MR. TITO: Triple H Deserves Praise for Fixing WWE, Wrestlemania 40, and Helping Stephanie McMahon

This past Wrestlemania 40 weekend has been a huge success for the WWE, from the Hall of Fame ceremony, to both nights of Wrestlemania, and to a highly drawing Monday Night RAW. Those are quite accomplishments following major shake-ups at the management level and WWE being acquired recently. There could have been major growing pains in transitioning from one manager to another, along with shifting from one owner to another. Yet, since June 2022 when Triple H regained control of WWE’s Live Events, Talent, and Creative, things have become increasingly better.

Let’s not make any mistakes here… Triple H had his own growing pains during the 2010s when he was EVP of the same things (Live Events, Talent, Creative) and I’ve documented them heavily throughout my columns. While his NXT created great female wrestlers, the wrestlers Triple H signed himself just didn’t pan out as main eventers. Kevin Owens and Finn Balor are his big World Champions from the 2010s era, but neither guy have been sustained Main Eventers. He was EVP of Creative from mid-2013 through the Fall of 2019 and RAW lost over 2 million viewers during that tenure. Yes, Vince McMahon was micro-managing everything, but HHH owns pushing Batista vs. Orton at Wrestlemania 30.

BUT that is called EXPERIENCE… Triple H needed to get the bumps and bruises as an Executive in order for him to succeed later. Lessons learned, my friends… The same thing applies to Roman Reigns. YES, he was overpushed as a babyface and a John Cena clone during the 2010s. The main reason he failed to draw back then was because Vince was micro-managing his character but also because Roman LACKED experience. Roman signed with WWE during 2010 with no prior wrestling experience and he begins Main Eventing this billion dollar company during 2014. Only pure genetic freaks like Brock Lesnar, Rock, and Kurt Angle can pull that off. Roman struggled during the 2010s, but it gave him the experience to be great during the 2020s… Excuse me, EXCEPTIONAL during the 2020s and Triple H has helped Roman grow further since mid 2022.

I keep saying this, but becoming a Main Eventer or Wrestling Promoter takes TIME… Vince McMahon worked for his dad from 1969 through 1982, and Vince Sr. made Vince Jr. legitimately climb the ladder through managing different territories and doing different jobs. Eric Bischoff worked for AWA/WCW from 1986 until 1992 before landing his managerial job with WCW in 1993, and let me tell you, that 1993 year was ROUGH as were parts of 1994-1995. By mid-1996, Bischoff was ready to set the world on fire. Paul Heyman has the same timely of Eric Bischoff, working from 1986-1992 before joining ECW during 1993 and outright owning ECW by 1995. Jim Cornette was always around the business since the late 1970s, but began working as a manager in 1982 and it wasn’t until 1991 where he began managing his own promotion.

Just saying, operating a wrestling requires EXPERIENCE, which is why Tony Khan has seen his own bumps and bruises with his only 5 years experience.

With Triple H, not only did he have to apply those experiences to returning to his older Live Events/Talent/Creative roles, but he had to succeed Vince McMahon who has had an iron grip over the WWE and its operations for 40 years. The year prior, Triple H was recovering from a major heart attack… And don’t think for a moment that 2022-2024 hasn’t been difficult for Triple H. He’s part of the McMahon family and has probably had to comfort his wife Stephanie McMahon throughout this ordeal.

Let’s look at a few key things that Triple H has done since taking over during June 2022…

(1) Adds Sami Zayn to the Bloodline. Before HHH took over during June 2022, Sami was a midcard comedy act and was fresh off of losing to Johnny Knoxville at Wrestlemania 38. GRANTED, Sami made that match more entertaining that it could have been, but it was an embarrassing loss. HHH comes up with this “Honorary Uce” storyline that injects some comedy into the Bloodline, which was getting stale through 2022, and it livens up the group. Sami created conflict by wanting to join the group and since then, the Bloodline has been killing it and has pulled the emotional heartstrings of wrestling fans. Just watch Royal Rumble 2023’s ending which blew everybody away.

(2) Made Cody Rhodes even better. Let’s be honest here, Triple H and Cody weren’t the best of friends prior to Cody joining the WWE. In fact, Cody joined thanks to Bruce Prichard conversations and Vince McMahon wanting him back. Remember when Cody destroyed that throne on an AEW Pay Per View with a sledgehammer? Believe me, that was a personal shot… Instead of holding that against Cody, Triple H kept booking him strong throughout 2022 and then kept him going throughout 2023. Cody losing to Roman at Wrestlemania 39 was a Vince McMahon call, as was the post-Wrestlemania feud with Brock Lesnar. Yet, Triple H made that Lesnar feud great once Endeavor pushed Vince away from Creative during the Summer of 2023. The way that Lesnar feud was handled made Cody an even bigger star and then of course, the story gets completed at the most successful Wrestlemania of all time.

(3) Pushing Rhea Ripley harder. Vince McMahon is very reluctant on the Women’s division, and was often settling for repushing Charlotte Flair or keeping Ronda Rousey dominant. It was frustrating for other women because of Vince’s focus only on a few females to be strong while the rest of the roster were just standing by. Triple H changed that, and has been pushing other females stronger besides the names you know and it’s a stronger overall division now. But Rhea is clearly the best of them and she’s young in comparison to the Divas Revolution group of 2015 and the call-ups shortly thereafter.

(4) Better Tag Team wrestling. Vince McMahon hated Tag Team wrestling, especially during the 21st Century when trying to micro-manage expenses and attempting to reduce expenses per match (this includes managers, too). Since June 2022, tag team wrestling has greatly increased in relevance and was a huge draw for Night #1 at Wrestlemania 39.

(5) NXT’s rebounding growth. NXT 2.0 was a failure, by all standards, and that was when Vince and Prichard pushed HHH out of that promotion and attempted to rebrand it while changing its creative direction. The result was a major dud… Granted, signings of Bron Breakker and Solo Sikoa were as a result of that era, credit where its due, but the shows sucked. HHH taking over and then empowering Shawn Michaels with more responsibility there has greatly helped the promotion. HBK, too, now has experience and he’s doing well managing this brand. Viewership went up and then they signed a big deal with the CW Network starting this fall.

(6) Many other talent success stories. Bray Wyatt was back on top when he returned and confident again, but sadly, he passed. LA Knight experiences a rebirth after the failed modeling manager gimmick that Vince McMahon gave him. Seth Rollins is thriving again and did great as the first RAW World Heavyweight Champion. Bayley is back! How about Chelsea Green? She has been an awesome addition to the women’s division. And while we can hammer Authors of Pain and Karrion Kross, Triple H won’t give up on talent as quick as Vince did.

Let’s be honest here… The late 2010s sucked for the WWE, and 2020 poured gasoline on that declining WWE with COVID-19. To Vince McMahon‘s credit, he finally pivoted and turned Roman Reigns heel and gave Paul Heyman some creative say over Roman… But Vince McMahon was FORCED into that position thanks to the many 2010s failures with Roman, COVID-19 destroying their business, and AEW becoming a legitimate competitive threat. That said, Triple H not only made the Bloodline better (see above about adding Sami Zayn), but he’s made the REST of the roster better. Everybody is getting over and the bench keeps getting deeper talent-wise.

The BIGGEST thing that Triple H has accomplished is DELEGATING AUTHORITY. As I mentioned above, Triple H has empowered Shawn Michaels for a bigger role in managing NXT. On top of that, Shawn has a team of managers within NXT that he can rely on so that it’s not just HBK doing everything. Triple H is leaning on his managerial reports more for responsibility, while also providing more creative freedom to the vast Creative Team in the WWE. Before, Vince would rip apart any scripts provided by the Creative Team while Triple H is sending fewer edits back… Furthermore, HHH has empowered Paul Heyman to help out more instead of the prior policy of everyone keeping a leash on Heyman. Wrestlers now have a voice instead of being scared of Vince’s reaction. Triple H LISTENS, which is a HUGE part of the older version of Triple H. That’s the important thing as a top manager of a company, LISTENING and empowering others to succeed.

The CRAZY thing to me is that Triple H was ultra competitive and political as a wrestler… I did NOT expect this from him.

HHH was around Shawn Michaels during his BAD years in the WWE during the late 1990s… Being honest here, HHH probably kept Shawn Michaels from dying, as HHH was his designated driver and literally acted like a nursing home staff member (such as helping HBK get dressed, seriously). But at the same time, while on the road, HHH didn’t push for any interventions and road that HBK meal ticket as far as he could. Now, years later, HHH would hold HBK accountable and maybe once he gained more WWE influence, he felt confident to do so… But he knew what HBK was doing, but HBK was World Champion. And as seen on Wrestling With Shadows, Triple H is seen on camera LYING to Bret Hart’s then-wife about knowing, in advance, about what transpired at Survivor Series 1997 in Montreal.

Triple H falls in love with Stephanie McMahon… With that, he begins to attend Production Meetings more frequently while also having pillow talk with the Lead Creative person (Stephanie took over creative during late 2000). That RAW brand stuff sucked from 2002-2003 when it was Triple H, all the time. Careers of Booker T, Kane, RVD, Bill Goldberg, Scott Steiner, and many others all suffered at the hands of Triple H having creative control over his character thanks to his relationship with Stephanie and marriage to her through 2003. BUT, HHH cooled down after the marriage and started putting over wrestlers like Batista (especially) and John Cena. However, that competitive Triple H was still around when he assumed a dual role of backstage EVP and wrestler during the 2010s. He ruined CM Punk‘s momentum during 2011 with the Kevin Nash antics and then burying Punk with a loss during September 2011.

BUT, time heals all wounds… Triple H of the 2020s has not only learned from his past experiences as EVP of Live Events, Talent, and Creative, but he’s NO LONGER A WRESTLER. That competitiveness that he had as a performer is now GONE. Sadly, the heart condition that he has and will have to continue to manage will keep him out of the ring, but he should have left years ago and focused on being a manager. That DUAL ROLE has failed everyone, from the EVPs in AEW to Dusty Rhodes to Eric Bischoff once he joined the NWO and many others who book themselves favorably while being in charge of other talents.

Also with Triple H, much more of HIS wrestlers are on the roster, whether they signed with him or worked for the rebranded NXT promotion… Those wrestlers who worked with HHH trust the guy and in return, he’s like a father figure to them. They TRUST him, whereas many wrestlers didn’t trust Vince McMahon. Hence why Jon Moxley, FTR, and many others left the WWE because they just couldn’t deal with the ridiculous creative Vince was shoving down their throats.

Thus, Triple H is now an experienced manager of Live Events/Talent/Creative Team, is no longer a competitive wrestler and working under a dual role, delegates authority and empowers others, and he’s trusted by everyone internally in the WWE. As a female employee, you know that HHH isn’t going to harm you and I would imagine he’d rip the head off of any managerial direct report who tries anything. He has created a welcoming environment for everyone to succeed and he listens to everyone. He’s the perfect successor to Vince McMahon because he has learned the legitimate skills from Vince that made the WWE successful, but he is also refusing to make the same mistakes as Vince McMahon. Vince is stubborn and refused to evolve, while Triple H is welcoming the evolution. Huge difference between managers, but HHH is retaining many of the GOOD Vince skillset to keep making this current WWE look like the same old product that many have loved for years.

Let me finish on this one last note…

Stephanie McMahon has had a ROUGH past few years, folks… Vince McMahon is her DAD, and the shame of his actions has weighed on her considerably. During early 2022 when the Board became aware of Vince McMahon’s NDA activity via a complaint filed by Janel Grant’s friend, she recused herself from the Board investigation and took a “leave of absence”. Once the Wall Street Journal reporting of this came out and more NDA cases were revealed, Vince McMahon resigns and Stephanie assumes the role of Co-CEO with Nick Khan. Things were going great throughout 2022 until late 2022 and early 2023 when Vince McMahon, as #1 shareholder, made a push to change the WWE Board of Directors and re-implement himself as President/CEO and Board Chairman of WWE. Stephanie immediately resigned and was NOT seen on any WWE televised event from January 2023 through the 2024 Hall of Fame/Wrestlemania 40.

Before that, she had to deal with Triple H getting demoted on all fronts during 2019-2020 and that likely created some tensions at home. HHH loses his Creative role during the Fall of 2019 when Vince promoted Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman as “Executive Directors” (both were later replaced by Bruce Prichard) and then the Talent Relations job reverted back to John Laurinaitis. NXT would be lost via NXT 2.0… Then, Triple H has a massive heart attack and could have died… Lots of family trauma for Stephanie heading into 2022, and then her Dad’s sexual behavior becomes public during the Spring of 2022. On top of that, you’ve got everyone pointing fingers at Stephanie about “what did she know”, such as Ashley Massaro or any of the NDA cases even though evidence heavily points to Vince McMahon doing these NDA settlements on his own in a sneaky way to circumvent the WWE Corporation.

Fast forward to Wrestlemania 40 weekend and there she was, front & center… She was there in the front row and wearing an “ECW” hat to celebrate Paul Heyman‘s Hall of Fame induction. Paul made it a point to PRAISE Triple H for stepping in and succeeding Vince, and you could see Stephanie getting emotional. She knows that Triple H has been a ROCK to her throughout this whole embarrassing ordeal, while continuing to make WWE great throughout the entirety of the Vince McMahon controversy. HHH has kept her family’s company not only alive, but thriving. Then, Paul Heyman delivers the great line of “if my daughter is half the woman that you are, I’ll have done a great job as a father” or something to that effect. She felt that HARD, man… And believe me, Triple H was probably hoping she’d get noticed at the Hall of Fame ceremony because he wants her to get recognized and not inherit any bad feelings of what her father did.

Then, Night #2 of Wrestlemania 40… Who comes out to introduce the show? Stephanie McMahon. It was a great speech and she pumped up the crowd for Night #2. But WATCH THIS VIDEO of Triple H smiling backstage as she’s delivering this.

That’s the indication of a GREAT HUSBAND right there. He’s empowering her to rejoin the WWE and interact with the fanbase that she has helped build with her contributions from late 1999 through early 2023.

You can’t choose your family, especially the ones who are older than you. Do you really think that Stephanie wanted her father to not only repeatedly cheat on her mom Linda, but to have this other bizarre world of alleged harassment and possible assault of WWE employees? She’s been dealing with this burden of her dad bigtime and I would imagine that she’s aged a few more years because of it (looks a touch older than when we last saw her). But all indications is that she’s a good human being and was well liked by most in the WWE. In hindsight, wrestling fans have grown to like her just as they’ve grown to like Triple H (including me recently).

But as a HUSBAND and FATHER of her children, Triple H put his own WIFE and MOTHER of his own kids in a great light. Just be empowering her to be a part of the WWE she helped build, she has likely regained her confidence. It wouldn’t shock me if TKO hires her in some capacity, as I would imagine she’d thrive as an EXPERIENCED (she has it too) hand without Vince McMahon micro-managing her. I can only imagine the excitement of HHH and Stephanie’s 3 daughters seeing their Mom out there and pumping the fans up for Night #2 of Wrestlemania 40. Their daughters are not only proud of seeing their mother happy again, but very proud of their Dad, Triple H, building up her confidence. I can only imagine how much they appreciate their father right now. Taking care of Mom is job #1, folks, and your kids will grow up just fine if they constantly witness their father being an amazing husband.

Here’s my belief… I think her appearance at Wrestlemania 40 pumped those Philadelphia fans up for Night #2. There was just a different vibe on Night #2 versus the first night. You could argue better matches for Night #2, but the crowd’s vibe was way different. Stephanie kicked it off and fans responded POSITIVELY to her.

THAT boosts my confidence in Triple H as a leader. If you empower your own wife and help her rebuild confidence, I have all of the respect in the world for you. Aside from a few photo ops, we barely saw Stephanie since her WWE resignation of early 2023… But now, I bet we’ll see more of her and that Stephanie swagger will quickly return. She’s going to love the WWE business again and that’s because her husband, Triple H, is making her family business great again and doing it the RIGHT WAY.

Great husband, great father, great son-in-law, and a great leader… And overall, he’s proven to be a GREAT GUY who is willing to evolve and listen.

THAT is the guy who just delivered Wrestlemania 40 following very difficult circumstances.

And trust me, the Rock wouldn’t have succeeded like this before June 2022… He has joined an environment that is welcoming to all talents and encouraging talents like the Rock to empower other athletes. Did you see the Rock selling like a champ for Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins? I sure as hell did…

Bravo, Triple H… You have evolved my opinion of you and I look forward to enjoying the WWE that you’ll continue to build.

THANK YOU for the past 2 years of great WWE content. I’ve been begging for THIS version of the WWE for years and it has finally arrived.

Triple H is so humble as everyone is showering him with praise… But he deserves that praise. Those “Triple H” and “Thank you Hunter” praises are well deserved, as was Paul Heyman’s praise of HHH at the Hall of Fame ceremony along with Cody wanting HHH to come out following Wrestlemania 40.

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