Triple H in-depth interview – how does he view himself wrestling at 46?, “getting through” WM32 main event with Roman Reigns, excitement working with Dean Ambrose, more
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The weekend after Triple H returned to the ring on WWE’s European Tour, The Mirror newspaper released an in-depth interview with Hunter discussing several hot topics coming out of WrestleMania.
– Hunter, 46, revealed some of his insecurity about wrestling at this stage of his career, especially in front of a huge WM32 main event audience at AT&T Stadium in Texas. Hunter said he feels more comfortable wrestling someone like Dean Ambrose at the Roadblock PPV special or Ambrose on the European Tour.
“When you do this every day, and in 2000 I was doing this every day, I was stepping in the ring with [Mick] Foley, [Steve] Austin, The Rock, Undertaker on a daily basis, you know what you do, and you know where you stand and how good you are. Your confidence, it’s just there. It’s just easy and natural,” Hunter said.
“When you haven’t done it, it doesn’t matter how good you were at it, that doubt can creep in. It’s a constant pushing back of the tide of self-doubt and just questioning yourself. It takes you a minute to realise ‘oh yeah, I do remember how to do this, I’m actually not that bad!’”
– Asked what he thought of his match against Roman Reigns at WM32, Hunter took almost a business-like approach that they got through the match to the other side of the story.
“It was a challenging situation on a lot of fronts. Roman is a unique character in the business and a polarising character, much like a John Cena or somebody like that. He’s a polarising character, you are in front of 100,000 people and you’re also coming up at the end of a six-and-a-half hour plus show – it was long. I was happy with it but to be honest I’ve not watched it back yet,” Hunter said.
“I’m real funny about watching myself back at this point in time in my career, it’s hard for me to see the positives sometimes. But I was there, I kind of know how it went and how it felt out there and yeah, I was happy with it.
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“I felt we did well and we did what we needed to do. For me it’s about getting to where you need to be. If you get to the end of a chapter in WWE, and the chapter delivered to get you where you needed to go to start the next chapter, then you did all right.”
The contrast between his description of working with Ambrose and Reigns captures a lot of how fans view both characters. Hunter said Ambrose “has this innate charisma about him” and he is fun to work with.
“Dean is one of those guys that when you stand in the ring with him, you can feel that back and forth vibe from the other side of the ring. You really don’t have to manufacture anything, you don’t have to dig deep for it, it’s just there. And it’s fun,” Hunter said.
– Although Hunter did not outright acknowledge why many hardcore, invested fans gravitate towards a character like Ambrose over Reigns, Hunter’s excitement talking about working with Ambrose and business-like approach to his match with Reigns captures it quite well.
“I think the real position in the business, and what we do now, is about just being true,” Hunter said. “Being real, being you, and whatever that is, being true to the character that you create. And if you’re true to it and believe it and feel it, then people will buy it, either positively or negatively, they will get behind you one way or the other. As long as you’re true to that character and who that person is. If you sway from that character and wobble and vary, then there is no buy-in, because they see it’s just a front.”
In his latest blog at jrsbarbq.com, Jim Ross took the next step of saying what pro wrestling companies have to do in order to match viewers’s feelings toward certain wrestlers and expectations from the product.
“Something as straight forward as the broadcast of the NFL Draft and how the live audience responded over a three day period is certainly proof that our society is one of overt defiance and for being outspoken in essentially all forums which would have been unheard of just a few years ago,” Ross wrote.
“This is not a sign of the end times for pro wrestling, but it does indicate that decision-makers must create with these issues in mind and present their products more smartly and with today’s ticket buyer/TV viewer in mind more than ever. It will also affect how broadcasters present the product, too.”
Caldwell’s Analysis: There have become too almost “warring sides” of wrestling fans – knowledgable WWE fans who are exhausted from ten-plus-years of John Cena on top and see Reigns as the next, less-talented example, and general/casual/family fans who take the product at face value and react according to how it’s presented along heel/face party lines. The camps vary from city to city and show to show, making it challenging for WWE to aim for a moving target trying to present their product. But, a lot of this is WWE’s own doing with Cena and now Reigns. The dissenting voices are seemingly spreading to every televised city now, making WWE and Reigns’s job even more difficult since the only “favorable towns” these days seem to be non-televised house shows. On the flip-side, Ambrose is in that Daniel Bryan category of having general appeal 8-to-80, while having the respect of vocal audience members. WWE just does not see Ambrose as a long-term top champion, main-eventer like they do with Reigns.