Talk about a weekend for the ages in regard to news! Last weekend, WWE announced many big changes to the landscape of the company that provide the largest overhaul to its operations ever seen, not even closely comparable to Vince Jr. buying the company from his father in 1982. The first came just after 4 PM on Friday, July 21st, when Vince McMahon, WWE’s owner and head of creative for 39 years, announced his retirement amidst a large number of ongoing accusations and reports against him. In his place, his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, along with Nick Khan, has been named the new co-CEOs of WWE, with Stephanie also serving as the chairwoman of the board of WWE. Her husband, Paul “Triple H” Levesque was named the new EVP of Talent Relations. These moves alone were enough to shake up the foundation of what WWE has been known as for the better part of the last 4 decades. However, on Monday morning, WWE also announced that Triple H has now become the new head of creative for all WWE programming. This one was truly the one that sent fans into euphoria because a new horizon seems to be inbound, and I myself, along with a majority of WWE’s fanbase, are ready for what’s next (pun intended)!
So, what does this final announcement mean? Very simply put, Triple H now has the final say on what does and does not go onto WWE TV as the product in which they put out. This is something that has truly never been done by anyone other than Vince McMahon himself. When Vince bought the company from his father in 1982, professional wrestling did not exist in the manner it does today. Wrestlemania did not exist, pay-per-views were an untested form of distribution for the business, and national TV deals were far off from being a constant. It was Vince who took professional wrestling to the level it is today, and he was head of creative through it all. From the highs of the likes of Hulk Hogan in the 80s, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in the 90s, and John Cena in the 00s, to the many lows that have been seen especially in recent years, Vince was the man who sent those things to TV. He held the proverbial pencil that allowed for many opportunities, both good and bad, to be had on their national TV shows and monthly extravaganzas. It has never before been seen that someone else do that job for WWE, until Monday when Triple H took over the role, effective immediately. There is so much good that can come from this, and the possible changes that may be coming in the near future are genuinely exciting. Now, I am simply going to touch on a few things that I am really hoping for with Triple H now at the helm.
First and foremost, I want to see proper booking and exposure for the talented superstars on WWE’s roster. It has been so well-documented in the last 6-7 years or so that main roster call-ups from NXT go to die on the main, and it is really easy to see it is accurate. Keith Lee, The Ascension, Karrion Kross, Neville, Tyler Breeze, Bo Dallas, and so many others are just a small handful of examples. It may be true that guys like Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins have found success, but that is by far the minority in this discussion. When Triple H groomed superstars in NXT, they went to the main roster to become duds and shells of their former selves because Vince and company on creative stripped everything away that made them successful in NXT, and they died out very quickly. My hope is that now that Triple H will be head of creative for all 3 WWE brands, there will be more continuity, more consistency, and fewer examples of superstars coming up and dying out because of poor gimmick changes and unsuccessful rebrands that did not need to happen. A prime example is Ciampa, who has been a relative afterthought since coming up after Wrestlemania this year. He was by far one of Triple H’s number one guys when he ran NXT prior to his health scare last year. A return to the Ciampa of his dominant NXT days may be what turns him back into the Psycho Killer and back to what made him the face of the black and gold brand: being a nasty, downright hated heel that will rip your heart out if given the chance. Still, there are also others who could greatly benefit from Triple H being in this role now. T-Bar (please, I beg Triple H to rename him Dominik Dijakovic again), Ricochet, Alexa Bliss, Shinsuke Nakamura, and GUNTHER may find themselves much better off if given the right momentum. Plus, those guys and girls currently in NXT 2.0 could stand a much better chance upon their eventual call-up, which may make them last much longer than so many of those who have gone before them.
Also, I would love to see Raw return to two hours. The 3-hour format has existed for just over 10 years now (dating back to Raw 1000 in July 2012), and it has been a drag for almost the entire time. Triple H himself even said so in a podcast interview with Steve Austin several years ago. I know that content is king in this business, and with so much talent it may be hard to get everyone on the card every week, but the 2-hour format was a proven success for Raw for nearly 20 years before the switch was made in 2012. I think better, more consistent content will come from reverting back to that 2-hour format, focusing more on unique storytelling and nuance rather than uninspired segments just to fill time on the air.
Lastly, I think NXT 2.0 needs to reset yet again. Now, the glory days of the original black and gold brand of NXT won’t come back. That was truly a lightning-in-a-bottle time for WWE, and that time surely has passed. With Triple H now looking to restore balance to all WWE programming, it could serve as a massive benefit to the company, and the brand especially, if Triple H can restore the key elements that made his NXT a success with less of a dramatic shift than with what we saw when Vince overhauled it last Fall. Combining the good that has come out of NXT 2.0 with the successful formula Triple H once had may create a new form of magic, and while we don’t simply want to recreate the past, building a brighter future may very well be much more possible this way, and a lot more enjoyable to the fans tuning in on national TV every week.
Only time will tell what Triple H does to make things feel fresh and new, but the hopes are high that he will, and that he will very soon. Until then, it seems likely that we have to fasten our seatbelts and get ready because a wild ride seems like it is upon us!