley making his yearly comeback to promote a book reminds me of the old Publishing Clearing House Sweepstakes. Each year I got one as a kid in the mail and I never won and I got less and less excited.
And then there's The Rock. The Rock left wrestling to follow his real passion. Making movies. And of course I've already given the rundown (no pun intended to The Rock's flick) on what Jericho did while he was away from wrestling.
Do you see a trend here? Big Show: Retired for 2 years, wanted to make movies. Mick Foley: retired became a best selling writer. X-pac: retired from WWE, became a Vh1 nusience. Steve Austin: retired (comes out every six months on screen to get drunk for no reason) and wants to make movies. The Rock: retired, acted like wrestling was never his real passion, and went on to make movies. Chris Jericho: left wrestling for two years, was burned out, went on to appear on Vh1, do improv comedy, appear on Fox's Celebrity Duets, and he wrote a book.
I will say though Chris Jericho has a passion for wrestling. The difference between Jericho and the rest of this list is, Jericho didnt want to use wrestling as a stepping stones. and I do honestly believe Chris Jericho when he says that it just so happens he has many interest outside of wrestling and that's what kept him aay longer then he planned.
With that being said though, that doesnt put him in the same catagory as the only person who has stuck around. Triple H. Anyone reading this can say and think what they want, but the fact of the matter is the only thing Triple H ever aspired to be is a wrestler. And not just A wrestler but the best damn wrestler alive today.
Take this for what it is, but while everyone else in this group that held WWE by the balls, was getting burned out and getting the Hollywood bug, Triple H was busy cementing his legacy as the Ric Flair of this generation.
While the others were out getting hollywood agents Triple H was marrying the boss's daughter and getting a foothold on WWE. Dont take this as a insult either to Triple H. Ever hear the saying that a person who loves their profession so much that their married to it? Triple H is literally married to the business he loves so much.
Regardless of his marriage to Stephanie McMahon being out of love, that move was one of the smartest things he could do. He conqured WWE in the ring, and outside the ring has securely set up a future after his in-ring career is over, with his wife and inlaws. Triple H didnt just cement his legacy by marrying Stephanie. The main reason is his dedication to wrestling and that's what sets him apart from the rest of that Attitude group.
While it's hard to say what would had happened if Chris Jericho never left, I think it's safe to say Jericho is a future WWE Hall Of Famer anyway. But taking a two year break in wrestling is an eternity.
Years from now will fans and historians look back at Jericho and put him in the same catagory as Triple H? It's hard to say but if I had to put my money on it. Probably not. The reason why in my opinion is because other then his Quad injuries Triple H has been a mainstay in WWE and has ALWAYS put his heart and 110 percent into the wrestling industry. He never aspired to do anything else.
Triple H respects the legacy and tradition of wrestling. The only thing Triple H ever wanted to be and it never waivered was to be a wrestler. Chris Jericho is great and entertaining as hell, but his own exile might hurt his legacy.
Chris Jericho is many things, a wrestler, a singer, an entertainer, but there is only one "King of Kings," Chris Jericho aspires to be great in many things. "The Game" however aspires to be the best in one thing and one thing only: wrestling.
I read Ric Flair's book "To Be The Man" a few years back and really liked Triple H's forward. In it he mentions how Ric Flair was like the cool kid in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Damone) And how everyone wanted to be around Ric Flair. Like Damone. Ric Flair made wherever he was "the Place to be."
When Triple H finally has an autobiography come out when his career is at its twighlight, I want to be the person to write a forward. And if I cant I want to tell someone he knows who writes it to put the following down in that book.
As a kid I would always watch the tv show Taxi. I would watch the reruns until I knew the episodes almost line for line. In the very first episode, Marilu Henner's character Elaine comes into the garage and introduces herself to Judd Hirch's character Alex. Elaine then tells Alex she is only going to do the cab driving thing part time to earn extra money, and that her real passion is to have an Art Gallery someday.
Alex sits her down and points out everyone in the garage. There's Tony Banta, he's trying to be a boxer and works as a cab driver on the side. Then there's Bobby Wheeler, he wants to be an actor, but is driving a cab in the meantime, then when Alex is finished explaining to Elaine who everyone is he goes, "Me? I'm a cab driver. In fact I'm the only cab driver in this place."
Triple H is the Alex Reiger of wrestling. Even right down to the schnoz.