I love Triple H. I have liked him when he was Jean-Paul Levesque with WCW. I have liked him as Hunter Hearst Helmsley with WWF. I like him as Triple H, leader of The Authority with WWE. He’s a great businessman, wrestler, and heel. I have followed his career and still continue to cheer for him. But on Raw this past Monday, he really went beyond his heel persona and just kind of acted like a real life asshole.
Wrestling fans, well the majority of hardcore fans, hate John Cena. They hate whacky gimmicks like Santino and Emma. They hate roll-your-eyes segments like The Great Kahli in a pie-eating contest. And WWE is aware of it. They know that and they pretty much accept it as a way of life and move on. They don’t care. We don’t pretend like we think they care and they certainly don’t pretend like they give a shit. All that being said, it is the fans who line the WWE’s pocketbook. It is the fans who fill the seats. It is the fans who buy those fruity-tooty t-shirts. We are the Universe and WWE only exists because we allow it. Yet somehow they still feel the need to constantly insult our intelligence and act smug towards the people who, quite frankly, put up with an insane amount of bullshit. Triple H opened Raw cutting a promo in the ring where he said the following:
“It’s funny, all day long, I’m walking around backstage and no one wants to look me in the eye. They’re all scattering around on eggshells, scared, as if I’m going to blow a gasket over what happened last night. As if I’m going to blow a gasket over the fact that the WWE World Heavyweight Championship did not come back to The Authority. No, it stayed on John Cena. Now I’ll admit, I’m mad. I’m very mad today. I’m madder than I have ever been in a long time. But I have options how I handle this. I have options. You know what I’m going to do about it? You know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna…I’m gonna…Tweet my displeasure. That’s right. I’m going to jump on social media and I’m gonna Tweet about it until my fingers bleed. I might even send an Instagram. Or a Vine. That’s right. And on that Tweet, in that Tweet and however many characters I get, I am going to threaten. That’s right. If I don’t get what I want I’m gonna riot. And if that doesn’t work then by God me and my friend Mark…we’re gonna stop watching. That’s right.”
He then went on to say he could fire everyone in the back, or fire the fans and send them home, but instead he was just going to wait four weeks for Summer Slam because he always wins. Now, I’m not dismissing this out of hand. It is exactly what he sold it as: a great goddamn promo. This is Grade A heel stuff here. He said it, sold it, and cut us to pieces like a brilliant heel should. And as of today I’m still a fan of Triple H and celebrate his continued success with the WWE. My issue is not with this particular promo per say, but with the overall air of dismissal WWE casually uses to shrug off its fan base.
I’m supportive of great heel work, that’s not the issue here. The problem I have is with the consistency of disregard a company as for what is essentially their client base. WWE makes a program for us, the viewers. We shouldn’t dictate what happens, but to some extent we should matter. Or at least they should give us the impression that we matter. The atmosphere over the past year or so has changed. Best for Business doesn’t seem to be the model now. Instead it feels like the new regime is trying to decide how best to troll the WWE Universe. They make a decision, we react. That’s the dynamic that has always existed. However, it now feels as though WWE no longer makes a product for entertainment purposes but schedules outcomes to purposefully hear the agonizing cries of the fans.
They want us to squirm, to roll our eyes, to tersely hate them. They treat losing fans and disinteresting people as a game where they must always win. As if they will keep it up until the stadium is empty, until the last television set turns off, until the last piece of confetti falls from the rafters to hit silently on the floor. Good promos are good promos. Great heel work is great heel work. But don’t make fools out of us. Don’t insult our intelligence.
Throughout each match and pay-per-view WWE asks us to join the conversation, pimping hashtags left and right trying to be the most socially active thing on television. But then Triple H came out on Raw and essentially said, ‘Use social media but only if you say something positive. Otherwise you’re a moron for talking out against my product.’ Feedback is critical, for any business. They always joke that Vince McMahon is a millionaire who SHOULD BE a billionaire. You know why he isn’t? Because he never cared about the fans. In the beginning, it was impressing his father. Then it was going nationally. Then it was beating Ted Turner and WCW. Then it was going globally. And throughout all of that, there was a thin thread of caring about the money. The fans, arguably the single most important aspect of professional wrestling, have always been an afterthought.
And I get it. Creative is going to do what they want. They always have and always will. Sometimes they knock it out of the park, sometimes it’s a big old goose egg. But lately it feels like instead of putting out an entertaining product (or at least what they consider entertaining), they are sitting around trying to think of how best to piss everyone off. When you try something and it doesn’t work, that’s progress. When you try something, for the sole purpose of knowing beforehand how badly the backlash is and laughing about the thought of that, well that’s akin to an unruly child putting a thumb tack on the teacher’s chair. And now we are in a situation where the fans are still an afterthought, but now the entertainment is also on the back burner as well.
Maybe Paul Levesque should read some of those negative Tweets, or watch Vines about what is rotting the business. Maybe he should care about what people think or say or do. If you don’t want to hear negativity, maybe don’t put out a repetitive clown car of redundant champions. Maybe don’t telegraph what is going to happen months in advance, destroying the “illusion” that all this is real. Maybe instead of asking the WWE Universe to shut their mouths, you find the mole in your own camp and keep spoilers from being leaked week in and week out. But don’t insult us as if we didn’t put you where you are today. You were nothing, Triple H, and we made you a superstar. You don’t owe us creative control of the company, but is it too much to ask for a modicum of respect? The worst part is thinking that if Triple H, Stephanie, or Mr. McMahon somehow stumbled onto this article, they’d read it and just laugh at me, taking nothing to heart. And that’s the point I’m trying to make, really.
I’m not offended by what Triple H did. I appreciate a bad guy. I laughed because it was a hilarious, well-done promo. I am just frustrated with being brushed aside by a company that I have invested so much time, energy and money into. I don’t expect to love every aspect of WWE, but I think we all deserve a little bit more than they deliver. Especially when it comes to how we are treated. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go Tweet about this angry blog post.