WWE | Pro Wrestling

And In This Corner: Giving The Devil His Due

Triple HHello there (soon to be) loyal readers. You are reading the first of what I hope will be a long running series. Much like watching a future World Champion ‘s first awkward match, you are here at the beginning of it all. In this series I will attempt to provide an alternative view point to a specific issue. By goal is to spark debate and maybe even provide you with a new perspective on the issue.

My first subject is none other than “The Game” Triple H.

Over the years few figures in wrestling have become more polarizing than Triple H. You either regard him as a talented and skilled worker who has earned his seat at the table of legends or he is simply the guy who married the boss ‘s daughter to keep his spot at the top at the expense of other more deserving competitors. Yes sir, when it comes to Triple H you usually fall on one side of the fence or the other. And yes, I agree with those of you reading this who are saying that John Cena is much more polarizing, but I ‘m saving him for a future topic. My column, my rules.

To help make my case I am going to look at a ten year block of work for both Triple H and Ric Flair. I chose Flair because he was dominant for a ten year span just like Triple H, yet people regard him with a sense of reverence (recent embarrassments not withstanding). Let me state something right away, I have always been a huge Ric Flair fan. Back in the ’80s I was all about the Four Horseman. This article is not about slamming Flair, it ‘s about reevaluating Triple H.
Specifically I am going to compare the WWE ‘s WrestleMania ‘s of the 2000 ‘s to NWA/WCW ‘s Starrcade ‘s from its inception in 1983 to 1993. During both of these periods, the main events of the biggest show of the year for the two biggest companies in the business were dominated by these two men. Surely a self serving egomaniac like Triple H must have used the biggest stage of them all to further cement his legacy. Well, the results may surprise you.

Starting with WrestleMania 2000, Triple H appeared in the main event a total of 8 times. At WM 2000 he retained the title, the first “heel” to do that in WrestleMania history. At WM X-7 he was on the undercard against the UnderTaker, a loss. At WM 18 he won the title against Chris Jericho. At WM 19 he retained the title against Booker T. At WM 20 he lost the title to “he who shall not be named”. At WM 21 he lost the title to Batista. At WM 22 he lost to champion John Cena. He was injured for WM 23. At WM 24 he lost to champion Randy Orton. And finally at WM25 he retained the title against Randy Orton. For those of you keeping score at home: 1 win as a challenger, 3 successful title defenses, 2 unsuccessful defenses and 2 unsuccessful title challenges. Overall main event record 4-4 with a 3-2 record as champ. Not really the stuff of legends.

Now let ‘s look at Ric Flair. From 1983 to 1993, Ric Flair also appeared in the main event a total of 8 times. At SC ‘83 he won the title from Harley Race. At SC ’84 he retained the title against Dusty Rhodes. At SC ’85 he lost the title Dusty Rhodes. However, the ruling was overturned the next night so this is actually a win. At SC ‘86 he retained the title against Nikita Koloff. At SC ’87 he won the title from Ronnie Garvin. At SC ‘88 he retained the title against Lex Luger. At SC ’89 he lost to Sting in the finals of the Iron Man tournament, this was a non title match. At SC ’90, as the Black Scorpion, he lost to champion Sting. He was in the WWE during SC ’91 and ’92. However he did manage to main event WrestleMania 8 in 1992. And finally at SC ‘93 he won the title from Vader. Flair ‘s totals: 3 wins as a challenger, 4 successful title defenses, 0 unsuccessful defenses and 1 unsuccessful title challenge. Overall main event record 7-1 with a 7-0 record as champ. Now that ‘s more like it.

4 and 4 for Triple H versus 7 and 1 for Ric Flair. Can you imagine if Triple H were 7 and 0 with the title at WrestleMania? Even I might have to move over to the other side of this argument then. Has Triple H exerted his influence throughout his tenure in the WWE? Yes. Has he used his status as Vince ‘s son-in-law to his advantage? Of course. Has he been built up to be this untouchable, unbeatable, monster, that dominates the wrestling landscape? Umm, not really. Even though he has always been in the spotlight, he does not always claim the moment for himself. Just like someone once said, “You gotta be fair to Flair”, I think “You gotta give it up for The Game”. Don ‘t believe me, it ‘s right there in the numbers.

Vince DeHoratus lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two kids. He has been a life long wrestling fan and he has passed that love onto his son. Though not quite yet “middle aged and crazy”, he is fast approaching it.

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