Years ago, I was just like most of the other Triple H haters on the internet. In my opinion, the hate for Trips is something that you learn – it’s a pattern, training, and behavior that comes from being a card-carrying member of the IWC. I never disliked him before I started logging onto LOP on a daily basis back in December 2002 (my, has it been that long?). It did not take long for me to start hurling insults at him, though.
I’ve often called us, the collective writers for the various dirtsheets, the “Wrestling Media.” The media in all other avenues starts “thought” trends that tend to dictate public opinion on a given subject. By and large, it’s one of the most negative aspects of there being such widespread coverage of sports and its athletes. To this point, the best example of how detrimental the media can be to sports was last year’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky situation at Penn State. The media turned the ordeal from a terrible situation involving a bad guy who got away with heinous acts for a long time into a virtual conspiracy that stretched throughout the university and that included Joe Paterno, who was subsequently and unjustly vilified. It cost Joe Pa his life. The stress of that situation rapidly progressed a pre-existing condition. It was one of the most atrocious things that I’ve seen in my twenty-five some-odd years of following sports. Sadly, it’s now held as gospel that Paterno did something horrible in not reporting his long-time associate (that played for him, coached with him, and remained a friend of the program) to the police, even though he did his due diligence in telling the higher ups at the university. To the media, Paterno himself may as well have been in that shower. Asinine (and sad). The media should be ashamed.
The media tends to take things that are not true and make them seem that way. Usually, the story gets told over and over again, the reality of each situation becoming skewed beyond original recognition until you’re programmed to believe that the altered version - what they said – is genuine. If I told you that you were stupid 20,000 times with only limited time for counterargument, you’d probably start to believe it and, as such, it doesn’t take long before a story laced with subjective that should’ve been objective gets flipped and turned to something distorted that you, the reader/watcher/listener, then believe is the truth.
Wrestling’s media is guilty as charged in the libelous case against sports entertainment. Someone plants a seed of doubt, usually the Meltzers or Kellers of the world that have some insider sources. The seed sprouts once they see that it attracts readers and sells newsletters. Next thing you know, there’s a massive tree branching worldwide on the internet that is full of half-truths. A powerful wrestling city like Chicago or New York, with their influential crowds, can be the catalyst for similar germination of falsities. Chicago, for example, seemed to start up this notion that John Cena couldn’t wrestle. Well, if you go back and watch his debut match against Kurt Angle on Smackdown four years prior to the night Chicago reshaped conventional thinking of Cena’s abilities, then you would’ve known that what they were claiming was not true. Yet, how quickly did it take for that idea to spread like the virus in the Planet of the Apes? A matter of months…
The worst case that I can recall in the Wrestling Media is how it has shaped the internet community’s opinion of Triple H. For those of you that have joined the club, so to speak, in the last five or six years, the things you see about Cena are nothing compared to what was written about Triple H in the era that proceeded the Attitude. There was so much going around about that man in the news briefs, columns, and forum posts that you could enter the LOP address and, an hour later, you would be spouting off all the horrible things that Triple H was doing to people backstage with his politics. The kind of hate for Triple H was on a level a few notches higher in severity than for Cena.
I was responsible for proliferating the negative internet of opinion of the Game from 2002 until about 2007. I remember reading nothing but bad things about Triple H’s backstage political power for the first four months of 2003 (my first 4 months as an LOP reader). It came, then, as no surprise when I watched him beat Booker T at Wrestlemania and jumped on the bandwagon that Trips “BURIED” him. I recently watched that match again and what actually happened was that Triple H sold a knee injury and took several seconds to cover a badly beaten Book following a Pedigree. My 2003 attitude toward the match, however, was that Trips hit the Pedigree, waited five minutes, smoked a cigarette, had a glass of scotch, took a shower, changed clothes, moseyed on back to the ring, and finally made the cover for the three count. That was the general consensus amongst the IWC at that time. In other words, a whole lot of ridiculous opinion clouded the minds of so many people that it suddenly became a fact of wrestling life that, at Wrestlemania XIX, Triple H buried Booker T.
I continued on with thinking that Triple H was all that was evil and terrible about wrestling for a long time. Yet, then I took a hiatus from communicating in the forums and stopped writing main page show reviews. I distanced myself from the club, if you will. I sat back and watched wrestling without all the commentary in the background. It helped me see some things a little more clearly. For instance, looking back at 2003, there was nobody better equipped to hold the World title than Triple H. It wasn’t backstage politics keeping him at the top ahead of Booker T, Goldberg, and Chris Jericho. He was “The Man” just like Cena is now “The Man.” When you’ve got a guy like that with the name – forged in great feuds with two of the top stars of all-time before the ‘Tude era ended - and the talent, you go with him; you ride that train until it breaks down or something better comes along. That’s what the WWE did until Cena emerged. There was nobody better to lead the ship than the Game.
So, there are all of these fallacies that get spread throughout the net about Trips. Just as many of the ridiculous things said about John Cena are hogwash, so too are many of the barbs thrown at Trips. My favorite is the one about him holding down big talents on the rise. You mean like he did with Batista? Persona non grata? John Cena? Jeff Hardy? He doesn’t have a perfect track record, but nobody does. Last year, he caught a ton of heat from the Wrestling Media about his involvement in the CM Punk storyline. I didn’t like that Punk lost to him anymore than the next guy, but Trips didn’t bury him. Punk’s momentum cooled off because the WWE booked him to lose a couple of main-event matches. It wasn’t Triple H’s doing. Last I checked, he was Executive Vice President of Talent Development (?) and not the head of creative.
Most recently, Trips has been the subject of a few verbal assaults by folks that claim his promos to be boring and detrimental to the storyline involving Brock Lesnar. I fail to see how one can reach that far. Allow me to be the natural balance to that view by stating that the work Triple H has done on the microphone has been the most compelling television offered up by the WWE in the last three weeks. Triple H’s stance as an authority figure is both realistic and interesting. Why would he back down to Brock? Everything that he’s said about Brock is true. As long as Paul Heyman is there to dish out the variety of jabs thrown at Trips that the Game has thrown at Brock, then it all evens out into a nice, engaging rivalry that – for once – may feature a COO/CEO/GM type character that can actually back up their end of the in-ring payoff.
I wonder if said diatribes, about his holding people down, crapping on Punk, and taking away Lesnar’s heat, are based on the IWC pattern of learned Trips-hating behavior? My theory is that they are, most definitely.
I want to do some research. How many of you reading this came by your Trips hating honestly? How many of you learned it from the internet? I urge you to take a step back and re-evaluate your position on the guy as objectively as is possible. Give it a month or two; perhaps through the Lesnar feud and payoff. See if your stance changes a bit, as mine has…