When it comes to writing about wrestling here on the Internet, there is one man who is a more polarizing figure than even John Cena. That man is of course Triple H. You can always count on there being some news about Triple H to write about. Triple H and his place in wrestling is like a solid go to story if you really need something to write about and once again there is a story about Triple H that I just have to write about. Since this is an editorial, I will say up front that I am one of the biggest Bret Hart fans in the world. Every generation of fan has “their guy”. Well Bret Hart is MY guy and I will always defend him to the bitter end. So when I saw the headline “Bret Hart says Triple H is not even in the Top 1000” or that he “Never Had A Great Match”, I just said to myself thank you. Thank you to the wrestling God’s for this gift.
Here is the interview if you haven’t seen it yet.
I know this is probably going to draw some controversy (and that’s the point), but here we go.
Bret Hart is 1000% correct about Triple H.
I am fortunate enough to have a good enough memory where I can remember the start of Triple H’s career. I remember back in 1993 when a very young Terror Rizing debuted in WCW. I liked the guy. He had an interesting look and arrogance to his character. He had a pretty swank inverted Indian Death Lock that he used as submission finisher. I didn’t think watching him that someday this guy would be a multiple time world champion and heir apparent to Vince McMahon. In the movie Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, the character of Chiun (played by Joel Grey) commends Remo (played by Fred Ward) after completing a ridiculously difficult agility test by saying “Everyman is occasionally blessed by luck”. When it comes to Triple H, he has indeed been blessed by luck. He made the move from WCW to the WWE at the right time. He became friends with the right group of people. When the WWE was on the ropes, he found himself being in the right place at the right time to be the guy that the champions feuded with. And of course he found himself the right woman and the keys to the kingdom.
If you ask Triple H point blank if he thinks he’s been blessed with luck, I’m sure he would say “umm yeah”.
One thing people will argue about Bret Hart is he is a very bitter person and that bitterness really comes out when he talks about people he probably didn’t like. I can’t argue that fact. Bret is a bitter person and considering what has happened in his life in the last fifteen years, you really can’t blame him (though he has mellowed out lately). If you listen to the interview in question, Bret says he doesn’t have any particular problem with Triple H. He was just stating that Triple H is mediocre at best. There’s nothing wrong with stating an opinion. But lord knows that here on the Internet that if you one thing that goes against the grain, you’ll have mostly everyone saying you’re crazy.
Bret is not crazy. Grumpy for sure. But not crazy.
Perhaps Bret sets his criteria too high for what he considers someone to be a great wrestler. I’m going to only guess here, but I think I can see Bret’s line of reasoning. Triple H has had many great matches in his career. But almost all of them have been gimmick matches. This is not to say some of these matches are not great. From a story telling aspect they are good. But I can see Bret’s point of view. Take away the gimmicks such as ladders, tables, the hell in a cell and that damn sledgehammer and you’re left with a handful of actual great wrestling matches that you can count on one hand.
Now there is no doubt that Triple H can wrestle and when he wants to, he’s not too bad at it. But his character was never about being the best wrestler. He was always about being the best chess player in the ring. Bret is looking at this strictly from a wrestling standpoint. Could Triple H hang in the ring with Lou Thesz or Karl Gotch? Probably not if it was a “real” wrestling match. Triple H has always seen himself as Ric Flair and there lies the problem with Bret. We all know what Bret thinks of Ric Flair strictly as a wrestler. One of the biggest gripes I ever will have with Triple H is his reign of terror from about 2002 to 2005 when he tried so hard to be Ric Flair. The only thing missing from those years was him wearing his own Nature Boy robes.
Bret’s other comment was about the Triple H/Undertaker match from last year’s Wrestlemania. Once again I think Bret is absolutely correct in his statement that it was probably a “4 out of 10”. Triple H is what we’ll call paint by numbers in the ring. As a budding screenwriter, the Triple H vs. Undertaker HIAC had a good story to it. Triple H is consumed with beating The Undertaker because he wanted to do what his good buddy Shawn Michaels couldn’t. Triple H the year before threw everything he had at The Undertaker and he couldn’t put Booger BAH GAWD Red down. But from a wrestling standpoint it really wasn’t anything special. Put the match they had the year before but add the HIAC (which really serves no purpose anymore) and Shawn Michaels & his moral conundrums and you have Triple H/Taker II. It’s not to say that it was a bad match. It just wasn’t anything special. That’s not a knock on The Undertaker. He certainly brought his A-game as he always does at Wrestlemania (IX and 19 withstanding).
I know that will anger some people…but it’s the truth. Triple H is not innovative in the ring. One thing I am dreading is the probable rematch between Brock Lesnar and Triple H at Wrestlemania 29. If Triple H wanted to do something interesting he would go into the WWE Warehouse and pull the Lions Den cage out of mothballs and challenge Brock to a Lions Den match. That is something I would be interested in seeing. Another “No Holds Barred” match…I’ll pass.
People will jump on Bret Hart by saying he was horrible at cutting promos. Well it wasn’t Bret’s job to cut a promo. It was his job to paint a match in the ring. Bret was simply stating when it comes to Triple H, that’s something he just can’t do.
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