TRIPLE H: CREATOR OF NEW TERRITORIES

Posted February 4th, 2017 by Bill Apter

By Travis Voeltz

The Game: Triple H has been called the “cerebral assassin”. Cerebral, which is another word for intellectual, clever, or brainy, is exactly what Triple H has displayed since he joined the WWE in 1995. The Plan: Using his knowledgeable ring psychology, he picked his opponents apart in the ring—after having already mentally beat them with the mind games he’d played heading into the encounter. The Course of Events: Eventually marrying Stephanie McMahon and becoming the Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events, and Creativity for the WWE, Triple H also is the founder and senior producer of NXT. The Indicators: All these factors seem to show that Triple H continues to be the mastermind, aka “cerebral” killer of the competition.
It’s been no secret that Triple H is a student of the game and is quick to honor the history of professional wrestling. Whether it be brokering reunions between the WWE and legends like Bruno Sammartino, and the Warrior—or giving his brand “NXT” a very old school feel; Triple H is giving any fans of wrestling something to look forward to and enjoy going forward.
Born summer 2012, “NXT” took on life as Triple H nursed his baby from the start. Now viewed more as its own brand than a developmental territory for the main roster, NXT has grown into a show that many fans turn to weekly on the WWE Network. With its one hour format, simple and straight-forward feuds that are easy to follow…in addition to a darker grittier feel to it, NXT seems to have tapped into a more mature experience that some fans have been missing from what they regularly see on Raw and Smackdown Live. Giving opportunities to wrestlers who have honed their craft all over the globe, Triple H seems unafraid to take chances on guys that WWE had over looked in the past. That takes guts. Much like the territory days of pro-wrestling, NXT is giving opportunities to those that have made a name on their own, somewhere else, rather than just those that come directly out of WWE’s own training center. This approach has thus far proven fruitful as it has allowed fans of the WWE to enjoy the likes of Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura, Finn Balor, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries and many others. While for many years the WWE seemed to operate as if no place else existed, Triple H has ventured out, confident and fearless in his “cerebral fashion” with ideas much like a young Vincent Kennedy McMahon once had.
NXT isn’t the only thing Triple H is resurrecting in wrestling. As reported by ESPN, he has been working closely with another well-respected wrestling personality with roots in the history of wrestling, in William Regal. They have successfully collaborated on both the Cruiserweight Classic tournament, which has now translated to a cruiserweight only show in 205 Live, and also the largely considered successful United Kingdom tournament, where they crowned the first ever WWE UK Champion. Before many have even considered all he has done and is doing—between NXT, 205 Live, and the UK taking off, Triple H has in a sense brought back what has been nonexistent for many years: The Territories.
The territory system is how pro-wrestling thrived before the global expansion in the 80’s of the WWE. Wrestlers were able to wrestle in a given territory until either being forced out by an adversary, or leave when they had over stayed their welcome. Starting again in a new territory, many wrestlers were able to get many more quality years out of their career before becoming over-exposed to the fans. Speaking of the 80’s, while each territory had its champion, one name was considered the World Champion that reigned above the majority of the territories and the overall champion: Ric Flair. “Nature Boy,” Ric Flair owned the 80’s—often as the NWA World Champion of which the majority of the territories fell under its umbrella. It’s no secret as through either their association as members of Evolution, or countless interviews; there wasn’t a bigger fan of Ric Flair and his history, than Triple H. With his continuing to expand the WWE with other brands, could Triple H’s plan be to eventually have one world champion? A champion that would reign over individual brands or territories like Ric Flair used to rule over the NWA? Imagine one traveling world champion that was considered the overall world champion over NXT, 205 Live, the UK, Smackdown Live, and Raw! With more and more champions being crowned, having one overall champion would certainly bring prestige to the WWE World Champion that many feel is hasn’t been seen in recent years. Creating territories isn’t the only way that Triple H has been revisiting things that have worked and/or meant something in the past. How about this throwback: NXT has annual year end awards.
The idea started in 2015, when NXT brand began presenting year end awards for things like “Wrestler of the Year,” (both male and female), “Tag Team of the Year,” “Match of the Year,” and others. If you grew up on the “Apter Mags” you know this isn’t a new idea, but more of a current version of the widely popular annual PWI year end awards.
The “Apter Mags” as they are referred—due to legendary pro-wrestling journalist Bill Apter’s association with Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s family of magazines such as PWI, The Wrestler, and Inside Wrestling—began having year end awards starting in the early 70’s. With awards such as “1972 Wrestler of the Year: Pedro Morales,” and continuing through to “2016 Wrestler of the Year: AJ Styles,” both fans and wrestlers themselves would anxiously await the year end magazine issue to see colorful photos of wrestlers holding their awards. If you were fortunate enough you may even have gotten to catch Bill Apter himself presenting the winning wrestler with their award on television. Whether it was the fan voted winners of most hated, most popular, tag team of the year, feud of the year, or many others, the wrestling world seemed to hold these annual awards with a lot of esteem. With the popularity of both the internet and the WWE causing traditional wrestling magazines to not have the must see need anymore, the annual awards were perhaps becoming a thing of the past. However, Triple H’s cerebral fashion may be renewing those past ideas, and with the advent of the NXT year end awards, these annual traditions seem to have gotten a new life.
In a wrestling world where the WWE has long since ruled, Triple H has been working overtime to bring back things like the territories, grittier weekly shows, wrestling tournaments, and annual awards.

Stay tuned…

-Travis Voeltz
Twitter.com/TravisVoeltz

Category: Wrestling.

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