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Triple H leaves Stephanie standing at the altar

Triple H leaves Stephanie standing at the altar. But this marital smackdown is just the beginning of some great matches to come, says Mike Flaherty

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Triple H
Triple H: Rich Freeda/WWF

Triple H leaves Stephanie standing at the altar

As expected, the ”main event” of this week’s ”RAW” (Mondays, 9 p.m., TNN) resulted in a very unhappy ending. Stephanie’s pregnancy, a desperate attempt to hold onto hubby Triple H, was, of course, a scam. Thanks to a last-minute phone call from WWF matriarch (and CEO) Linda McMahon tipping him off to the deception, Hunter approached the jerry-rigged altar in the center of the ring in full knowledge of his wife’s duplicity. He coolly tolerated the event’s embarrasing pomp (and an interminable musical interlude) and Stephanie’s straight-out-of-Hallmark recitation of her vow, until it was his turn to speak. Far from renewing his vow, he laid a verbal smackdown on his other half, labeling her a selfish, dishonest bitch. When daddy Vince (who walked her down the aisle, natch) interceded, Triple H laid him out cold and eventually ”pie-faced” Stephanie onto the mat, then ripped off his tux and stormed away.

As excruciating as the segment was (that is, until the last few delicious minutes), its outcome suggests at least one tantalizing scenario in the weeks to come. With ”Wrestlemania” less than five weeks away and the dreaded NWO set to arrive this Sunday at ”No Way Out,” let me suggest the following:

Since the NWO are coming in on Vince’s side (as a punishment for coowner Ric Flair not giving up his stake in the WWF), expect Triple H to side with the Nature Boy, joining Steve Austin, and, almost certainly, the Rock. Depending on who winds up in the main event at ”Wrestlemania,” expect some combination of the above factions to have at each other in Toronto on March 17.

The possibilities are endless: The simplest (and, probably, least satisfying) would be a three-on-three slobberknocker pitting Hogan, Nash, and Hall against the Game, the Rattlesnake, and the Brahma Bull (with McMahon and Flair in their respective corners and, inevitably, at each other’s throats). More interesting would be a trio of singles matches, the feuds for which could be set up in the weeks between ”No Way Out” and ”WM.” Maybe Rock-Hall, Austin-Hogan, and Triple H-Nash. Perhaps to up the ante, the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels will enter the fray as well. The odd men out in this scenario will be Kurt Angle and Jericho, which would leave them available to battle for the undisputed heavyweight belt at Wrestlemania.

For helping to set up what will be an unprecedented clash of the titans, WWF fans everywhere should be tipping their hats to Triple H and the show’s bookers for losing the wench and turning up the heat.

Where do you think Triple H should/will go from here?

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