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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Current WWE Storyline Analysis and Who Triple H SHOULD Face at Wrestlemania 30
By Mr. Tito
Sep 17, 2013 - 11:32:51 PM
The Monday Night RAW viewership numbers are in and despite the competition with NFL's Monday Night Football on ESPN and possibly many viewers waiting in line to get their copy of the almighty Grand Theft Auto 5 video game early, RAW stayed above 4 million viewers during hours 2 and 3. That's a big win for the WWE. Usually, RAW does well following a Pay Per View as viewers want to see the results and how the WWE advances its storylines. WWE fans could have been curious to see the new WWE Champion, Daniel Bryan, and how he would deal with a controversial finish to his match with Orton.
But I think there's more to it...
Since I've returned to column writing since one of my "retirements" during early 2010, I've been a major critic of the WWE's Creative Team. In my opinion, most of the shows appeared to be written on the fly without any consideration towards long-term booking. It's almost as if the WWE was just milking the John Cena cash cow and didn't feel the need to actually work to earn the fans' viewership. In recent times, it appears that John Cena's absence has lit a fire under the asses under the McMahons and Triple H to improve the shows' booking and storyline writing. And it's not just the current McMahon/Triple H storyline... The entire WWE has improved with a few bad apples (not appreciating Antonio Cesaro, for example) here and there.
The whole Daniel Bryan vs. WWE Corporation storyline has been great, so far... Daniel Bryan is over with the WWE fans and that has helped elevate his career to the main event status for the time being. WWE gave him a clean win over John Cena and then injected him into a storyline where the WWE establishment (Vince McMahon, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon) prefers their own "A+" wrestler in Randy Orton instead of the "B+" Daniel Bryan. The screwjob with Triple H turning at SummerSlam 2013 was actually unexpected and the fast count finish at Night of Champions 2013 advances the storyline towards the next Pay Per View. While it's disappointing to see Bryan robbed from another WWE Title reign, he remains in a high profile feud with Orton and Triple H/McMahons. That's a big plus for his career especially if the WWE can continue to draw 4 million viewers with Bryan acting as the top babyface substitute for John Cena. I'm actually curious to see what happens next...
Holy cow, we might have a tag team division... While many could argue that the Prime Time Players are getting attention because of Darren Young coming out, but I'd argue that they are starting to get over because they are allowed to WIN MATCHES. That's right... Instead of serving as punching bags for other tag teams or in singles competition, they are actually winning matches for a change. If only the WWE were to give them a legitimate finishing hold, they'd make it. Just look at motivated Young and O'Neil are when they actually win matches... Personalities of both are just starting to shine. The Usos have been solid as a tag team. Let them become a little more known as a tag team, and they'll begin to shine more... If they'll be wasted as singles wrestlers, I would be fine with Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger becoming a regular tag team. They have a great manager to help the cheat on the outside. They have strong champions in the Shield right now who are credible from beating Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan), the team who bought the division back to life.
Most of you HATE the Total Divas show on the E! Network, but it's quietly doing something 7 ladies (Bellas, Eva Marie, Jo Jo, Funkadelics, & Natalya) on that show that brief appearances on regular WWE programming isn't doing: it's making them known. On RAW or Smackdown, their appearances and/or matches are very brief or rigged together that nobody knows who any of the Divas actually are. On Total Divas, you get to see behind the scenes stuff on each lady in-depth and fans can actually connect with them. Even if the show is staged, in particular the Bellas acting as heels towards the other ladies, it's still 1 hour of television 100% dedicated to those 7 ladies. It's television exposure that Divas in the past didn't have. Thus, when AJ Lee challenges the Total Divas, there's actual heat because some connection has been made with fans with the Total Divas thanks to that show (good or bad). With the E! Network starving for any kind of decent programming, it's a big win for the WWE.
WWE is trying to establish Alberto Del Rio as a strong World Heavyweight Champion. He's getting there but may need a strong storyline to get there. I've suggested for a while that the WWE should acquire AJ Styles from TNA (working under a 3 month deal) and challenge Del Rio for the World Title. If only the WWE would let Styles win the title just once, it could legitimize him but also give Del Rio someone strong from a workrate perspective. Otherwise, I would have no problems with Alberto Del Rio becoming part of the McMahon/Triple H WWE Corporation stable. It makes too much sense and it gives Alberto Del Rio some much needed heat that his character is seriously lacking. But damn, Del Rio is a terrific in-ring worker. Meanwhile, speaking of other titles, the WWE hasn't seriously embarrassed itself with the Intercontinental and United States Titles. In other words, Dean Ambrose and Curtis Axel haven't become the next Wade Barrett or Antonio Cesaro with many non-title jobbings.
And then there's CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman & Company. Solid gold! Quite possibly, the McMahons/Triple H are actually seeing Punk and Heyman step it up and are motivated to top them. Playing perfectly from CM Punk's repeat losses from earlier in the year while he was with Heyman, the break up with Heyman was epic and the feud with Brock Lesnar was incredible. In fact, I'd argue that Punk vs. Lesnar was one of the best matches of ALL time... After the Lesnar match, which involved Heyman trying to interfere, the feud didn't stop there. While Curtis Axel isn't in Punk's caliber yet, he's a punching bag to play out Heyman's wishes against CM Punk. Something like CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel/Paul Heyman at Night of Champions works because fans want to see Punk get his hands on Heyman for revenge. When CM Punk finally gets his shot at destroying Heyman, a new "Heyman Guy" emerges and Ryback makes the save. Ryback needs some major help as a heel, given 2013's booking struggles to get him over as a heel, and Heyman could be a perfect fit. Either way, it gives CM Punk "something to do" before he possibly begins to feud with the McMahon/Triple H/Randy Orton establishment himself...
Things are great in the WWE right now... I'm here to encourage the WWE to KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!
Moving forward, however, the WWE must have a payoff for the McMahon/Triple H storyline. Some could say that Daniel Bryan should triumph over evil. I would agree, although I'm of the understanding that the WWE is hesitant to keep a 5'8" unshaven wrestler as their top guy, especially when John Cena is ready to return. Between now and Royal Rumble, I expect a short term WWE Title reign with Daniel Bryan. I'm guessing that Daniel Bryan finally overcomes Randy Orton at the next WWE Pay Per View, Battleground. Then, I'm guessing that Triple H causes Bryan to lose the WWE Title at Hell in a Cell Pay Per View to set up Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H at Survivor Series 2013. I'm not expecting Bryan to overcome Triple H, however... There is someone else I have in mind. Bryan could continue his feud with the HHH/McMahon/Orton group through December's Pay Per View until John Cena probably returns for Royal Rumble 2014. Just the way it is... Looking like a smaller version of a member from Duck Dynasty, I somewhat agree with the WWE's assessment on Bryan not being the top guy.
I'm predicting John Cena vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Title at Wrestlemania 30. That's the big match-up that Vince McMahon wants and it will feature the WWE's 2 longtime stars from the "Class of 2002" Ohio Valley Wrestling class. I'm quite certain that the WWE will attempt to replicate the Stone Cold angle with John Cena as he attempts to take down the McMahon/Triple H dynasty with Randy Orton in the way. Ironic, too, as the McMahons have pushed John Cena strong for many years that it could be argued that Cena is a McMahon guy, but they'll try to replicate Steve Austin's angle vs. WWE establishment with Cena. You watch... I'm expecting no Rock for Wrestlemania 30 and Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker to play off the UFC event.
Also for Wrestlemania 30, it must be the night that the BULLY of the recent storylines against Daniel Bryan must be taken down. And no, I'm NOT talking about Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania 30. It could still be interesting, but I believe there is 1 wrestler much more deserving to slay the Triple H bully. Since Triple H began his CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER (COO) role on the RAW following Money in the Bank 2011, he's been a massive bully to the entire WWE roster. One would figure that a part-time wrestler would have extreme ring rust against full time wrestlers. Not the case with Triple H. He has given the impression that at any time, he could become a full time wrestler again and dominate. With only the Undertaker as an exception, and those are Wrestlemania matches, Triple H has been made to intimidate other wrestlers and even has a Wrestlemania win over Brock Lesnar. Since SummerSlam 2013, Triple H has bullied the entire roster... As the storyline SHOULD work, Triple H should eventually "get his" for his heelish ways. However, past history putting over up and coming wrestlers (Batista as the exception) suggests otherwise as Triple H has an endless desire to keep his wrestling character strong.
For the past few years, Triple H has acted as Vince McMahon's #1 adviser. It's becoming quite evident that when Vince McMahon retires from the WWE (or passes), Triple H will become the next Vince McMahon backstage for the WWE. Triple H has dedicated his life to the WWE and Vince seems willing to hand his son-in-law the torch. One thing that Triple H could learn from Vince is how to become a successful heel. Dig deep into the WWE Video Library during 1998-1999 and observe the entire Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon feud. The entire feud involves the evil Vince McMahon (the boss) trying to screw with Steve Austin (the employee). Time after time, however, Steve Austin would overcome the odds and Vince McMahon would "get his". No matter who the opponent was, Austin would defeat them and then get his hands on Vince. Vince would try again and then fail. Vince would try something else with Austin and then fail. Vince tried and tried and tried, but kept failing. He "got his" repeatedly against Austin.
Triple H needs to check his massive ego at the door and show vulnerability in his character. The whole act of heels in pro wrestling is that they are so caught up in their ego and being corrupt that they lose focus of being an actual pro wrestler. That's why heels cheat... They forget what made them successful (hard work, dedication) and resort to cheating to hold onto their power or Title belt. Heels will beg for mercy because the many schemes that they've tried to use on the babyface wrestler have failed and now it's time for redemption or revenge. Triple H did that well during 2000. He was the heel and he showed vulnerability against the Rock, Chris Benoit, and Chris Jericho. Contrast the 2 big matches from 2000 with Chris Jericho (1 PPV, 1 RAW match) where Jericho was believed to have a chance to actually defeat Triple H compared to the 2002 Wrestlemania 18 match against HHH that was a disaster. Triple H lost his way upon his 2002 return and aside from his big 2005 starmaking moment of his then friend Batista, he's been very unkind to the business as a heel. Just a dominant, no-selling, and clean winning heel that buried many wrestlers from opportunity.
In my opinion, Triple H has to eventually "get his". He has to recognize that as a WWE Corporation Executive Vice President, he has to do something for business. Triple H has an asset in himself as a wrestler and he should use that to put over a wrestler huge at Wrestlemania 30. Right now, he's bullying the entire WWE roster. Daniel Bryan could stand up to him and their matches could be quite fun, but I just don't see the WWE wanting to keep Bryan in the main event scene when John Cena returns. Thus, I don't expect Bryan to defeat Triple H. If Bryan would beat Triple H, I'd expect Triple H to defeat him in a rematch. With the WWE possibly lacking confidence in Bryan as a top guy long-term, I would aim towards Triple H "getting his" against another wrestler. One that deserves to get legitimate revenge against Triple H.
Let's go back to the Summer of 2011... Yes, we're going back THERE. I wrote an infamous column entitled I TOLD YOU SO - Triple H Just Buried CM Punk at Night of Champions which was one of my most read columns ever posted. In that column, which I wrote out of utter disgust for the WWE product because of how CM Punk's 2011 momentum was trashed since the end of SummerSlam 2011 by Triple H's new COO role and the desire to push Alberto Del Rio hard, I expressed my anger over how CM Punk's 2011 momentum to possibly become the next big WWE star was possibly sabotaged by WWE management. With the way Triple H talked down (almost shooting) to CM Punk in promos and then defeating him at Night of Champions 2011, I definitely thought it was a sabotage. CM Punk, after all, called Triple H a "doofus son-in-law" and mocked Triple H's movie The Chaperone. Furthermore, CM Punk took shots at his wife Stephanie McMahon. I believe something personal was in the works, as Triple H vs. CM Punk was supposed to occur at Survivor Series 2011 but was rushed to Night of Champions 2011 instead. Triple H defeated CM Punk in that match. CM Punk would then be the pinned guy in the WWE Title match at the next PPV, Hell in a Cell 2011, and then get pinned while tagging with Triple H at the next Pay Per View (Vengeance 2011) against the Awesome Truth tag team (Miz & R-Truth... Really?). Sure, CM Punk would get WWE Title gold at the next Pay Per View, Survivor Series 2011, but he barely headlined Pay Per Views in the following year as Champion before being the job guy to the stars for 2013 (Rock twice, John Cena, Kane, Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar).
CM Punk was given a live mic during 2011 and looking back, he could have calmed down some of the comments about Triple H/Stephanie. All sources that I've ever had from the WWE have suggested that Triple H/Stephanie are extremely sensitive towards negative comments and hold grudges. They have rabbit ears and many snitches backstage, and thus it's understood by most WWE wrestlers to say nothing about Triple H/Stephanie, ever. Do you ever notice how little Triple H/Stephanie news we see from the Observer or Torch? The usual WWE news leaks are more scared to get caught leaking Triple H/Stephanie gossip than they are Vince McMahon. Why? Because the leaking wrestler will get found, buried, and probably let go from the WWE. I believe that Triple H refused to do business with CM Punk during 2011 and made it a personal vendetta to make Punk look bad after SummerSlam 2011. CM Punk was unable to even get a rematch with Triple H after Night of Champions 2011 despite the interference in the match by Kevin Nash. Oh yeah, has the reasoning for Kevin Nash's role during 2011 ever been revealed? Still confused by the Nash involvement...
Triple H has to "get his" and CM Punk is the one to deliver it at Wrestlemania 30. That match has to happen and Triple H must lose 100% clean. And he must beg for mercy. Take those CM Punk kicks like a man and CM Punk kicks out of the Pedigree. No interference, no non-sense, absolutely good for business.
Right now, CM Punk is feuding with Paul Heyman as "something to do". I figure that the WWE could run with a Ryback vs. CM Punk feud for the next 2 Pay Per Views. It could work and maybe Brock Lesnar could interfere in the latter match and cost Ryback the match. I'm guessing that the pairing of Ryback and Heyman could set up Brock Lesnar vs. Ryback in the future. Vince McMahon LOVES those HOSS matches. Once CM Punk has completed his Paul Heyman program, he could move on to challenging the McMahon/Triple H dynasty. Maybe team up with Daniel Bryan and even the returning John Cena. Think about that for a second... TEAMING John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and CM Punk together... That is HUGE money right there and merges the younger and adult fans together on rooting interests. In fact, you could book Wrestlemania 30 around that team each squaring off against a McMahon/Triple H dynasty foe (Cena vs. Orton, Punk vs. Triple H, and Bryan vs. ??? Maybe Del Rio?).
CM Punk should go right after Triple H and show no fear in challenging him. Triple H has to stop being a dick and be a business man. After all, as a big shareholder himself and having a claim to Vince McMahon's pile of WWE shares, it's in his personal self-interest to put over someone like CM Punk. Triple H should use his star to put over other stars. That's the way the business works.
The roadblock to this plan IS CM Punk himself. Reportedly, he signed a 3-year extension during the Summer of 2011 that would be set to expire during July 2014 if he truly signed an extension at the Night of Champions 2011 Pay Per View (or sometime near that date). CM Punk could seriously walk and may have actually told the WWE that he might retire when his contract expires in 2014. Hence why the WWE might be using him to enhance other talent, thus the many losses during 2013 in major matches. Punk has many hard fought battles under his belt and he's likely to be in pain daily. He's about to turn 35 years old and probably wants to salvage any good healthy he might still have. It appears that Punk is a good saver of money and has some appeal to make it in another entertainment industry outside of the WWE. Thus, there is a good probability that CM Punk walks in 2014... Please do yourself a favor and enjoy the guy while he's still in the WWE, if so.
But Triple H owes CM Punk. 2011's crap was personal and hurt the pro wrestling business by denying it a top drawing star to enjoy. Triple H has to "get his" by being a massive on-screen bully and CM Punk is the perfect choice to defeat the tyrant.
Wow... I really like the potential of John Cena, CM Punk, and Daniel Bryan as a babyface trio against the heel McMahon/Triple H dynasty. $$$$$$$$$$$$
Free advice given to the WWE, once again...
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