It’s almost impossible to imagine WWE without Vince McMahon, but Vince McMahon is indeed mortal, and therefore he can’t stick around forever. Even if he never retires, which many people don’t expect he will, all humans unfortunately have an expiration date, and while businesses can also die, it takes more than just time for a successful one like WWE to go under. Although he seems reasonably healthy, Vince is in his 70s now, and that has people talking about what could happen when that tragic day comes and WWE needs to decide how to continue after McMahon exits this mortal coil. Most fingers point towards some kind of joint takeover by Vince’s daughter Stephanie McMahon and her husband, Triple H.
Before we go any further, let’s be clear about something. It isn’t written in stone anywhere that these two will even take control of the company when Vince is no longer able to do so. Even if they do, there will no doubt be dozens of other people involved in the takeover in both a corporate and wrestling capacity, so it’s not like everything is going to change overnight when WWE has their first major rehaul in management in over 30 years. With all of that in mind, though, whoever takes over WWE is going to hold the most successful wrestling company in history in the palm of their hands, and no matter who it is, chances are they’ll have a few changes they’ve been dying to make for decades. We don’t know exactly exact how, or how fast, Triple H and Stephanie would try and recreate WWE in their own image, but keep reading to discover 15 ways we think Triple H and Stephanie are going to change WWE if and when they take over.
15. Changing Of The Guard
WWE has no shortage of long tenured employees who many fans and critics alike have speculated were able to keep their jobs for as long as they did by nature of being Vince McMahon’s “yes men.” Certain names like Tony Garea, Sgt. Slaughter, and Michael Hayes are people who have been with the company for decades upon decades thanks to their friendships and loyalties with Vince McMahon, but their exact duties are unclear, and whether or not their essential to the product is likewise somewhat of a mystery to fans.
It’s possible Triple H and Stephanie will have this same sort of loyalty to the old legends who stick around as road agents, or they might fire the ones who only endeared themselves to the boss as opposed to the whole family. Either way, expect a new batch of road agents and WWE officials with more of a personal connection to Triple H as The Game’s power expands to greater and greater heights. His buddy The Road Dogg is already a WWE producer, and most of his other DX friends have jobs through the Legends program, or working for NXT. Other allies of Hunter’s could wind up with jobs for life before long, and for this sense, there are definitely a few wrestlers more than prepared for the takeover.
14. More Chances For Foreign Superstars
There have been an extremely low number of foreign wrestlers to gain prominence in America, especially within WWE. A handful of superstars including The Great Muta and The Great Khali achieved main event status, but Muta did so for WCW, and most fans are in agreement the less said about Khali the better. Other foreign wrestlers have managed to wow fans, from the days of The Jumping Bomb Angels, to WCW’s highflying luchadores, to the modern era where superstars all around the world compete in the Cruiserweight Classic, but they rarely were the main focus of the programming on the same level of American born superstars.
This one relies a little bit on the crowd’s willingness to accept the foreign superstars, but there’s at least a chance wrestlers from around the globe could have greater opportunities in WWE nowadays than they ever have before. In January of 2016, WWE poached several of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s top stars, and though most were Americans wrestling in foreign land, the most exciting of the steals in the eyes of many was Shinsuke Nakamura. Triple H is a noted fan of Nakamura, and if Shinsuke is able to succeed and stay on Hunter’s good side, perhaps we’ll be seeing plenty more foreign superstars as time goes by.
13. Rehaul of the Wellness Policy
Professional wrestling is a dangerous sport. No one is denying this, and people have been reporting it over and over for as long as wrestling has been taken seriously as a journalistic subject. The only way to remove all of the risk from pro wrestling would be to get rid of the sport entirely, but as long as the wrestlers are willing to take those risks, sports entertainment is probably going to stick around forever. The best WWE can do about the problem, then, is create some sort of health care policy for their workers. What they have is the WWE Talent and Wellness Program, colloquially known as the Wellness Policy. And it kind of sucks.
The Wellness Policy is vaguely worded, more worried about drug use than safety, and several superstars have complained about the fact it doesn’t help wrestlers with real injuries in the slightest. Vince and Linda McMahon created the Policy in the wake of Eddie Guerrero’s death, and it hasn’t been updated since its inception. Considering Triple H is a wrestler himself, we can only hope he’ll be taking a look at the policy and updating it with the wrestler’s actual concerns and interests in mind.
12. Less WWE vs. The World, More Cross Promotion
One of the criticism Vince McMahon received over the world is his tendency to bury his competition at every opportunity. There were times he stole the top superstars of his rivals only to make them look stupid in WWE, and that’s only the most transparent method he used when attempting to drive his enemies out of business. Slowly but surely, WWE seems to be losing the “Us versus The World” mentality and starting to accept themselves as part of a bigger picture in the wrestling world.
It isn’t clear how much of this has to do with Triple H and Stephanie broadening their horizons, or how much it has to do with the fact Vince was the person pushing that mentality. Honestly, it seems like it was mostly the latter, but Triple H and Stephanie are in the very least more willing than Vince ever was at cross promotion, as well. Given the two facts working in confluence, this could be one of the fastest moving changes WWE undergoes, as evidenced already by many unsigned independent superstars from small promotions around the world working for WWE part time during the Cruiserweight Classic.
11. Fresher/Less Gross Humor
This one might be an exaggeration given your personal mileage on Triple H’s form of humor, but the key word is fresh. We aren’t going to pretend Triple H is a comic genius relatable to everyone, but in the very least, DX was capable of making some solid comedy throughout the years. And more importantly, they never created anything as bizarre as Katie Vick. Katie Vick, for those mercifully unaware, was Kane’s alleged ex-girlfriend, who he murdered, and then proceeded to rape the corpse of. Triple H created a video to demonstrate, and it was supposed to be a laugh riot. It decidedly wasn’t.
The only solace fans can take in the Katie Vick saga is the fact Triple H himself has on multiple occasions spoken about it as being a terrible and unfunny idea that he only did because Vince really enjoyed it. There have been dozens of other ideas that were terribly offensive and painfully unfunny, forced unto wrestling fans for decades thanks to McMahon’s insane and sometimes flat out gross sense of humor. Triple H might not have any universal secrets to comedy, but in the very least, we’ll never get another Katie Vick.
10. Rewriting History To Include More Triple H
For as much uncertainty as there is about Stephanie and Triple H possibly taking over WWE, there’s one fact already permeating throughout the company that has fans worried and perhaps even a little scared for the history of the company. Triple H himself is already giving himself a bigger role in company retrospectives and historical accounts of WWE history than he actually had. It’s true Triple H is an incredible and dynamic wrestler who starred as the focus of WWE television for years, and dominated multiple eras of wrestling as one of the company’s top stars. And yet, WWE still manage to exaggerate Hunter’s importance at every chance they get.
The biggest issue for fans is the reframing of the DX invasion of WCW as the moment that somehow decided the Monday Night Wars. When the company released a DVD about the greatest moments of the era, the DX tank was on the cover, despite the fact DX were midcarders at the time, and it was actually Steve Austin and The Rock who were the top stars when fans started switching over to WWE. Triple H has been criticized for his ego throughout his entire career, and now that he could be the boss, he’ll need to be extra careful unless he wants fans calling him out every time he stretches the truth to make himself look good.
9. More Respect For NXT
NXT is already pretty well respected by the WWE Universe, and plenty of fans on the Internet have been calling it a better show than anything WWE has produced in years. Triple H deserves to take a great deal of pride in this, as The Game is the founder and senior producer of the WWE training ground. In many respects, NXT is training for Triple H, as well, in that he is learning the ins and outs of running and promoting a wrestling company for the inevitable takeover this list is all about. With NXT being the first step to Triple H running WWE, more so than anything else on this list, we can be certain NXT will start receiving an even greater amount of respect in the near future.
The one problem some fans have with NXT is that once wrestlers make the jump from NXT to the main roster, they start to get lost in the clutter or even get mocked for no particular reason. It isn’t always the case, but it’s still degrading to the wrestlers when it happens. Thankfully, if Triple H ends up running both shows, he’ll be able to keep focusing on what made those trainees into superstars instead of making fun of them for standing out.
8. More Integration With Outside Media
Vince McMahon has always been a fan of celebrity integration with wrestling, but the reality is he’s never been particularly good at being current or up to date in his efforts at doing so. He grew up in his professional wrestling bubble, and rarely is able to relate to or understand pop culture that he didn’t create. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are younger, more in tune with the outside world, and will most likely be incorporating an even greater celebrity and outside media presence as soon as they get the chance.
WWE Studios is far from the most profitable enterprise within of the WWE Universe, and part of the reason could have always been Vince’s own difficult to describe but no doubt strange and micromanaging presence looming over the films they produce. Triple H and Stephanie seem less interested in becoming involved in the movie business themselves (at least since Triple H’s one effort failed), so it’s possible they’ll take a completely hands off approach to WWE Studios, if they even bother keeping it around as it currently exists in the first place. It’s equally possible they’d just form a partnership with an already successful film studio if they should ever want to create another movie and get rid of WWE Studios all together.
7. Increased Focus On Appearing Corporate And Professional
Along with their interest in outside media, WWE is also an intensely corporate company. Unlike the fascination with film, this corporate mentality is most certainly shared by Vince McMahon and his daughter Stephanie, at least, evidenced by the fact Stephanie is constantly becoming more corporate and focused on branding, business, and appearing like a successful businesswoman as her role in WWE increases. This could have both positive and negative ramifications for the company, as Stephanie’s credentials as a businesswoman have yet to be fully tested, and she’s already shown some signs she might not be fit for the job.
Stephanie has already suffered her share of PR fiascos, and seems to have a very basic inability to empathize with people less fortunate than her. Nonetheless, she sees herself as the beacon of respectability, and is trying her best to make sure in the very least her own employees see her that way and spread that image, as well. WWE will keep getting more and more corporate and professional as a result, which could end up fine if Stephanie is able to learn how to talk to the press, or could blow up in their face if talent starts pointing out the inherent unfairness in forcing employees to be corporate and professional while the new boss is making uncouth Tweets that paint her as unprepared for her responsibilities.
6. Greater Outreach With Legends
One way Triple H has already changed WWE has been bringing several bona fide legends back into the company to accept induction into the Hall of Fame. Vince McMahon had decades worth of problems with names like The Ultimate Warrior, Bruno Sammartino, and Bob Backlund, and yet they all turned around on their many quarrels with Vince and his company to make their return at Hunter’s urging. These names are the biggest success stories on the list, but there have already been and most likely will continue to be legends who never quite jived with Vince McMahon’s version of wrestling who would be more than happy to shake hands with Triple H if he reached out to them.
There are still countless names omitted from the WWE Hall of Fame for no good reason, and even more jilted former wrestlers who might not have that same level of superstar status, but still make WWE look bad whenever they badmouth their former employer. Triple H isn’t going to be able to make all of these people come around, and in fact some former legends probably hate the fact he could be in charge, and will remain far away from WWE as a result. But in the very least, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon don’t hold the same grudges Vince does, and some surprising old names could find their way into WWE as a result.
5. Higher Focus On Tradition
Whatever criticism people may have about Triple H and Stephanie McMahon and their possible takeover of WWE, it’s fair to point out one fact. If nothing else, they both share Vince McMahon’s love of professional wrestling. Maybe they don’t love it in the same way Vince did, but there’s no denying the couple would likely be watching Raw together on Monday nights even if they impossibly had nothing to do with the product. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are wrestling fans, and unlike Vince McMahon, at least in the case of Triple H, that means all wrestling, not just WWE.
It’s unclear how much wrestling Stephanie McMahon has viewed outside of her father’s company, but we know Triple H has plenty of favorites he probably wouldn’t have heard of if he only watched WWE. Harley Race in particular was one of Hunter’s biggest inspirations, and Race built his legacy for the NWA. Race not only built his name away from the McMahon’s, he represents an entire legacy of tradition Vince McMahon’s version of wrestling often overlooked. Triple H and his wife just might bring elements of wrestling tradition fans have been longing for back to prominence, using Harley and other Triple H favorites of that ilk as a reference point.
4. More Focus On Tag Teams
We’ll be honest and say this one is a bit of a guess, but based on NXT, there’s definitely a chance it could happen. WWE has been slowly killing the idea of tag teams for the better part of the last 10 years. They recently erased the original WWE World Tag Team titles from history, meaning nearly 40 years of WWE tag teams were forgotten in the blink of an eye at the whim of Vince McMahon. Triple H has only occasionally wrestled in tag teams, and Stephanie has never quite said anything on the subject, but fans of NXT can attest that the brand is creating new and dynamic tag teams at a much more rapid rate than WWE has done in quite some time.
Fans are also witnessing that whenever an NXT tag team gets brought up to the main roster, they tend to get squashed and insulted pretty quickly, as we already mentioned. Hopefully, with Triple H at least partially responsible for the tag teams becoming relevant on NXT in the first place, he won’t be so quick to bury them once they reach the main roster.
3. Unclear Changes For Women
In many respects, Linda McMahon has been an equal influence as her Vince on the wrestling industry since they co-formed Titan Sports in 1982. Linda was the President and CEO of WWE for decades, so Stephanie won’t technically be the first female executive of the company by any means. However, Stephanie already has significantly more control over the actual booking and storylines of WWE than her mother ever had, and in that respect she’s already probably the most powerful female in WWE history. If she and her husband ascend to co-owners of the company, that will mean even more for women in business, but what exactly that means for women in wrestling is unclear.
Triple H has shown a great deal of interest in women’s wrestling by more or less reviving the concept on NXT. However, it was Stephanie who was confronted about female inequalities in wrestling by in 2015, and she’s yet to give a response that satisfied critics. Also muddying the waters, wherever paired with women on television, Stephanie tends to make herself look better than everyone despite not being an active wrestler herself. Women will always have a place in wrestling, but WWE hasn’t always been that place. Time will tell whether Triple H and Stephanie will make WWE a better place for women, or prove once and for women who want to wrestle should just try their luck in Japan. Given recent events, we can hopefully report it’s looking like Option A.
2. Firing Kevin Dunn
Kevin Dunn is the executive producer of Monday Night Raw, SmackDown Live, and WWE Pay-Per-Views. Dunn has held these positions since the early 1990s, gradually rising his ranks through WWE to become one of Vince McMahon’s most trusted allies. Dunn has an incredible influence over McMahon and WWE, both in terms of the general outlook of their televised products, and simply how McMahon views his talent in general. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, on the other hand, have less generous things to say about Dunn. One of the biggest and most status quo shattering changes insiders assume could happen if they take control the company could be the reduction of Dunn’s role in the company, or possibly even having him fired outright.
Fans have long been critical of Dunn’s style, and it’s a well known fact that Triple H isn’t too fond of the guy, either. Dunn and The Game have clashed over a few key production gaffes Dunn made in recent years, and more importantly, Dunn’s apparently intentional burial of NXT through his direction of their segments and his unsolicited advice to Vince McMahon on the subject. Regardless of what happens to the future of WWE, one thing that’s incredible unlikely is Kevin Dunn achieving power above that of Stephanie or Triple H, so if Dunn wants to keep his job, he should probably try and get back on Triple H’s good side in the near future.
1. Far Less Than People Fear
Anything can happen in the WWE Universe. The phrasing changed a little when the company was forced to change its nickname, but this is one of the few mottos that has survived five decades of sports entertainment and remained the most endearing adage of the industry. The feeling that anything can happen in any form of entertainment is something that no rational entertainment mogul would want to change, and there’s no reason to believe Triple H and Stephanie will be irrational in their business decisions. Therefore, we can assume this won’t change about WWE, and for that matter, very little will change about the company overall simply because there’s a new boss.
Vince McMahon has done a great job of convincing people he is personally responsible for every success of his company and therefore the wrestling business, but the reality is WWE has been built on the hard work of hundreds of sports entertainers, and also on the money of millions of fans. These wrestlers aren’t going to work any less hard, and fans aren’t going to stop watching for superficial reasons like a new boss, so it’s not like WWE is going to be all that different if Triple H and Stephanie McMahon take charge. There will be an adjustment period, a few of our predictions will come true, and some of them will prove to have been off base, but ultimately, WWE and the world will continue as usual.