WWE (storyline) COO Triple H was a guest on FOX Business channel this morning in which he did an interview covering all things pro wrestling. One of the notable things to come out of the interview (via PWTorch) was the fact that both the hosts of the show and Triple H himself had no qualms about using the word "wrestling" in relation to the product. There was no "sports entertainment" talk. That's significant for signaling a different direction for the show, mainly that they are, in fact, going ahead with what many are starting to refer to as the "Reality Era."
This is even more notable because as early as March of this year, a publicist for WWE was literally harassing the media to change headlines to reflect the fact that they were a "global entertainment company" and were "no longer a wrestling company." The lengths they went to in order to drive this point home were downright ridiculous, including bleeping out Bret Hart on an episode of Tough Enough when he used the word "wrestler."
We'll see how that works out.
Triple H also said not to expect much of him working as an active wrestler inside the ring and that he'll be doing his thing as COO and settling in to his duties backstage. That's all well and good, except for that match against CM Punk at Night of Champions on Sept. 18. Admittedly enough, that was rushed and caused by Kevin Nash not being physically cleared to perform in time. Either way, "The Game" wants us to know that he's not going back to a prominent role as an actual wrestler, just an on-screen talent. Essentially, he's the new Vince McMahon.
But what really perked my ears in this interview are comments Triple H made about his role with the company. He says it's his job to "create new talent." Yes, he said this. Here's the quote:
"It's my job to create new talent, bring young guys up, train them, and help them become stars in the business, and help guide them along their way to becoming big stars. We find them everywhere. It's one of the things I'm working on in the talent development division is the recruiting process, and going out and finding these guys globally. Getting into WWE is difficult - it's kind of like joining the circus, right? 'How do you become a trapeze artist? Where do you start?'"
Oh boy. Where to begin?
Triple H is right in saying it's his job to create new talent and help them become stars, that much is obvious. But how is it exactly that he's going about doing such a thing? In his first big angle coming back to TV, he brought back Kevin Nash to feud with himself and CM Punk. This is the same Kevin Nash who is 52-years-old, has completely busted knees, a heart problem and hasn't had any real heat in the wrestling business since 1996.
To Triple H's credit, he did bring in Sin Cara and make him his pet project and so far, despite a laundry list of issues with both the original incarnation of the character, Mistico, and the second incarnation of the character, Hunico, the gimmick is mostly a hit and the character has gotten over fairly well.
But beyond that, is there anyone else of note to speak of? There's no need to rehash the list of guys "Trips" buried while he was an active wrestler but it's enough to create fear that he'll do the same playing the role of a modern day McMahon. And not just to young up-and-comers, but to established stars.
You could argue that Zack Ryder was finally given some real TV time, with WWE going so far as to air a video promo for him on Raw and put him in a match. But he was booked to look incredibly weak in said match and what's worse, he looked weak standing next to a 61-year-old announcer, Jerry Lawler. And later in the night, he was verbally smacked down by John Cena just so he could take a crack at The Rock. How is that creating a new star?
For what it's worth, I think Triple H has some potential in his new role. He knows the business better than anyone and when he wants to, he can make anyone look like a star. The question is whether or not he'll actually bother to make that happen. So far, it doesn't look good.