LaBar: Like it or not, Triple H is one of the best
You've made Triple H one of the best heels ever in wrestling.
Yes, you. The same you who complains about him having a golden shovel and burying wrestlers. The same you who says he only ever was in main events because he married Vince McMahon's daughter.
Reality is Triple H is really good. One of the best. He developed a really good look once he and WWE broke free from the character heavy times and began having more realism in their television. Basically, once he got to stop portraying a royal blue blood and act like a degenerate.
Triple H does a wonderful job listening to the audience when he's performing. He does well calling things on the fly in the moment which he knows will fit right into the match based on how the crowd is reacting. He's so good at listening to the crowd there, yet he's stereotyped to be so opposite behind the scenes.
His promo work also has held up. Babyface or heel in his career, he knows how to sell the match and conflict.
He was already a big player in the company before he and Stephanie McMahon officially got married. He also was a reliable top-of-the-card guy in some critical times.
Stone Cold retired. The Rock goes back and forth to Hollywood. The Undertaker eases up his schedule and just works SmackDown. WWE is in search for new stars such as Randy Orton, Batista, Edge and John Cena. Through it all, Triple H was there to be relied upon and help make those new stars.
After all of these years, he might be doing his best heel work, and it's one big work on all of those who accuse him of the behind-the-scenes tyranny.
The claims of how bad for business Triple H is to be in charge is what allows everyone to get captivated into his work. Every segment with Daniel Bryan has so much emotion and is feeding off what the Triple H detractors have created.
Simply put, in an age when it can be hard to be judged as a good heel, Triple H is able to take it back to an old-school situation.
Today, when there is a good heel, many fans don't want to boo the heel because they like him because they know he can cut a promo or perform in the ring. They want to reward the heel for being a good heel by supporting him.
It's the obsession today to be a “cool heel.” This drove me nuts with Dolph Ziggler when he was a heel. Great performer in the ring. Could sell as good as anyone. But he was always too cool. He was commonly loved by so many of the fans when he needed to get more heat. So WWE turned him babyface, and he was the same character he was as a heel. Nothing changed, and WWE got out of the Ziggler business.
Triple H won't allow that. He won't allow his actual talents to outshine his heel heat. He successfully keeps the fans disliking him at a level that every antagonist should dream to be at. If you think he has nothing to do with it, maybe he hit you over the head with his golden shovel.
Triple H knows how he's portrayed by some fans and some in this business. Fact is, anybody in a powerful position in anything has that same portrayal. The difference is most people in power positions — coaches, managers — aren't also performers at the same times.
He takes the critiques he gets and uses every word of it to fuel the character. A character of him pushing people around in a suit with a fancy executive title, but still being able to get in the ring. He uses that fuel to still draw big money.
He's going to use that fuel to help solidify Daniel Bryan as the next top guy and WWE World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania. Make no mistake, Bryan is the best bell to bell wrestler in the world. He's arguably the most popular wrestler right now in the world behind or next to John Cena. But, Batman needs a villain to overcome. Triple H is the best villain Bryan could have ever asked for.
If that segment from RAW of Bryan handcuffed while being beat up was with anyone else, the long drawn-out segment would have been a bust. However, because Triple H has so much heat from the audience, it made the segment exactly what it needed to be. It made it uncomfortable. The beating kept going and going. It was brutal.
Uncomfortable is a great emotion in wrestling. No better emotion can set up for the want to see the heel get what he has coming to him and the face to make his heroic comeback.
Bryan's battle to the top couldn't be any better against anyone else, including Vince McMahon. Triple H carries a reputation that's been fabricated by a lot of fans based off him being married into the company monarchy.
It's that reputation that makes for the great obstacle Bryan has to fight against. WWE has had great opportunities that they could have given Bryan the title in the past. I was as disappointed as many when he wouldn't walk out of a pay-per-view finally being the guy.
However, by accident or design, it's all made the best scenario possible. A long fight to the top with the crowd getting more behind Bryan every week. The best culmination to the story is going to happen at WrestleMania 30.
If Triple H hadn't been married into the company, he would have been another one of those good heels who gets cheered because that's the common occurrence in wrestling.
I'm happy he gets the heat he does because it allows me to sit back and enjoy one of the rare and proper interactions between a heel and the audience.
Maybe he should carry a shovel to the ring in his match at WrestleMania with Bryan. It would get instant reaction and heat, because like it or not, Triple H has gotten himself that over with you.
Justin LaBar is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7949 or email@example.com.