No Confidence: 10 Signs the WWE's First Civil War Is on the Way
On last night's Raw Supershow, we saw Triple H's reign as COO take the biggest blow yet. John Laurinaitis convinced Triple H to have a vote of confidence with the WWE locker room and the results were pretty shocking.
Not only did the obvious dissenters like the Otunga Alliance vote no confidence, everyone voted no confidence and walked out on Triple H.
Not just heels, but faces like Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne, Jerry Lawler (who actually initiated the walkout), Daniel Bryan, Sin Cara and Booker T. walked out on Triple H. Even the ring announcers, referees and cameramen bailed on Triple H after a unanimous vote of no confidence.
And while for some, that might have marked the end of their tenure, for Triple H, this is the start of what is probably going to balloon into a massive civil war within the WWE.
Why would I say that?
Let's take a look at why the "no confidence vote" and the circumstances surrounding it may be the spark that starts a roster-wide conflagration.
The King Pleads His Case
At the 5:20 mark of this video, Jerry Lawler explains succinctly what has already been put forth by the WWE for quite some time now: Somebody is behind the scenes trying to sabotage HHH's run as COO.
Somebody doesn't want him to have that job and they are doing everything in their power to undermine him.
At first, it was R-Truth, then it was CM Punk, but now, Triple H is clearly the target of whatever roaming conspiracy there is behind the scenes in order to get him fired as COO of the WWE.
This conspiracy is eventually going to be revealed. The orchestrator of the plot is going to be exposed. And once that occurs, the grievances the roster has will be directed towards the person responsible, setting up a great deal of acrimony towards the party or parties—simultaneously directing the angst away from Triple H and bringing back support to his run as COO.
However, Triple H's response to certain wrestlers, such as the heavy-handed way he's dealt with heels like Christian, Cody Rhodes and Dolph Ziggler, is going to keep some athletes from supporting him, no matter who is responsible for the chaos occurring on WWE programming.
Thus, the emergence of the conspirators will trigger a fissure in the WWE locker room.
John Laurinaitis: Man of Action
The WWE has been about as discreet as a mule-kick to the face about John Laurinaitis being the eyes and ears of the conspiracy on the ground.
At first, it was Ace appearing to undermine Triple H as it regarded the firing of Kevin Nash. Now, he appears regularly with the most vocal of disgruntled employees, David Otunga and his group.
But, no matter what the scenario, after every single major outcome, you can always see Johnny L. on his cell texting furiously to someone.
That someone, more than likely, is the orchestrator of the conspiracy against Triple H.
John is in the thick of things, manipulating the situation to an unfavorable turn against Hunter. Even Hunter knows this and has threatened to fire him on a couple of occasions, but has never had any concrete proof to terminate him.
But last night, John Laurinaitis made probably his boldest move yet, in provoking Triple H to take that vote of no confidence. And after Johnny Ace sucked Triple H into getting brutalized by the roster, he came out afterwards, almost shaking his head in condescension.
As EVP of Talent Relations, it's John's responsibility to quell the grievances of the talent. Instead, he has worked them up in a frenzy against Triple H. And now, he has orchestrated the entire roster to turn on Trips.
John's actions have begun to hit a more feverish pitch and represent the coming climax of the angle: the exposing of the unseen hand moving against Triple H.
When the curtain is raised, you can expect for John to move feverishly to draw support from the roster around the conspirator, and his first trip will be to the Otunga Alliance.
The Rage of Vincent K. McMahon
Now, I'm not big on taking dirt-sheet rumors at face value. It's why I tend to shy away from the "breaking news" option when I choose to write articles.
There are two reasons for that:
1. People just make stuff up and report it as news to get reads for their fledgeling little news sites. People take that and spread it around the web, and suddenly it becomes a fact. That fact is then later debunked by the actual involved parties. It happens too many times.
2. The WWE stays in close lock-step with the happenings on the internet. Anyone with common sense would utilize dirt-sheets by putting out false reports in order to keep fans away from figuring out the truth. They could also use it to build kayfabe stories, or even alter their plans in case real news actually ever leaked.
Internet news on pro wrestling is unreliable at its best, and blatantly fictitious at its worst.
That's why I wait for things to pan out. Over time, "breaking news" gets put through the strainer and lies are shed away from the truth to become actual news.
But, in this case, I think the rumors might be true.
A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that Vince McMahon was furious over the fact that Alberto Del Rio mentioned his name on Raw and said he wished he was still in charge. The reports said that it gave away the ending they had planned with the return of the Vince McMahon character.
The report also claimed that he put the writers and agents "On notice" about their performance. I'm inclined to believe this is true, because since that report, WWE programming has improved dramatically in recent weeks. I've gone from butchering them in my articles, to actually enjoying Raw and SmackDown of late.
Everything from Cody Rhodes and Mark Henry's championship reigns to the rebelliousness of The Awesome Truth and the "Conspiracy" has been well done.
With that being said, I believe the report about McMahon being planned for the ending is true, as well.
Really, nothing else would make more sense. Though, for me, Stephanie would be a close second, and perhaps could be the option the WWE goes to, if Vince feels that ADR really exposed the climax and wants to go in another direction.
Either way, the fact that Vince McMahon planned to be at the end of this conspiracy, when he is no longer in physical shape to carry a feud in a ring, means he probably planned to have some muscle surrounding him to buffer himself from the fallout of scamming Triple H out of his position, and infuriating the likes of John Cena and CM Punk in the process.
Whether Vince will still be the man behind the scenes or whether they will switch it over to Stephanie, or some other person, that individual is going to need protection. Triple H, alone, is too much to handle. But if you put other wrestlers by his side, you're going to need help.
This could set up the top echelons of a civil war between the biggest faces and heels in the company. One side supporting the conspirator, and the other side supporting the COO.
Two Sides Merge Under Otunga
In the video to your left, John Laurinaitis asks on behalf of Triple H, if David Otunga was responsible for The Miz and R-Truth filing a lawsuit against him and the WWE.
David's response was: "What business of it is his? So what if I did?"
It's a seemingly innocuous moment, but it has immense ramifications for the future of this angle.
David Otunga has already taken the WWE Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio, the Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes, the United States Champion Dolph Ziggler, former World champions Jack Swagger and Christian, as well as Vicki Guerrero, under his legal wings.
By adding The Awesome Truth to his group, he adds yet another former WWE Heavyweight Champion in the Miz and a solid main-eventer in Truth.
These men have far and away been the most vocal and most aggressive detractors of HHH's rule. They are also the ones who have suffered the most from it; from being fired to being put in unfavorable matches at a moment's notice.
There is no way this powerful group will ever side with Triple H.
It's pretty much a given that whenever the conspirator reveals himself, they are going to side with him to remove Triple H from power. Because while the group claims they want Trips out due to unsafe working environments, the reality is, they just don't like him because of his reaction to their complaints.
The Miz and Truth are the primary ones creating the unsafe working environment in the first place. That isn't even nearly a part of this group's concern.
Furthermore, of all the wrestlers on the roster who are against Triple H, no one has more contact with Laurinaitis right now than David Otunga.
Laurinaitis is clearly the primary eyes and ears on the scene working for the orchestrator of the conspiracy. When the switch is flipped, Otunga and those who follow him will already be aligned with Johnny Ace, and by extension, whoever John is working for.
Otunga has amassed power the likes not seen since Evolution, and perhaps more, because he has so many former World champions underneath him. It's going to be too much for Triple H and a smattering of superstars to handle alone.
A group of that size is going to be a small army on the scene. Fighting them, in and of itself, is going to be an all-out war already.
Wade Barrett Emerges as Voice of the Locker Room
At the 0:13 mark of this video, a miracle occurs.
Somebody remembered that Wade Barrett is the best underutilized talent in the entire company and finally said: "Hey, we've got this sure-fire megaheel over here that we haven't been doing anything with, let's give him a prominent role in the proceedings!"
Wade Barrett's sudden reemergence in an uber-important segment as spokesman for the disgruntled superstars en masse, speaks to the fact that the WWE hasn't forgotten him.
But, beyond that, it exposes the fact that there are other heel players not aligned with the Otunga group who are going to be against Triple H in this power struggle that's unfolding.
And while there aren't many top heel players who aren't already aligned with The Otunga Alliance, there are still a great deal of mid-card and lower-level heels who can join the fight, from Drew McIntrye and Jinder Mahal to Darren Young and Sin Cara Negro.
Wade Barrett, someone who has had no affiliation with David Otunga or his group, speaking up and going at Triple H on behalf of other superstars means that this power struggle will not be with just an isolated group of men, but will be roster-wide when the fighting breaks out.
If the WWE makes Wade Barrett a serious force after this, he's going to be one of the most dangerous players in the WWE Civil War.
Zach Ryder Has a Change of Heart
Last night after Raw went off the air, something funny and seemingly inconsequential occurred: Zach Ryder came back and decided to be the lone star to publicly throw his support behind Triple H.
In a nonsensical moment, the same Triple H who was staring at Jim Ross like the last lonely girl asked to dance only to be jilted by even good ol' J.R. and left without a friend in the world, decided to then pedigree the one guy who decided to actually stand by him.
Perhaps he felt Ryder was just trying to use the moment to plug his show? I don't know. Odds are, it was just a silly throwaway pedigree to juice the live audience. But, as far as storylines go, it's a pretty stupid move for a guy who just garnered a million sympathy points from the audience, to waste half of them immediately by laying out a very popular face on the rise who came to stand by him.
However throwaway this moment might be, it does set a tone for not what only may happen in the near future, but will happen in the future: Superstars are going to start changing their minds and siding with Triple H as things develop.
As they come back, as mentioned earlier, a rift will develop in the locker room. One side being pro-HHH and the other being anti-HHH, setting the stage for a possible civil war.
This small WWE.com moment is already setting the tone for it to happen.
The Absence of the Fantastic Four
Tonight, when the entire WWE turned on Triple H, the following men were nowhere in sight:
John Cena, Randy Orton, CM Punk and Sheamus.
Now, CM Punk has been ahead of the class for a while, now. He was the first to admit that Triple H wasn't in on the "conspiracy" that he believed was coursing through the WWE, but that Triple H was a victim of that conspiracy.
So, it would only be logical that he wouldn't want to play into the hands of the puppetmaster and vote against Triple H.
The more interesting note, however, is that Sheamus, Cena and Orton didn't show up, either.
While Orton's motivations are probably the most difficult to read, as he has no dealings with Triple H currently, there is a thread that binds Cena, Sheamus and Punk together:
They will all possibly be wrestling alongside one another at the 2011 Survivor Series.
Before the WWE decided to go in the direction of firing The Miz and R-Truth, the Survivor Series match was to pit The Rock, John Cena, CM Punk, Sheamus and a yet-to-be-named fifth opponent against Alberto Del Rio, R-Truth, The Miz and two yet-to-be-named opponents.
The WWE has since been hushed on that front, probably not to give away the outcome of the storyline. My personal assumption is that it's going to be Rock, Cena, Punk, Sheamus and HHH against ADR, Christian, Miz, Truth and possibly the head conspirator.
Orton will probably not be in the match as he'll be going up against Mark Henry.
And that begs the further question: If Randy's refusal to appear on Monday means HHH has his support, does this automatically put Mark Henry in the other camp? Henry hates HHH and has already been fined $250,000 by him. A fine he refuses to pay.
Either way, Punk, Cena and Sheamus are linked to that advertising for Survivor Series and are linked as no-shows to HHH's vote of no-confidence.
With the kind of power David Otunga is amassing in the locker room, it's going to take Punk, Cena, Orton, Sheamus and Triple H to combat it. One thing not to be overlooked is the fact that before this all unfolded, Miz, Truth and ADR were advertised to be in the match.
ADR aligned himself with the Otunga alliance in the same segment that saw Otunga declare he was working with The Miz and R-Truth.
But, with the size of the enemy against the decidedly face Triple H, being directed by obvious heels, is it any surprise that the four biggest faces today won't side against Trips?
The Absence of Kelly Kelly and Eve
While not as obvious an absence on Raw, Kelly Kelly and Eve were also nowhere to be found.
But, just as quiet an indication as Otunga's remarks were, these quiet no-shows are probably equally profound as it concerns a looming, roster-wide civil war in the WWE.
Beth Phoenix was the heel voice of the Divas and was one of the key people used in getting HHH voted down, along with Wade Barrett, Jerry Lawler, Christian and Mike Chioda.
Her primary enemies, and the two biggest babyfaces of the Diva's division, Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres, stayed away.
This is a possible indicator that the rift of who maintains power at the top will go all the way down to the Divas division. Beth and Natalya being the primary girls supporting the conspiracy and Kelly Kelly and Eve being the women who stand up for Triple H.
Should this be the case, it is the biggest indicator of all that this won't just be a battle at the top of the WWE between main-eventers, but the war will go all the way through the WWE roster.
Triple H Throws Up the X
At the very end of this WWE.com video exclusive, at the 2:52 mark, you see Triple H throw up the famous Degeneration-X sign.
A special appearance by Degeneration-X has also just been announced for the October 11th airing of Smackdown.
The return of HBK is important not just because of his return, but it marks the mindset of Triple H, right now. "I've just been abandoned by everyone, I better reach out to allies I can count on."
If Triple H starts surrounding himself with allies, that's going to be a pretty dead giveaway that wrestlers are going to start forming around him to combat the conspiracy and those who position themselves as Triple H's most violent enemies.
Triple H may slowly build an army of supporters around him, which will be easier once the faces recognize that John Laurinaitis and his benefactor are the ones pulling the strings. Triple H's side may contain everyone from the "Fantastic Four" mentioned earlier to Kofi/Bourne and HBK.
As the lines are drawn, it will only take one spark to ignite a full-out conflagration between the two sides jockeying for power, starting a full-blown civil war.
Side Note: I have this sneaking suspicion that HBK is going to kick HHH in the mouth at some point in this storyline.
The Immovable Triple H
One of the primary triggers for this war is the very target of the conspiracy himself: Triple H.
This is The Game. The Cerebral Assassin.
He is never going to back down, simply because the entire roster hates him. He isn't going to quit because he's being forced out by an unseen hand. If anything, he's going to fight to the bitter end to maintain power, no matter how many times he says, "I never asked for this job, it was given to me."
Triple H is going to make maneuvers to keep himself on top. And whether that's by firing people, pedigreeing people or bringing in Shawn Michaels and Sean Waltman, he is going to go to war.
When the main conspirator emerges, Triple H is going to try and mow through anybody trying to stand in his way.
But, honestly, that's going to be way too many people for Triple H to mow down on his own. With the Otunga Alliance standing in his way, and even men like Mark Henry and Wade Barrett against him, Triple H has no choice to but to amass his own squad to fight back.
And when he does that?
The WWE Civil War will have begun.