One of the slogans in WWE for the past several decades has been, “don’t cross the boss.” Vince McMahon publically declared such on television, and though he did so as a heel character, art often imitates life in that the WWE CEO truly does control the fate of wrestlers careers in the palm of his hands. No empire lasts forever, and McMahon is in his early 70’s now, so while that slogan will probably ring true forever, who exactly “the boss” is could change before we know it. The most likely candidates to take over should Vince step down are his daughter, Stephanie McMahon, and her husband, Triple H.
Granted, McMahon probably won’t ever step down until he has to, and that could be some time from now. Nevertheless, the day of Stephanie and Triple H could well one day come, far in the future though it may be. Wrestlers are an outspoken bunch, and that means plenty of them have already given their thoughts on whether or not Steph and Hunter have any chance at doing a good job. Opinions range across the board, with legends and current superstars alike split on whether the duo could save wrestling, or possibly even destroy it.
Chances are, Triple H and Stephanie aren’t going to destroy WWE, but things won’t suddenly become infinitely better the second they take control, either. Then again, we’re just fans who report on this stuff, so maybe we should defer to the experts on this one. Keep reading to learn which 8 pro wrestlers have spoken out in support of The Authority, and which 7 superstars have already made it clear they want them gone.
15 Supports Them - Ric Flair
There’s a reason that despite Ric Flair’s legendary status in pro wrestling history, he was very quickly attached to Triple H after he returned to WWE in 2001. Flair has referred to Triple H as one of his absolute best friends, and thus it shouldn’t be a surprise he’s also in firm support of HHH and Stephanie taking over WWE. Flair is extremely supportive of HHH in general, often using his podcast to speak out in The Game’s defense against any critics who should happen to let their thoughts become known.
Flair is no doubt also appreciative of both Triple H and Stephanie for the focus they placed on his daughter, Charlotte. Charlotte Flair is a talented wrestler in her own right, but many fans assume her name and the familial relationship with Hunter and Stephanie could be influencing the decision to let Charlotte stand out in the Raw women’s division. Whether this is the case, or if Flair genuinely believes Triple H and Stephanie are doing a great job and will continue to do a great job into the future, is something we may never know. Nonetheless, the support is real, and will probably only grow stronger as Triple H and Stephanie grow exponentially more powerful.
14 Wants Them Gone - Paul London
The wrestlers who want The Authority out of power obviously don’t much care for them on an individual level. Paul London takes it to a deeper place, however, as few people are more open about hating Triple H than the former WWE Cruiserweight and Tag Team Champion. He might have a point, too, considering London and his partner Brian Kendrick were very clearly buried by Triple H in 2008 for virtually no reason, although Kendrick got a second chance eventually due to the fact he was never as vitriolic as his former partner.
As public and unfortunate as the on-screen burial was, it should be made clear that London isn’t merely upset at Triple H and Stephanie McMahon for selfish reasons. According to London, Triple H has acted unprofessionally around him for years and was openly disrespectful to any wrestler who appeared more popular than HHH himself. More recently, London has claimed to be “disgusted” at Triple H using Kevin Owens and other NXT standouts to “put himself over,” and probably isn’t too happy about his friend Kendrick returning to WWE, either.
13 Supports Them - Jim Ross
Few voices in wrestling are more respected than that of WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross. Part of what fans will always appreciate about Good Ole JR is his ability to speak volumes with straightforward and simple statements, and he did so very succinctly when interviewed about the idea of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon taking over WWE. Ross simply stated, “I think they’re going to be great leaders because they have an inherent love and understanding of the genre.” Simple or not, JR was being extremely clear in his support of The Authority, and his attitude has remained consistent with the quote since.
Despite JR being capable of expressing himself succinctly, he is also a loquacious sort, so he had far more to say on the subject that his sound bite endorsement. Ross extended his thoughts to explain the reason he believed Triple H and Stephanie would do so well is that taking over WWE wouldn’t merely be a “job” for them, but rather a way of life, a distinction JR feels is integral for people in high management positions.
12 Wants Them Gone - Bret Hart
Few wrestlers have had more infamously combative relationships with the McMahon family than Bret “The Hitman” Hart, and his feelings on Stephanie McMahon and her husband fit well within this trend. In fact, Hart is harsher on Stephanie than almost anyone else on this list. Bret has flat out asked, “What does Stephanie McMahon know about wrestling?” and answered his own question by accusing her of not fully understanding the wrestling business on a level required to run a company.
Despite Bret’s long-standing rivalry with Vince McMahon, his argument actually hinges on the belief Vince is, in Bret’s words, “irreplaceable.” In fairness, Hart isn’t necessarily harsh on Stephanie, in particular, and simply thinks her issues are endemic amongst the current WWE writer’s room. On the other hand, Hart has also spoken out with a great regularity about how he feels Triple H is an egomaniac who inflates his position within the wrestling industry for his own gain. Obviously, Bret doesn’t think someone with those qualities should be in any sort of leadership position.
11 Supports Them - William Regal
The people who support the rise of a new authority the most are often the ones who have the most to gain from it. Therefore, it should be obvious that William Regal is in firm support of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, considering how highly they respect him, and how much they have done for him on a personal level. Regal has all of WWE to thank for sending him to rehab and helping him get his life together. The man himself chooses to thank Triple H in particular, even going so far as to consider HHH one of his absolute best friends. In turn, Regal was one of the groomsmen at Triple H and Stephanie’s wedding.
Regal sees the benefits of this friendship every day through his career, although his own talents are nothing to be scoffed at. Talented though he may be, having friends in high places is something even an honorable Englishman can see the perks of, and if it means Regal getting promoted, fans, too, should be able to see some bright sides to Triple H and Stephanie taking over.
10 Wants Them Gone - Scott Steiner
It would be fair to say that a wrestler needs to have worked for WWE in order to have an opinion on the owners of that company, although this brings up the question of what sort of career in the company they needed to have in order for that opinion to then be trustworthy. Despite Scott Steiner’s status as a true great in the wrestling industry, neither of his runs in WWE were particularly legendary, and in fact, his second stint in the company lead to some of the most embarrassing matches of all time. Relevant to this list, those matches happened to be against Triple H.
Steiner wasn’t in the best condition for his WWE World Championship opportunities at Royal Rumble and No Way Out 2003, but nevertheless, Big Poppa Pump has blamed Triple H for the failure of these matches. Indicting both Triple H and Stephanie, Steiner said of Triple H, “He was a piece of s***,” who, “would be nothing if he had not f****ed the boss’ daughter.” Steiner made Stephanie implicit in the failure of his WWE run as well, claiming she tried to write his lines and was overtly obsessed with body image. Clearly, Steiner won’t be making a comeback anytime soon should Triple H and Stephanie keep gaining power.
9 Supports Them - Kevin Nash
Despite what Kevin Nash texted himself, or whatever the hell that angle was, in the real world, he’s unsurprisingly quite pleased with the fact his buddy Triple H is slowly taking control of the WWE Universe. There wasn’t any clear-cut hierarchy to the Kliq that Nash and Triple H belonged to, which collectively and directly influenced Vince McMahon’s booking throughout the mid-‘90s. However, Nash has often spoken about how Triple H was the most professional of the group and has since claimed he wasn’t surprised that HHH has grown to the position of power he holds today.
The fact Nash supports Triple H should be one of the more obvious entries on this list, considering how heavily he has already benefitted from his friend’s gradual rise. Nash and Triple H collectively cut off the Summer of Punk, and Nash would never have been chosen for the role if not for his friendship with Triple H. This story at once manages to explain why those who support Triple H do so as fervently as they do, while also giving some insight into why the other half of this list thinks Nash and company only support Triple H and Stephanie for selfish reasons.
8 Wants Them Gone - Shane McMahon
Reports are somewhat split on the day-to-day feelings of Shane McMahon in WWE. It is very clear, however, that at one point in time Shane was strongly averse to the idea of Stephanie and Triple H taking over the company, or at least that’s what has been indicated by the rumors surrounding why Shane left WWE in the first place. Shane’s problems weren’t exactly with his sister and her husband per se, but rather with his father, and the fact Vince was ignoring Shane’s suggestions on how the business could adapt to the future.
Although it was Vince who Shane disagreed with so heavily that he left the company, the fact Stephanie and Triple H have earned Vince’s favor over Shane suggests that the two of them are more in line with Vince’s philosophies than Shane was. There’s also the fact Shane has only returned to WWE as an on-screen character and isn’t as anywhere near as involved backstage as he was during his initial run. Maybe it isn’t quite fair to claim Shane wants his sister or brother-in-law gone, but that’s only because Shane is in the unique position where he’s probably a little bit jealous and wishes he could be where they are, or at least that Vince had listened to him all those years ago.
7 Supports Them - Shawn Michaels
Given their long history and friendship in and out of the ring, it should come as no surprise Shawn Michaels is heavily in support of his best friend Triple H one day taking over WWE. Shawn also has a good relationship with Stephanie, not to mention Vince McMahon as well, and thus supports just about everything going on in the WWE corporate structure that the general public is aware of. Shawn and Hunter may have lambasted the very idea of wrestling’s corporate side as members of DX, but HHH seems even happier living it for real, and HBK definitely likes seeing his friend happy.
Many people have accused Triple H of spending most of his career trying to one-up HBK, which he would certainly do by taking control of WWE. Michaels may have allegedly played enough political games to basically do the same, but actually earning the title of boss would put HHH ahead in that area. Triple H recently promoted his friend to a role coaching at NXT, and this could well be the first step towards the two of them taking over the company together for real, the way they always pretended to.
6 Wants Them Gone - Alberto Del Rio
WWE has been accused of racism for decades, and part of that could have to do with the 71-year-old white man who runs the place. However, it would appear that these accusations won’t be going away anytime soon even should Vince bequeath the company to Triple H and Stephanie, because some people are already alleging that The Game may be a more racist one than we ever realized. Alberto Del Rio has come and gone from WWE several times, and both of his exists have dealt with racist remarks made by WWE employees. The first time, a social media expert made a questionable joke. Now, Del Rio is claiming systemic racism caused by none other than Triple H.
Del Rio actually isn’t the first to allege HHH is prone to making racist remarks, as Del Rio’s former manager Ricardo Rodriguez alleged much the same. Despite the tandem’s rise as one of the top acts in WWE in recent years, both believe Triple H created an atmosphere within the company’s corporate ranks that fosters racism against Latinos and African Americans, and passes off the bigotry as “jokes.” Neither man used Stephanie’s name in their complaints, but it likely goes without saying that they don’t appreciate Hunter’s wife silently allowing his apparently hateful comments.
5 Supports Them - The Undertaker
Although Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are becoming more controversial as they gain more power within WWE, the reality is, the couple has been one of the most contentious in company history from the day it was first made public. In the beginning, however, it was pretty clear where everyone lied on the issue, in that virtually nobody supported Triple H and Stephanie in the slightest. However, there’s always a first, and in this case, The Undertaker was the one wrestler to have spoken out in favor of the relationship from the very beginning.
The Undertaker has always been viewed as one of the locker room leaders in WWE, and therefore perhaps his opinion is one of the most important on the list. Undertaker told Triple H from the beginning that he knew HHH wouldn’t do something that could kill his career unless he really cared for Stephanie, and also that he believed HHH could succeed on his own, and thus wasn’t only dating Stephanie for career reasons in the first place. Even now that HHH’s career has obviously benefitted from the relationship, Undertaker seems to remain in firm support of the couple.
4 Wants Them Gone - AJ Lee
Not everybody in the wrestling business is out to burn bridges, and therefore might be more subtle about their problems with the McMahon family than the others on the list. AJ Lee, in particular, seems to let her husband CM Punk do most of the talking in terms of their grievances with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, although AJ herself has spoken out against Stephanie in particular in a very public manner. Stephanie McMahon posted a tweet to Twitter congratulating actress Patricia Arquette for delivering a speech on women’s rights, so AJ replied with a cadre of offenses to women’s rights allegedly perpetrated by Stephanie and WWE in general.
Amongst AJ’s biggest complaints were the fact women were paid less than comparatively famous male talents, were given less screen time than the men, and had less opportunities for merchandising than the men. These complaints don’t necessary imply AJ wants Stephanie gone from the company, but it probably isn’t a stretch to suggest she would prefer management that genuinely cared about equality. The fact AJ stands next to her husband and has followed him in leaving WWE speaks even louder than her Tweets, and we can probably assume she supports Punk’s more direct complaints about Triple H, as well.
3 Supports Them - Sasha Banks
For a counterpoint to AJ Lee, look no further than most of the women striving in WWE shortly after AJ’s departure, almost all of whom have nothing but great things to say about Stephanie McMahon and especially Triple H. Sasha Banks, in particular, stands out as someone with a fantastic relationship with her future bosses, and she has repeatedly credited them with the newfound focus on women’s wrestling in WWE and NXT that allow her and her contemporaries to stand out.
Triple H helped Sasha stand out in NXT, but that doesn’t mean Sasha hasn’t had great things to say about Stephanie, too. Sasha has said, “Stephanie is a huge role model, not just for girls outside of WWE but also female wrestlers,” later adding, “the way she conducts herself and carries herself is how all women should be in WWE.” Sasha repays the favor by putting her life on the line in the ring and wrestling the best women’s matches in modern history. Whether or not Stephanie McMahon and Triple H will be good for WWE or wrestling, in general, remains to be seen. However, it should be quite clear with Sasha’s testimony that women have a lot to gain from the duo, although progress may need to be taken one step at a time.
2 Wants Them Gone - CM Punk
More than two years later, WWE is still reeling in some ways from the departure of CM Punk in January of 2014. Detractors argue he isn’t missed on television and be that as it may, Punk is still responsible for a litany of lawsuits WWE still needs to deal with. Should Punk win these lawsuits, big changes would need to be made to the company’s health care system and work schedule, but when speaking about his departure from WWE, Punk doesn’t seem particularly concerned about these legal issues. Punk’s real problem with WWE was the fact Triple H has too much power, and Punk really doesn’t like Triple H.
Punk’s initial walk out of WWE happened in no uncertain terms due to an argument with Triple H in Cleveland. Punk went off on Triple H for a variety of problems the two amassed over the years and he left the arena, apparently never to return to WWE. Whether or not Punk has any specific problems with Stephanie is up for debate, but he obviously doesn’t like how much power Stephanie’s husband gets thanks to who her father is. For as many fans who dislike Punk, there are plenty still clamoring for a return. Unfortunately for them, the more blatant the power Triple H has gets, the less likely it is we’ll be seeing Punk in a WWE ring again.
1 Supports Them - Vince McMahon
Truth be told, not one entry on this list particularly matters in the grand scheme of things except for number one with a bullet. Of course, a list like this wouldn’t even have been imaginable without Vince’s support. The fact Vince McMahon seems to be in support of his daughter and her husband taking over his company one day is the reason so many other wrestling personalities have felt the need to speak out on the subject in the first place. The WWE CEO is obviously very keen on his daughter’s business acumen and gets along with her husband on a deeply personal level. Vince doesn’t want to give his company to anybody, but if he can’t have it, most people assume he’d want it to go to Stephanie and Triple H.
Vince already allowed Triple H to create NXT and use it as his practice company, and Stephanie has been rising throughout WWE’s corporate ranks since childhood. There were reports Vince went back on forth on Triple H and Stephanie’s relationship on a personal level, but he obviously got over his reservations and supports them in their marriage today. There’s no reason to imagine that support wouldn’t extend to the idea of them taking over his company, especially with how heavily he seems to be grooming them to do so.
Sources: Vavel, Inquisitr, Sky Sports, The Big Lead, Wrestling Inc.
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