With Wrestlemania 39 being less than 3 weeks away, I was checking out the early official card so far and I was wondering something… Where are the re-signings that Triple H made as the recently re-crowed EVP of Talent Relations? While there are RUMORED matches still being discussed, there exists only ONE Triple H re-signing and she’s part of the Women’s Tag Match at Wrestlemania named Dakota Kai (released April 2022, re-signed July 2022). The rest of the Triple H re-signings are no where to be found on the current Wrestlemania card.
But I thought that these re-signings of released WWE talents would be ground shaking?
Hit Row (Ashante Thee Adonis, Top Dolla, B-Fab)
I could be forgetting some of them, but they are likely to be forgettable…
Point is, none of these guys made a major impact upon returning to the WWE. The closest was Bray Wyatt, whose return was highly emotional and fans felt for his struggle. But soon thereafter, Uncle Howdy started appearing, Alexa Bliss was flirting with rejoining something, and then Firefly Funhouse returned. The feud with LA Knight was complete cringe, as the storyline made no sense, the Mt. Dew Pitch Black match was a complete embarrassment complete, and Uncle Howdy missed falling on LA Knight by about 4-5 feet at the Rumble.
All WWE had to do is simply revert Bray Wyatt back to his mid 2010s character but let him speak a little from the heart, much like he did upon his WWE return. Nope, instead we get Firefly Funhouse again and the character is as confusing as ever.
Remember how much online criticism Vince McMahon received over Karrion Kross‘s failed WWE run? Vince took away Scarlett and even put him in a weird costume. Yet, what Vince was TESTING was if Karrion could get over without his beautiful wife at ringside getting attention. Turns out, Vince McMahon was right and Kross hasn’t been lighting it up inside the ring at all. Even now, Kross has Scarlett and nobody cares… He either wasn’t trained properly or just doesn’t have the intangibles to get over.
How about Hit Row? I was told repeatedly that this was a “can’t miss” group when they were initially called up to the WWE roster. And then they were soon released. That said, maybe the best member of their group is in AEW and doing a decent job there. The group could have been about the sum of its part, but its best part appears to be in AEW and being part of the best thing that Keith Lee ever did there (tag champs). When Top Dolla botched that dive, it was over, but they weren’t good before that.
It was fun to see Braun Strowman again, but it wore off quick. And then he started yapping on Social Media, once again. He never learns.
Johnny Gargano still looks small. Isn’t he the poster child as to why WWE needs weight divisions, if HBK and Triple H love the guy so much? I am glad, however, that Johnny and his beautiful wife Candice LeRae are both back to support their family. Ride the wave and save while you can, guys.
When have Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson ever impressed? We’ve tried them repeatedly in the WWE and other promotions (Impact, AEW), but they aren’t recapturing the lightning in a bottle that we saw them have in New Japan together.
The rest of the names on this list… NOPE.
And here’s the deal, folks… Name me a talent that Vince McMahon let go that cost the WWE dearly? You could argue Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, but I’d argue that Vince got the most out of them in the WWE and in just 2 years, the Outsiders were losing steam but had “favored nations” contracts that kept going up in expenses for WCW instead. Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, sure… But again, guys thought to be in their later stages of their careers and it took a perfect storm heel turn for Hogan to be really relevant for the same 2 years as Hall & Nash. You could think maybe Kurt Angle in 2006, but there were some personal issues going on there and I’d argue Angle’s best years were from 2000-2005 under WWE’s watch. Go ahead and argue Jon Moxley… I’d agree with you initially, but not lately. Besides, Moxley wasn’t a released wrestler, as he chose to not obtain a new contract himself and WWE wanted to re-sign him. The Bret Hart release worked out quite well for Vince.
Vince McMahon doesn’t release talent that he knows will make him money. He’s an experienced business man for over 40 years in the WWE and been around the business an additional 10 years working with his dad Vince Sr. He KNOWS what he’s doing when it comes to talent and making money.
Know who doesn’t? Triple H. All of those signings, probably costing the WWE around $5 million annually, are not making the WWE money. Brief impact, but now they are just part of the crew or are falling downward as talents.
This is what I’ve argued here at NoDQ for years and even longer previously at Lords of Pain. While Triple H has the work ethic, he lacks the managerial skills, entrepreneurship ability, and talent coaching needed to succeed as a wrestling promoter. You can certainly clap back at me about the Bloodline and how well Sami Zayn is doing with that group under Triple H’s watch… But the Bloodline has been the HOTTEST storyline since August 2020 and turning heel, plus surrounding him with family talent, was Vince McMahon’s creative idea or went through him with Triple H not on the creative team at that time. HHH inherited the Bloodline, which was already successful.
Just look at the top drawing Main Eventers that Triple H signed or brought in compared to what was featured at Ohio Valley Wrestling and Florida Championship Wrestling under Jim Ross and then later, John Laurinaitis. All of the top drawing wrestlers of the last 20 years are from those systems or EVPs of Talent Relations. What does Triple H have to show for his developmental system of NXT or the air conditioned Performance Center? I guess Kevin Owens and Finn Balor, but are they sustained Main Event talents like Batista, Lesnar, Cena, Orton, Ambrose, Rollins, or Reigns? Guys that Triple H repackaged like Drew McIntyre and Bray Wyatt weren’t initially groomed by Triple H’s reign.
As I keep telling you, the issue is Triple H’s personal view on wrestling and ditto for Shawn Michaels. Both of those guys view themselves as the “perfect wrestler” and thus are trying to groom themselves. Look at all of those thick and brooding wrestlers? Triple H clones… Why does Shawn Michaels like Johnny Gargano so much? He sees himself as a smaller yet very athletic talent. What Shawn doesn’t realize that as great of an in-ring wrestler that he once was, his work on the microphone actually drew the houses particularly when he as a heel.
I like Shawn Michaels and am glad to see him still with the WWE company… But as a trainer, he’s just trying to replicate himself… And he can’t. Shawn was one-of-a-kind, a complete natural as an in-ring performer and speaker. Nobody can do the things in the ring as he could, nor could they cut the promos that he could. He cannot explain himself to the Performance Center talents and he probably can’t understand why wrestlers aren’t progressing like he could.
Then you have Matt Bloom, head trainer at the WWE Performance Center. Look, I’m happy that he has a top paying job after THAT WWE career of Prince Albert, T&A, X-Factor, A-Train, and then returning as Lord Tensai. But you’re telling me that a big guy who didn’t have charisma and was terrible on the mic is now responsible for grooming the latest generation of younger wrestlers? Seriously? He has been Triple H’s head trainer since 2014 and what does he have to show for it? Which male wrestler can he point out and say “I created that Main Event Champion”. He can’t. People used to hate on Bill DeMott, but at least he, as a big guy, had charisma and character as a performer that he could convey as talents. Now, DeMott had other issues going on as a trainer that probably made Bloom appealing. But where are the Matt Bloom success stories out there?
Contrast that with Sara Del Rey, who adequately prepares female talents to become WWE stars. NXT has been a female wrestling factory and she deserves a TON of credit, as does Triple H for placing her in that position.
But Matt Bloom and Sara Del Rey are NOT the ones signing talent. Triple H from mid-2012 through early 2020 did, and then he returned to EVP of Talent Relations during July 2022 with the Vince McMahon “resignation”.
The truth hurts… I know that many of you in our 20s and 30s grew up with Triple H as your idle. While most of us cringed at his 2002-2003 World Title runs, you cherished it as the best thing ever and then completely marked out with the return of Degeneration X later that decade. Now, you’re worshipping everything that NXT stands for under Triple H’s rule. Fine, I get it…
But FACTS are FACTS… Count the number of top drawing Main Event World Champions that Jim Ross signed versus John Laurinaitis signings versus Triple H signings. Hell, just look at what John Laurinaitis and the makeshift crew did from early 2020 through mid 2022 when Triple H was no longer overseeing Talent Relations. Solo Sikoa and Bron Breakker were signed! Those are top notch talents who are already making big impacts for the WWE in just 1 year of their career with the WWE.
Keep calling me the “Triple H hater” all you want… All I want is a GOOD developmental system that isn’t signing former Impact Wrestling talent, wrestlers under 6 foot tall without a decent Cruiserweight division, tall brooding characters, and older veterans.
Again, I want to keep asking… Which Triple H re-signing has done anything significant since their return? Already reports of Bray Wyatt dealing with a “physical issue“, as injuries have plagued his latter part of his career and the match quality from him hasn’t been the same since the mid-2010s. Being AVAILABLE is part of being great, folks.
It’s time to re-think who is TRAINING wrestlers at the WWE Performance Center and also find people for the Creative Team who can create gimmicks or personalities that can hide weaknesses and promote strengths.
Once again, I was right on Triple H… He’s just not the best man for the Talent Relations job… Or Creative… Or Live Events. Why else would Vince McMahon storm his way back in and already tinker with the Wrestlemania card?
I hate to write this column, as Triple H works hard and is really a nice guy to his talent. Sometimes, though, nice guys finish last.
So just chill… till the next episode!