Ben Miller looks at HHH
Triple H in Three Dimensions
By Ben Miller
The Triple H interview
on Grantland is well worth a read. Of course a long interview with a powerful WWE executive is going to be interesting. Of course a publication like Grantland will make sure the interview stays a shoot, which makes it even more interesting.
Most interesting (at least, to yours truly), is what Triple H reveals about himself through subtext. Namely that he is a wrestler in full: wise, savvy and paranoid.
Triple H is wise in that he gets what a lot of hardcore wrestling fans choose to ignore: the fact that WWE offers opportunity. Bray Wyatt is the example he cites in the interview, but there are dozens of others. WWE wants wrestlers to get over because over wrestlers draw money.
There are exceptions to any rule, and that applies to WWE's promotion of wrestlers. They screwed up Goldberg. They probably could have handled Scott Steiner better. It always felt like Shelton Benjamin could have been something more. But by and large Vince has good taste. If a wrestler brings him a great character, Vince will spark to it. Bring Vince an earth-bound alien zombie character who has come to WWE to end the Undertaker's streak and he'll have little patience. (Unless it was the early 90's. Then you'd have had a shot.)
The interview also reveals Triple H's savvy in protecting himself. Not just protecting his on-screen character -- which we all know he does masterly -- but protecting his status within WWE management.
If Triple H's words are to be believed, he's mainly the developmental guy. He helps produce television and run the organization, but developmental is his baby. He doesn't specialize in promoting TV and pay-per-views (which are both stagnant and well down from peak levels) and he's not in the Creative food chain (which, although it is showing signs of life, has largely stunk for a decade). You see, the department he's in charge of is forward thinking and showing signs of growth. It's that other crap that everybody complains about.
Ah yes, the complainers. That nasty Internet. That is where Triple H's third dimension comes to life: his paranoia.
The Wade Keller story is almost funny in its lack of wisdom and savvy. Why even bring Keller up? Triple H knows what Wade Keller is. There was a 0% chance that Keller would be damaged by Triple H's assault and a 100% chance that Keller would exploit the mention as a way to promote his site.
The reason Triple H brought Keller up is that he can't help himself. When Triple H attacked dirt sheets/sites for kowtowing to wrestlers that dish, that was the real him. He really believes that the hardcore journalists swing and sway depending on access granted. As if them and the mark doctors and the strip club managers who ask for free tickets can all be grouped together.
For the future of WWE, it is good news that the man in charge is wise and savvy. Those two dimensions will serve him well as he protects the empire. The worry is the paranoia. The good news is that paranoid people will often understand when criticism is valid and respond to it. But if Triple H is the paranoid type who chooses to shut down dissent, it could hasten WWE's slide.
Extended Stay America
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