Triple H is the on air WWE Chief Operating Officer and in reality is WWE’s Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events, and Creative as well as a big part of the creative process in WWE. He’s also the guy that runs NXT, which is a show a lot of us love, so he’s earned a lot of respect in his executive role.
This weekend Hunter is being inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame at the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio. WWE will also be running a NXT show in Columbus and Cleveland, which would be the first time the current incarnation of NXT has been out of Florida.
The good people at Muscle and Fitness did an interview with Triple H talking about the HOF induction as well as some WWE related topics in general. I’ll include snippets as well as some thoughts of my own, which sometimes may contain sarcasm. Believe me I’m not a Triple H hater compared to a lot of people online. I respect him and like his vision for the future of WWE. However, it’s wrestling. We can all poke fun at this stuff because it’s easy to do.
Here’s the main pic they used in the article.
They would never edit a photo. Never. Right?
On what makes WWE Superstars stand out from athletes in other sports?
I think the well-roundedness. Charisma, quick wit, the ability to perform in front of tens of thousands but also one or two. Our athletes are very well rounded and some of the best in the world physically, and they also have to have the ability to improvise and do theater at the same time. It’s like playing football and doing Shakespeare at the same time. I think that’s a rare combination. It’s a broader skillset. Also, with all these other sports, they want the athletes to be a cog in the wheel. With WWE, we want you to be larger than life. The bigger your brand is the bigger ours is.
A good follow up question to that would have been: “If all of that is true then how come the Great Khali was a World Heavyweight Champion?” The answer: “He’s tall.” I guess he fits the larger than life thing, but dude was terrible. This is why I never get to do these questions. We miss you Khali. Not really.
On if Hunter’s induction will help legitimize WWE and sports entertainment in the eyes of critics who still call it “fake” and say the performers aren’t athletes?
I do. And I never understood that about it being fake. When you see a guy who does something physically that 99% of the rest of the world sees and goes, “Oh my God that’s amazing!”, and you say “well, they’re not really athletes” … Oh really? To me the International Sports Hall of Fame is more than about being good at your sport or your profession but it’s about giving back. I think that WWE superstars are finally now getting their due for all the things we do for Make-A-Wish and Susan G. Komen, the military, anti-bullying, and all the other things we do. We’re candidates for the Hall for being more than just athletes. I think what the Hall of Fame is about, as far as the people I see going in there, is athletes great at their chosen sport but also people that did more with it than just reap the rewards.
I understood the fake thing a long time ago. The “fake” thing is the thought of people that are caught up on the idea that pro wrestling is presented as a sport, so they will never let it go. Those of us that watch it know what it is and those that don’t will probably never get that we think they’re absolutely idiotic for continuing to make those same stupid jokes. The fact that they are pretending to fight and aren’t really hurting eachother is fake, but it’s also a performance. These same people can watch TV shows and enjoy them as art or even worse can buy into BS “reality” shows, yet are too dumb to realize that pro wrestling is the same thing except it’s more like a live theater performance. The performers are skilled at what they do in general. That’s not the fake part. It’s the perception by those not in the know.
On something in his career that helped sports entertainment transcend?
One of the cool things for me is growing up as a gym rat and then being on the cover of Flex and Muscle&Fitness and to be representing fitness and health. That was me transcending the WWE world. One of the things I love most about doing a signing is when somebody comes up to me and says they were inspired to lose 100 pounds, or says, “You’re why I went to the gym in the first place.” That means a lot to me. When you can alter someone’s life in a positive way, that’s huge.
I wonder if Bastion Booger inspired people in the same way. He sometimes ate chicken in the ring, so chicken farmers were probably happy.
On favorite moments in his career.
I’ve had a long career. I had a series of matches with Mick Foley in 2000 which was a big turning point in my career. Then, coming back from my quad injury in 2001, a lot of people were saying my career was over. A few years ago I wrestled the Undertaker at Wrestlemania with Shawn Michaels as guest referee. That was sort of a symbol of the end of the Attitude Era and our generation. There’s a moment where the three of us are standing together that I’ll never forget.
Those are all good choices, seriously. The feud with Foley in 2000 was amazing. It really legitimized Hunter as a top guy because there were doubts about if he really was good enough. I don’t think people thought his career was over after a torn quad in 2001. There was just concern that he may not be that good when he came back and it took a while for him to become really good again. It also took not feuding with Kane over Katie Vick’s body too.
On who would you nominate to be inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame next?
Maybe Hogan. There’s a whole generation of guys my age who said their prayers and took their vitamins and that’s where they heard it first. He was an amazing athlete who transcended. One of the most recognizable people on the planet.
I don’t know who runs that Hall of Fame, but how is Hogan not in? After all he took steroids to build a career in the 1980s just like Arnold did. It’s truly inspiring. (Wipes away tear.)
On WWE deserving credit for inspiring athletes.
Nowadays it’s not just about looking good. It’s not just bodybuilding, it’s Crossfit. It’s Paleo diets. It’s your health, it’s fitness, it’s being able to live life to the fullest and when you look at WWE superstars, they epitomize all of that. You look at a kid like [Superstar] Seth Rollins and think he looks amazing, but he can also do all these amazing physical things. It’s not just an image, it’s the performance that goes along with it. There’s really nobody else who embodies that like WWE superstars do. Football players are wearing uniforms and helmets. Baseball players, it’s sometimes marginal how fit they are [laughs].
I think NFL players are phenomenal athletes especially the speed guys. Linemen are heavier because that’s to their advantage. Way to take a shot at baseball players. They make much more money than WWE superstars considering top guys are making $25 million per year, but they don’t have as many sick abs because that matters. I guess that means no return for Abe “Knuckleball” Scwhartz huh? At least he’s got a better chance for WWE’s Hall of Fame than Chyna. Way to avoid that question, interviewer.
All kidding aside, it was fine for a fluff piece that was kissing Triple H’s ass. He’s actually some sort of adviser for Muscle & Fitness, so of course they’re going to promote him.
Here’s my question: “Do you think you wasted Brock Lesnar’s time by having three boring matches with him?” I don’t expect a reply.
How did I do? More interview breakdowns in the future or less? Feedback is welcome in the comments below.