Starting when he purchased his father’s wrestling company, Vince McMahon has been the ultimate authority figure in the WWE Universe. Recently, however, both of McMahon’s children, Shane and Stephanie, and even more so his son-in-law Triple H, have been doing whatever they can to step up and prove they’re ready to take control of the sports entertainment juggernaut. The reason Triple H is most likely to take over has to do with his increasing backstage prowess, plus his success with NXT, and yet on the other hand, he also seems the least agreeable with Vince when it comes to certain specifics.
While the minute differences in Vince and HHH’s business philosophies all matter in one way or another, the biggest issues arise when they have contrary opinions about the same wrestler. It used to be that if Vince thinking a wrestler was the next big thing was all that mattered, but in the modern era, there have been a number of wrestlers to break through without his stamp of approval. How? Naturally, that would be if Triple H does like them. Granted, they both generally on the same page with the main event, but as time goes on and the divide grows wider, there’s no telling what could become of the midcard. Keep reading to discover 15 pro wrestlers you had no idea Vince McMahon and Triple H disagree about.
15 Sasha Banks
With all the talk of a women’s revolution finally hitting the WWE Universe, one might assume Vince McMahon is pretty high on the ladies he picked to lead the charge. That may be the case for several of his highest-profile female superstars, but one glaring exception sits at the top, named Sasha Banks. This may surprise some fans, since Banks is definitely one of the more talented women on his roster in addition to being one of the most popular. Triple H definitely understands this, having groomed Banks from her days in NXT to her historic run as one of the first women to headline a WWE Pay-Per-View. On the downside, McMahon didn’t much care for said headlining match, featuring Banks against Charlotte Flair. What’s worse, McMahon allegedly placed the sole blame on Banks, and slightly de-pushed her from there, and HHH has thus far been unable to change this.
14 Pat Patterson
Truth be told, there’s no real word on how Triple H feels about Pat Patterson. However, there was a rather infamous incident wherein Patterson voiced a negative opinion about Triple H, and its reasonable to guess the feelings could be mutual. On the other hand, Vince McMahon has referred to Patterson as one of his all-time best friends, promoting him all the way to Vice President of WWE at certain points in his career. Backing up a bit, the issue between Patterson and Triple H started circa late 2004, during the latter’s “reign of terror” with the World Heavyweight Championship. Ratings had been significantly down from the Attitude Era, and apparently Patterson was the only person brave enough to suggest HHH might be at fault. Naturally, he was forced into retirement for daring say so. Due to his friendship with McMahon, though, Patterson has since returned in a lesser capacity.
13 El Torito
Let’s face it—the fact an offensive term like “midget wrestling” is still en vogue to some people within the WWE Universe might be a sign the company should avoid the genre altogether. Some people within the promotion might even know this, including soon-to-be head honcho Triple H. Unfortunately for HHH and any other arbiters of good taste, the one person standing against them is Vince McMahon, who still thinks the idea of little people being mocked and offended for their size is hilarious. Case in point: an infamous El Torito moment in early-2014, when the miniature grappler had his “tail” ripped off, and was forced to treat it seriously. According to reports, this was one of McMahon’s favorite segments that night, due to how patently hilarious he found it. Triple H did whatever he could to stop it from happening, but that night, his influence apparently wasn’t enough.
12 Hideo Itami
William Shakespeare once asked “What’s in a name?” Decades later, Vince McMahon replied, “everything.” Granted, that’s a paraphrase, and the real issue had nothing to do with poetry, as it was almost definitely a monetary decision. Let's look at Hideo Itami, who was already well-known in Japan and on the independent scene prior to his NXT debut. The only difference, of course, was that he used the name KENTA when doing so. When KENTA signed with WWE, Triple H felt his name recognition could bring in fans of Japanese promotions like AJPW or Pro Wrestling Noah, two organizations with which WWE has never done extended business with. However, the fact KENTA is called Hideo Itami today clearly means he lost that particular battle. McMahon’s counterargument was that they could make more money by branding him with a new name, so that’s exactly what WWE did.
11 Chris Jericho
Given the things Chris Jericho said about Stephanie McMahon, it’s not too surprising that her husband Triple H isn’t a huge fan of Y2J. That said, Steph’s dad Vince apparently had no problem with the repeat references to his Billion Dollar Princess being a “bottom-feeding, trash bag ho,” and in fact the confidence with which Jericho hurled such insults could be part of why there’s such a strong mutual respect between them. Outside of the kayfabe verbal attacks, HHH’s longtime enmity towards Jericho was allegedly caused when he injured Chyna early into his WWE run. Of course, Triple H moved on from Chyna almost immediately after that, but he must have never forgiven Jericho, nor has Jericho calmed down on his opinions towards HHH during choice interviews and even tweets. Luckily for Jerichoholics everywhere, as long as Vince keep drinking it in, man, the drama will keep amounting to nothing.
10 Jim Ross
Outside of Vince McMahon himself, Jim Ross has long been one of the most respected names in wrestling. Perhaps for this reason, the two have also had a confusing and at times controversial personal relationship, the general assumption being that for whatever reason, McMahon isn’t the biggest fan of Good Ol' JR. For a recent example of what we’re talking about, check out the circumstances behind Ross getting fired in 2013. Basically, Ric Flair acted like a drunken fool in front of reporters, and JR got blamed because he was nearby. Flair received no punishment. Obviously, WWE simply had it out for the erstwhile voice of the Attitude Era. Luckily for JR and his fans, Triple H at least has always been very supportive, as evidenced by JR’s continued appearances in the crowd at NXT events. Now that JR is again with WWE, there’s a valid question as to who hired him back.
9 Fínn Balor
Not all disagreements have to be earth-shattering, as with the minor squabble McMahon and Triple H reportedly had regarding Fínn Balor. By now, it should go without saying the two are pretty happy with The Demon King, a fact cemented when he was crowned the inaugural WWE Universal Champion. It wasn’t always quite like this, because somewhat surprisingly, if McMahon alone had his way, Balor’s success could have began much sooner. The original plan called for Balor to get called up as early as January, perhaps doing something with his incoming friends in The Club. Triple H halted the idea, feeling Balor still had much to learn and accomplish down in NXT. Interestingly, perceptions may have shifted since Balor finally got called up, due to a series of in-ring accidents. While HHH now supports his student, McMahon finds him injury-prone, which could be significantly worse than making him stay in the developmental league.
8 Adam Rose
Anyone who watched ESPN’s E:60 documentary about NXT knows Adam Rose didn’t quite have it easy in life. Unfortunately, his life has wrapped back around to a point where domestic issues got him fired from WWE, but there was a point when it looked like Triple H believing in him could create a classic redemption story. On the downside, it wasn’t going to be particularly easy with his never-ending "life of the party" gimmick, but it worked down in NXT. As a high profile call up from the brand, HHH had high hopes his pet project would turn into a big deal on the main roster. To put it bluntly, those hopes would never be met. There were a number of factors that ultimately caused Rose to fail, arguably the most important of which being that Vince McMahon reportedly didn’t understand the gimmick in the slightest.
7 AJ Lee
Having already covered that McMahon and HHH don’t always see eye-to-eye on the women’s revolution, let’s take a look at how deep the problem goes. Before Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair were headlining Hell In A Cell, female wrestlers like AJ Lee and Paige were literally predicting the coming change in their promos and storylines. Oddly enough, while both McMahon and HHH support the idea of women having an increased presence in wrestling, they apparently disagreed about who the face of the division should be. McMahon was reported as supporting AJ Lee above all else, while HHH generally backed women who spent longer in NXT. In all likelihood, McMahon probably regrets his stance today, considering Lee has left WWE along with her husband CM Punk and may never return. Then again, the woman Triple H reportedly backed hasn’t turned out too hot, either…
The word is still out on how exactly Triple H or Vince McMahon feels about Paige after private photos of hers were hacked and released to the Internet. Back when the women’s revolution was just beginning, though, the self-professed Anti-Diva was allegedly the person Triple H felt was better suited to lead the division than AJ Lee. Recent personal issues notwithstanding, the positives Triple H sees in Paige are fairly obvious, including her development as a worker in NXT, under his watchful eye, no less. Despite all this, there are certain things Vince McMahon has never quite accepted, including non-traditional looks and heavy accents, both of which apply to Paige, for better or worse. No matter what McMahon or Triple H say about women’s wrestling, WWE still has a long way to go on superficial issues like this, or at least they could for as long as McMahon remains in control.
5 Kevin Dunn
Casual fans are probably unfamiliar with Kevin Dunn, and yet he’s secretly one of the most important people in the WWE Universe. For decades now, Dunn has been one of McMahon’s closest allies as the producer of most televised WWE events. Today, they call him the Executive Vice President of Television Production, and he’s listed third on the WWE Corporate web site, so it should be pretty clear Dunn has serious sway in the company. Despite all this power, or perhaps because of it, Dunn is also one of the most controversial figures in WWE, with pretty much everyone except his boss carrying a laundry list of reasons why he’s slowly killing the entire concept of pro wrestling. Granted, there’s no guarantee Triple H is one of those people, but rumors have long indicated should he and Steph take over, Dunn will be one of the first people to go.
4 Alberto Del Rio
Not everyone gets to make their WWE debut by defeating a former World Heavyweight Champion, so it was reasonably evident Vince McMahon was a fan of Alberto Del Rio from the second he pinned Rey Mysterio. As far as anyone can tell, Triple H may well have been a fan of Del Rio at the time as well, although by this point, that perception has almost definitely changed entirely. Del Rio is currently gone from WWE a second time, and has been constantly disparaging the company ever since, specifically targeting Triple H as a major reason he left. Regardless of this flagrant bad-mouthing, Vince McMahon has allegedly been trying to hire Del Rio back, or at least trying to resume negotiations with him in some form. Sure, it’s Del Rio who claims this, but McMahon already hired him back after one major scandal, so a repeat isn’t out of the question.
It almost feels like the wrestling community complaining about how Vince McMahon and WWE are misusing Cesaro’s unbridled talent is turning into a cliché. Virtually every single fan of sports entertainment and all that it entails is able to recognize Cesaro has the potential to be a massive star, with the sole, glaring exception of Vince McMahon. The Swiss Sensation’s list of supporters includes Ric Flair, Mick Foley, and Steve Austin, who went so far as to call McMahon out for his refusal to push Cesaro on an episode of his podcast. In addition to all these legends, not to mention countless fans, even Triple H appears to be on the Cesaro bandwagon. In fact, reports have existed dating back to Cesaro’s team with Tyson Kidd claiming HHH thought he was capable of bigger things. For this reason, perhaps Cesaro proves more so than anyone else where the power still lies.
2 Shane McMahon
It should probably go without saying that Vince McMahon is pretty fond of his son Shane, and yet if family was the sole issue at play, Shane’s brother-in-law Triple H should have a fairly favorable opinion of him, as well. In all fairness, the relationship between Shane and Triple H seems about as friendly as possible in their personal lives. When it comes to business, though, there have long been rumors that Shane and Triple H are engaged in a silent, never-ending power struggle behind the scenes. Based on the nature of this list, it looks like Triple H is winning, which could be part of why he’s so affable towards Shane in other aspects of their lives. That said, it wouldn’t be wholly surprising if tensions flared up once again when Vince is no longer around to serve as a buffer.
1 CM Punk
All right, at this point, fans trolling every WWE executive by chanting “CM Punk” will probably cause all of them to hate the Straight Edge Savior soon enough. In fact, Vince McMahon might already be there, as he certainly does whatever it takes to shut the crowd up. Once upon a time, though, McMahon appeared on The Stone Cold Podcast and claimed he was willing to consider the possibility of Punk one day making his return. Unfortunately for any wishful thinkers out there expecting a Punk return, if you ask him, McMahon’s statement wasn’t genuine, but hey, he said it. In the very least, this is a strong contrast to Triple H, who openly dislikes CM Punk and most likely won’t want him back under any circumstance. Granted, HHH has reason to bash Punk, since Punk has done his fair share of bashing HHH as well.