Metalhead’s Take: Three Stages of Comfy Conversation Part 1 (Triple H/Austin podcast)

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It’s funny how things work out sometimes.  When I started this thing, I promised myself that there was no way I would write about the WWE each and every week. And then the Rumble happened so last week, I wrote about the WWE. This week started with me sacrificing 4 chicken eggs in an oath to NOT write about the WWE  and then the podcast happened and … Sorry chicken eggs, you made a nice omelet anyway. Ah well, maybe next week.

That being said, while the Triple H/Austin podcast did not provide the fireworks some were expecting, it was a fairly interesting conversation. So let’s take a closer look at this thing and see what came out of it. I’ll be breaking it down in chronological order, describing question and answers, inserting a quote here and there and add my own thoughts in Italics in an attempt to keep it readable. So without further ado:

“Kayfabe is dead”

After some promo’s about the upcoming NXT show and NineNinetyNine of course Austin starts with the question everybody is waiting for and there it gets immediately interesting. Austin recaps the RR situation quickly, Reigns winning, fans being behind Bryan, the backlash and concludes with “It’s almost like Kayfabe is dead”. He then describes how audiences back in he days were more likely to accept story-lines without question, and less likely to blame the backstage writing team and how that fact affects current booking. Triple H answers with stating that, with internet, a large portions of the fans are smarter to the inner workings of the business, that the component of just telling a storyline and people accepting it is gone because part of the crowd will still accept it and part not only will not accept but resent the guy they (WWE) are trying to “push”.

Interesting and, for me, unexpected way to start things. That the good old days of keyfabe, like it used to be, are gone is not a bad thing, but i can get were it becomes more difficult for wrestling promoters to sell their story-lines. Still the dead of kayfabe does NOT exclude the fact that good story-lines are needed in wrestling, and that’s were WWE has failed. Yes we all know it’s a work. But that doesn’t change anything. It’s not about fans not accepting story-lines, it’s about fans wanting to be entertained with good, logical storytelling outside and in the ring. Are we, as a group, more demanding than in the “good old days”? Perhaps, yes. Do we have a right to be more demanding? Hell yeah!

“Thank you very much”

Here Austin reminisces about how Triple H was supposed to win the 1996 King of the Ring, how he was the main victim of the infamous kliq “curtain call” and how Austin got the nod instead. Austin states he didn’t say to Vince that he wasn’t ready then he just took the opportunity and ran with it. Given the backlash Reigns got  from winning the RR, Austin wonders what Reigns was then supposed to say when WWE told him he was supposed to win. “Thank you very much” answers Triple H. Austin the continues, touching on the subject if the ending of the Rumble couldn’t have been done a little differently, to get the feeling Reigns “earned” this, and how to deal with the fact Reigns got the resentment of the crowd because said crow was mad at the booking team. Tripple H answers with his already much spoken of “the beauty of this is that at the end of the day, there is one man calling the shots and that’s Vince”. He then goes on describing how many ideas were brought up before the rumble, but that, ultimately, the final decision belonged to Vince.                                                                                                                                                                                    They then talk about this week’s RAW and how the decisions made there reflects on how a smart booker always has his finger on the pulse and must be ready to change directions when something, anything comes up.

So the beauty of this all is that when WWE screws up it’s nobody’s fault but Vince? Oh those McMahon’s family reunions must be something else. Interesting comments from someone whom many see as McMahon’s successor. Damage control? Attempt to get the heat of Reigns and the writing team and get it on someone who got heat anyway? Subtle politicking? I would go with all three here.

“Supply and demand”

Next a very pointed question by Austin, stating that Reigns was getting oer before the injury, then he came back, so did Bryan,  crowds demanded Bryan, WWE kept giving Reigns and Roman ended up getting the resentment for that. Triple H answers with explaining how different the crowd is when compared to, foe example, the Attitude Era. Back in those days the crowds were basically just one demographic (young males) and now, the crowds go in every directions, from kids to young males to parents to grand-parents and how difficult it is to find the one guy that appeals to all. Also taking Cena as example and how he gets booed and cheered but has been getting people to watch the product anyway for a very long time.

Well, nice attempt at side-stepping here, Mr Hemsley, and i do get how a demographically  divided crowd makes booking more difficult, but the simple fact is, you have that one guy who appeals to all. His name is Daniel Bryan. Cena doesn’t even apply here.

“The Reality Era”

Austin again looks back at the Attitude Era and comments on how there was  a sense of urgency back then, that you HAD to watch the next show too see what happens. He then contrasts it to today’s reality Era and ask what exactly that is and what it means. Triple H states that because of the dead of keyfabe, the reality era just had to be. Because so many poeple now know te inside of the business, internet, Major newspapers even, so the reality has become the business. At Austin question about if people are more concerned about what happens backstage then what happens in the ring nowadays, Triple H then explains that when  they fail to tell a story well, whether it’s in the writing or in the execution, people won’t buy it because they’re more critical, especially when compared to the “reality of it”. And when they write something  that flies in the face of “the reality of it”, people react negatively.

Here, of course i strongly disagree. yes we are more aware of the inside workings of the business, but that has nothing to do with anything. What the hell is “the reality of it”? Not one wrestling fan i know watches wrestling because it has anything to do with reality. I started watching wrestling because it was harmless escapism. I still watch today for the same reason, and I know I am hardly an exception. Most fans don’t mind story-lines that fly in the face of reality. They mind story-lines that defy any logic whether it’s from a storytelling or a booking standpoint. That is what we, as fans are more aware of, and are more demanding in. Besides Reality on television is just another storyline basically.

Triple H continues, explaining that from a booking standpoint, the rumble was simple, Bryan got eliminated early, Reigns ended up winning. In the past fans would have just went along with it. In the reality era fans are saying, no, you are “pushing” Roman Reigns, we don’t want you to “push” Roman reigns we want Daniel Bryan whom you have been holding back for whatever reason. He then continues about how plan changed during the build-up for Wrestlemania 30, how they went along with evolving factors and adapted the script to that and how, at some points Bryan himself told them he couldn’t win at this or that time, they needed to kill him again, because that would be better in the long run.

Yes… but no. For me it’s not that in the past fans just went along mindlessly, it is that the people that were most popular were better protected. Take the 2005 Royal Rumble for example. batista won (eventually) but Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle were in the RR also. Given the popularity of both, you could argue that people wanted them to stay in the match for a long time. Well they stayed 4 minutes 57 and a whooping 37 seconds respectively. Did people feel shortchanged by that? No. Why? Because by having them eliminating each-other the seeds were set for a Michaels/Angle feud EVERYBODY wanted to see. That’s how Bryan should have been booked also. Nothing to do with reality, everything to do with booking logic. It’s not about Bryan winning everything, it’s about giving Bryan something to do people can get behind.

“When you’re thinking, you’re stinking”

Here both talk about how things change in wrestling, how injuries can affect long-term planning. Austin lets out the above-mentioned line when speaking how wrestlers themselves have to be able to work the crowd and change directions when things don’t go their way. Triple H agrees and talks about how fans are impatient sometimes and can’t seem to wait for the booking plans to unfold completely and how WWE is “a book that never ends”, how once Wrestlemania is done, the next day ion RAW a new chapter starts.

Yes, working the crowds has, for some,  become a lost art of sorts these days, sigh…

“Exit strategies and passions”

Next part of the conversation i will go over rather quickly has it touches on a subject that has been spoken of at length in the past, namely, Triple H’s relation with Steph. Austin starts by asking if he had any exit strategy when he started, and Triple H commenting on how he fell in love with all aspects of the business, and stating that what he achieved had little to do with his relationship with Steph, maybe even made it more difficult at times, and that, in the end, it was his passion for all aspects of the business that got him were he his. So exit strategies? Nope, the business is his live, much as is the case with Vince.

Not much too comment here, and I am certainly willing that, he has that passion. You might disagree with the man, with his opinions, but the passion is there.

 

This is all from me for now, I’ll try to deliver the second part with NXT, Chyna, Warrior, NWO, CM Punk ect as soon as I can (and I’m allowed to post).

Have fun you all!

 

 

 

 

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