MR. TITO: Did Everyone Forget Triple H and Stephanie’s Past Struggles as WWE Managers?

On June 18th, 2022, I wrote a column for NoDQ entitled “Vince McMahon WWE Drama, the Affairs, Possible SEC Violations, Return of Stephanie McMahon, and Much More and I made the following key statements about Vince McMahon at that time. If you’ll recall, news just broke about 1 paralegal getting paid $3 million as a settlement and that the WWE Board of Directors (besides Vince) were investigating other Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA). That was my big takeaway from the news back then was about the OTHER office or backstage incidents that Vince or other WWE officials caused. The “piling on” effect, as I called it:


If the paralegal’s promoted salary or the $3 million settlement were made with WWE funds, it shall cause attention. And then it “piles on” from there on which WWE employee sold stock from April through early June 2022. Yikes! SEC could have a field day.

Folks, this is BAD… And I predict it shall get worse. Vince McMahon has a reported history of having affairs with women and with the allegations causing him to step down, temporarily, as CEO/President and Board Chairman, it proves the old there of “when there is smoke, there is fire”. I believe that more women, with their lawyers, are going to come out of the woodwork and make allegations of what Vince McMahon or his other WWE officials did recently or in the past. While NDAs have civil implications, they don’t mean much if a law has been broken or if they are propping up a toxic workplace culture that local or federal investigators need to see. Specifically, if this becomes part of a Securities Exchange Commission review of the WWE Corporation.



Now, the Wall Street Journal, which by the way is own by the Murdochs who also own the FOX Network, is reporting Vince McMahon has agreed to pay around $12 million to 4 different women in the past 16 years. Not only that, Vince’s bad behavior moves into the wrestling world as one of the women was a wrestler and then another incident reportedly had Vince sending nude photos…

We’re heading into the CREEPY territory with Vince now… In the past, he has admitted to affairs on his wife Linda but these situations are workplace related and involving quid pro quo (something for something) with Vince flexing his organizational chart power. However, we’re in a difficult culture now, one called CANCEL CULTURE. While Vince McMahon is the primary shareholder for the WWE and can effectively rig the shareholder votes in his favor, the issue at stake are the future revenue streams for the WWE. Remember, WWE’s deal with Comcast and FOX expire in 2024… That’s about 2 years away and negotiations for these big TV deals seriously happen more than a year before they are made.

And then you have the Corporate Sponsors… Not just for WWE events, but sponsoring RAW and Smackdown. That could place major pressure on FOX and Comcast and make them rethink those deals that expire in 2024. Furthermore, if WWE shows have lost sponsors, future bidding networks, other than FOX or Comcast, might shy away from investing in the WWE if Vince McMahon is there.

This could get messy and I expect the “piling on” effect to possibly retire Vince McMahon from the business. There are real issues with these allegations in the Wall Street Journal and living in the politically correct and #MeToo era, this will only harm WWE’s image.

This controversy has also caused John Laurinaitis to take “administrative leave” as he not only enjoyed being passed the paralegal “toy”, but he also had problems during 2012 in the office that caused him to leave Talent Relations. Oh, so that explains how Triple H obtained THAT JOB during mid-2012… Everything is falling into pieces now, as Triple H was NOT being groomed to develop talent and was working primarily with Vince McMahon on managing live events. Had Johnny Ace been a good boy, he may have remained in that position… Interesting.

But I could get into the Vince McMahon stuff, but many many others have already written about it. I have as well…

However, I believe that many online are missing a glaring issue of the WWE’s “corporate shake-up”, even if it is temporary.

Did you miss the last time when Triple H and Stephanie McMahon was in charge?

Did you have your blinders on for those eras of the WWE?

Coincidentally, the more backstage power that both have accumulated whether it was being on Creative Staffs, running live shows, handing Talent Relations, becoming EVPs, and becoming Board Members, the WWE’s viewership and live show attendance here in the United States of America has gone nothing but DOWN. GONE are great minds backstage like Pat Patterson, Jim Ross, Jim Cornette/Danny Davis in OVW, and Gerald Brisco and they have been replaced with Hollywood Writers and Triple H/Stephanie McMahon wearing more hats. in fact, the poor performance by Stephanie and Triple H during the 2010s, as Executives, has forced Vince McMahon’s hand to hire Nick Khan as Chief Revenue Officer along with other shake-ups such as placing Bruce Prichard in Creative and returning John Laurinaitis back in Talent Relations.

Thus, I’m here to remind you of the performances of Stephanie McMahon and Triple H as managers of the WWE Corporation.

And I’m the ONLY ONE online saying it because most of you believe that Vince McMahon is the problem when it is, IN FACT, the WEAK TEAM that surrounds Vince that has ALWAYS been the issue since WWE’s peak of early 2000. When you replace Jim Ross, Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco, the OVW staff, and even Vince Russo in a WWE environment with family members, giving more power to your friend Kevin Dunn, and hiring non-wrestling fan Hollywood writers… Your WWE ship will sink!

Stephanie McMahon did the most damage to the WWE and it’s not even a debate. She was head of Creative from late 2000 through late 2013. After Vince Russo left during 1999 due to burnout and WCW giving him a better offer (less time and more money), Chris Kreski did a fine job for the rest of 1999 and for much of 2000. Then, Stephanie was handed the job and Kreski stepped back as a consultant.

One year later, the WCW/ECW Invasion angle was a COMPLETE FAILURE. By the way, the “owner” of the ECW brand was Stephanie McMahon herself.

The 2000s roster was seriously STACKED as both WCW and ECW were dead and gone by the Spring of 2000 and any wrestler wanting to make it had to join WWE. Many of the top stars of WCW who didn’t join, via the 2001 Invasion angle, also began to appear (Flair, Hogan, Hall, Nash, Steiner, Goldberg) while the Ohio Valley Wrestling developmental territory had mature talent ready to unload (Lesnar, Batista, Cena, Orton, Hass, Benjamin, and many more). Yet, WWE’s Creative Team, led by Stephanie, squandered this opportunity.

When Paul Heyman was assisting with the Smackdown brand’s creative during 2002-2003, his ideas of using and pushing wrestlers actually caused Smackdown’s viewership to consistently defeat that of RAW. But what did Stephanie do? Meddled… She was commissioner of that brand and then she enabled her daddy’s wishes of pushing hosses, such as Prince Albert renamed as A-Train. WWE actually had a great thing going with the Smackdown brand of 2002-2003 and they derailed it completely.

Meanwhile on RAW, you had Kane being unmasked and then the entire Katie Vick storyline. My sources back then told me that Triple H wanted to write himself as a diabolical heel and that’s why he said the terrible things to Booker T and why he did the entire Katie Vick angle. Then, you had goofy things like 3 Minute Warning and “Hot Lesbian Action” that only a sleazy Eric Bischoff character could salvage somewhat. Remember Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo? How about the Muhammad Hassan angle?

Are you forgetting the Divas Search stuff and how all of those women were used on WWE television by Creative? Just AWFUL… And calling them “Divas”… Stephanie enabled that!

And all of those damn title changes… Stephanie McMahon was on the Creative Team for the entire first run of the RAW/Smackdown splits, following the WCW/ECW Invasion. LOOK at how many title changes there were back then along with the many belts that each brand had. There was no long-term booking or plans to build great champions under her watch. Then, as guys like Batista, Edge, Christian, Rock, Austin, Foley, and others left while guys like Triple H, Undertaker, and Chris Jericho became more part-time or limited, it really exposed Stephanie McMahon as Lead of Creative. Trying Sheamus, Miz, and Alberto Del Rio as World Champions… COME ON!

Then, you get her on-screen character who talks down to everyone while the wrestlers never get any sort of revenge against her heel self. Never happens… In the middle of Daniel Bryan catching legitimate fire during 2013, her character is constantly berating him as a “B+ Player” and meanwhile her final days as Creative Lead was having him fail to overcome Randy Orton.

And you guys want more of this? More of her being involved with the WWE’s television product?

Honestly, too, what has she done as Chief Brand Officer? Nothing… Besides the TV deals, which Nick Khan negotiated, WWE’s brands have declined in value since she took the job for early 2014. Licenses, merchandise, copyrights, and character values have done nothing but decline for the WWE worldwide. Thankfully, they have desperate TV Networks that will pay top dollar for any live sports.

I have been saying it for years… She’s a communications major who was just handed her roles in the WWE without earning them. Vince Jr. had to bust his arse in many side jobs to earn the respect of Vince Sr. to climb the ladder for better roles in the WWWF. Stephanie graduated from college during 1999 and by late 2000, she’s in charge of WWE’s Creative Team. Think about how absurd that is! And it’s not like she learned on the job, as early 2010s was TERRIBLE. She in charge of the Creative Team that destroyed the “Summer of Punk” and wanting to push Alberto Del Rio instead.

And then there is Triple H.

Look, I think Triple H honestly has his heart in the right place. He actually cares about the WWE business and the talent… I just don’t think he has the right creative mind for it, along with struggling to surround himself with good wrestling minds to support him. In my opinion, whenever Triple H is in charge of something, he puts too much effort onto himself. That is why I believe that Triple H’s health problems were created, as he has put too much mileage on that body and brain. Being brought up in the WWE business with the Clique and being around the 1990s version of Shawn Michaels, it taught him a few political bad habits that he still can’t shake off. He’s all too competitive as a person had a jealous streak in him.

Now that we have found out the TRUTH on how Triple H landed that mid-2012 Talent Relations job, thanks to John Laurinaitis causing a million dollar settlement, we can fully understand why he struggled at his job.

Granted, Triple H did do a few things right… He installed Sara Del Rey as the Women’s trainer and she’s excellent at her job. Instantly, the women in the system began performing at much higher levels and were fully trained how to work. By 2015, the WWE had lots of female talent to display and be taken seriously to ditch that “divas” label. Credit goes where it is due… That said, Women’s Sports really don’t pay all that well in the United States and that’s because they don’t draw well. Nobody wants to watch WNBA, Tennis, or LPGA while other women’s sports leagues really fail.

But, Triple H also installed Prince Albert or Matt Bloom as the head trainer for the Men. The end result? Most wrestlers coming up aren’t flashing their personality, have no psychology, and cannot cut promos. Bloom just lacks the skillset to be effective as head trainer. Meanwhile, someone like Shawn Michaels is such a natural that he’s unable to explain or train wrestlers how to work. He just doesn’t know how he’s that good and he cannot explain it to the wrestlers well at all.

NXT was fun to watch when it was a 1 hour WWE Network Show and then had 3-4 Takeovers per year. LESS IS MORE… That is why we fondly remember the Takeovers from 2015-2017, for example, because they were when most talent was in tact and the NXT brand wasn’t over-exposed as it is now.

Moving to USA Network during 2019 ruined NXT… Actually, it exposed it. See, it’s easy to manage a taped 1 hour show on the WWE Network… It’s another thing to operate a LIVE television show in Prime Time for 2 hours. Triple H and his Creative Team struggled, hence why the WWE LOST the Wednesday Night Wars to All Elite Wrestling (AEW). Moving to NXT not only exposed the overrated booking of NXT, but it also exposed the roster having to work extra and they couldn’t hold up for 2 hours per week.

It is a FACT that Triple H was EVP of Creative from late 2013 through 2019 when the Creative Directors (Bischoff & Heyman at first, Prichard later) were hired. Thus, for all of that NXT Talent that came to the Main WWE Roster, Triple H’s Creative Team mowed all of them. Don’t blame Vince, as Triple H could have stepped up for his guys. He didn’t… But I don’t believe he knew how to present them well on a 3 hour RAW show. Again, it’s easier to book a 1 hour NXT Show on the WWE Network but it’s much harder to book 3 hours of RAW and 2 hours of Smackdown + monthly Pay Per Views (now called “premium live events”).

The overpushing of Roman Reigns was mostly on Triple H’s watch. Pushing Jinder Mahal was on Triple H’s watch. Completely ruining Seth Rollins as a character… Yeah, let’s give him the Pedigree! Let’s be honest, the Women’s Division, despite its loaded talent roster, was booked poorly from 2015-2019. The talent overcame the BAD CREATIVE by Triple H and his staff.

Then, Triple H couldn’t recruit anyone to help him… He installed Road Dogg to run the creative of WWE Smackdown during early 2017 and it completely ruined the chemistry that this show was building since the Brand Split of 2016.

The new Brand Split, multiple Drafts, and multiple “Superstar Shake-ups”. All on Triple H’s watch as EVP of Creative.

Let’s get into the Talent Relations part, which again, he inherited as a role only because John Laurinaitis apparently left the WWE during 2012 due to a settlement. For one, Triple H has never managed people before, let alone contract signings and payroll which is part of the Talent Relations job. So that is all new to him… But what experience did he have grooming or mentoring talent? You could say Batista and Orton, but both were fully trained OVW wrestlers and I’ve heard Batista cite Ric Flair as being a major help in his career with advice on how to work, not Triple H.

As I’ve said in previous columns, Triple H failed to generate consistently drawing Main Eventers in his role as EVP of Talent relations. Of the guys that Triple H signed as first-time WWE employees, only Kevin Owens and Finn Balor won the World Titles. By the way, both won the world titles with Triple H in charge of Creative… I’ll give him credit for bringing in AJ Styles, too. However, all 3 of those wrestlers were NOT long-term solutions for top drawing Main Event wrestlers. Meanwhile, both Jim Ross and John Laurinaitis have many champions from their developmental graduates and many of those signed wrestlers still work for the WWE.

Meanwhile, look at Triple H’s signings… He raided the indy scene or TNA for smaller wrestlers who are barely making weight to exist on 205 Live or older wrestlers in their late 30s or early 40s. On top of that, thanks to the poor Matt Bloom training, those higher risk smaller wrestlers form the Indies, who relied on high spots to be known, were not being untrained of bad habits. NXT shows, especially Takeovers, have so many high risk maneuvers and wrestlers are getting injured.

Part of why NXT 2.0 existed was to get back to signing YOUNGER and TALLER wrestlers. Vince wants “larger than life” characters and not something he can put on 205 Live.

Maybe Triple H learned from his mistakes of being EVP of Talent Relations from mid-2012 through early 2020 or his mistakes as EVP of Creative from late 2013 through 2019? Maybe he has perspective and has thought about his tenures with time away from both? It’s gamble to bring him back, but who else is out there to run the WWE’s wrestling operations?

And that’s the BIG problem with not just the WWE, but pro wrestling in general.

WCW and ECW dying + WWE becoming increasingly corporate is what killed Pro Wrestling.

In the past, pro wrestling promotions would have an apprentice system where older wrestlers would convert themselves into management and eventually promoters. You wrestled until you physically couldn’t and then operated the promotion as a booker. This remained the case until the WWE saw writing success with non-wrestlers Vince Russo and Chris Kreski. Neither guy had any in-ring experience but they succeeded as writers BUT they were alongside wrestling minds as checks and balances. When Stephanie McMahon became Lead Writer during late 2000, she quickly realized that she didn’t want to spend every waking hour writing television… So she had the WWE hire television writers… Went from just a few to reportedly close to 50 total writers.

With that major culture change, the WWE effectively cutoff the older system of veteran and/or retired wrestlers becoming management and bookers of the promotion. Suddenly, older wrestlers didn’t have too many options of “life after WWE” and found themselves joining TNA wrestling to get a few more years out or wrestling in the indies. WWE’s developmental system was changing, too, with time, as wrestlers were brought up based on a role that a former failed Hollywood writer came up with instead of the wrestler being trained properly to work any style or character. Previously, the bookers had control over their talent used but that was not the case any more.

WWE’s major changes backstage during the early 2000s denied many veterans from joining WWE’s management and creative teams. Sure, several could become Road Agents but they were merely just barking orders of what the writers desired. Then, you had someone like Triple H who tried to wear too many management hats and that also got into the way. Triple H would attempt to place several of his friends in key positions, like Road Dogg as Smackdown’s lead writer during 2017, and that failed bigtime.

The end result? There is a lack of veteran wrestling minds helping today’s promotions. When wrestlers get older, they either retire, keep wrestling, or just make ends meet with appearances.

So, the WWE has to settle for Triple H

We could always try Paul Heyman, Jeff Jarrett, or Eric Bischoff, but each of those guys are older and don’t have the energy to run 3 hours of RAW and 2 hours of Smackdown.

We should have transitioned Undertaker, Mick Foley, Edge, Christian, and Kurt Angle into major backstage WWE voices but none of them were able to apprentice into any management role. There’s no path in the WWE for veterans to help operate the WWE. It’s Vince McMahon, his family members, trusted servants like Nick Khan, Bruce Prichard, and Kevin Dunn while guys like John Laurinaitis are loyal to a fault (until they are passed “toys”). And there is nobody out there ready to take a spot.

This is what I have been saying for YEARS. The infrastructure in WWE’s management has been rotten and THAT is the problem. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H just aren’t good enough to operate the WWE and grow the business beyond what it is today. Both have tried for DECADES and have only lost increasing amounts of American fans. Meanwhile, there is NOBODY ELSE… That is scary!

I wouldn’t put too much faith in Triple H and Stephanie McMahon running things. “Those who cannot remember history are condemned to repeat it” is the classic George Santayana quote.

And let’s just get this out there… NXT may have been overrated during 2015-2017. I enjoyed the Takeover shows, don’t get me wrong… But the simple concept of “Less is More” made those 3-4 Takeovers look spectacular and that was in comparison to the awful 12 Pay Per Views that the WWE hosted per year to over-saturate the market. When NXT moved to USA Networks during 2019, it really exposed that promotion as Triple H now had to do creative for 2 hours of LIVE television per week instead of a taped 1 hour NXT show on the WWE Network.

Here is what I’d do, if I were Triple H. Meet with your veteran talent regularly and listen to their ideas. That’s all… Just listen. Then, meet with Steve Austin on a regular basis. He has a WWE contract, so use it just to hear advice. Same thing with the Undertaker. Get on the phone and get ideas. Then, consider shrinking that WWE Creative Team and removing the scripting of just about everything. Just give wrestlers bullet points and let them get creative inside the ring.

WWE wrestlers are MISERABLE and that’s thanks to the awful infrastructure and the lack of good WRESTLING ideas.

If Triple H would just listen to veteran wrestlers to help shape ideas and then listen to the longtime audience who are still loyal, he’d go places this time around.

But Stephanie McMahon… Geesh, what exactly did she do as Chief Brand Officer again? What exactly did she do as Creative Team lead for 13 years? Best thing she did was hearing John Cena rapping on a tour bus, but it’s not like she wrote his raps or wrestled his matches. FACT is that viewership numbers dropped HARD when she took over, particularly after 2001 and 2002 when she let so many diehard WCW fans down with the WCW Invasion and then the botched NWO angle. Then, Bill Goldberg was made to look like a fool during 2003-2004.

I don’t know, folks… WWE and Pro Wrestling, in general, are heading into very dark periods. The RAW/Smackdown’s television deals are coming up in just TWO YEARS from now. The Vince McMahon fiascos could wear on corporate sponsors and both FOX/Comcast and either discourage them from re-signing them or lowball them on offers.

You can attempt to change to TV-14 all you want… If you still have the same idiots in charge, they’ll poorly write adult humor and violence, too. Did you see the 2000s when RAW was TV-14 for the majority of that decade?

And AEW needs to start listening to veteran wrestlers and not NJPW loving Dave Meltzer on how to book and present their promotion.

Wrestling is doomed unless WWE’s entire infrastructure changes and rolls back many changes made to the industry in the past 20 years.

And that’s why you only see me appear from the Retirement Home every so often instead of twice a week.

I’m willing to bet that Stephanie and Triple H won’t save things and it will only get worse. Vince McMahon has been covering for the weaknesses of his family members and loyal friends for years… Nobody is ready for when Vince leaves the business.

Mr. Tito NoDQ Column Archive