Have your tears dried up yet, LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com readers? Quite an emotional cliffhanger to WWE's Monday Night RAW with Triple H being unable to complete his main event match with Curtis Axel (Joe Hennig, formerly Michael McGillicutty). Going against doctor's orders due to "injuries" sustained from a Extreme Rules 2013 cage match against Brock Lesnar, Triple H tried to wrestle but was selling dizziness and head trauma at ringside. RAW ended with Triple H selling injuries and leaving fans hanging about his condition.
And we have the glorious WWE.com selling the injury in a news article. Meanwhile, the WWE Stock declined almost 2.0% for the past 2 days after its Executive Vice President of Talent, the reported heir apparent to Vince McMahon, sustained "injuries". Business continuity, baby... Actually, given the Creative and Talent track record since Triple H assumed more and more backstage duties since officially becoming a McMahon in 2003, you'd figure that investors would buy more WWE stock in this case...
This is not a "Bash Triple H" column, because lord knows that I've written many of those since October 1998 when I first began with LordsofPain.net. Yes, I've been terrorizing the Game in column form for over a decade now. All I have to write is "Triple H just buried (INSERT WRESTLER HERE)" and the Tito hating trolls can't help but click and read it. You can't resist!
Actually, I'm going to be more critical of the ANGLE of the Triple H injury and not Triple H himself, although I'm sure he had a Creative hand in such an angle. Now, I'm not going to talk about the type of injury. LoP columnist Triple "R" (no relation to Triple H) already has it covered and you can CLICK HERE to read it. Triple R's column is critical of the WWE using a concussion angle, given legitimate brain injuries that have occurred in pro wrestling (Bret Hart, Chris Benoit, Chris Nowinski, and more recently, Dolph Ziggler). Good read, worth checking out... On his point about Dolph Ziggler, I think the fact that Ziggler is on the sidelines recovering speaks to how the WWE may have (finally) evolved on the concussion issue and not rushing wrestlers back. It's not the TYPE of injury that I find to be insensitive.
It's the "shoot" like angle of the injury. Folks, we're 8 months removed from Jerry "the King" Lawler legitimately collapsing at ringside after he wrestled a match and then tried to commentate afterward. HE ALMOST DIED. We were THIS close to having a legitimate death occur on a live pro wrestling television show and it took some miracle work backstage by the medical staff to revive him. Yet, the WWE is trying to sell sympathy by fans for a contrived injury angle on Triple H. It's fake, but 8 months ago, we almost lost Jerry Lawler for real.
Injury angles have been a part of pro wrestling for a long time. No disputing that. Injury angles intensified during the 1990's, however. I always remember the shock of Shawn Michaels faking a concussion injury during the Fall of 1995 when he fainted in a RAW match. The annoucers sold it and the WWE created legitimate concern by its fanbase for Michaels. Of course, getting away with it once, fans were then skeptical of wrestling promoters on future injury angles. Then, stuff got REAL during 1999 when Owen Hart fell out of the ceiling and died in the ring. Just like Lawler in 2012, the announcers were legitimately concerned about the well being of the fallen wrestler. And they should be. Owen Hart died and Jerry Lawler almost died.
Yet, in spite of these legitimate events, the WWE has repeatedly tried serious injury angles and tried to have their announcers sell the segment as if it were as real as Owen Hart's death. Often, it was joked that Jim Ross was using his "Owen Hart voice" to sell an injury angle. To me, it's insulting. It's one thing to sell a knee injury or something that can be taped up, put in a cast, or requires some time off to rest. It's another when the injury is life threatening or life altering. Concussions are damn serious, and as columnist Triple R noted, they are to be taken serious. But adding the "Owen Hart" feeling to a concussion selling storyline, as they did the other night with Triple H, is just tasteless. We're in DIFFERENT times here where too much danger has happened in the pro wrestling industry to sell that type of injury. In particular with Triple H, if he was really hurt, the WWE's future as a Corporation could be in trouble without its Vince McMahon replacement.
Instead, the WWE could have simply had Triple H come out, battered and bruised from the night before, and said: "Guys, I'm about to turn 44 years old... I'm getting too old for this shit. I just lost the series to a former UFC Champion, Brock Lesnar, who I actually pinned at Wrestlemania. But at Extreme Rules, I didn't have it and Brock, at this stage in his career versus mine, is the better man. As a company executive, I can't wait to see who is willing to step up to the challenge against Brock. At the old age of 43 going on 44, I shouldn't be wrestling any longer. I'm a family man with a beautiful wife and 3 daughters to care for and I have a great job as an Executive with the WWE Corporation. I have too much at stake to risk it against a monster like Brock Lesnar. I've had a great in-ring career since the 1990's and I've practically done it all in the ring. I'm satisfied that I've given it my all and I'm thankful for all of the fans supporting me throughout the years. I RETIRE AS A WRESTLER. I hope to keep entertaining you as a leader of the WWE company to ensure that the WWE continues to provide you high quality wrestling entertainment each and every week. Thank you.
Just like that. Wrestling fans are very much "in the know" as to who Triple H and who he's married to, and the WWE advertises it with Triple H/Stephanie appearances together and playing it up now in the WWE storylines ("Chief Operating Officer"). Triple H has seriously "done it all" in the ring and we would be fine with him walking away. He's had that career that is just slightly below the all-time mega draws like Steve Austin, Rock, or Hulk Hogan and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Certainly, people could point to WHO he's married to, but then I'd point you to his awesome 2000-2001 year and a half before the first quadriceps tear when he was just dating Stephanie McMahon. I would like to see any athlete tear their quadriceps muscle and return to peak form.
It's LAZY booking to pull an injury angle and attempting to seek sympathy as if someone died or almost died in the ring. This is the LACK of creativity that myself and the rest of the "Internet Wrestling Community" have repeatedly criticized throughout the years. It baffles me, in fact, to see a WWE Creative Team actually execute a concept like the Shield without much error and then have this Triple H angle on the same show. Making matters worse, the WWE actually pulled the injury angle the night before with Ryback vs. John Cena and trying to pull sympathy from fans then as well. Back to back nights of injury angles... Meanwhile, the WWE isn't attempting to get fans to legitimately care about a real injury and that's their current World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler struggling to recover from a REAL concussion.
I wonder what Jerry Lawler felt as he sat there and watched Triple H sell the injury. Jerry Lawler promoted his own independent shows for year and could have thought it was "just business". But as a wrestling fan, I thought injury angles were "just business" until Owen Hart died in the ring. The unthinkable actually happened and almost happened again with Jerry Lawler last year. Yet, the LAZY booking of the WWE tries to bring back those legitimate feelings you had for a lost or almost lost wrestler as a cheap means of shock value for a storyline. What a shame...