HHH periodically gets referred to as a “guy who works with the guy who draws the money.” Some of that is likely motivated by resistance to some of the revisionist history that paints him as important to the Attitude Era as Austin, Rock, or even Mr. McMahon,
to “put him in his place” a bit. Cornette clearly intended it as a putdown, like he's more a leech and a hanger-on than a legitimate draw. But is that talk a little unfair to the role? Isn't “guy who works with the guy” an important part of the package?
Austin and Rock are who people paid to see, but they need a foil to really maximize their drawing power. HHH may not agree given the burnishing of his legend, but there really is no shame in being the “guy who works with the guy” is there?
PS. Do you (and the rest of the blog) think your original **** 3/4 rating of the Rock/HHH Iron Man stands up? I say yes: it maintains an excellent pace, there's minimal resting, great finishes, and even the usual time-filling brawling segments that were epidemic
in the Attitude Era don't grate, because they're pretty short and serve to change things up after a long in-ring segment.
I don’t think HHH should be bothered by it, but he clearly is and always has been.
And I’ve watched the Iron Man match since then and yeah, it’s still great but still has the same flawed ending that keeps it from perfection.