Since late 2003, if not four years prior to that, WWE has gradually been moving toward the inevitable day when Triple H assumes control of the company from his father-in-law, Vince McMahon. Whether or not this was HHH’s goal all along way back when he first asked Vince’s daughter, Stephanie, out on a date, the world will never know, yet the result remains the same regardless of his intentions. Always a family business, WWE will undoubtedly remain in the McMahon family when Vince is no longer able to perform his duties, and Triple H is easily the family member most interested in taking the job.
Pretty much from the day this reality became evident, wrestling insiders have been voicing their opinions on what this means for the future of sports entertainment. Critics are largely mixed, taking a reasonable wait-and-see philosophy, while actual wrestlers and other personnel within WWE are either highly excited or outright terrified about what could happen to them. Obviously, Triple H has been in the wrestling business for quite some time himself, and he’s made plenty of friends and enemies along the way, with both camps highly interested in what could happen if, or when, he takes over the WWE Universe.
Truth be told, it’s impossible to know what will happen if Triple H replaces Vince McMahon as the head honcho in pro wrestling, let alone if this scenario will even for sure happen in the first place. Even if HHH does become the true King of Kings, there’s a small chance he’ll legitimately do what’s best for business and ignore his personal feelings while seated on the throne. That might be giving the guy a little too much credit, though, so we’re going to go back to speculating wildly. To join us, keep reading to discover 8 wrestlers who'll benefit from Triple H taking control of WWE and 7 who'll get left in the dust.
15 BENEFIT: Charlotte
Having spent several years acting as Ric Flair’s onscreen protégé, it shouldn’t be a shock for fans to learn Triple H is a pretty big fan of The Nature Boy. Not only that, HHH is also pretty fond of Naitch’s daughter, Charlotte, whom he has been helping groom as a performer from the very beginning of her career in NXT. Charlotte has already been benefitting greatly from her father’s standing in wrestling and her own considerable skills in the ring, and this trend will almost certainly continue as Triple H increases his power across all facets of the WWE Universe. It’s also worth noting Triple H has been a strong proponent of the Women’s Revolution, which Charlotte has always been at the forefront of, making history for females in WWE and wrestling in general from the moment she was called up to the main roster.
14 LEFT IN THE DUST: The Rock
In spite of Dwayne Johnson’s status as the most electrifying man in sports entertainment, not to mention Hollywood, his longtime rival Triple H has never quite smelled what The Rock was cooking. Keep in mind, this is by Triple H’s own admission, having admitted during a 2011 interview that his relationship with Rock was “uniquely weird.” HHH cited a strong tension that started around the same time as The Great One’s decision to make the jump to movies as the cause, adding the rivalry they shared never quite went away. Granted, The Rock’s status as one of the biggest stars in mainstream media means he’s safer than anyone else on this list, as not even Triple H could try and ice out the most famous part-time wrestler alive today. Even if he did, The Rock probably wouldn’t be too hurt by the decision, always able to make way more money elsewhere.
13 BENEFIT: Seth Rollins
Forget about when he takes control of WWE—Triple H has already been in a position where he doesn’t have to step inside a wrestling ring unless he wants to for some time now. For this reason alone, the fact HHH has been consistently connected to Seth Rollins on screen as both a friend and foe is significant in and of itself. Clearly, HHH feels Rollins has something special as a performer, and The Architect will surely earn a continued push should he continue impressing his future boss in this manner. More than that, simply by having a ready-made history with the man in charge of WWE will make Rollins a force to be reckoned with at all times. Considering how successful anyone to work with Vince McMahon has become, the same will probably be true of the next boss, too, and few are in as good a position as Seth in this regard.
12 LEFT IN THE DUST: Shane McMahon
While many people could find their careers in jeopardy should Vince McMahon step away from WWE, one might expect if nothing else, the people sharing his last name would be pretty safe. On the other hand, given the always tumultuous professional relationship between Shane McMahon and the power couple that is his sister and brother-in-law, Vince’s own family might be amongst the first to go when he retires. It's long been rumored Shane and Triple H, in particular, don’t get along that well creatively, although they do their best to maintain a strong personal relationship. Therefore, the question is a matter of whether or not they can continue putting their differences aside and work together in peace or if removing the buffer provided by Vince will cause tensions to explode. In that case, it would be easy to see Shane McMahon taking another long sabbatical from sports entertainment… and he may not have a choice in the matter.
11 BENEFIT: Sasha Banks
Next to Charlotte Flair, it looks like “The Boss” Sasha Banks is leading the charge amongst women in the WWE Universe today. Of course, the two of them are hardly alone in this venture, nor would it even be impossible for them to do it all by themselves. In fact, it might be fair to put all of the current female wrestlers in the company, or at least those who reached the main roster through NXT and the Performance Center, in the benefit column. Sasha is in especially good shape as one of the most talented of the bunch both from an in-ring perspective and with her character work, not to mention her close working relationship with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. It was this status that made her one of the first women to main event a WWE special event, and if things keep headed in the same direction, there could definitely be more to come.
10 LEFT IN THE DUST: Kevin Dunn
Okay, so Kevin Dunn isn’t a wrestler, now or ever, and thus his appearance on this list is mostly a matter of technicality. That said, don’t go and dismiss his name simply because he’s never on camera, as Dunn is arguably one of the most powerful people in WWE today, and he’s been such for over two decades now. Officially, Dunn is the Executive Vice President of Television Production, and in more direct terms, this means he’s in charge of the look and feel of Raw, SmackDown, and any other WWE-sponsored programming intended to air on TV or online through the WWE Network. Most insiders claim Dunn has also largely become Vince McMahon’s right-hand man, influencing the WWE CEO in countless ways over the years about what direction his programming should be taking. These same insiders have long believed Triple H envies or outright hates Dunn for this status, meaning he could be fired the second HHH is able to do so.
9 BENEFIT: Kevin Owens
In recent years, no WWE superstar has vaulted up and down the card faster or more times than Kevin Owens. The Prizefighter was the biggest name in NXT upon arrival and continued to make a huge impact when he jumped to the main roster by defeating John Cena in his debut. Unfortunately, Owens lost the next two rematches against the Face of WWE and slowly fell down the card from there… until he suddenly became the second Universal Champion and reigned for almost six months. And then he lost it in seconds and hasn’t been in the main event scene ever since. The one explanation for this rollercoaster ride through WWE is that the executives just can’t make up their minds about him, and part of the issue might be that his rotund physique doesn’t fit what Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn think a wrestler should look like. Triple H, on the other hand, has always supported Owens for his inherent talents, thinking it might be best for business to ignore mere appearances.
8 LEFT IN THE DUST: Alberto Del Rio
Given his recent behavior, it might be fair to guess Alberto Del Rio doesn’t much care what Triple H thinks about him at this particular point in time. Since El Presidente exited WWE for the second time, he’s been enjoying a good amount of success in Mexico and on the American independent scene and might not ever need to return for monetary reasons alone. On top of that, Del Rio seems to seriously despise Triple H on a personal level and probably wouldn’t ever want to work for him in the first place. What started as accusations HHH regularly acted in a racist manner gradually turned into deeply personal attacks in general, with Del Rio making it clear he has no positive feelings whatsoever about his former coworker and would-be boss. Not only that, but Del Rio’s girlfriend, Paige, has also seemed to support him in these claims, nearly winding up on this list herself in the process.
7 BENEFIT: Sheamus
Going from a complete unknown to WWE Champion faster than almost anyone else in history, Sheamus was in an envious position virtually from the moment his career began. So quick was Sheamus’s rise from a mid-carder on the third-rate ECW revival to a man challenging and defeating John Cena for the biggest prize in the business that some fans questioned why it happened. This confusion intensified as Sheamus kept getting pushed as a major player while only showing moderately above-average skills in the ring and on the mic, though the more cynical wrestling critics thought they knew the answer all along. Apparently, Sheamus has been one of Triple H’s preferred gym buddies from the day they met, and HHH has thus put in a good word for the Celtic Warrior every step of his career. It’s hardly a stretch to think this friendly relationship will fade in the slightest as HHH gets even more powerful.
6 LEFT IN THE DUST: Rob Van Dam
Similarly to Alberto Del Rio, there’s a valid question as to whether or not Rob Van Dam necessarily cares that Triple H will most likely rule WWE one day in the near future. The former ECW and WWE Champion has been content working on the independent scene for the past three years, and all he really has left to accomplish in the WWE Universe would be a Hall of Fame induction. That said, there are still plenty of RVD fans out there who could be holding out hope the Five Star Superstar might pop up at a random Royal Rumble or for a special appearance, and we regret to inform that will almost definitely never happen with Triple H in charge of the company. With each subsequent exit from WWE, Van Dam has been more open about what he perceived as jealousy from the King of Kings in his direction and even claimed any success he achieved was “in spite of Triple H” trying to stop it.
5 BENEFIT: Cesaro
Over the past several years, retired wrestlers and industry critics have been speaking out in droves that the most underrated superstar on the WWE roster is the Swiss Sensation, Cesaro. The consensus is so strong, Cesaro managed to win the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s “Most Underrated Wrestler” award four years running. Trying to get to the bottom of this, no less than the biggest WWE superstar in history, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, asked Vince McMahon what the deal was on an episode of his podcast. Vince gave a non-answer about Cesaro not having the “it factor,” despite everyone else on Earth clearly feeling the exact opposite. The light at the end of the tunnel here is that Triple H happens to be in “not Vince McMahon” category, sitting along with the rest of us as someone who understands and appreciates Cesaro’s talents. With his biggest detractor out of the way, the sky's the limit for what Cesaro could accomplish.
4 LEFT IN THE DUST: CM Punk
One last name that might not quite care what Triple H or anyone in WWE thinks about him, CM Punk will probably find his Voice of the Voiceless permanently silenced without Vince McMahon around to ever forgive him. While McMahon has proven oddly forthright with his apologies, at least sometimes, Triple H has never been in the position to forgive and forget, and the way Punk talks about him, their relationship won’t be the one to break the trend. Not only that, but Punk has no interest in returning to wrestling, and thus, he wouldn’t have any desire to speak with HHH again to try and set things right. Like with RVD and ADR, the only people who really lose out on this one are wrestling fans who cross their fingers and hope, one day, everyone involved will change their minds about things.
3 BENEFIT: Randy Orton
Designated as a chosen one due to his lineage more than his talent, Randy Orton has been pushed to the top of WWE since his humble beginnings as a cocky but otherwise bland youngster looking to make an impact. From there, he got close with Triple H in Evolution, though his bland, boring skill set didn’t quite improve, nor did his skills on the microphone. Nonetheless, Orton became marginally popular by breaking apart from Triple H and feuding with him… until his prospects started to sag, so he was back with Triple H either as an enemy or an ally yet again, repeating the pattern ad nauseam throughout his career. This basic trajectory continued until Orton somehow had 13 WWE Championships and counting, and though Triple H isn’t always part of his success on screen, the two have definitely become close friends behind the curtain. Orton is also friends with the McMahon family, in general, which explains his success thus far, meaning his ties with Triple H merely mean nothing will change for the most overrated superstar around anytime soon.
2 LEFT IN THE DUST: Chris Jericho
Chameleonic, always adapting, and a true original in every sense of the word, it could be said that Chris Jericho is the David Bowie of pro wrestling. Of course, not everyone is able to accept innovation, especially those who see themselves as somehow above it, which is why Triple H and Y2J have never quite been able to get along. It allegedly all began when Jericho accidentally injured Chyna during one of his earliest WWE appearances, and the tensions have only intensified since HHH moved on to another relationship with a woman wrestling’s most famous listmaker once called a dirty, filthy, stinking, bottom feeding… well, you get the idea. How much is kayfabe versus what the two men actually think about one another is somewhat of a mystery, although certain Tweets from Jericho would imply there was more to this feud than what we saw on TV. On the other hand, Jericho has also claimed it's mostly water under the bridge, so he might not fare as poorly as our worst fears could imply.
1 BENEFIT: Triple H
Alright, so maybe this is cheating a little, but let’s face it—no wrestler could possibly benefit more than Triple H taking over WWE than Triple H himself. Even without becoming the owner and/or CEO of the company, Triple H has blatantly used his Authority to become the WWE Champion at least once. Hell, if the more cynical critics are to be believed, he’s already done this about a dozen times by now. Anyone thinking Triple H’s advancing age or lack of activity in the ring could in any way change this, as his work ethic could easily allow him another decade in the ring, and who knows how many WWE Championships, network special main events, or high-profile bouts at WrestleMania this could allow? All we know for sure is that Triple H will make sure everyone watching WWE knows who wears the crown and that he’ll strike down anyone who dares stand against the King of Kings.