TCWNN #32: Funny Games.

A funny thing occurred to me today.

Not funny ha ha, but funny odd.

I was reading the latest news updates, and I saw that HHH had apparently undergone tendon surgery in his arm and would be out longer than expected, without any of the dirt sheets getting wind of it until now. While I was reading that report, I realized that this was the first time I had thought about HHH since his last live appearance on television. One of the biggest stars of recent memory, and I hadn’t even noticed he was gone.

We pretty much haven’t seen hide or hair of HHH on WWE programming since Seamus ran him off at the end of April. That actually hasn’t been that long a time. Certainly it’s not a long enough time to not be missing a guy who has been pushed as a cornerstone of the company for a decade and who is guaranteed a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame.

Now, I miss Shawn Michaels, and I miss the Rock. I miss Stone Cold Steve Austin. And I miss good Ol’ JR more and more every Monday. I certainly haven’t forgotten about any of them. I can’t say I miss the Undertaker all that much, but at this stage of the game the man is more of a special attraction most focused on in the months leading up to Wrestlemania than anything else. Plus we haven’t had a Friday go by when we haven’t had his vegetative state shoved down our throats by Private Investigator Kane. And there are plenty of others who I still wish were back on my tv screen every week. So what’s different about HHH?

The generic stock answer is, of course, is that for years now HHH has allegedly been using backstage clout and his marital status to hold back other talent and to cling to his spot, and so it’s colored the perception of the onscreen character. But that’s not really what it is for me. I think, and again this is speaking solely for myself, it’s that I can’t think of damn thing I want the guy to DO.

I know what you’re saying; I should want the guy to come back and put over some young guys and make some new stars instead of running through the roster like proverbial crap through a canebake. And yes, that’d be nice. But it’s pretty clear that that problem goes beyond HHH, and is epidemic of the WWE booking mindset itself. Look at Evan Bourne, a young guy with John Cena apparently in his corner, who has had Chris Jericho put him over like a rock star, and instead of being made to look like he can hang with the main eventers, gets to eat an RKO after his most recent match. That sort of rug yank booking is just part of the backwards way they do things these days.

No, when I say I can’t think of a damn thing I want HHH do, what I mean is I can’t think of a match or scenario I’m interested in seeing him in that hasn’t already been done to death. Much as I loved him back in the early 00’s, the man’s shelf life for me expired somewhere around the time Degeneration X reunited and started doing poop jokes with actual poop. I was briefly interested in him again when Randy Orton was taking down the McMahon’s, but the booking took that one down the drain, and since then HHH has just been another guy. And the WWE has a lot of guys who I’ve seen way less than HHH. I’m just plain tired of seeing him. I’m over it.

In many ways, the things that I’m tired of seeing from HHH are the same things that I can’t stand seeing from John Cena. Things like lackadaisical bravado and nonsensical humor in the face of heels that would be better served if their opponent took them seriously and unstoppable superman comebacks. But the difference is: I don’t remember a John Cena who was better than that. I don’t remember a John Cena who was arguably one of the top wrestlers in the world in the aforementioned early 00s. I don’t remember a John Cena who was a seriously intimidating onscreen presence, or who had everyone thinking TAKA of all people was a second away from winning the World title. I remember that era of HHH, but it took writing this column to remind me of it, because it’s an era that’s been overshadowed by bad cock jokes, green glowsticks, and midgets.

And that’s not funny ha ha. That’s funny sad.

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