Someone said to me the other day that he preferred the current role of Triple H to that of his father-in-law, none other than Vince McMahon, or the “Mr. McMahon” character he created at the height of the Attitude Era.
Honestly, I was floored by the comment, especially since this person is quite knowledgeable about wrestling and has been a fan more than 40 years and watches Raw and every other wrestling program on weekly television as if it life and death.
Yes, I have told him he needs a hobby other than living and dying by what new promo Paul Heyman cuts on a weekly basis.
This being Triple H’s birthday (it’s also Dolph Ziggler’s, and there is some irony in that, but I’ll save it for another blog), the subject of which boss may not be worth a conversation, or it could be worth hours of point and counterpoint. Personally, it could be somewhere in the middle and here is why.
The WWF/E was not the first wrestling promotion to use its owner as part of the growing soap opera that brought thousands to turnstiles over the years. But the company may have been the best at make Mr. McMahon as one of the greatest wrestling characters of all time.
With all due respect to the likes of Fritz Von Erich in World Class Championship Wrestling and Vern Gagne in the AWA, McMahon was so over the top, that regardless of the fact he was never a trained wrestler and was never taken seriously as a long-lasting champion, he did bring wrestling angles to another level.
The McMahon-Steve Austin feud and program was and still is one of the greatest feuds of this generation and the reason why the Attitude Era was so highly popular. The premise of an employee hating their boss so much that he can beat the holy hell out of him in the squared circle is another stroke of genius and another checkmark on the McMahon resume.
The probability of another angle taking on such a life of its own will never happen again – no matter how hard the WWE or any other wrestling promotion tries to recreate or duplicate brilliance.
McMahon played the on-screen character based on his real life persona. He is a two-time world champion, having won the WWF Championship in 1999 and ECW World Championship in 2007. He was also the winner of the 1999 Royal Rumble. He headlined multiple pay-per-view events from 1999 to 2000 and participated in the main event of WrestleMania 2000, as a cornerman for The Rock, and he was also involved in the main event storyline of WrestleMania X-Seven.
Now that the Mr. McMahon character is retired, with Vince now approaching 70 years old and taking a backseat to his son-in-law Triple H and daughter Stephanie McMahon Helmsley, the “new” boss is turning heads in a completely different direction.
Triple H may never change the perception of fans and wrestling faithful that he is better than his predecessor, but could the successor to the McMahon throne wind up becoming a more hated villain.
All I can say is “Hell Yeah!”
The McMahon character, as it was explained to me, was so over the top and “fake” (yes, there is irony in that as well) that no one could believe him. And of course, everything in wrestling is believable.
Triple H is the boss everyone hates, is the SOB who you hate answering to and the one who just doesn’t give a damn about his employees. His role has a greater degree of realism, even in the land of make believe.
I’m not going to rate one over the other. They have their place in WWF/E history. Whichever character excites you, you follow. And with that comes the next question… How long will the Attitude Era remain the greatest era in wrestling?