You’re reading that headline and presuming this is clickbait, right? Why would Triple H, a WWE legend and member of the McMahon dynasty, leave the WWE to join its rival AEW? The truth is, it’s the only move that makes sense for the man born Paul Levesque.
In the ring, Triple H has done it all, becoming a multi-time champion and Hall of Famer. Now, at the age of 52, you’ll find him more behind the scenes, serving as the WWE’s Executive Vice President of Global Talent Strategy Development and COO. However, his most important role is as the head honcho of NXT.
What might’ve started out as the developmental territory morphed into its own fully-fledged show. The NXT brand is the baby of the WWE, but it’s safe to say it’s become the most important and interesting component of the company. While the rest of the WWE’s brands are about maintaining the status quo for the general audience, NXT constantly innovates, creating brand-new stars and entertaining programmes for the loyal and invested fanbase. It’ll never pull in the Raw or SmackDown numbers, but the better WWE pro wrestling show is taking place on Tuesday nights.
That’s the problem, though. Somewhere along the way, the WWE started to hate the term “pro wrestling”, preferring to position itself as sports entertainment. Sadly, it wasn’t just a change in marketing lingo but an entire approach towards the business. No longer was the concern about building and nurturing new talent to get over; it was about the quarterlies and finding ways to pander to the shareholders who are clueless about the wrestling industry.
Yet, despite the nonsense at a company level, Triple H was able to work in a silo and apply his vision to NXT, creating stars like Adam Cole, Karrion Kross, Keith Lee, Johnny Gargano, and Tommaso Ciampa. Though, he couldn’t be held accountable for how Vince McMahon and his subordinates treated them when they were elevated to the main roster.
Now, there’s change on the horizon. McMahon has reportedly demanded an overhaul to NXT, including the logo. (Yes, that’s how petty things get at the corporate level when even the logo is changed.) And this signals bad news for Triple H. It means that he’ll no longer be calling the shots at NXT, as it degenerates into yet another of McMahon’s “sports entertainment” products.
There’s no doubt that Triple H and his wife, Stephanie McMahon, will take over the company after Vinnie Mac calls it a day, but it doesn’t seem like that’ll be anytime soon. The notorious control freak refuses to let go of day-to-day operations and remains as stubborn as ever about the creative direction, rewriting shows minutes before they’re meant to go live. Is Hunter happy to sit around and see all his work on NXT be undone?
He’s in a precarious position because he undoubtedly cares about and gets pro wrestling. You only need to see his handling of NXT to see what his vision of the WWE would look like. Quite frankly, it’s far more exciting than seeing Goldberg or Lesnar headline another main event.
After being with the WWE for over 25 years, perhaps a change would do Triple H good. His experience, knowledge, and intelligence would be an asset for any company, including AEW, since he knows how to walk that fine line between business acumen and passion for the sport. He’s lived through and been part of some of the biggest eras in pro wrestling history, and that makes him invaluable to knowing what does and doesn’t work.
In all likelihood, Triple H jumping from WWE to AEW is a long shot. Not only are there business implications but also personal ones. Though, you do wonder if he’ll ever reach his full potential as a wrestling visionary while there’s a McMahon calling the shots.
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