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Triple H's Universe is One of Layers, Attitude Era Throwbacks

Erik BeastonDecember 8, 2022

Becky Lynch vs. Rhea Ripley is one of the many overarching stories Triple H is building off of.
Credit: WWE.com

There is a lot to like about Triple H's creative direction since taking over the booking of WWE television at the end of July.

From a greater emphasis on championships to the utilization of talent who flew under the radar for too long, he has injected much-needed life into a product that had grown stale and formulaic under the previous regime.

For all that The Game has brought to WWE programming over the last four-plus months, though, little has been as effective as the layered storytelling and implementation of the best Attitude Era throwbacks.

His WWE Universe is one of intertwined stories that keep things fresh, never allowing for the repetitiveness that Vince McMahon oversaw for the last decade, and some of it is borrowed from the best of the company's most celebrated years.


An Attitude Era Throwback

In hindsight, the Attitude Era is not necessarily a shining example of pro wrestling at its best, but there are some elements that are still relevant and useful today.

One being the implementation of stories for characters up and down the roster.

Among the most credible criticisms of McMahon's product over the last five years was his overreliance on the same handful of stars. Entire shows would be built around those competitors at the expense of everyone else.

Not only did it diminish the role of some of the most talented wrestlers on the roster, but it also led to an overarching sense of sameness across WWE TV and overexposed some to the point that any eagerness to see them perform was washed away in relatively short order.

Rather than using a few established stars as a crutch and beating their effectiveness into the ground by booking the same angles and matches every week, Triple H has managed to come up with things for his roster to do besides being fed to those major stars.

Look no further than Monday's Raw. He pulled from the old APA of the early aughts to craft a series of backstage poker vignettes that both spun off in-ring action for the show and furthered ongoing stories.

For example, with nothing else better to do with The O.C., Alpha Academy and Baron Corbin, The King of Kings oversaw the execution of an angle that brought them together in a six-man tag team match.

And a brief interaction between Akira Tozawa and Dominik Mysterio created a reason for the two of them to work together on the same show.

WWE @WWE

After the JBL Poker Invitational ends in anarchy, The O.C. take on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AlphaAcademy?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AlphaAcademy</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/BaronCorbinWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BaronCorbinWWE</a> in an impromptu Six-Man Tag Team Match. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWERaw?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWERaw</a> <a href="https://t.co/TYUrOE6ujj">pic.twitter.com/TYUrOE6ujj</a>

Then there was the interaction between The Miz and JBL, in which we learned that the former has financial issues after paying for Dexter Lumis' services.

Sure, the two matches were likely one-offs, but that one overarching story of a throwaway poker game created a reason for them to happen rather than just randomly trotting those guys out for a meaningless bout that no one would remember a week later.

We saw that sort of thing happen to great effect during the Attitude Era, when characters were allowed to grow, evolve and flourish in situational segments.

While wrestling has grown a bit too comfortable relying on nostalgia, it is one throwback that Triple H and Co. should utilize more often to bring talent together, especially on those three-hour Monday night slogs when content is in demand but the booker does not want to overexpose his stars.


An Intertwined Universe

On top of what he has borrowed from the period when he was one of the biggest wrestlers in the industry, Triple H has also ensured no story grows stale by spinning off other side angles featuring the same main event stars.

For example, it is obvious that he sees Seth Rollins vs. Austin Theory for the United States Championship as a primary program on Monday nights. Rather than having them battling every week, he has created side stories that give them something to do while keeping their eyes on the prize.

Rollins is feuding with Bobby Lashley, the man he defeated for the title in the first place, while Theory was kept busy with Mustafa Ali and Dolph Ziggler.

WWE @WWE

.<a href="https://twitter.com/AliWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AliWWE</a> gets a chance at <a href="https://twitter.com/_Theory1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@_Theory1</a>'s <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USTitle?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USTitle</a> before <a href="https://twitter.com/HEELZiggler?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HEELZiggler</a> emerges to cause chaos.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWERaw?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWERaw</a> <a href="https://t.co/TlbZcevmuF">pic.twitter.com/TlbZcevmuF</a>

Elsewhere, Becky Lynch is clearly on a collision course with Rhea Ripley following two tense staredowns. Rather than giving the match away too early, Triple H has paired The Man with Bayley while keeping The Nightmare strong and hanging around title contention.

Speaking of Bayley and Damage CTRL, not only are they engaged with Lynch on Monday nights, but they are also feuding with Liv Morgan and Tegan Nox on SmackDown, which will prevent too many bouts involving Lynch before the blow-off between her and The Role Model.

WWE @WWE

Tegan Nox makes her shocking return to WWE to save <a href="https://twitter.com/YaOnlyLivvOnce?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@YaOnlyLivvOnce</a> from the grasp of the villainous <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DamageCTRL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DamageCTRL</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/7w8Ybh99e8">pic.twitter.com/7w8Ybh99e8</a>

The Bloodline are all over WWE programming but not in just one rivalry.

At any given point, Roman Reigns, The Usos, Sami Zayn and Solo Sikoa are feuding with Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, The Brawling Brutes, Matt Riddle, Elias and whoever the challenger of the month is to the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.

Triple H's understanding of the need for multiple storylines to keep from boring the audience is key to his success so far. Whereas his father-in-law could not see that the audience grows tired of seeing the same programmed against each other every week, he has managed to come up with secondary storylines while also giving something to underutilized talent to do.

Morgan had fallen off the radar in recent weeks and is now feuding with the central heel figure in women's wrestling. Ali and Ziggler could not sniff consistent television opportunities eight months ago and are now engaged in a feud with prominent villain Theory.

Even Alexa Bliss, who had been somewhat underwritten, is teaming with Asuka in pursuit of tag team gold, just won a shot to become No. 1 contender to the Raw Women's Championship and could be rekindling her partnership with Bray Wyatt.

Sportskeeda Wrestling @SKWrestling_

Are we about to see Alexa Bliss reunite with Bray Wyatt soon? šŸ‘€<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWE?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWE</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWERaw?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWERaw</a> <a href="https://t.co/QiVB6CwwLF">pic.twitter.com/QiVB6CwwLF</a>

It is a compelling storytelling that keeps the fans' attention throughout the shows and also gives Triple H an escape door should injuries, world events or disgruntled employees force him to shift gears and go in a different direction.

Is everything perfect? No, but it was never going to be.

Paul Levesque was tasked with fixing a problem that had engulfed WWE for a decade and is only four months into his current position.

However, the 53-year-old is most definitely making the strides to craft a product that builds on everything that was put into place before him while paying more attention to details and the immense talent at his disposal.

And fans desperately seeking a better WWE than the one he took over are benefiting.