Last month we discussed the highest of the high moments of Pro Wrestling in The Top Ten Pro Wrestling Moments That Blew Our Minds, but now we must venture to the opposite side of the spectrum. Now, we must all collectively embrace the depressing side of Pro Wrestling. Why? Because we love parity, and it stemmed from some interesting discussions around the MiddleEasy office.
So what is this top ten list? In Our Top Ten Bummers in Pro Wrestling History, we toe the line of smarkdom and avoid the obvious bummers like the ridiculous amount of drug abuse, death and violence that has plagued the injury. No one is denying that Owen Hart’s tragic death wasn’t the biggest of all bummers, but we wanted to be in a controlled bit of kayfabe here. Get it? Do you understand the rules? You understand that we want to share our depression with you? Cool. These are Our Top Ten Bummers in Pro Wrestling History, according to MiddleEasy.
The whole ECW on TNN fiasco
This was it, the saviors, national TV for ECW just as the checks were drying up and talent was jumping ship. With this cash injection and surge of popularity sure to come with a deal to be on a channel everyone had, but never watched, this was a sure win. Nope. TNN had no friggin’ clue what they were doing with ECW. Of course, ECW was their top-rated show week after week with a patchwork roster of forgettable personas. I didn’t care about Simon Diamond. Steve Corino became one of my favorites, but he sucked for a long time. Justin Credible shouldn’t have been anywhere near a main event, and the stable of Credible and Lance Storm was just… Embarrassing maybe. I don’t know. I hated it. And when I name ECW on TNN as one of the biggest bummers in wrestling history, I mean it in two ways. One being the product they were putting out at the time, which was extremely hit and miss, and the fact that TNN held the promotion back from ever making it better. At the time, ECW was getting a .8 on Friday nights with times at being over 1.1 or 1.2, which isn’t bad for a show TNN never ran commercials for. Imagine of Tajiri, Whipwreck, Van Dam and Tanaka were getting new talent in to work with? Ugh. The frustration was compounded by the fact that the people pulling the strings had massive boners for Roller Jam, a show that no one but the TNN execs watched.
When your top angle a year after launching nationally is about how much the channel you’re on sucks in order to get the ax, you know there’s a problem, and there was. It was just another blow to a fan base that had rolled with a lot of punches heading into the millennium. So not only did ECW put on a show that was a shadow of its former self that (but admittedly was still better than a lot of the stuff on at the time), no one knew about it because their channel refused to market them. I’m frustrated even thinking about this frustrating scenario. It was a shitty conundrum where literally no one won. What a huge bummer.
The Montreal Screwjob Being a Work
Yes, I believe the Montreal Screwjob was a work. Yes, I’m getting totally meta with the idea of the ultimate kayfabe being that of Bret Hart shutting his mouth and getting screwed in order for the entire Attitude Era to be born, but I think it’s realistic. Think about it – the documentary, the fact that Bret Hart was going to get paid AND be part of the biggest ‘happening’ in wrestling at that time? He may have dropped the belt in Canada, but he came out of that smelling like a bunch of roses and got paid. You’re telling me Canadian pride kept Bret Hart up at night? He’s old school. He’s lost in Canada hundreds of times. Now he’s going to have a hissy fit about doing the job the night before he’s set to walk into a new promotion? The idea of Bret being such a diva that he couldn’t even lay down after two decades in the business is unbelievable.
Only the naive think Bret actually got screwed in Montreal that fateful evening, especially when you add in all of the little loose ends. Bret’s creative control clause in his contract, the fact that Stu Hart would slap him for not doing the job when that’s the business. The ‘money shot’ of Bret ‘punching’ Vince McMahon missing from a documentary that shows everything else. It’s all too perfect. Bret didn’t *want* to leave the WWF at the time, but he felt like he had to with all of that money looking him in the face. Vince McMahon is a businessman, and he knew that Bret was under contract, but let him go anyways because he’s also Bret’s long-time friend. A simple job to HBK doesn’t really do anything for anyone except send off Bret to WCW to collect a check. The screwjob… THE screwjob, however, is a catalyst for everything – the Attitude Era, the Mr. McMahon character and it’s still talked about today. It was a win-win. As Jim Cornette said, it’s a work-shoot double-cross with a reverse mixed in. Why else would Vince McMahon be ringside during the whole incident? Somehow every person was put over that night.
Why would Vince even allow a kayfabe-breaking documentary crew backstage at his events in an era when these performers were still hidden from the public eye? Nothing adds up. So what does Wrestling With Shadows do? The documentary does nothing but perpetuate the myth of the screwjob. If not for the screwjob, the documentary kind of sucks.
Now why is the Montreal Screwjob a bummer? Because the man on the Grassy Knoll is a lot more fun to believe than the fact that George Hickey accidentally blew off Kennedy’s head when the Secret Service car lurched forward.
And besides, if you can’t trust the words emerging from behind the dark teeth of a red wine drinking Kevin Nash, what can you trust?
How Much TNA Sucks
TNA was launched by Jeff Jarrett and his daddy, Jerry Jarrett, in the wake of WCW’s death. Vince and the WWE brought over a lot of WCW talent, but there was talent, much like Jarrett, that Vince harbored a grudge against and shut out of the land of milk and honey. Or, well, guys he just didn’t see an upside to bringing over. So TNA was set to fill that void left by both ECW and WCW being gone and were even looking to reboot the NWA brand by utilizing the historic NWA World Championship.
Everything seemed great in theory, but it never took off. Weekly PPVs were, in retrospect, a really bad idea. I can’t remember how many of those $10 shows that I bought, but I bought quite a few. The talent was a mix of the WCW cast-offs like Jarrett, Disco Inferno, the Wall (known as Malice) and a few others, mixed in with indy guys that were highly-touted at the time and it made for a really weird mix. Everything about the shows seemed really low rent and trashy, just completely unwatchable at times.
Somehow TNA survived to make it onto cable television when Fox Sports scooped them up for Friday afternoons using a six-sided ring. This, inexplicably, lasted for a year before Fox Sports cut them loose, where TNA took to the internet before Spike TV picked them up. They’ve been with Spike TV since 2005 (I’m not kidding) and will soon finally be getting the axe from Spike TV. How did they survive this long? Because of a rich family called the Carters and by putting Bob Carter’s daughter, Dixie, in charge of things, eventually becoming an on-screen character. TNA had so much promise and could have lived in the tradition of the good that came from WCW. Instead? TNA has been an apologists wrestling show since its inception, fans having to make excuses as to why they even pretend to enjoy it. Any chance at a younger wrestler being taken seriously and becoming a big star seems to fizzle out in TNA and we’ve seen guys like Samoa Joe eternally linked with the company, seemingly wasting what could have been great years. TNA’s reliance on castaways both on-screen and off- led to the product being considered somewhat of a joke. Vince Russo, Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Jeff Jarrett and many others have taken their share of the control over TNA over the years, which meant that nothing really ever got off the ground or felt fresh, instead we are left with memories of a midget jerking off into a garbage can. Jesus.
The Death of WCW
The death of WCW was perhaps one of the biggest bummers in professional wrestling history. Now, look, I know that WCW did a lot of things not only wrong, but horrendously wrong. WCW was a great example of what not to do in pro wrestling and exactly what to do, most of the time this would be on the same show. Nutty, right? If you go back and watch 90’s WCW and if you do your best to ignore the main event scene entirely, you’ll watch some damned great shows. I’m running through the early Nitros right now and the first few are real big bummers, but then around the fifth one we get the introduction of Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko and all of a sudden things shift a bit. Nitro, and later Thunder, were both filled with solid professional wrestling, you just had to ignore the endless talk about Hulk Hogan and the nWo. Sometimes it was easier to avoid, other times they’d literally cut away from a match to show Hulk Hogan backstage. But all through this WCW had guys like Guerrero, Malenko, Juventud, Finlay, Regal, Benoit, Jericho, etc. Actually the list of undercard guys who were awesome is huge, but that’s another story for another day.
The nWo angle was brilliant at the time, it was fresh and new. Eric Bischoff and Co. had discovered fire in a world that somehow existed without it before then. Instead of adapting it for other uses, WCW simply kept playing with fire until the company and the television shows were just elaborate jokes. WCW became the example of what not to do and why wrestlers having “creative control” was a terrible thing. When they were hard up for ideas they literally went to the freshly-fired Vince Russo for advice, thinking that he was the creative force behind WWF’s “Attitude Era,” only to find themselves with an infantile, juvenile hack of a writer who was given a blank check.
Now look, bagging on Russo is fun and all, but he didn’t even kill WCW, he was just another symptom, another problem. Russo did do some good in WWF during his tenure, but a lot of that has to do with Vince serving as a bottleneck for ideas and not allowing anything he didn’t care for to make air. Russo had no bottleneck in WCW (later on TNA, ugh) and we saw some ugly, ugly stuff.
What was most scary was that WCW near the end was turning things around and trying to make good on past promises and to put on better shows for their fans, but there was an expiration date on that blank check from Ted Turner and they had nowhere to turn. The death of WCW was such a huge bummer because it was indeed different than WWF was at the time and offered different kinds of wrestling.
Pro Wrestling NOAH Being a Bust
If you don’t follow Japanese wrestling this might be kind of out there for you, but for those that do, well, yeah. All Japan Pro Wrestling holds a spot in most Japanese wrestling fans’ hearts, if not *the* spot. Why? Because All Japan Pro Wrestling was home to some of the best professional wrestling in history and hosted some of the best talent in history over the span of the 80’s and 90’s. Giant Baba, Jumbo Tsuruta, Steve Williams, Vader, Stan Hansen, Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi, Jun Akiyama, Masanobu Fuchi and Akira Taue are just some of the names associated with All Japan Pro Wrestling during their boom period.
So what exactly happened? Giant Baba, the company’s owner, passed away, leaving the company to his wife, Motoko Baba. There was some friction backstage between Mrs. Baba and Mitsuharu Misawa and the other wrestlers, which eventually led to what was called “the second exodus.” That exodus led to the formation of Pro Wrestling NOAH, leaving behind only two loyal All Japan wrestlers in Toshiaki Kawada and Masanobu Fuchi (who at this point was much older and mostly working comedy matches). This meant that All Japan Pro Wrestling lost their television deal and were in dire straits, with NOAH being treated as the spiritual successor to the King’s Road style of pro wrestling. Eventually Baba was able to lure New Japan star Keiji Mutoh and a few other NJPW stars into the All Japan fold, but it was never the same again. All Japan became a glorified indy while NOAH thrived to be the #2 wrestling company, competing with New Japan. For a while there New Japan was itself struggling, trying to transition from their last generation of stars to a new generation. It didn’t help that out of their “Three Musketeers” of Masahiro Chono, Keiji Mutoh and Shin’ya Hashimoto only Chono remained loyal, but was seriously broken down with his age showing. The generation of Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and the like were doing fine, but failed to capture the hearts and minds of fans while NOAH was delivering intense main event matches between Misawa, Kobashi, Akiyama, Taue and many others.
The problem, though, was that New Japan’s new generation did indeed kind of suck, but that they were still building up their next generation of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura and Katsuyori Shibata while NOAH was getting all of the praise for pushing their stars to the limits. NOAH was having a difficult time in building up new stars, finding only smaller wrestlers, no one to fill their roles as Heavyweight superstars willing to be dropped on their heads for 30-minute classics.
Stars like KENTA, Naomichi Marufuji, Go Shiozaki and Takashi Sugiura were talented and fans loved them, but they were not “legitimate Heavyweights.” This led to instead pushing Takeshi Rikio, Takeshi Morishima as well as outside stars like Kensuke Sasaki and most recently Yuji Nagata, to be their banner champions. The in-ring death of Mitsuharu Misawa, the retirement of Kenta Kobashi and the departure of Jun Akiyama (to take over All Japan Pro Wrestling with some NOAH wrestlers, ironically) have left NOAH in a sad state of affairs. In 2009 NOAH lost their Nippon TV deal, then in 2012 they had their very own yakuza scandal, both of which can be lumped together with the other factors above and we’ve seen the mighty NOAH become a shell of what it could have been, which is also a shell of what classic All Japan was. The upside here, though, is that New Japan Pro Wrestling’s gambit paid off and they are currently in a boom period. Weird how that works out, huh?
WWE and their continued misogyny
This one is a doozey. Should I name all the storylines where the WWE has displayed a complete lack of respect for not only women but the intelligence of their viewer’s? Should I just post all the dirt sheet rumors where unnamed sources say how big of a misogynistic scumbag Kevin Dunn and other WWE officials are?
Ever since I started watched wrestling, women were never treated as wrestlers. They were treated like nothing more than a piece of meat and even that is putting it kindly. Women in the WWE rarely get TV time and when they do, it’s usually not to wrestle. They are there to be involved in some storyline to play the damsel in distress. She can’t only not fend for herself, she’s absolutely helpless and NEEDS to be saved by the babyface. Or in worse cases, she’s dating said babyface, turns heel and her comeuppance is her getting verbally berated by a male superstar using all those words the WWE is far too familiar with.
If you need proof that the WWE doesn’t take women’s wrestling seriously, look no further than the name of the damn division. The “Divas” division. Not women, not female, no the Divas division.
It’s incredibly infuriating, as a 24-year-old male. A 24-year-old male who has testosterone pumping through my body and has an undying urge to enjoy the company of the opposite sex. As such, the WWE would imagine that I’d be the perfect target for this. No, not at all. I respect women and don’t like seeing them degraded by men, I also don’t enjoy them acting like a damsel whose only existence is to be saved by some male.
Don’t get me wrong, I have zero problem with a woman promoting her sex appeal, more power to her. But let’s be honest with ourselves here, the way the WWE does it is borderline uncomfortable the majority of the time.
Watching the WWE’s product and their view on women is increasingly tiring and depressing. As they legitimately have great wrestlers, who can not only work an excellent match, but do work on the mic as well. You’d hope that’d translate to TV, I mean it is 2014. The WWE’s continuous misogynistic treatment of women has to end at some point, right? Nope. Paige and AJ just want to make out cause they… hate each other?
Well, there’s always NXT I guess.
Man, the ECW rebirth, I don’t know where to start or where to begin.
Well, first I guess we’ll start with One Night Stand 2005. RVD asked Vince McMahon about having an ECW reunion show, and with a little conniving, Vince gave the green light. Tommy Dreamer and Paul Heyman were put in charge to organize the event. Without going into too much detail, since technically this isn’t the rebirth of ECW, it was scheduled to just be a one off show. The show itself was a good PPV, it was well received on all accounts, while it wasn’t the original ECW, it was the closest thing you were going to get in 2005.
Fast forward a year with One Night Stand 2005 being such a success, the idea was floated out that ECW should be the 3rd show for WWE, behind RAW and Smackdown. So here we are, 2006 and ECW is coming back, with last year’s one off show being so entertaining, how could this go wrong? How naive I was.
Well, they put on another PPV (One Night Stand 2006), the Sunday before the weekly ECW TV show was going to go to air. Again, this was another great PPV, it may not have been as good as last year’s but there wasn’t any major cause for concern. Hell, Terry Funk was even on it, seriously, how could anyone envision what was going to transpire?
So to give a little background on the premiere of ECW on Sci Fi, Paul Heyman was always very vocal about how ECW wasn’t about being hardcore, it was about predicting the future of wrestling. You take a look at all the hardcore wrestling done during the attitude era and Heyman was right. So, Heyman knew that ECW couldn’t be the ECW of old, that already happened and it has its place in history. Heyman wanted the rebirth of ECW to be based around shoot fights but both Kevin Dunn and Vince shot it down. Dunn specifically was adamant about WWE stars being on ECW, saying that ECW wouldn’t be able to succeed otherwise. What resulted was Heyman trying to write shows that Vince/Dunn would like with any sort of value. Well… that didn’t work, at all. What it resulted in was just another WWE show with C class WWE stars.
Oh and before I forget, Sci Fi wanted the ECW rebirth to be a monster mash wrestling organization, that’s the only way I can describe it. If you need any proof, the first match on ECW television during the rebirth was Sandman vs. The Zombie.
The failed and half-baked Invasion angle
Ahh the invasion angle, was 2001 really that long ago? In case you are painfully unaware of the wrestling industry, the invasion angle was an angle that was run when Vince McMahon bought WCW in real life. In arguably the biggest wrestling angle in the history of the business, it just couldn’t fail. Oh how naive we were. In hindsight we should’ve seen what happened coming from a mile away.
It all started off with Shane McMahon buying WCW underneath his father. Vince… or as he’s known on TV as Mr. McMahon, the biggest heel to ever grace professional wrestling. The story wrote itself, the young charismatic Shane McMahon, purchasing WCW to save it from his evil egomaniacal father who wanted it killed. WCW stars attacking the heel WWE stars, it wrote itself. Unfortunately due to many factors one of which being a failed 20 minute segment at the end of RAW featuring Booker T vs. Buff Bagwell with Scott Hudson and Arn Anderson on commentary. This lead to the WCW stars turning heel with no real story behind it.
Then we have the addition of ECW, which again, at the time seemed like another foolproof plan. ECW stars showed up on RAW to attack Kane and Chris Jericho, later that night Shane McMahon and his father agreed to take care of the ECW crew that invaded RAW. Both WWF and WCW sent out 5 superstars a piece to deal with the 10 ECW stars. What transpired is the WCW and ECW stars teaming up to form The Alliance and Stephanie McMahon owning ECW.
You have the two main alternatives to the WWF, teaming up to fight Mr. McMahon and the WWF. This is perfect. This couldn’t fail no matter how hard you tried.
Of course, that was hyperbole and we couldn’t have been more wrong.
The invasion angle was a commercial success. The PPV WWF Invasion is still the highest selling non Wrestlemania PPV. Of course commercial success doesn’t mean it was a critical success. The invasion angle itself was mismanaged and had the undeniable stench of Vince McMahon letting Mr. McMahon direct the storyline.
The story was more focused on the McMahons rather than the WCW/ECW vs. WWF feud. I mean, I’m not sure what else to add, the actual wrestlers were put to the back burner while seemingly the entire feud was based around a reality TVish family feud. Sure, we all know the success of the Stone Cold/Mr. McMahon feud but they went to the well one too many times with that.
The ECW/WCW wrestlers were pretty much being jobbed out at every single turn, oh how surprising. I realize that much to my personal chagrin, The Alliance were the heels in this storyline and heels cheat. The only time The Alliance would ever win a match would be if they cheated. Even when they did cheat, they’d lose more times than not and even if they did win, it was by the skin of their teeth. The Alliance were nothing more than jobbers to the WWF stars and it’s a damn shame.
I could keep going and talk about how even when The Alliance would get any attention or do any good it was due to the fact that WWF stars defected over there but honestly, I’m too disheartened to even talk about this angle anymore, what a damn shame and missed opportunity.
The Rock not seeing if Mick Foley was okay after blasting his skull too many times during the “I Quit” match
I was the guy in the crowd collecting loogies on his EC F’n W shirt as the only person in the crowd willing to bring a sign that said “Rocky Sucks” when he was a massive face in the company. The Rock, to my smarky eye, was a guy who would take, but not give. He was a decent worker, but his mic skills are what got him over. I just couldn’t stand the People’s Elbow and the fact that he would constantly have dudes bump for him and not reciprocate.
How many times did Rocky even get color in his Nation of Domination – championship run of the early 2000’s? Yet many people he fought did. He would also put his hand up to protect himself when hit by chairs, but would swing with all of his might when it was his turn to deal damage. My blood boils just thinking about it. Rocky sucks. Rocky sucks. Rocky sucks. That makes me feel better.
There are few moments more depressing than when Mick Foley took around 11 un-answered chair shots from The Rock while handcuffed at the Royal Rumble. Here you have a guy who gives gives gives to the sport having a vagina opened on his forehead due to a guy who just keeps on hitting him as his dismayed family looks on.
Then he doesn’t even check on Mick after Mick lays down and does the gory job for him? Utterly depressing.
The final bummer: The internet and awareness, which rises like a phoenix and comes full circle
I used to skip lunches so I could read the rags on my high school’s superior internet connection. Yes, while other people were eating egg salad, pursuing the opposite sex and cramming homework, I was reading smarky match reviews and PPV recaps. Because of this intense knowledge of a show that was reemerging into an era with relatively more respect in popular culture, yet was still very much operating in the shadow of the “it’s not real” crowd, it was difficult being such an aware fan. Yeah, we all knew it wasn’t real, even if it was still real to us, damn it. In fact, being a smark makes wrestling more real than someone who actually believes that a group of people travel from city to city in order to fight each other for no apparent reason.
Ignorance is bliss, I think. I was too aware, too early in my life and while it was great and very entertaining few years, I flew too close to the sun and the very things that made me a fan were kind of destroyed. How could Triple H bury Rob Van Dam? **** this, I’m out.
Now he’s the best thing for the sport.
Oh, Hulk Hogan. Hogan is a strange case of wrestling history, one that I never took to. Granted all my interactions with Hogan were during the early 00’s and made my way backwards from there. Maybe it was just the cynical go against the grain child that I was, but I always disliked Hogan and all of his gimmicks. When I first started watching his Hulkamania era, which again, I started in the early 00’s. The whole “I’m a real American” gimmick really made me confused. Even being relatively young at the time 11/12 years old, I didn’t understand it, so he’s from America and says brother a lot. For the life of me I couldn’t understand it. Then we have NWO Hogan which again, at the time, for the life of me couldn’t understand why he was so popular. I’m willing to concede that I may have been a dumb little kid. To me Hogan seemed like the cool guy from High School that ten years later still is trying to do the cool High School stuff. Then once he realizes no one likes that shtick anymore, they buy a leather jacket and a motorcycle. Yet, he was celebrated throughout his career. I will admit though, I did love the Mr. America gimmick for how absolutely absurd it was.
Then once the lovely and quite dashing Al Gore blessed us with the internet. Dirty little secrets came out about Mr. Hogan and his refusal to put anyone over time and time and time again.
HHH was vilified by the internet. Hell, people still refer to his “reign of terror” over and over and over again. When HHH took a part in the WWE corporate business, it was an inevitable, we all knew that. We all felt HHH would help his friends and his cronies and push them to the top. Yet… HHH is largely in charge of helping and lobbying for guys who would flat out not make it if it wasn’t for him. Sure, it’d be nice to think that a guy like KENTA would’ve made it to WWE based on his talent alone. Sadly, we know that isn’t the case – it’s HHH’s doing signing these non traditional WWE guys, laying the groundwork for the future of the business. HHH is a hero in wrestling.
Some of the very best things to happen to pro wrestling are also some of the very worst things to happen to pro wrestling, if you are willing to believe that. Hulk Hogan was the reason why pro wrestling went from being this fringe thing to this whole red-white-and-blue culture movement in the 80’s and 90’s. Even if you weren’t a HUGE fan of Hulk Hogan it is hard to discount the impact that he had on everyone.
I kind of liked Hulk Hogan but still had a few Hulk Hogan action figures, including those huge rubber ones that weighed a solid pound and could be used as a perfect weapon. I also had my first set of weights thanks to Hulk Hogan, having a set of blue “Hulkamania” weights that I used to pump up with as a kid while I watched American Gladiators during the summer. So really it kind of didn’t matter that I liked Macho Man and the Ultimate Warrior better than I liked Hulk Hogan, because he was still huge and undeniable.
Hulk Hogan then jumped ship and was a part of WCW’s insane rise in popularity and a part of the coolest group ever in the nWo. It felt impossible for mid-90’s Hogan to be anything other than lame, but it happened and it worked. Along with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash and the rest of the nWo I got to watch as WCW went from that pretty cheesy southern-style wrassling promotion and helped make it the promotion that I chose to watch over WWF at the time.
The big problem was that while guys like Hogan, Hall and Nash helped to make WCW a success, they were also the biggest set of egotistical assholes in the business. It turned out that Hulk Hogan wasn’t about Pastamania or eating vitamins and saying prayers, he was about refusing to let go of his position at the top and was actually the worst thing to happen to WCW after he was the best thing. Hulk Hogan was literally the rise and fall of WCW in one orange, roided up package.
We found this all out thanks to the internet with guys like Dave Meltzer at the helm of the IWC (internet wrestling community) revolution, with wrestling going from AOL chat rooms full of guys saying, “Type 469 if you want Sable to SUCK IT” to this weird, insider-y kind of chatter that fans couldn’t get enough of. One of the biggest villains to arise from the age of the internet was Triple H, the WWF’s big rival for The Rock and Stone Cold who climbed up the ladder after the whole DX and Montreal Screwjob thing.
Triple H quickly became a vilified figure, many pointing out similarities between Triple H and the behavior from Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and company that led to the downfall of WCW. Triple H had Vince’s ear, then he even had a relationship with Vince’s daughter. How else could you explain the title runs and how he opened up Raw every week with a twenty minute long promo about how great he was?
There were endless tales woven about how Triple H “buried” talented performers like Booker T, Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam and many other fan favorites that never seemed to subside, then, the unthinkable happened; Triple H was given a corporate job within the organization and his backstage powers were even greater than fans had ever feared.
Only a weird thing happened; Triple H turned out to be the best thing that has happened to wrestling in years. He has shown a natural aptitude for picking out non-traditional talent that don’t fit into the bodybuilder mold that the industry is known for, he’s been an advocate of returning to the wrestling roots and ditching the “sports entertainment” kind of stuff and many fans are actively hoping for him to take over the reigns from Vince in the very near future to help turn the business around.
Basically the biggest babyface of all time turned out to be the biggest dickhead and detriment to the industry, while the most reviled name in wrestling and biggest, most boring heel of an era turned out to be the savior of professional wrestling. Weird, right?