Listen, we're aware that professional wrestling isn't exactly the pinnacle of human existence, but that doesn't detract from the industry's success. As Philly looks forward to the possibility of hosting 2015's WrestleMania, Triple H—one of the most successful professional wrestlers of all time who now has a major role behind the scenes—spoke with Grantland at length about the state of the industry and the organization of the WWE.
We know it's not Shakespeare, but professional wrestling has earned its place in the spectrum of American culture and to see Triple H expand on the influence of messageboards and the struggle between talent and creative and the redevelopment of what is basically a "minor league" training system is nothing if not an interesting way to burn 10 minutes of your Friday.
So how many more do you have left? How long until you're just a front-office character and not an in-ring performer?
In this business, you're always an injury away from being done anyway. But listen, I spent 40 years of my life in the wrestling business. I spent 40 years trying to avoid having a real job, and somehow I ended up with one. But the job is not 9-to-5, it's 24/7. And it's family. Vince comes over when I'm cooking at the grill and the first thing he says is, "Hey, in Peoria yesterday I noticed something." I'm like, "Can I just cook the hamburgers, please?" It's like that when I wrestle, too. Contrary to everybody thinking it's always an ego play with me, thinking I always just want to get in the ring, sometimes I'm like, "Really? Can I just not? Can't I take this time off?" Getting ready to wrestle is like getting ready for a car crash. Getting ready to work with Brock Lesnar is like knowing you're going to get hit by a bus and the bus is going to back over you. If I'm going to work WrestleMania, 16 weeks out I have to start training like I'm Mayweather getting ready for a fight. I have to find time to do that. [Grantland]