We saw everything about this Triple H versus Brock Lesnar rematch at Wrestlemania 29 coming. From the second offering actually happening (rumors swirled of it shortly after the first one at Summerslam), to how it was going to happen (the moment it was announced that Paul Heyman, Lesnar’s manager, would be evaluated by Vince McMahon). Last but not least, the most obvious part of this whole situation was the outcome.
I mean, Lesnar won round one, and out-toughed one of the baddest men in WWE’s history. Clearly “The Game” was in line for the win this time around, right?
Before fans could count their chickens, the writers threw a curveball when Heyman declared that Triple H’s career would be on the line as the match’s stipulation (in which even that was easy to see; I know I called that caveat the moment it was revealed Lesnar’s camp could choose the conditions). Regardless, it certainly has made the WWE Universe think twice about predicting how this match will end.
Personally, I’m not easily as swayed.
First, I have to be honest about something: I couldn’t care less about this match. The build to it has been like every Triple H return before it, with the super serious “I’m coming to fight and I’m going to kick your ass” promo that people stopped caring about five years ago. Plus, the initial encounter already was a no-disqualification match, which is what we are seeing again (it wasn’t entertaining last time around). And quite frankly, Triple H’s intimidation factor is completely gone without the long hair, for whatever it’s worth. The only reason this feud has even a little juice behind it is because Lesnar bled all over the place in their first brawl to rekindle the rivalry.
Furthermore, Triple H announced retirement after his loss to Brock last summer, which means that he is coming out of retirement…for a retirement match.
Having said all that, I believe the chief operation officer wins this match for a few reasons. As stated above, he lost the first time. It is difficult to believe that Triple H’s real life ego will allow a second straight defeat and that he won’t “but dad” the outcome. (“But dad” is a reference to how interactions with Vince, his father-in-law, likely went backstage for the past decade-plus when big booking moments were decided; i.e., McMahon states Hunter will lose a title match and he responds with, “but daaaaaad…” like a small, whiny child that needs to get his way. Credit to the guys over at the Doing The Job podcast for this excellent phrase.)
Secondly, I believe that the stipulation of Triple H’s career being on the line was instated just to throw us off the scent. In recent years we have seen Ric Flair and Hunter’s best friend, Shawn Michaels, get put out to pasture at Wrestlemania. In fact, I can’t recall anyone who has won in a match where their job was at stake. I would imagine that people’s first instinct would be to think that this ends the same way. However, I’m not one of them.
Of course, those who disagree would likely counter that Wrestlemania can’t have two major stars win a rematch just because they lost the first time (John Cena being the other, whose match against The Rock I tackled last week), or that a loss would give Brock, whom WWE has promoted as a monster destroyer, a losing record since his return and kill his credibility. Naturally, the main argument would come in the form of Triple H getting to have his sendoff on the biggest stage of them all, like his best friend before him.
I’m not buying it. Is Triple H really going to go out to Brock Lesnar? For a man that is as passionate about the business as anyone, I would have a difficult time believing that he would do the job for a second time, and to cap off his career, to a guy who left the business on a whim many years ago without a care in the world for it, and to someone who is currently only there for a few dates a year. Plus, the prestige gained from “being the guy that retired (insert great wrestler here)” is a high accolade to achieve; Helmsley himself even played that card for years after finishing off Mick Foley. The wrestling business means nothing to Lesnar. It means everything to Triple H. Knowing who he is, it is far-fetched to believe that he will bestow that honor upon the man once known as the “next big thing”. Perhaps in 2002 when Lesnar was that guy. But certainly not now.
Overall, I actually believe it is better booking if Brock Lesnar wins. It allows him to regain his momentum as someone that will steamroll anyone in his path and, if I can armchair book for a moment, plant the seed for a Lesner/Ryback “monster vs. monster” match at Wrestlemania 30 to correct the mistake with Goldberg from ten years prior. But this is Triple H we are talking about here. If there is anything I have learned over the course of his career, it is that all bets are off when it comes to him losing a big match. It seems a little strange to make what would be his final match a starting point for that to happen.
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