Monday on Raw during the contact signing for the WWE Championship Match between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell, Triple H offended WWE Superstars and fans alike with his verbal burial of the talents of Bryan, as well as Chris Jericho, Edge and Rob Van Dam. WWE’s Chief Operating Officer grouped Bryan with his three predecessors and declared that like them, he is not capable of being “The Face of WWE.”
“Here’s the thing, Daniel. I’ve seen guys like you come and go a million times. Guys like Jericho, Edge, Rob Van Dam. All guys that are very talented, don’t get me wrong. Top guys! Very popular! But not “the one.” Never were they “the one.” And maybe nobody wants to say this, but it needs to be said: It’s a fact. If any of those guys had been the face of the WWE back in the day, we’d all be working for Ted Turner right now,” said Hunter.
“You think you’re playing in the big leagues, kid? You have no idea. You step inside that Hell in a Cell and I have a feeling you’re gonna prove to the world that you’re a B+ player.”
Bryan subsequently challenged Triple H to a match. “The Game” responded by saying he’s a “A+ player” and “a star” who only faces the likes of The Undertaker, The Rock and Brock Lesnar.
As reported the following day, the Chief Operating Officer’s controversial remarks had a lot of people shaking their heads backstage since they feel he was burying Bryan as a performer rather than knocking him in a villainous manner that would lead to Bryan gaining retribution. Meanwhile, Dave Meltzer revealed on Wrestling Observer Radio (audio available here) on Wednesday that Jericho, Edge and Van Dam were not given notice to the angle ahead of time.
Following Raw, Jericho went on Twitter to respond to Triple H.
— Chris Jericho (@IAmJericho) October 22, 2013
Later that day, Jericho downplayed his reaction to Triple H. Responding to a tweet that labeled what Hunter said as “completely untrue and unfair,” Jericho wrote, “No big deal. Always nice to be mentioned on Raw.”
Meltzer speculated that Jericho was legitimately upset with Hunter’s remarks. He added, “I can tell you with 100% certainty with the Jericho situation, that it was not an angle.”
Meltzer garnered reaction from some WWE talent on the controversial promo, many of whom felt it was counter-productive. They also felt that Hunter’s dismissive remarks are legitimate gripes.
“As far as the talent in the dressing room—the reaction that I got from a couple of people, was basically that they all thought that the interview was counter-productive,” said Meltzer. “They all felt that Triple H, while he will say “well, I was only working,” those were his true thoughts on those guys, and it didn’t make people very happy overall.”