WWE's Triple H Thy Kingdom Come DVD Review
Sunday, 29 September 2013 09:42
Triple H’s autobiography would be a pretty remarkable read. Told through his voice, his stories of the road, wrestlers, wrestling, Vince and becoming COO would be an incredible tale. A DVD, then, told through his voice using footage, images and, crucially, the voices of those who were around when it all happened would be even more remarkable, right? Right. For the documentary alone, the new Thy Kingdom Come dvd
set is a must.
The tale of the boy from Nashua, NH, to two working class doting parents who would work hard every day of his life to eventually become the chief operating officer of a multi-million dollar organisation is told through the voices of literally everyone who is anyone from WWE in the last 25 years.
The plainest reason to invest in this collection isn’t just the wonderful insights we’re given into Paul Levesque’s journey as a WWE superstar but is the inclusion of The Undertaker as a talking head for the first time. He is incredibly articulate, measured and honest in his appraisal of his “friend”, Triple H; all the stories of Taker as the voice of the locker room make complete sense here – he comes across as exceptionally wise about wrestling, relationships and morality. His presence is unequivocally an utter treat.
Matches on this set are not just the standard ppv matches that are already in the public domain – many are taken from Raw or Smackdown and show Triple H as a performer who rises to the big occasion but who also can turn it on on weekly, episodic television “where more people will see it,” he notes.
Under Killer Kowalski, Paul Levesque, worked as Terra Rizing and was a 270lbs body builder with “terrible footwork”. William Regal would help iron that
out in WCW at the Power Plant with the likes of Terry Taylor and DDP. The story of Levesque’s arrival at WCW is in itself interesting as was his approach to contract negotiations as revealed here.
Like in so many areas of this documentary, the story is made even more rich and engaging by its narrators: the DVD’s spine is made up by the voices of Jim Ross, Shawn Michaels, Vince, Steph, The Rock, Steve Austin, Big Show, Dave Bautista, Ric Flair, John Cena, Randy Orton, Kevin Nash, Mick Foley, Sean Waltman, Brock Lesnar, both Paul’s parents and, of course, The Undertaker.
By the time he went to see Vince about the chance to work at WWE, Levesque had worked through two different gimmicks that he knew he had to work with despite finding them fairly clichéd. He told Vince that he wanted “to get great” and wanted to work “300 nights a year” and compete with the best. Vince respected that more than anything – WCW would have asked him to work half that by cutting out house shows. He was christened Hunter Hurst-Helmsley, the American elitist; “a horrible gimmick,” notes The Undertaker, and was “immediately gobbled up by ‘the clique’”.
Vince, Levesque, Waltman and Nash cover the infamous ‘curtain call’ in great detail and put across just how awfully it was received backstage and in the office. In a wonderful paraphrase of Vince, Hunter tells us that he was told “you’re going to have to learn to eat s*** and like the taste”. While he also details his rise back to the upper echelons of the card, how he met Chyna and how his matches with Mick Foley made him relevant again, giving him an edge and a toughness that he hadn’t been afforded before.
His mother, it is revealed, was none too keen on some of the angles that DX would be involved in during the Monday Night Wars but it elevated Hunter to a new level as Shawn left and he was allowed to take centre stage. The story of DX is really well covered throughout and there is enjoyable footage of his semi shoot interview with Jim Ross from 1999 where he lets out all his built-up aggression about being the fall guy for the curtain call.
The focus for much of the middle of the documentary is his and Steph’s relationship, the reaction backstage and from Vince and Linda. Taker said that “it seemed like a recipe for disaster” but after a long time of back and forth and Vince’s approval and then disapproval, Hunter reveals how he went to Taker for advice and it was his words that ultimately encouraged him to just go for it. Vince, incidentally, describes their wedding day as “one of the greatest days of my life […] it was a magical day”
His injuries are covered with the first particularly given room. His comeback is and was remarkable and film of the doctors discussing him and operating on him is really well-placed. Upon his return, too, Flair, Orton and Bautista all praise not just his work ethic but his remarkable character and nature. Orton describes how patient his was with him in his younger days – “was like a fatherly figure or an older brother to me”.
The most revealing footage on the collection is in the final act where talking heads discuss his matches with The Undertaker at two consecutive WrestleManias. Taker talks candidly about how much those matches meant to him and shows how genuinely moved he is by the memories of the second match in Florida. According to him, they never planned to embrace at the top of the stage but “every year the pressure gets bigger and bigger” to top what he had done the year before. There is golden footage of them coming back to Gorilla after their second match that really capture Vince’s overwhelming emotions.
Ultimately, we’re shown Paul Levesque the businessman, the family man and the all-round respected figure who has earned his place as a canonical wrestler and as a man who deserves to be where he is today. He clearly works extremely hard, as all who speak about him will attest, but he also clearly rolls with the punches and copes well with all that he has on his shoulders in 2013. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done” he states as the COO of WWE as Vince argues that “he is a great man” and “one of the best things that ever happened to me and to this company”.