FATP: Raw – It’s All About The Game
What’s up guys? After an unexpected two-week break, I’m back with another edition of “From Across the Pond”. To be honest, after all the writing I’ve been doing lately I’ve begun to feel a little bit burned out, so the break’s done me some good. I thought I was gonna struggle for something to write about this week, but that was before I watched the last couple of Raw episodes, so thanks for that WWE!
You can probably guess from the title that this article is gonna be about the overwhelming presence of HHH on Raw over the last couple of weeks and how WWE has booked his loss to Lesnar. Let me start off by saying that I’ve no problem with the fact that Lesnar beat HHH at Summerslam. I think Lesnar should’ve won cleanly and he did, which is fine. It’s the aftermath that’s starting to piss me off. Let’s look at it. First of all, he lost to a beast in Brock Lesnar and their match at Summerslam was an intense, physical affair that, when you look back at it, could have gone either way. HHH wasn’t booked to just take an ass-kicking. He looked stronger than Lesnar at times and it’s important to make Lesnar’s opponents look as if they have a chance.
I understand that WWE has to make HHH look strong despite losing to Lesnar, I really do, but I can’t help but feel that they’ve gone a TAD overboard with things. I mean with their reaction on Raw over the past couple of weeks, it’s as if HHH has died. Seriously. All that’s happened is that he’s lost a match. That’s it. He’s not dead, his career hasn’t (despite what they’re trying to make us believe) ended and he’s going to be a part of the WWE until the day he does actually die. The WWE’s reaction almost makes you forget that Lesnar won the match. It’s become all about the game (pun intended).
You can tell sometimes that WWE over-reacts to things, especially when the announcers bust out the serious voices. Summerslam is a perfect example of that. After HHH eventually tapped out to the Kimura Lock and he stood up, selling the loss (which is fine), I think he was trying to evoke sympathy from the crowd. Instead, there was a loud “You Tapped Out!” chant, which was hilarious. He brought out the crocodile tears and the crowd bought into it, before the wounded warrior made his way to the back.
On Raw the next night, this “reaction” began. From the announcers, to Shawn Michaels, to the endless recap videos, Raw was all about HHH, instead of building towards the next PPV. That’s OK though. It was the night after the PPV and less people order PPV’s than watch Raw, so it’s fine for them to recap what happened at Summerslam. The thing that really pissed me off was watching Raw last night. I live in Scotland, so for me to stay up and watch my weekly wrestling fix without interruption, I’ve got to stay up until 4am to watch Raw for three hours. Last night, including his in-ring promo, there was an hour of HHH on Raw. One hour, for one man on a three-hour show. It’s too much. Especially for someone who we know isn’t gonna retire from the ring any time soon.
How do I know that? Simple. In March this year, WWE published details of HHH’s new in-ring contract, which started in January 2012 and it expires in March 2016. He’s limited to 180 dates a year and gets paid a MINIMUM salary of $1million per annum. We know that he’s going to be a part-time wrestler for at least another 3.5 years, so it’s not exactly a secret.
There’s just been a complete over-reaction on WWE’s part to HHH’s loss at Summerslam. We’re supposed to believe that after one match (and two broken arms) against Brock Lesnar, HHH is done from in-ring competition. This is despite the fact that HHH has faced Undertaker in TWO equally physical matches at the last couple of Wrestlemania’s and that hasn’t been enough to force him to “retire”.
We’re talking about a man, HHH, who’s suffered two torn quad injuries to both of his knees and that didn’t force him out, but a broken arm and a loss to Brock Lesnar will? Please. That’s just propaganda and bullshit. Let’s face it. Do we really miss HHH when he’s not there? He’s as much of a part-time performer as the likes of The Rock, Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker and to be honest, I don’t really think he can add much to the product these days.
I’ve got a funny feeling that this over-reaction to HHH’s loss is a way to feed his ego after taking a loss to Lesnar. That’s pretty immature. He doesn’t need to do that. HHH’s legacy stands up there with the best of all-time. He’s a 13-time World Champion for crying out loud. He’s won everything there is to win and he’s a guaranteed Hall-of-Famer. He’s got a job for life and is probably gonna be running the company one day, so does he really need to remind us of how good he is? No. It just goes to show that even now, he’s unable to put his ego aside for the good of the business.
On Raw last night, HHH’s name was mentioned more than any other superstar and when he finally came out to the ring to cut his promo and get the sheep to follow his lead, the damn commentators gave him a standing ovation and busted out the serious voices. I mean honestly, it made me sick. HHH “faking” a retirement speech is an insult to men who’ve had their careers cut short by serious injuries. Can you imagine what Edge or Darren Drozdov were thinking, sitting at home watching Hunter say that “he didn’t know if he could do this any more”? Those men loved this business just as much as HHH, difference is that they didn’t have a choice about retiring. For HHH to play this up as a gimmick sickens me.
Last night, HHH basically said he was retiring without actually saying it, so where does he go from here? Like I’ve said before, he’s NOT retiring, so it seems like we’re gonna get a re-match with Lesnar somewhere down the road, but where? This is just my opinion, so take it for what it’s worth, but I don’t see HHH and Lesnar doing battle at Survivor Series. It’s not a “big enough” stage for HHH to get his win back, which is inevitably what all this is leading to. Survivor Series hasn’t meant anything for at least 15 years.
Lesnar reportedly signed a multi-million dollar one-year deal to return to WWE in April. If he’s only back for a year, then it makes sense to think that his last appearance will be at Wrestlemania 29. WWE can build a story around the fact that Lesnar almost took HHH “out of the game” (see what I did there, two puns in one article!) and if HHH wants a rematch, Lesnar accepts it on the basis that if HHH loses again, Lesnar gets “control” of WWE. If HHH wins, Lesnar is gone. It’s not difficult to build the story. Here’s the critical thing though. If these two fight again, it’s VERY unlikely HHH loses two straight. He’ll want his win back. It’s an ego thing. This whole thing over the last two weeks has been about feeding the ego of a 43-year old man who can’t quite accept the fact that he was never as big a star as Hulk Hogan, The Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin.
I could go on and on ranting about HHH, but I think I’ve made my point. Despite losing, HHH has made sure that over the last couple of weeks, Raw has been all about the game and how he plays it. It’s sickening that instead of using a 3-hour show to develop younger stars, WWE has used their machine to feed HHH’s ego. Next week’s FATP will be more positive than this, because it’ll be about TNA. A company that I actually enjoy watching for the most part. See you back here for that next week.