There is an obvious difference in philosophy and approach to the wrestling business between Vince McMahon and Triple H. McMahon is still the person running WWE and making the important decisions for the product we witness on television. Triple H seems to have new ideas as seen in his presentation of the product in NXT along with taking a chance on various incredible talents that would have never been signed years ago. Both men work together and have a seemingly good relationship, but they clearly have separate concepts of what the wrestling business should be today.
Recent years have seen quite a few disagreements between two sides ranging from who should be pushed to how certain wrestlers coming up from NXT should be used. The releases to go down in recent memory since Triple H started to gain power as an executive and the unofficial successor to McMahon have been interesting. A few people that Triple H believed in were released due to Vince not thinking they were working on the main roster nor did they have the potential to be stars. Other firings have been a mutual decision supported by both sides. We'll look at each with ten Vince McMahon firings that upset Triple H and five that they agreed on.
15 Disagreed: Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre returned to WWE in April after a three year absence. The beginning of McIntyre’s career in WWE saw him get the nickname of the “Chosen One.” WWE loved the potential and look of McIntyre. The hope was that he would become a main event star. Vince McMahon even went out of his way to endorse McIntyre on SmackDown but he ended up flopping.
Triple H was reported to be one of the biggest supporters of McIntyre and tried to help him out back then. It was all for nothing with WWE releasing Drew after he struggled with his initial push. McIntyre dominated the independent circuit and proved his value outside of WWE. Following his value reaching a new peak, Triple H is the one to sign him back and right a wrong of McIntyre being wasted for the first release.
14 Disagreed: Jim Ross
Vince McMahon’s weird dislike for Jim Ross has seen the legendary broadcaster get fired numerous times from WWE. The most recent falling out between the two came when Ross was hosting a question and answer session for one of the WWE 2K games. Ric Flair had a few too many drinks and started going off the rails taking over the show. Ross was unable to contain Flair and McMahon fired him for it.
Triple H has always respected JR despite his father in law showing no respect for the legend. The “end of an era” match between Triple H and Undertaker saw Ross make the guest commentary appearance due to both men wanting him there. You can see Triple H’s love for Ross on display with JR doing commentary for his projects of the Mae Young Classic, United Kingdom specials and one NXT match per TakeOver special.
13 Agreed: Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan may have burned his final bridge with WWE when he became the center of controversy back in 2015. The leaking of an old adult tape saw him unleash a racist tirade that painted him in a horrible light. WWE hoped the run of that time would have seen Hogan work with them for the rest of his life as a spokesperson and ambassador.
One of the biggest wrestling names of all time being in the news as a racist was something WWE couldn’t risk having associated with them. Both Vince McMahon and Triple H are very much all in on trying to protect the company’s image. They likely both were on board with firing Hogan to avoid any negative publicity. Hogan will likely never return to WWE again with how poorly he’s hurt his reputation.
12 Disagreed: Emma
The release of Emma back in 2014 is still among the most bizarre stories in recent WWE memory. WWE announced they were releasing Emma after she was arrested with the accusations of trying to shoplift an Ipad Mini case. Hours after the release, Emma would be reinstated after the company looked into the situation and apparently found out new information.
A very likely rumor claimed Triple H was the one to stand up for Emma and it was one of the first times he spoke out against Vince McMahon. The news of a shoplifting arrest made McMahon react instantly but Triple H worked with Emma in NXT and didn’t want her WWE career to end like that. It was all apparently a huge misunderstanding but Triple H’s presence here definitely saved Emma’s job.
11 Disagreed: John Morrison
John Morrison and WWE came to terms of his time in the company ending when his contract expired. The WWE career of Morrison always saw him on the verge of breaking out into the main event picture but always falling just short. Vince McMahon was reportedly the main person that refused to buy Morrison as a top star and always felt he was best served in the mid-card picture.
Triple H never worked closely with Morrison, but there were rumors of him wanting Morrison to make appearances in NXT as it started to grow. Unfortunately, Morrison was let go before it could come to fruition. Triple H giving Morrison the freedom to thrive in NXT could have benefitted his career greatly. If Morrison returns to WWE in the future, Triple H is the likely the one responsible for the signing.
10 Agreed: Alex Riley
Alex Riley is one of the few wrestlers to flop badly working for both Vince McMahon and Triple H. WWE gave Riley a huge push on the main roster turning on The Miz with the hopes of moving up the ladder to become a top face. Riley had horrible matches with embarrassing botches and just never felt like he was ready for the big stage leading to his demise.
NXT had Riley work as a broadcaster until he pitched to return to the ring backstage. Triple H gave him the opportunity to work against top names like Kevin Owens and Shinsuke Nakamura in NXT. Riley just ranted on social media about them and showed minimal improvement in the ring. Following his flop in NXT, WWE released him. Both Triple H and Vince realized how bad he was before his release.
9 Disagreed: Jack Swagger
The lack of personality doomed Jack Swagger’s chance of succeeding in WWE. Vince McMahon was actually his biggest supporter early on and the main reason why Swagger won the World Championship at a young age. Following his opportunities flopping, Swagger became an afterthought on the main roster for the final few years of his stint in WWE before getting his release granted.
Triple H clearly still saw what Swagger brought to the table. Swagger’s match with Sami Zayn on NXT TV was one of the standout bouts that helped give NXT a strong reputation. There were reports of Triple H being the biggest supporter of the Swagger and Cesaro tag team that ended early. McMahon gave up on Swagger years ago but Triple H seemed willing to repackage him.
8 Disagreed: Austin Aries
The release of Austin Aries was granted by WWE, but Triple H clearly couldn’t be happy about it. Triple H is the one that signed Aries to be a major player for NXT. Aries was called up to be a part of the Cruiserweight Division. 205 Live is reportedly Vince McMahon’s pet project and it is tanking horribly. Aries was not happy being pigeonholed in the division and making less money than expected given the inconsistent road schedule for the Cruiserweights.
Triple H could have easily slotted Aries in as a main event NXT star and made a lot of money off of it. Instead, Aries barely spent time there and witnessed his WWE career fall apart. McMahon agreed to let Aries walk when he stated his displeasure of where his career was going. Triple H signed a big name for nothing as the Aries WWE journey led to a forgettable run before the release.
7 Agreed: Evan Bourne
WWE viewed Evan Bourne aka Matt Sydal as their next big underdog star not too long ago. Bourne had a few standout spotlight moves in random matches before reaching success in a tag team with Kofi Kingston. Unfortunately, Bourne violated the WWE Wellness Policy for using artificial marijuana. The same drug would see Bourne get suspended a second time right after to give him a negative reputation.
An injury would add to the bad timing and keep him out for a long time leading to his release. Triple H and Vince McMahon were both reportedly upset with Bourne for different reasons. McMahon was mad that Bourne ruined a highly popular tag team from getting to the next level. Triple H didn’t like that certain news about R-Truth sharing the drug with Bourne leaked online. It eventually culminated in Bourne finding new places of employment.
6 Disagreed: Adam Rose
Adam Rose is one of the stories of a wrestler thriving in NXT and failing miserably on the main roster. The character of Rose showcased how different of an atmosphere NXT is to Raw and SmackDown. Fans gave the wacky gimmick a chance and ended up loving it. Rose evolved into one of the most beloved wrestlers in NXT leading to his call-up.
The same character failed to connect on a larger scale. Rose would turn into an enhancement talent and things got worse with horrible things in his personal life. Between violating the Wellness Policy and being accused of striking his wife, Rose would get released for his struggles. Triple H reportedly supported Rose as having strong potential and wasn’t thrilled about one of his best NXT successes getting fired.
5 Disagreed: Gail Kim
The Women’s Revolution in WWE of treating the female athletes with credibility was something inspired by Triple H. Unlike Vince McMahon, Triple H apparently always saw the value in the better women’s wrestlers. Gail Kim shared a story about Triple H pulling her aside once and telling her how good she was and not to let the bad booking of WWE bring her down.
Two tenures in WWE would both end in disappointment for Gail due to McMahon not taking her talent seriously. Kim grew a disdain for WWE and has made it clear she never wants to try working there again despite the changes. Triple H had a strong deal of respect for her and likely finds it frustrating that a great name won’t join the company thanks to his father in law’s bad decisions.
4 Agreed: Ryback
Ryback has turned into one of the biggest disasters in wrestling. WWE tried to give him everything by pushing him as an undefeated Superstar destroying the roster for many months. Ryback never could get over the hump to become a main eventer due to his below average in-ring skills and poor attitude. The downfall of Ryback saw him unleash about WWE treating the wrestlers poorly.
WWE had no interest in re-signing Ryback and he didn’t care to return either. Ryback left in controversial fashion by starting a negative conversation about the company. Vince McMahon seemed to have quit on Ryback at that point. Triple H viewed his NXT stars as having more potential and star power over Ryback. Both were happy he’s gone and they are proven right in the long run.
3 Disagreed: Billy Gunn
Billy Gunn and Triple H have had an on and off relationship through the years. Following their time in D-Generation X, Gunn would struggle before getting released by WWE the first time. Gunn trashed Triple H in interviews for years until making peace. Triple H got him a job in WWE as a trainer in the Performance Center helping improve the skills of the aspiring wrestlers.
Gunn formed close relationships with Baron Corbin, Tyler Breeze and a few other relevant names. Unfortunately, WWE released him when he violated the Wellness Policy for using PEDs due to his side career as a power lifter. It was a rule of Vince McMahon to not have his trainers in the news for using drugs. Gunn is saying nothing but kind things about Triple H knowing his friend had his back. Don’t be surprised if Triple H finds a way to bring Billy back.
2 Disagreed: Wade Barrett
Triple H was reportedly the biggest supporter of Wade Barrett during his run as the Bad News Barrett character. There were a handful of times when Triple H would go out of his way to drop the “bad news” line in various promos at the time. Barrett did not have much of a chance to stand out following the original flop as a member of Nexus.
Vince McMahon apparently quit on Barrett due to his run against John Cena ending with him not being any better off for it. It may have benefitted Barrett to work in NXT under Triple H’s leadership in revamping his character. McMahon was not going to give him another chance at getting over. Barrett could always get another chance whenever he wants to return to the ring, but Triple H would have to be the one that brings him back.
1 Agreed: Alberto Del Rio
One wrestler that Vince McMahon and Triple H used to disagree about was Alberto Del Rio. The Mexican wrestling legend joined WWE with a massive push. McMahon absolutely loved him and supported Del Rio as a top star for many years. Triple H was always his biggest critic leading Alberto throwing shade at him through the years.
Things however ended poorly for Del Rio with both men last year. Alberto’s controversial relationship with Paige along and his violating of the Wellness Policy led to the company completely souring on him. Del Rio requested his release and WWE agreed to fire him. Triple H wanted Alberto out for a long time. McMahon finally agreed with him and now Del Rio is blacklisted from the company going forward.