This is the third column for Terri Bey on WrestleChat.net. She will be doing a few guest columns over the coming month. Feel free to follow Terri (the biggest Edge fan in the world) on Twitter, @GioPontiFan.
For those who missed this past Monday’s Raw, after being manhandled, and beaten by Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam two weeks ago, WWE, and WWE stars were speculating (manufactured, of course) on the future of the Game, Triple H. After all, not only did HHH lose, he had his arm “re-broken” at the hands of Lesnar at the PPV. Workers were wondering whether he would “retire,” or return to the ring.
The week prior, they had Shawn Michaels, arm in a sling from his “broken” arm due to Lesnar, fueling the retirement fire. On Raw, they showed HHH videos , and such. Finally on Raw, Triple H, arm in a brace, comes out, and the crowd eventually built up to a cheer. In an attempt at a tearful promo, which was very good, HHH pretty much said he was pretty much done. The crowd, even though they eventually chanted “Thank You Hunter,” seemed a bit dead. I think it is because, like me, they are tired of “retirement angles,” which is the subject of this blog.
I am going to start this off with one of the most famous Aesop Fables, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” The story starts with this boy who is bored while watching the flock of sheep on a hill. He decides to have a little fun, so he yells, “WOLF!! WOLF!!” “The wolf is chasing the sheep.” Of course, the people in the village come to help the kid, and the kid laughs saying he was joking. The people were mad, but the boy got a kick out of it. A little while later, the boy pulls the same stunt, and yells, “Wolf. Wolf!” The people in the village come running again, only to discover they have been fooled again. They get mad, and the boy is laughing.
A little while later, a REAL WOLF DOES COME, and the boy is screaming for his life, “WOLF!! WOLF!!” Lo and Behold, no one comes, and the flock of sheep were destroyed. When people wondered why the boy didn’t return the sheep, he told them the wolf did come, and he yelled for help, and no one came. He was told that no one believes a liar, even when he is telling the truth.
The reason I start with this famous fable is because that is how I feel about retirement angles. I mean, they have been done so many times in wrestling that fans like myself have a hard time suspending our belief. I mean, how many “retirement matches” has the great Terry Funk done, only to go right back, and wrestle again? Let’s take this Triple H “retirement.” Let’s get real. Do fans REALLY think he is going to “retire?” I mean, Lesnar “broke” Hunter’s arm twice. Lesnar defeated Hunter on a major PPV. Do fans REALLY think HHH is not going to get his win back? The fans in the stands weren’t buying it. Knowledgeable fans on my twitter page were not buying it. I cried a little, but deep down, I was not even buying it.
Retirement angles are very similar to the story of the “Boy who cried wolf,” because these angles are done so much that when fans see a REAL , LEGIT retirement, they THINK it is an angle. Take Ric Flair’s retirement for instance, I attended WM24. I attended the Hall of Fame Ceremony, and everything. That man got a sendoff fit for a king. I mean, I thought it was for real, but something was bugging me. I had a sick feeling he was going to come back, and wrestle, and he did, for TNA.
HBK’s sendoff was pretty cool. Now, some of the writers for the big sites, like F4WOnline, etc say that if HBK takes a couple of bumps like he did with Lesnar, and at WM28 (I think he took a “ref bump.”), he is not retired. I think that is nitpicking. HBK has said repeatedly that he won’t wrestle a match anymore. He is retired from ring action as far as I am concerned.
The two retirements I mentioned have not been that damaged by the retirement angles’ effect, but one certainly has. It is the retirement of none other than Edge. When he went on Raw on April 11, 2011, and made the sad announcement, there were people who thought at first it was an angle when he started the speech. People expected Alberto Del RIo to run in. However, as it progressed, it was all too real. Edge was done. Over the following months, not only did I have to fight my sadness over the retirement, but I had to deal with fans that , let’s say didn’t quite get it. I mean, if these people could be on my time line on twitter driving me nuts, they could get on WWE.com, and see the article talking about why Edge had to retire. This was the proverbial “real wolf” that showed up. Edge even said in interviews soon after that he go annoyed being asked when he was going to go back to WWE , and wrestle.
In conclusion, retirement angles are just overdone, and outdated. I also think they are very lazy ways of finishing angles. I am sure WWE creative could have done other things to make this Lesnar/HHH feud more interesting. Also, WWE looks like a liar, even when at times, like with Edge, they are telling the truth.