It’s been a while in the WWE since we’ve seen a public vote-of-confidence angle. Triple H standing in the middle of the ring at the end of Monday Night Raw, with even the referees and camera crew walking out on him, was at least a unique visual.
But HHH isn’t the only wrestler to have suffered an ill-fated vote of confidence. Back in 1986, it also happened to the Honky Tonk Man.
Honky Tonk debuted in the WWF as a babyface. Don’t ask how anyone in the back could have thought this guy doing a bad Elvis impression and whirling his arms around like a lunatic would get cheered by fans, but the bookers apparently believe in this guy. Even Hulk Hogan gave a promo to support Honky Tonk. If you watch his debut, Honky Tonk comes out shaking hands and kissing fans, before ending the match with a fist drop (ironic because in real life, he is the cousin of Jerry “The King” Lawler).
But the hoopla didn’t work, because the fans didn’t dig this guy and soon started booing during his matches. As the intelligentsia likes to say in pro wrestling, it was the wrong kind of heat.
Honky Tonk appealed to the fans, which was no doubt the first hint that the bookers figured out he wasn’t going to fly as a good guy. Jesse “The Body” Ventura did a promo with Honky Tonk asking the fans to give him a vote of confidence, which ended up turning the tide against Honky Tonk:
The good news for Honky Tonk is once he became a heel, he had huge success as the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion ever, a feat that is likely to never be broken. He fought memorable feuds with Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Jake “The Snake” Roberts, and people never forgot him.
With that in mind, Triple H can perhaps take some solace in not getting the vote of confidence he was after.