Big Game Hunter
LINE OF THE WEEK: Kurt Angle: "I mean, he was out eight months! I tear my quadricep all the time! I tore it this morning, I'm fine!" (Raw, Jan. 7) So you're NOT wrestling tonight. OK.
At approximately 11 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on May 21, 2001, Triple H ruptured the quad muscle in his left leg during a WWF Tag Team Title match.
Thirty minutes later, speculation started on what he would do when he returned. Would he remain a heel and continue his reign of terror? Would he become a face to avenge the people who caused his injury? Would he become a loner and steamroll over anyone who looked at him the wrong way?
After one week, the answer appears to be "none of the above," at least for now. All we're sure of is that he's back and he'll be in the Royal Rumble.
Who knows - but I'll bet he doesn't win.
This isn't the WWF that HHH left in May, but in a lot of ways, it's the one he's used to seeing. Austin's drinking beer and kicking ass; Rock's inventing new catchphrases and winning world titles, Vince is being an evil son of a bitch; Kurt Angle's still a pompous tool... and HHH has reason to hate all of them. Vince and Austin because they seemingly turned their backs on him after his injury, Rock because it's a law of nature, and Angle for interrupting his big comeback speech.
Especially Angle for interrupting his big comeback speech.
Did anyone else pick up on the similarities between Angle's behavior on Raw and Booker T's behavior the week before Rock's return last summer? Both Booker and Angle were disgusted and jealous of the attention the returns of their adversaries were getting. Booker flat-out said, "The hell with The Rock!" while Angle downplayed HHH's injury (Re: Line of the Week). And in both cases, their comeback speeches were interrupted, though Rock said a lot more than HHH did. On the other hand, Rock didn't flatten Booker T directly afterwards - he waited until the end of the show.
So Raw ended with HHH laying out Angle, which we'll say makes him a face for now. I agree with Michelangelo - this isn't the time to turn him heel (though if anyone could pull it off, he could), and HHH as a face would be new and different and interesting.
But... if he's going to be a face, can he stay with Stephanie?
Not for too long, especially after that drivel she spewed on SmackDown! about how she was responsible for all of his success and how she nurtured him through his rehabilitation. While it's true that his biggest storyline success came after he "married" her and ran the company for six months, once he got hurt, she was off buying ECW and breasts after his surgery (the Invasion started the week after he got hurt with Lance Storm's run-in in Calgary, remember?) and flirting with Rob Van Dam and gay security guards. In fact, she couldn't have been there to support him the whole time; all of the smarks (not to mention the Smarks) were complaining that she was on TV too damn much.
Then she threatened Ric Flair again by blathering something about "when I point, Triple H destroys" like he's an Irish Setter or something. She's set herself up to be dumped rather nicely by throwing his name around like she controls him.
Unless she does. This would require some stretching of the acting chops on HHH's part, but imagine the face pop after the payoff: The rehab was so physically and emotionally draining that Stephanie was able to take advantage and make HHH completely dependent on her. In the ring he's the Cerebral Assassin and all of that, but backstage, he's - for lack of a better word - whipped. After a while, the rest of the locker room catches on and they try to get HHH to drop her bitch ass. (Rock: "Triple H, let The Rock ask you a question... Is the pie THAT good?")
Stephanie's treating him like shit, and also possibly cheating on him with Angle. (CONTINUITY~!) Alternately, after HHH regrows his sack and tells her off (reminding her that the Alliance, well, failed), she goes running to Angle, who challenges HHH in defense of Stephanie's honor. Whatever. Whichever way they go, the marriage shouldn't last too much longer.
So shed no tears for the Game, for while I don't see gold in his immediate future, he'll have plenty to keep him occupied.
He just doesn't know it.
NEXT WEEK: Let's get ready to... wait, no. Or possibly, just not like that.