Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Mercy Side: Triple H – COO or No?

On Monday we found out who CM Punk’s opponent was going to be. All the build up so far pointed towards it being Kevin Nash, who Jackknife Powerbombed the ex champion into the mat at Summerslam. Two weeks of decent promos and altercations between the two seemed to solidify this belief amongst most fans. However in CM Punk’s ever so not discrete way, he has been making digs at Triple H week after week after week. It was inevitable that Punk and Hunter would face each other - it was never in doubt. But I don’t think many people expected them to face each other so soon, at Night of Champions, in just under three weeks.
Now feelings on this matter are mixed but edging towards unsatisfied with the change of opponent. Why? Well let’s look at the pros and cons of the situation. Being the optimist I am, I’ll start with the pros. The change of opponent is good in the respect that Triple H is a much better wrestler and worker than Kevin Nash is. Hell, Triple H has always been a better worker than Nash. Another positive is that a lot of the new generation of wrestling fans haven’t the foggiest who Kevin Nash is, where as Triple H is a huge name is wrestling, and has been for a good 12 years consistently. This on its own brings a bigger market, the PPV will sell more for having Hunter’s name on the card than Nash’s. Another? The two guys haven’t wrestled a hectic schedule for a good eighteen months, both guys that is. Nash was with TNA eighteen months ago, where as Hunter was on tour with WWE around that time. In the eighteen months that have passed, Nash left TNA and barely wrestled, where as Hunter had a few injuries and pretty much did the build up to Wrestlemania but nothing before or since. What’s my point? Well neither have wrestled a great deal, yet Triple H proved at Wrestlemania that despite not being on the road for long periods of time wrestling, he can fucking go in an instant of notice. His match against The Undertaker was a classic. It’s my personal favourite Triple H match, and he was 41, slightly passed his prime. Nash? Well he hasn’t had many great matches in his entire career, and he was 41 back in 2000, at the demise of WCW.

So in brief, the pros are Triple H is a better worker than Nash, a better wrestler than Nash, gets ‘more asses in seats’ than Nash, can work a great match despite long term absence in the ring than Nash and is 10 years younger. The cons? Well, a big con is that despite all those pros, we were lead into a storyline where Kevin Nash came back to the squared circle and laid out CM Punk at Summerslam. He made a big impact. For two weeks, there has been bickering between Punk and Nash. And yes, while Triple H has been part of the storyline, his bickering with Punk has been part of the scenery, the background. The main hook, in the fore, was Punk/Nash. Nash for two weeks managed to get his hands on Punk, while Punk has so far tried and failed to get his revenge. It was a nice little story going on. And while Hunter/Punk had their problems, they seemed to be only niggling issues at present, not issues that were blown into proportion. So from a storyline perspective, what happens to Nash now that Triple H basically knocked him off the card and took his place? It’s bad booking to build something for two weeks only for it to be completely irrelevant. You can make an argument that next week on Raw we’ll find out that Nash is actually relevant but he’s not the main man anymore. He’s now been pushed back and regardless of his input, seems pretty useless now. So that’s one con. Another? CM Punk and Triple H was bound to happen. It was never in doubt. It felt like it was going to be dragged on for months before Hunter would have enough of Punk’s pipebomb bullshit and just take his anger out on him. It was a scene I’d love to have seen done in around half a year’s time, maybe in time for Wrestlemania. All in time, Hunter would try to ignore and block CM Punk’s provocations and try to maintain his professionalism. It was being written for itself and would make fantastic television over the next few months, seeing CM Punk slowly chip through Triple H’s armour before The Game just rips him to pieces, turning heel at the same time. So now that Triple H has decided to put himself in the match only five weeks after Punk was starting to bug him. A potential feud of the year candidate has now disintegrated, as it will all come to a premature head in just over two weeks time.
But the main con with this change of direction for WWE in terms of CM Punk’s opponent at Night of Champions is actually its affect on Triple H’s role going forward. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand and in certain ways agree with the opponent change. You can see why above. But if Triple H is the on-screen successor to Vince McMahon, the CEO of old, he needs to step away from in ring action. Yes, Triple H was, ahem, is, a wrestler and Vince wasn’t. But it doesn’t matter. Triple H, the COO of the WWE, needs to act like the man in charge. The man in charge does not take part in matches, he books them. He fires people. He sets the record straight. Yes he has an ego, but he tries to control it, for ‘the good of the business’. It doesn’t matter if it’s a storyline or kayfabe, he is the boss.

One of the main reasons Vince McMahon’s character worked so well for so long was because he rarely got involved in the ring. When Vince McMahon, le grande fromage, got in the ring shit was about to go down. Stone Cold’s feuds with Vince McMahon are legendary. But that’s because of the bickering, the bitching, and the excellent mic work. It wasn’t because of five star classics. And yes, Triple H can wrestle while Vince couldn’t, but that it doesn’t matter.

Okay, let’s look at it from a different angle. Forget wrestling is worked for a second. YOU, yes you there with the half eaten pastry in your mouth looking at my site, YOU are now the COO of the WWE. As I said forget wrestling is worked, you are in control. You’re the boss. You book the matches and sort out feuding wrestling angles. You fire the people who ‘deserve’ to get fired. What would you do if you were also a wrestler? You’d put yourself in world title matches of course! You wouldn’t go after Punk, you’d go after Alberto Del Rio who has the title. You’d book the match so it would be difficult for Del Rio to win, and take the title. Hell you’d strip him from the title and give it to yourself and then never defend it. Okay maybe this idea is a little farfetched, I mean it is YOU that would be champion. If it was me it’d make a little more sense after all, I am an incredible (yet humble and discreet) wrestler.
Okay all jokes aside; if Triple H is a wrestler AND the COO, it just doesn’t work. You can’t be both. You can’t be an active wrestler and book matches. It just doesn’t make sense. It was only four weeks ago when we were looking at a promo with CM Punk and Triple H and HHH said that he took the COO job for the fans, and with that job comes certain rules and responsibilities. He never factually said he would not compete again but he most certainly insinuated that he wouldn’t. Being a guy that can still go at a more than acceptable rate it was inevitable that Hunter would wrestle again. But as I said, it needs to be impactful. It needs to have a purpose. And with the direction it was heading in, say in six months, if Triple H was to patiently wait until that amount of pressure was built and tensions with Punk would increase on a weekly basis for that long, it would have had just that. Impact. It would have meant something. “Triple H returns! For one night only to stand up for his wife against the man with the pipebomb CM Punk!” It’s a money maker. Or it was. Now that Triple H is returning to the ring, only two months after being announced as the new COO, it’s meaningless. It lacks the edge it would have had around six months from now.

So to conclude, there are pros and cons for this change of opponent for CM Punk. The pros are Hunter is a better wrestler, worker, is better business for the company, younger and more capable of wrestling at a hands notice than Nash. The cons are it potentially makes the Nash/Punk storyline completely insignificant, it was a storyline rushed forward incredibly prematurely and the main reason, it devalues Triple H as the COO of the company. Where do I stand in this situation? I’m sure you’ve figured it out, I’m against this idea. Sure Nash won’t be able to wrestle a great match with Punk, but it’s not about a five star classic. It’s about putting CM Punk over, and believe it or not, Nash does have a certain value for Punk. Nash is a six time world heavyweight champion, and is 6’11. The match would have simply been booked for long periods of a beatdown for Punk while he overcomes the odds and bullishly defeats Nash clean with the Go to Sleep. It would have boosted Punk’s credibility amongst the marks (although the smarks are more than aware that Punk is gold at the moment and has been for sometime, some of the marks are still not convinced). It makes Punk look stronger. So there would have been value in that match.

As for Triple H, I say he can’t be an active wrestler too often (rare matches are fine, as long as they are that, rare) and be the COO of the company. So it has to be one or the other. COO or no? I say COO. Thanks for reading.

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