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‘Raw 1000′ Fallout: Triple H Vs. Brock Lesnar

July 24th, 2012 at 9:13 PM
By Chris Arney

'John Cena and Brock Lesnar at Raw, Miami, 2 April 2012' photo (c) 2012, Ed Webster - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Last night’s 1000th episode of ‘Raw’ provided so much fodder for WWE discussion that Wrestling 101 will space out its coverage over a few days. Yet, oddly enough, when one breaks down the show and ignores the tossed-off six-man tag match, there were really only three segments of any relevance – i.e. three segments that weren’t mere fan service to capitalize on nostalgia. The first one for discussion is Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar.

There’s little point in spending a lot of time questioning why it was supposed to be acceptable for Stephanie McMahon to insult Paul Heyman by talking about his kids, yet him doing the same to Triple H was “crossing the line.” By a similar token, it’s a bit of a stretch that he would have been suckered into such an obvious ploy. But WWE had to come up with some reason to get Lesnar to agree to the match, as they were booked into a corner, and Heyman did his best to make it work.

Moving on, the actual brawl between Lesnar and Triple H had a lot of the same things going for and against it as the entire show – it was entertaining in and of itself, but raised some pretty gaping leaps in logic and doesn’t come across as the best choice, in the long run. The exchange was intense and it was exciting to actually see Lesnar, for a change. But HHH stopped being the underdog, and that may have derailed what little the feud had going for it.

Despite the draw of putting “Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar” on the marquee, having one of only three Lesnar matches being against Triple H was a questionable move from the start. They’re both part-timers. There are no long-term consequences of the match, aside from either gaining or losing credibility for future matches. The fans’ level of interest depends solely on their level of appreciation for the two competitors, specifically, and nothing more. Lesnar should probably be fighting a full-time Superstar, even if the list of good options is limited.

For example, Lesnar’s first feud back was against John Cena and Lesnar technically lost the wrestling match while anyone who saw it would say that Cena clearly lost the fight. It made perfect sense for their characters. Now, Lesnar is fighting the older, less active, and physically less intimidating Triple H. And the feud started appropriately, with Lesnar completely dominating him and breaking his arm. That’s how it would go if those two fought. But Triple H over-powered Lesnar in a fistfight last night. Stand the two next to each other and everyone would agree on the likely winner – it didn’t look right for HHH to win. Lesnar is the “real" UFC fighter. Triple H is the “fake” wrestler. Their exchange made it too obvious that everyone was watching “fake” wrestling. 'Triple H' photo (c) 2007, Krystal - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Lesnar isn’t likely to appear again until Summerslam, which means that their brawl could be their last encounter. In order for the match to work, it has to be abundantly clear that Hunter is the underdog, especially since – no sense in mincing words, here – he’s probably going to win. Lesnar has proven that he’s undependable, thus WWE brass doesn’t feel comfortable letting him get one over on anyone, since, at best, he’s just going to take off after his three matches, anyway. That’s understandable, but he DOES still have a Wrestlemania match up ahead. If he’s lost both of his return matches – one to a basically retired competitor – then what reason is there to believe that he’ll win on the biggest show of the year? Lesnar should win at Summerslam just to build up his credibility and allow him to fully put someone over at Wrestlemania. But he won’t. 

There’s no reason to despise Triple H. He does a lot of good for the company and is very compelling on the mic. But anyone who’s being honest knows that he feeds his ego on-screen – just look at how he made last summer’s major storyline completely about him. And this feud now feels like one that’s in place so his company can make itself look more powerful than Brock Lesnar, the guy who left them high and dry in 2004.

Tags: Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Paul Heyman, Raw, SummerSlam, Triple H, WrestleMania, Wrestling, WWE

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