Picture this... World Championship Wrestling (WCW) during early 1994. A young man by the name of Paul Levesque joins that promotion under the name "Terra Ryzing" as a singles wrestler with blonde hair (reportedly Kevin Nash's favorite wrestler to watch in WCW). Just a few months later, that gimmick disappears and he becomes a "French" based snobby wrestler named Jean Paul Levesque. After a run as a singles wrestler, he begins teaming up with his future friend "Lord" Steve Regal (now William Regal in WWE/NXT). By early 1995, he's available as a free agent and WWE signs him under the promise of becoming a singles wrestler (WCW wanted him to remain a tag wrestler).
Hunter Hearst Helmsley was born and he goes from being a French snob to a New England blue blood snob. Picture that! Later named "Triple H", he begins to have a good singles climb up the WWE ladder as a midcarder but he also picks up some friends in the form of the famous "Clique" in Shawn Michaels, Sean Waltman, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall. He did what friends do, such as acting as their designated driver and helping those wrestlers get it together after a tough night of partying (particularly Shawn Michaels). None the less, he's enjoying this friendship and learning so much about the business... He was about to win the 1996 King of the Ring event when the "Curtain Call" happened.
For those who don't know, picture this... WWE during the Spring of 1996. Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were leaving for WCW. Shawn Michaels was WWE Champion. At Madison Square Garden, Hall, Nash, Michaels, and Triple H all got into the ring together to raise each others' arms to salute fans to honor Hall & Nash leaving. While this may sound innocent, Michaels and Hall were babyfaces while Nash and Triple H were heels. Them associating with each other breaks character for each wrestler and was an unscripted & unplanned moment on a WWE show. Vince McMahon could not punish the exiting Hall and Nash, for they were in WCW. Shawn Michaels was his WWE Champion and with Bret Hart taking time off, Vince needed him. Thus, Triple H ate that punishment. He lost that King of the Ring 1996 push (awarded to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin too, the same night of the "Austin 3:16" speech) and he was demoted to the midcard.
Truth be told, Vince McMahon almost fired Triple H that night... He was THAT upset about being humiliated at his "mothership", Madison Square Garden. But Vince showed pity on the young soon-to-be 23 year old wrestler at the time and just opted for a reboot of Triple H as a midcarder instead. This proved to be the best thing for HHH. He needed more in-ring experience and also more time to flesh out his character. Soon, he'd talk Vince McMahon into bringing in Chyna, someone that Triple H trained with the past. Vince could have said "no", given HHH's so-called "Curtain Call" punishment but Vince agreed. Then as Triple H kept re-establishing himself on the roster (GREAT Mick Foley feud), he actually won the 1997 King of the Ring and was actually allowed to team up with his real life buddy Shawn Michaels to form Degeneration X. Yep, that is one half of the guys who did that famous "Curtain Call" incident.
Triple H grew leaps and bounds within that Degeneration X stable and by early 1999, it convinced Vince McMahon to give Triple H a major contract with a promise of a Main Event push (Jim Ross confirmed that on his Podcast). For much of 1999, it was all building blocks to establish Triple H as the #1 guy from the Wrestlemania 15 angle, to the initial WWE Title run, and to then placing HHH in an angle where he marries Stephanie McMahon, the boss's daughter. This set-up Triple H for a HUGE year 2000 where he was featured as the #1 guy on the roster with Steve Austin out with a neck injury. Despite Austin returning, HHH didn't give up his spot and kept getting pushed hard. Despite the quadriceps injury sustained during 2001, he returned during early 2002 to win the Royal Rumble and to defeat Chris Jericho for the WWE Title at Wrestlemania 18. While he dropped the title to Hogan, HHH would later be awarded the Big Gold World Heavyweight Champion as the first champion of the newly split RAW brand. From 2002-2004, Triple H was a multiple time champion and dominated the entire roster.
Also during the early 2000s, the WWE storylines turned to real life as Triple H and Stephanie McMahon actually began dating and eventually with Vince McMahon's blessing, this relationship turned to marriage. Triple H was now part of the family... With time, as HHH's wrestling career was winding down through the late 2000s, Vince McMahon gave Triple H the title of advisor... Then by early 2010s, Triple H became EVP of Live Events. By mid 2012, he became EVP of Live Events & Talent Relations. By late 2013, Triple H became EVP of Live Events, Talent Relations, and Creative. Just a few years later, Triple H would obtain a spot on the WWE Corporation's Board of Directors.
With ALL OF THAT SAID...
The Internet Wrestling Community has the NERVE to say that recently, Vince McMahon, has been surrounding himself with "YES MEN"?
With YES MEN?
The FACT is that Vince McMahon has had the ULTIMATE "YES MAN" beside him for the past 10 years with Triple H.
Are you kidding me?
Nobody can show me a single moment where Triple H outright challenged his Father-in-Law, Vince McMahon, on any business, talent, or creative decision. IT DOES NOT EXIST. Triple H just nods his head and just let's Vince McMahon do whatever he wants. TOTAL ENABLER. Working with family members creates obvious nepotism and enabling from the siblings or in-laws. When having the title of EVP of Live Events, Talent Relations, and Creative for much of 2013 through 2019, he DID NOTHING on the Main Roster to question Vince McMahon's actions.
And what happened between 2013 through 2019?
Oh, the WWE just lost HALF of its Monday Night RAW viewing audience... HALF. Viewership was just over 4 million during 2013 and now it is hovering around 2 million. WWE also lost thousands in attendance and merchandise sales began to struggle. The TV deals from dying and desperate Cable/Satellite channels is keeping the WWE alive.
And I don't blame Triple H... Look at what Vince McMahon gave him:
(a) Successful Pro Wrestling Careers
(b) Millions upon Millions of Dollars
(c) Fame, can do movie roles or other projects with his name.
(d) His own Performance Center and NXT promotion that operates under a loss.
(e) Executive Roles that he could take to other Corporations if he wanted to.
(f) His daughter's hand in marriage. He has 3 daughters together with Stephanie. Why would he want to upset Grandpa?
Triple H just nods his head and just lets Vince McMahon do his thing. This contrasts with what Pat Patterson, Vince Russo, Jim Cornette, and Jim Ross used to do during the 1990s. They disagreed with Vince and then explained BETTER WAYS to do things. Triple H just goes with the flow and look what has happened in the WWE since he became EVP of Creative during late 2013... Disaster.
Everyone is looking at the 2019 Creative Team Changes of promoting Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman as "Executive Directors" (Bruce Prichard later replacing Eric Bischoff and then also replacing Paul Heyman) along with the recent March 2021 promotion of now road agent but former Talent Relations EVP John Laurinaitis as Vince McMahon surrounding himself with "Yes Men". I mean, last time I checked, Heyman and Bischoff were far from that title with Vince... But they are gone. Bruce definitely is one, while John likes the corporate lifestyle more than most and did often bend to Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn's will (see Divas Search Contest, scouting from Lingerie catalogs).
BUT - I keep pointing to this... Had Triple H performed a better job AT Creative and AT Talent Relations, there would be NO NEED for "Executive Directors of Creative" or "General Managers of Talent Relations". Vince McMahon wouldn't feel the need, as a father-in-law, to protect his own son-in-law from failure. WWE has massively declined in business during the latter half of the 2010s. NOBODY can deny that. At the center of it an EVP named Triple H. Instead of firing him, as he did with Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff, he brought in more resources to either (a) ease the tension on Triple H maybe doing too much or (b) place blame elsewhere. Again, Heyman and Bischoff were terminated as Executive Directors and now the WWE is hiring multiple "Lead Writers" to help out Bruce Prichard.
QUIT giving me this crap about Vince McMahon surrounding himself with "Yes Men" lately. Please...
He's had "Yes Men" (and Women) around him for the past 20 years and they are also called his FAMILY. Linda, Shane, Stephanie, and Triple H have been all enablers to whatever Vince McMahon wants. For the past 20 years, the WWE has declined from its peak when the WWE actually had backstage managers who challenged Vince McMahon from time to time in Russo, Cornette, Ross, and Patterson. In fact, when the WWE was declining through 1996, those guys reformed the WWE from top to bottom on Creative, how Talent was signed and developed, and how major storylines were executed and finished. From the 2000s through 2013, he has Stephanie McMahon as his Creative Team Leader. Kevin Dunn is always there, as is Michael PS Hayes to pucker-up. Then, of course, there was Triple H during the 2010s doing NOTHING to make things better. In fact, as I've consistently argued lately, he has struggled to develop MAIN EVENT male talent as the Talent Relations EVP in comparison to what Jim Ross and John Laurinaitis gave Vince.
Let's just face reality here, folks... Handling Live Events, Creative Teams for RAW & Smackdown, Talent Relations, and trying to promote NXT as a separate brand has spread Triple H too thin. As a Board Chairman and CEO of the company, it is Vince McMahon's responsibility to see a WEAKNESS in his managerial staff and address it. Thus, he threw resources at Creative and now he is throwing more resources at Talent Relations. Doesn't that make sense? That can allow Triple H to continue overseeing and managing Live Events while trying to make much needed improvements on the NXT brand that is currently sinking on the USA Network.
Had Triple H said something from late 2013 through mid-2019 when he was EVP of Creative...
Think about how different the WWE could be right now if someone stood up to Vince McMahon backstage at Creative or Production meetings and said "YOU'RE WRONG" on overpushing Roman Reigns. How about trying to make Jinder Mahal into the WWE Champion? How about screwing up Seth Rollins as a Main Eventer? The many, many errors on pushing Bray Wyatt. The many times that WWE goes back to the well on Randy Orton. WHERE WAS TRIPLE H ON ANY OF THOSE CREATIVE DECISIONS?!?!?
And don't forget who was the architect of that Wrestlemania 30 disaster. One of the things that Triple H did pull off was Batista vs. Randy Orton happening at that show and he was directly involved with sabotaging Daniel Bryan in the process of all of that.
And don't forget who messed with CM Punk for years and tried to shoehorn him into a match with HHH at Wrestlemania 30 as well.
When HHH tried to make his mark, it failed... Otherwise, he just nodded his head like a YES MAN.
Let's conclude this great column with one LASTING and FINAL argument that NOBODY can deny. This will prove, once and for all, why Triple H even exists in a WWE managerial position.
BESIDES Triple H, can anyone name any ex-WWE wrestlers on WWE's Executive Management team? John Laurinaitis or Michael PS Hayes never wrestled for the WWE or Vince McMahon, by the way... Both joined as non-wrestlers.
You know, maybe give Mick Foley a chance on the Creative Team? Maybe Stone Cold? Edge and Christian were retired for years and they were never asked to do anything backstage. The Undertaker just retired and one would figure that this wealth of knowledge would be valued backstage. NOPE. Shawn Michaels can only be guest trainer, at most, in the WWE. William Regal exists in NXT because of Triple H. Kurt Angle could have been great but the WWE just recently let him go contractually.
Ohhhhhh... So Triple H is Vince McMahon's exception to his current management rules.
And why does that exception exist? BECAUSE HE IS FAMILY.
There is NO WAY that Triple H obtains any "EVP" titles without being married to a McMahon, FACT. He would be just another retired superstar appearing on Legends Night to reprise his role in Degeneration X when the ratings are down and need a little bump. Oh wait, he already lowers himself to do that from time to time.
Vince McMahon is not hiring ex-WWE wrestlers to key positions of his backstage management group. When he occasionally does, he gets quickly impatient about their ideas... As Road Dogg, whom Triple H tried to place as a Creative Team member for Smackdown during 2017. You saw how bad that show became...
ALL of those retired WWE greats have not been given any chance at a backstage WWE role... That blows my mind. Foley, Austin (he'd turn it down), Edge, Christian, Kurt Angle, and now the Undertaker. There were many midcarders who didn't have the talent to be a top guy and yet their intelligence helped get them over. Nope, Vince doesn't want any ex-WWE wrestlers on his Creative or managerial staff at all.
Except one... His Son-in-Law, Triple H, whom he has now tried to build up strong but with declining results coming in (RAW down 2 million+ viewers), he is cushioning the blow for family by placing Executive Directors of Creative and General Managers of Talent Relations on the corporate structure. It's kind of like shifting Stephanie McMahon from "EVP of Creative" to "Chief Brand Officer", a title that WWE Corporate didn't even have until Stephanie was announced with that title. How many chances will Shane McMahon get backstage, too? All he wants to do is actually wrestle!
Most of the internet cannot see this "Phantom Menace" backstage at the WWE. Vince McMahon has a WEAK management team surrounding him because he has placed FAMILY members in key positions and he's too good of a Father and Father-in-Law to properly correct those mistakes.
Triple H just isn't that good at signing and developing MALE wrestlers for the WWE Main Roster, as I pointed out in my LAST COLUMN. Just look at the WWE World Champions since 2010, as they are mostly John Laurinaitis signed and trained wrestlers. Only a few from Triple H's tenure as Talent Relations EVP have won the Title and I'd argue about the Main Event star power of Finn Balor or Kevin Owens. With WWE Creative, he was the leader of the WWE Creative Team from late 2013 through mid-2019. RESULTS speak for themselves. Even if you want to argue that Vince McMahon has final say, Triple H is showing ZERO indication of being a Creative influence on Vince. Seems like Triple H struggles to compete with Kevin Dunn over having Vince's ear and that's really sad.
The Internet Wrestling Community needs to wake up to this backstage problem... You keep blaming Vince McMahon, but if you were in his position, you'd take care of your kids too. FACT. Honestly, with time, I have more respect for Vince McMahon as a family man that I do as a wrestling promoter. He has done nothing but take care of Stephanie and Shane, along with anyone else coming for the family ride (Triple H). As they sometimes fumble the ball with the Corporate positions that he gives them, he protects them from humiliation and acts like they are being promoted to a better job. "Chief Brand Officer" or "EVP of Global Talent Strategy and Development". What does "global talent strategy and development" even mean as a title? Ridiculous. It's a demotion.
I'm right on this topic, folks, and am the only voice speaking about this problem ahead of time. John Laurinaitis has a proven track record of developing main event talent... Just look at the past WWE World Champions since 2010 and the severe majority are John's signings with just a few Triple H signings here and there. Jim Ross's guys have had more success over the last decade in the WWE than Triple H's and many of those were from almost 20 years ago!
I know... Many of you, in your early to late 20s, grew up with Triple H as YOUR GUY... Whomever were the top guys when you were a child or while you were a teenager are GODS to you... I understand that totally. Then, when the WWE main roster started to blow during the mid 2010s, tuning into an occasional NXT Takeover was quite fun and it was nice to see Women's Wrestling done right starting with Paige (John Laurinaitis signing) and those that followed (Bayley, Charlotte, Becky, Sasha, Asuka). With ZERO competition during much of the 2010s, NXT became the "safe haven" and many wrestling fans overlooked its obvious warts of trying to push Finn Balor, an older Samoa Joe, an older Shinsuke Nakamura, or many smaller or lighter wrestlers as NXT Champs... I totally understand.
BUT remember, Triple H from late 2013 through mid 2019 had the title of "EVP of Live Events, Talent Relations, and Creative" for the MAIN WWE roster. Don't you forget that. Much of WWE's decline happened specifically during that timeframe. It's not that I'm blaming what Triple H did, but it's what Triple DIDN'T DO.
And I don't blame him... How could Triple H ever want to talk down to Vince McMahon, a man who made him into a successful Pro Wrestler, a millionaire, a corporate executive, and someone who gave up his daughter to marriage... How could Triple H even dare to insult someone who has been that GREAT to him?
That's why nepotism at the workplace SUCKS, folks...
And that's why Triple H is the Ultimate YES MAN at the WWE Workplace. He won't stand up to Vince McMahon because he's family and gave Triple H his professional and personal life.
And your pal Mr. Tito is the only one with courage to say it.
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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