I know that Triple H has historically been accused of being a backstage politician, but the one thing that bothered me about the book was Randazzo's assertion that during the "Two-Man Power Trip" era in 2001, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was demoted to being Triple H's lackey, when it was apparent that, with Austin the WWF Champ and Trips the Intercontinental Champ, Austin was the stronger of the two. Not to mention that Randazzo's claim that the IWC "threw a ticker-tape parade" when he got injured on Raw the night after Judgment Day 2001 (vs. Jericho and Benoit). Which was odd, given that, prior to mid-2002, Trips was still over with the IWC. Here's a discussion of the Power Trip angle at the WrestleCrap forums.
I was part of the IWC in 2001. We did throw a ticker-tape parade. Triple H has always been a polarizing figure amongst the IWC, with some fans believing he was flawless and beyond critique from lowly smarks, and some fans seeing him an undeserving megalomaniacal politician, with his omnipresence on WWF/E programming making it very difficult to have a moderate view on him. And as I recall the time he was most unpopular was during the post-In Vasion days when he was burying Chris Jericho and Booker T. and refusing to lose matches.
Maybe you did, but based on what I know, Trips was still an IWC darling, at least until late 2002 and especially 2003. What did the RSPW (that's rec.sport.pro-wrestling, in case if you're not familiar) and the various forum posts of the day (circa 2001) say about Trips when he got injured?
It really started to turn around the same time Stephanie McMahon got the head writer job (Survivor Series 2000) and rumors were going around that the two were involved in Real Life. By the time of the injury, he was still seen more positively than negatively (a lot of the Internet types were worried about the lack of heel depth on the WWE roster), but that pretty much got Ret Conned out when he gained another 50 pounds and couldn't carry half the roster to *** matches anymore.