It still feels somewhat surreal, this Triple H as head booker deal.
Even though, incredibly, Stephanie McMahon told investors that Vince, as controlling shareholder, "still has his eyes on what is best for business", this is Triple H's WWE. The changes are very, very incremental, but they almost have to be. Triple H can't turn around and say "You were right, this is all sh*t, let's change everything". WWE has to be seen as the market leader. He knows, however, that things need to change - and certain developments, like elevating the midcard titles, are a strong hint towards that.
It might feel more normal at WrestleMania 39: the first WrestleMania not booked by Vince McMahon. In latter years, the event has lived up to its fabled billing as the one show per year that united a fractured, lapsed fanbase. Night one of the 37th and 38th editions were deliriously entertaining blockbusters. The question is: does Triple H have that much fun in him?
What kind of booker even is Triple H in 2022?
A romanticised image of 'Papa H', the man who embraced pro wrestling as NXT figurehead, is somewhat naive. He really only built NXT in that image because he was savvy enough to sense a new, alternative movement. Are Dexter Lumis, Karrion Kross and Top Dolla fashionable workrate guys?
What on earth is WrestleMania without Vince McMahon going to look like...?
12. Ricochet Vs. Mustafa Ali Vs. Cameron Grimes Vs. Wes Lee - Intercontinental Title Match
Triple H, despite pushing Dexter Lumis on Raw, has a certain cheat code to his beloved critical acclaim.
The worst excesses of his product at times scan like a desperate bid to grab star ratings; his matches often go long for long's sake because he knows that a generation of wrestling fans have been conditioned to conflate a great match with a lengthy one. It's actually surprising at this point that somebody on Twitter hasn't posted a graphic of his Boot Camp match with Sgt. Slaughter with the caption 'This was lowkey GOATed".
He's also fond of a multi-man workrate banger; indeed, this was his solution to the Karrion Kross problem in the summer of 2020. Adam Cole, Finn Bálor, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa worked a one hour Iron Man match for the vacant NXT Title because it was almost guaranteed to draw at least ****1/4 reviews.
To that end, a multi-man "banger" is all but certain for WrestleMania, and the tradition of cramming as many names as possible on the card will continue, particularly since Triple H needs to endear himself to many members of a disillusioned roster.
The four names mentioned are probably interchangeable, and to be less snarky, the match would be incredible - provided, by then, that WWE crowds have relearned to like wrestling.