With the sheer amount of product the WWE churn out on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis, it’s amazing that we’re still seeing comprehensive releases such as the new Triple H DVD: Thy Kingdom Come. What separates this from the plethora of other Triple H DVD’s that have been released over the years, not factoring in his body building book and featured place on DVD’s dedicated to the group he helped found Degeneration X? Is there really any more to tell in regards to HHH’s story?
In a word: yes.
In the wake of key releases, such as the CM Punk focused Best In The World DVD, wrestling fans are now in the throws of an interesting period with these DVD’s. We’re being given true access, with the concepts of kayfabe being well and truly disregarded in favor of a company controlled ‘shoot’ style, tell all. It worked wonders for the CM Punk DVD; Best In The World is one of the best documentaries the WWE have ever produced, thanks in part to the incorporation of Punk’s wrestling past in ROH, etc, etc. Like the Punk DVD, Thy Kingdom Come has some wonderful, never before seen footage (on a WWE boxset, it must be stressed) of an incredibly young HHH wrestling in gyms and bingo halls around the country, as he starts off on his ambitious journey. The inclusion of this footage really allows us to marvel at how far a superstar the calibre of HHH has come, as it is all too easy to forget that he has not always been the megastar he is today; there was a time before he was known as “the guy married to the boss’ daughter”, and this set chronicles that time with a good amount of detail, and a great selection of footage. That being said, it also explores the trials he faced when he became known as “the guy who married the boss’ daughter”, which is one of the more enjoyable, and revealing, chapters on the set. It really leaves no stone unturned.
As with other WWE produced feature docs, the narrative is shared through a series of talking head interviews with key people who have influenced, or been affected by, HHH. Interviews with his parents are, although limited, insightful to HHH’s drive as a young man, and telling of the mind set he maintained while trying to break into the business. Others, such as Road Dogg or Billy Gunn are barely included or featured, apart from providing further contextual understanding of specific events: the formation of the new DX, DX invading WCW, etc, etc.
The story itself is well paced at the beginning, with time being taken to really develop the start of his journey into wrestling, his introduction into WCW and the character name assigned to him: “Terror Rizing”. Near the end however it begins to suffer from an inconsistent pace, with certain chapters feeling a little rushed through; perhaps because of time constraints, or perhaps due to a lack of substance on the subject. I would have loved to seen a lot more discussed about Evolution, considering this faction helped to spring board the careers of Randy Orton and Batista.
Additionally, the chapter on HHH branching out into acting is, although for the sake of completion, necessary, feels a little out of place with the rest of the set. It is also the chapter that begins the descent into the inevitable “HHH is really, truly great” conclusion, with the pacing picking up, speeding through a number of topics, including his recent real life rise within the business to the rank of COO. These chapters, grouped collectively, create an overly drawn out conclusion that is so effusive with their praise for HHH I worried I would develop diabetes from the sheer amount of saccharine spewing from my TV’s speakers.
Over the course of two hours I have been made well aware of this mans great accomplishments, both inside and outside of the ring, and the sheer drive and determination that he displays is truly admirable; just rewatch the chapter about the grueling rehab he underwent after tearing his quad for sufficient proof on this, so a drawn out conclusion of “He’s the best” isn’t really necessary by that point.
It’s a long, comprehensive documentary that features a lot of information that wrestling fans were probably already well aware of, or had heard before. What helps separate this set from the releases that have preceded it however is the exclusive footage that we, as an audience, are being allowed to see for the first time. Footage of the HHH/McMahon wedding for example allows us an access to these people that has, to this point, not existed. Even the footage of HHH helping the roster of NXT, rolling in the ring and playing with his young children help to paint a picture of the man that is far more effective that hearing somebody simply state it.
This DVD set allows us to witness a man, now in his 40’s, reflect on his amazing career, and it is through the passage of time that we can see how far HHH has come. He has matured as a wrestler, but he has also grown as a person. Yes, some of the interviews contain stories you may have heard before, but it’s with the wisdom of age that we can glean something new from them.
The WWE are producing some truly great pieces on their main stars recently, and as wrestling fans we have never been given this much access behind the curtain to the industry and the superstars we admire; what they started in CM Punk: Best In The World, they continue with HHH: Thy Kingdom Come, and I look forward to their next release.
If you are a wrestling fan, this is a definitive must watch documentary and, slight pacing issues aside, is a wonderfully detailed look into the the career of one of the best wrestlers of all time.
Steve Russell // @stevetendo
Triple H - Thy Kingdom Come is out now on DVD (£29.99) and Blu-Ray (£34.99), courtesy of Fremantle Media International.