Sometimes here at Wrestlecrap, we think big. We’ve inducted three-hour pay-per-views, long-running characters, and even whole promotions in our illustrious history.
On the flip side, we’ve inducted articles of clothing, individual matches, and even one 18-second bout that nonetheless yielded a 1850-word write-up.
This induction falls into the latter category. Tonight, we look back at the night Triple H destroyed the minitron. Don’t worry, it’s way stupider than it sounds (even stupider than referring to myself in the plural).
Many viewers might not realize that, unlike some other big-screens in WWE history, the Titantron is not electronic. Rather than being made of glass and circuits like a TV, the Tron’s screen is made of a fabric, upon which video is projected from behind.
It really couldn’t be any other way. Imagine the amount of electricity required to run a giant video screen for two or three hours at a time. And forget about transporting it; WWE would need a giant flatbed truck taking up two or three lanes just to get the thing from arena to arena in one piece. They have enough trouble transporting the Great Khali; don’t expect them to fare any better hauling a glass screen four times taller and nearly as inflexible.
WWE hasn’t exactly been secretive about this, either. In the past, the big screens have gotten destroyed without a deadly rain of glass descending on the wrestlers and audience.
First, there was the night after WrestleMania XV, when the Big Show pulled the thing down and Austin sliced it open from behind.
Neither of them got electrocuted, let alone burned by the pyrotechnics that seemed to be packed into almost every piece of equipment in today’s WWE.
Then there was the time that Rhyno gored Chris Jericho right into one of the smaller Trons on Smackdown, knocking the screen down and revealing nothing but a projector behind it. For many watching at home, it was like Toto pulling the screen back and revealing the Great and Powerful Oz to be nothing more than a 6’11” wrestler with bad knees.
I mean, Chris Jericho’s jacket is more of an electrocution hazard than the Titantron.
Funny story about that Rhyno-Jericho incident: it was an excuse to give Smackdown a new set for its “season premiere.” The following week, we were introduced to the famous “fist” set, as if WWF could spend all it wanted when it came to elaborate construction, but when it came to replacing a single projection screen, they suddenly had a smaller budget than your high school’s A/V Club.
In January 2008, WWE was about to go HD, so it was replacing the trusty Parallelogram-o-tron in favor of a new, multi-purpose set that is still used today on all its television programming. For some reason, it yet again needed a storyline explanation for this aesthetic update, and once again, that storyline explanation would be the destruction of one of its small screens. I know, that sounds kind of idiotic, but believe me, it gets stupider.
This time around, it was Triple H doing the honors. As of late, he had been peeved at Vince McMahon for denying him entrance into the upcoming Royal Rumble, so he decided to take his anger out on his fellow superstars. On this night, it was Snitsky who felt the wrath of a Cerebral Assassin so steaming with rage that he could have boiled an entire seafood dinner, mussels and all, in fifteen minutes.
After disposing of WWE’s greatest punter never to be dishonorably discharged, Triple H took his sledgehammer and marched up the ramp. It was then that Vince McMahon appeared on the Titantron to talk to Hunter.
In a pre-taped scolding of Triple H, Vince advised The Game without irony to “take a chill pill,” a phrase he may have recently heard on Family Matters.
Hunter then set his sights on the Tron, approaching the screen while brandishing his hammer. At this point in Vince’s pre-recorded promo, his eyes widened, as if actually staring down Triple H face-to-face, frightened that Hunter was charging at the Chairman himself and not just at his projected image.
Next came the part that didn’t just defy suspension of disbelief; even for a dream, this would be surreal. In fact, were this segment a dream, this would be the part that snaps me back to reality: Triple H swung his weapon at the screen, startling Mr. McMahon who, in one of the most mind-boggling reactions in wrestling history, actually ducked out of the way of Hunter’s sledgehammer — the sledgehammer that was hundreds of feet away from the office where Vince comfortably stood in front of a camera.
This wasn’t even a goof; since Vince’s “reactions” were clearly filmed hours ahead of time, he must have approved the script, screened the footage beforehand and deemed it worthy to air on national TV. Yes, Vince McMahon, self-made billionaire (ignoring the fact that his dad started the WWF and that he doesn’t have anywhere near a billion dollars), chairman of a publicly-traded company, and 62-year-old adult living in 21st century America, could not tell the difference between his image on a screen and his actual self.
With Vince’s poor understanding of how visual representations work, it’s a wonder that he let himself be turned into an action figure, knowing how many stunners he would have to endure from Stone Cold’s action figure.
Adding to the insanity were the explosions that followed. Despite the fact that Trips’s sledgehammer clearly tore open the screen rather than shattering it, we were still supposed to believe that the Titantron was an honest-to-goodness big screen TV (and one hooked up by Possum Lake’s explosives enthusiast, Edgar Montrose).
With the vinyl screen ripped open, viewers could see that there was a whole load of nothing behind the minitron. Sparking an electrical fire with a material that not only doesn’t conduct electricity but isn’t even connected to any power source is like burning your corn flakes with milk.
But we were still expected to believe that it was a volatile, high-tech piece of equipment that Hunter was destroying, and not a sheet of fabric stretched tightly across a frame. It’s a miracle Hulk Hogan never burst into flames whenever he tore open his shirt. The only saving grace for this massive insult to the fans’ intelligence was that at least Vince resisted the instinct to do a blade job and sell the gash HHH had just torn in his face.
The screen where Vince’s soul lay magically trapped eventually went completely blank, as did the big screen and the smaller electronic screens on the side, which Hunter never even touched. Triple H then threw his sledgehammer at the small screen, creating an eruption of even more pyro that continued to spark as Raw went to commercial.
Backstage, Vince was furious, putting Triple H in a match with a Royal Rumble spot at stake. Sure, this “punishment” actually gave Triple H an opportunity to enter the Rumble after all, but cut Vince some slack for not making sense; he had just taken multiple shots to the face with a sledgehammer and was on his way to the emergency room to stitch up the lacerations on his face.
We at Wrestlecrap have seen plenty of WWE segments that have made us question Vince McMahon’s intelligence, but this one was in a league of its own.
And if that’s not Wrestlecrap, I don’t kn— Hey, don’t click that picture! Vince’s face is still very sensitive!