What’s going on everyone? I’m Rich Latta, and I haven’t properly introduced myself to everyone here on Lords Of Pain, I just got right to work dropping columns. But I’ve been a writer online for a little over 4 years now, and I spent the summer grinding through our awesome forum to bring you guys my work here. I’ve been a wrestling fan since late 1995, and I’m a hip-hop artist in addition to being a podcast host, and Pro Wrestling writer.
They have always been two of my 3 loves, along with The NBA. One of my first columns, that ever caught any traction was a the second column I ever wrote, the original “Why Triple H is the Jay-Z of WWE.” Since that time, both men have had more career peaks and moments that further demonstrate their similarities. Let’s go back to the original column written in 2013, which will be reworked into the new one below.
Triple H was Shawn Michaels (Biggie) & The Kliq’s lackey in the beginning, as Jay-Z was a hype man to Big Daddy Kane, and was known to rap with the Notorious B.I.G from time to time. They both were part of a short lived super group that was broken up due to extenuating circumstances. D-Generation X = The Commission. Shawn’s Back Injury = Biggie’s death. Both situations left massive shoes to fill for relatively unproven potential superstars.
Few believed that Triple H could continue DX without Shawn Michaels. With Nas (Bret Hart) out of the picture, (Bret In WCW, Nas Dropping Questionable albums) few thought Jay-Z would take over New York rap. After being rebuffed by every major record label, he created Rocafella Records along with friends Damon Dash & Kareem Burke. Rocafella Records (Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek, Cam’ron) = The New DX with (The New Age Outlaws, X Pac & Chyna). Within each groups structure, each was able to show their own considerable talents and use it to launch themselves to a higher platform while carving their place in the heart of the culture. Also, Chyna was the equivalent of Amil. Amil and Jay-Z were affiliated a la Chyna/HHH, and were out of the picture by the time the dominance commenced. This will only get scarier.
Run Of Dominance:
Jay-Z becoming a hip hop legend (2001-2003) and creating his most memorable work (The Blueprint, The Black Album) in my eyes is equal to HHH becoming a main eventer, and certified star from Jan 00 to April 2001. The way each of them dismantled their respective groups Jay-Z selling his shares of Rocafella/“retiring from rap”/becoming an executive), and HHH turning heel on his friends for The Corporation and marrying into the McMahon family. Both of these things brought out a groan from fans of both at the time, but in retrospect was the best decision for both.
Putting others on:
Jay-Z was able to find young talent to help him extend his run and keep him fresh and make lots of $. Those talents became legends in their own rights. You may know them as Kanye West, Just Blaze, Rihanna, Rick Ross & J Cole. Since the original writing, he’s launched Roc Nation Sports & Management which negotiate deals for athletes and music artists. At the same time, Triple H was able to walk around the locker room and notice two young guys named Randy Orton and Batista. Being around HHH sped up the development of each of them and is looked at as one to credit for their success. Kanye West = Randy Orton. Watch The Throne/Blueprint 3 = Headlining a Wrestlemania with both Orton & Batista.
Retirement for Jay-Z and quad injuries for HHH, took some time off each mans career and made them more determined to comeback better than ever. This is where it’s even weirder. While HHH and Jay-Z were still elite level performers in 2013, they were longer the square focus of the genre as new stars have come to define a new era. (John Cena, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan) The same can be said for Jay-Z.(Kanye West, Drake, Lil Wayne) Jay still released huge albums, but there was a feeling like it wasn’t the same as it once was.
Executive/Late Career Excellence/Caretaker Of The Genre:
Both men ended up in charge of the companies they revolutionized and drew unfair criticism from those scorned by their rise. (Washed up rappers, friends turned foe, Disgruntled wrestlers, The IWC) Both married what seemed to be unattainable partners, as Beyonce always seemed like a dream for every heterosexual male and Stephanie broke the “No Dating Wrestlers” rule imposed by Vince. Jay-Z will pop out of no where with a Magna Carta Holy Grail, while HHH will steal the show at Wrestlemania as he’s done the last 3 years. HHH has an unreal amount of championship reigns, which come out to as many #1 albums Jay has had. (Circa 2013.) Each man has taken to ensuring the next generation of stars is shown the right way and made sure each genre/sport is secure. Jay-Z with Roc Nation Management & HHH spearheading the WWE Performance center and NXT, which develops tomorrows talent today. Crazy.
One More Run :
Since this was originally written in 2013, both Triple H and Jay-Z have had a few major moments that mirrored one another. In 2016, when WWE was seeing main venters drop left and right, and their Wrestlemania plans for Dallas were being re-written every week, Triple H was forced back into semi-regular duty, as he turned the clock back and won the 2016 Royal Rumble in which he became the WWE Champion, and main evented yet ANOTHER Wrestlemania, his first since 2009 while cutting great promos. NXT has expanded since this original writing, as Triple H has cultivated an organic star-making brand which has gone from, network secret, to Big 4 destination event. However, he wasn’t the only one ready for a last run as the man.
After 2013, Jay-Z was conspicuous by his absence from music. Allowing new stars to emerge while he looked for other ways to shift the culture, which would result in TIDAL being created. TIDAL, like Apple Music or Spotify is a full streaming service, and he would use it to help break certain artists exclusive projects. Deep down though, the MC within him was still there no matter how “middle-aged” he was becoming. With the release of “4:44” Jay-Z got the late career classic so many long time Jay-Z fans yearned for. 20+ years after debuting, for a moment he was once again Hip-Hop’s king. Like Triple H in early 2016.
Another fun one. The impact fatherhood has had on both men. They both have daughters and marriage has drastically changed them from who they were in their youth. Jay-Z’s newfound dedication to his marriage and children to me sounds like Triple H being influenced to make things better for women in WWE. The Mae Young Classic, and The Women’s Revolution owe Triple H a ton of gratitude.
Who will handle the end of their career better? Right now Triple H seems to be ready to wrestle whenever WWE needs him, while Jay is usually in no rush to reveal what his next move will be. Maybe in another 4 years enough will happen to update this column.
Rich Latta is a writer for LordsofPain.net & host of the One Nation Radio Podcast on www.SocialSuplex.com He appears monthly on Chad Matthews’ podcast The Doc Says after Raw PPVs. Give him a follow on Twitter, @RichLatta32 or drop him a comment below. If you like hip-hop, check out his music here. www.Soundcloud.com/RichLatta
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