Triple H on the collapse of WCW and ECW
By JOHN POWELL -- SLAM! Wrestling
Even before it was announced yesterday that the World Wrestling Federation
had purchased its long-time rival World Championship Wrestling,
Hunter-Hearst Helmsley (Triple H) had plenty to say about why the WWF is
still going strong and it's competitors have tanked.
HHH had plenty to say on the sale of WCW to the WWF during a media conference call to promote WrestleMania 17.
In a media conference call to promote WrestleMania 17 next weekend,
Helmsley blamed WCW's demise on their lack of respect for the pro wrestling
"As far as WCW goes, I think they lost their passion for the business. I
think as a company most of their people were 'corporate people' working for
Turner that were pushed down to the 'wrestling thing' and I think many of
them were just nine-to-fivers that would go....Ah, I don't want to do this
wrestling crap. I'd rather be doing some other thing in the company but I
got stuck down here doing this," said Helmsley assessing the situation that
led to the WWF's takeover of WCW.
But it is not just the "suits" who Helmsley holds responsible. He points
the finger at some of WCW's veteran talent who he claims did as little as
they could get away because they were guaranteed a sizable pay cheque from
the company no matter what kind of effort they gave. According to Triple H,
that's what set the prosperous WWF apart from a continually floundering
"We (the WWF) care about putting out a great product. We care to entertain
you better than anybody else and we care to make sure that every aspect of
our show is as good as we can do it," he said. "Yeah, we make mistakes.
Yeah, sometimes a storyline is not where it should be but we work to change
it and we are always striving to give the best product that we can because
everybody in our company from the lowest guy on the totem pole to the top
guy on the totem pole -- which is Vince McMahon -- everybody shares that
passion about our business and that's why we are Number One. That's why we
will continue to be successful as other people fall."
The one legendary performer Triple H holds in high esteem for preserving
through all of WCW's woes is "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Helmsley admits that
Flair isn't what he used to be in the ring. That being said, Helmsley views
Flair as still incredibly fun to watch and an asset to any company he works
for. He gives him full credit for remaining enthusiastic and
"When I would watch their (WCW's) show sometimes over the last year one of
the only things that I would find mildly entertaining was when Flair would
come out because I knew he was going to cut a good promo that would make me
laugh or something," Triple H said. "When I would watch him wrestle and I
would think...God, that's just not the Ric Flair the way I want to remember
him...but I tell you what, I would still go out there and watch his matches
because he would show me more passion in the ten minutes he would wrestle
than anybody else on that show. I cannot help but respect that. Ric Flair
in this day and age still loves this business, still has a passion for this
business, and still wants to do it badly. I have all the respect in the
world for that as opposed to guys who are in their prime and basically are
just going...Well, hell. I got my money. I am going to go sit home. Why
should I bust my ass? I make the same money."
Turning his thoughts to ECW's downfall, Helmsley commended their struggle
and effort to be successful even though they were the obvious underdogs. He
viewed them as a "good training ground" and a "benefit" to the industry
when they were at the top of their game. Unlike WCW, it wasn't laziness or
an uncaring attitude that toppled ECW. It was simply some "bad business
decisions" that paved the road to ruin.
"I look at what he (Paul Heyman) did with some of the talent, and that's
not to belittle anyone there, sometimes he didn't have the most talent to
work with but he made the best of it and that's genius to be able to do
that," Helmsley said of ECW owner Paul Heyman.
Having virtually abandoned ECW as a wrestling promotion for the time being,
Paul Heyman has joined the World Wrestling Federation as a colour
commentator and a behind-the-scenes booker. Triple H is glad to have him
aboard. The creativity and devotion he brings to the job is inspiring
others and shaking up what critics have termed as a bland WWF product
heading into their biggest show: WrestleMania.
"As far as him (Heyman) being here, he's great. He thinks outside the box
which is tremendous. I think he has been and will continue to be a huge
help in this company and the biggest thing that I like is Paul is so
passionate about the business and I think that's why guys worked for him
for so long when they weren't making money," remarked an excited Helmsley.
"Paul is such a passionate guy that when you talk to him about wrestling
you just cannot help but have that same feeling he does. He just gets you
hyped up about the business and you just want to go out there and
Of the talent Heyman brought along with him Helmsley sees good things in
the future for Justin Credible and Rhino.
"It is hard to say but I think Justin Credible is going to do very well. I
think that Rhino is going to do very well also. He's a good guy. He'll be a
player over time. There's a lot of talent out there it is just getting it
in at the right time and doing the right things with them."
Editor's Note: As WrestleMania 17 draws near look for part two of our
chat with Triple H as he discusses his thoughts on his opponent -- The
Undertaker -- and what the event means to the entire WWF locker room.
Triple H bio and story archive