It’s a lot easier to make it to the top of the world if you’re able to stand on some pretty big shoulders along the way. That philosophy applies to just about every walk of life, but it’s especially true in WWE. For years, the people who got to the top of WWE’s roster were the same people who found themselves in Vince McMahon’s good graces. If you get in good with the boss, then there’s a very good chance you’re going to enjoy some juicy opportunities in the near future. Recently, however, Triple H’s rise to the top of the corporate ladder has provided stars another person to win over.
This dynamic has created an interesting power vacuum within WWE. It is entirely possible to be a wrestler that is liked by either Vince McMahon or Triple H and find yourself in the main event. However, it’s far more lucrative to be the kind of guy that is loved by both Triple H and Vince McMahon. The problem is that there are few stars who can really say that they have the love of both bosses. More likely than not, they’ve got to settle for one or the other. These are eight wrestlers that both Triple H and Vince McMahon love, and the seven they disagree on.
15 Both Love - Kevin Owens
It’s easy enough to see why Triple H likes Kevin Owens. He was an “NXT guy,” he works a very old-school wrestling style, and he’s a phenomenal heel. Those are all things that Triple H seems to look for in his favorite wrestlers. As for why we think Vince likes Owens..well, just look at the guy’s career thus far. He’s been a Universal Champion, he beat John Cena in his first match on the main roster, and he’s constantly been kept in the spotlight via actual storylines on both Raw and SmackDown. He even got physical with Vince on-screen recently, headbutting the chairman and laying a beatdown on him in his storyline with Shane.
Those things don’t happen unless Vince McMahon likes you. Owens has also reportedly been talking to Vince quite a bit regarding storylines, which is usually something that separates Vince’s favorites from the guys he doesn’t care about.
14 Disagree - Cesaro
We’re not sure why Vince McMahon doesn’t seem to be that high on Cesaro. You may recall that Stone Cold asked Vince that very question during their podcast, and Vince expertly dodged the question by making vague references to that fabled brass ring. Everything good that’s happened during Cesaro’s main roster career seems to have come as a result of Cesaro making the best of a bad situation. Even his entrance music is horrible. Apparently, Triple H is quite high on the former NXT stand-out. He’s always praised Cesaro’s in-ring work and has been his biggest advocate since Cesaro entered the main roster. Unfortunately, Triple H’s fondness for Cesaro hasn’t really translated to any meaningful push. With any luck, Cesaro’s recent tag team run with Sheamus may help his career trajectory.
13 Both Love - Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns has been labeled a Vince McMahon guy for quite some time now. It’s honestly not hard to see why that is the case. Vince has openly talked about his love for Roman Reigns for quite some time now. Even if he didn’t, it would be pretty easy to tell that he’s high on Reigns simply because Reigns has enjoyed one of the biggest pushes in recent memory.
What fewer people know is that Triple H is also quite fond of Reigns. Yes, he’s expressed disappointment regarding some of Reigns’s decision making in the past, but he has also confirmed that WWE sees Reigns as “the guy” and plan on treating him as such for the foreseeable future. Of course, not everyone is going to be happy to hear that.
12 Disagree - Rusev
On the surface, Rusev has everything that you’d want from a WWE superstar. He’s got a great look, he’s very good in the ring, and he might just be the most charismatic wrestler on the roster today. Despite all of this, Rusev hasn’t really received much of a push outside of a brief run as the foreign heel to John Cena’s All-American hero. It’s quite possible that Vince only sees Rusev as a foreign heel and got what he needed from him. There are also those rumored reports about Lana’s backstage heat that may not help.
Triple H, however, seems to realize that Rusev could be a much more entertaining piece of the roster if he’s given the right opportunities. Maybe a prolonged SmackDown run will help him achieve just that.
11 Both Love - Braun Strowman
It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of a prolonged Strowman push filled most fans with a sense of dread. After all, Strowman had never been much more than the big man in the Wyatt Family. Ever since then, though, Strowman has transformed himself into one of the most entertaining aspects of WWE programming. His character is basically the wrestling version of the Terminator or a horror movie slasher.
While most people felt that Vince was responsible for Strowman’s initial push, recent months have made it clear that Triple H is also quite high on the big man. He’s spoken about how WWE has big plans for Strowman and how he figures to be a major part of WWE television in the coming months and beyond.
10 Disagree - Nia Jax
Nia Jax’s run in WWE thus far has been a bit..awkward. She was super green when she first started wrestling, which is, of course, why she started in NXT. However, Nia really never developed in meaningful ways during her time in the developmental promotion. She’s not great in any one particular aspect of the business. It’s long been suspected that Jax’s relationship with The Rock may be responsible for her success in WWE thus far. There are even rumors that Jax complained to The Rock regarding certain storylines and he encouraged her to leave if she was unhappy.
That sounds like the kind of thing that Vince may put up with, but not the kind of thing Triple H may be a fan of. Triple H has long been an advocate of many of the female wrestlers on WWE’s roster, but has never really spoken about Nia Jax.
9 Both Love - John Cena
John Cena was reportedly the last guy who really stepped up and took control of his own WWE future. Well...that is if you believe Vince McMahon. Vince has always referred to Cena as an example of how superstars ultimately make their own success in WWE. To be fair, Cena has certainly been the best face of the company that WWE could ever ask for in the modern era. Triple H is also a huge John Cena fan in case you haven’t figured it out by now. The two have worked together on multiple occasions, and Triple H has never once spoken out against Cena’s status as the face of the brand. It’s going to be interesting to see who takes that title in the next few years,though.
8 Disagree - Mauro Ranallo
Okay, so Ranallo isn’t a wrestler, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a WWE employee who Vince and Triple H disagree more on. Even while he was a respected boxing and MMA announcer, Mauro Ranallo was known as a huge wrestling fan. When he was finally signed by WWE, he referred to it as accepting his dream job. Soon, however, Ranallo reportedly became frustrated by WWE’s high school atmosphere and the bullying of JBL. That atmosphere has long been associated with Vince McMahon’s “boys will be boys” mentality.
On the other hand, Triple H has long been a fan of Ranallo and has reportedly gone out of his way to ensure that Ranallo was re-hired by WWE and has a place on the company’s roster.
7 Both Love - Charlotte Flair
It seems that the only people who don’t love Charlotte Flair are some of the fans who feel that her prolonged push has come at the cost of other superstars. However, Charlotte is apparently beloved by most of WWE’s top creative executives. We know that Triple H has been a fan of Charlotte ever since her days in NXT. She was even one of the first female NXT wrestlers to really break out on the main roster. That last part may be traced to Vince McMahon who is also reportedly high on Charlotte’s overall skillset. The fact that she so happens to have a very famous wrestling father probably doesn’t hurt her career either. In any case, expect Charlotte to remain a women’s division fixture for quite some time to come.
6 Disagree - Sasha Banks
Speaking of wrestlers who may or may not have been hurt by Charlotte’s prolonged push, we come to Sasha Banks. Banks was arguably the biggest breakout star of NXT’s once-loaded women’s division. She established herself as not only one of the best female heels wrestling has ever seen, but one of the best overall heels in the wrestling business. That’s a side of Sasha we really haven’t seen in quite some time.
We’re not sure where the disconnect is, but most rumors suggest that Vince is afraid of letting Sasha loose because she’s so young and because a heel turn might hinder her ability to move merchandise. We expect that’s going to change at some point, but the fact that hasn’t happened already makes you wonder what Vince thinks of Sasha.
5 Both Love - Dean Ambrose
Stone Cold asked Dean Ambrose what his relationship with Vince was like during their WWE Network podcast about a year ago. Ambrose stated that he regularly talks to Vince and that the two have a very good relationship based on their shared philosophies and similar backgrounds. He even said that he was “Vince’s favorite wrestler.” While we’re pretty sure he was joking, it seems clear that Ambrose and Vince do get along extremely well.
As for Triple H, there’s never been any doubt about the strength of his and Amrbose’s relationship. Triple H has gone out of his way to put over Ambrose in the past and seems to have played a hand in his initial push as part of the Shield. All signs point to Ambrose remaining a WWE fixture for years to come.
4 Disagree - Tyler Breeze
Tyler Breeze wasn’t exactly a world beater in NXT. He was the kind of guy that was regularly fed to incoming and veteran stars because the bookers knew that Breeze was going to be able to remain “over” regardless of whether he won or not. Now, generally speaking, that’s a rare quality in a professional wrestler. However, it doesn’t seem that Vince McMahon has much room in his heart for Breeze. There’s been backstage problems involving Breeze and creative for as long as anyone can remember.
While Breeze’s role in The Fashion Police has helped his career a bit, it’s clear that Breeze may have to wait for a Triple H takeover of creative if he’s ever going to enjoy anything more than a run as a comedy character.
3 Both Love - Randy Orton
Much like John Cena, Vince and Triple H’s shared love of Randy Orton shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to longtime WWE fans. It’s hard to remember the last time that Orton enjoyed a prolonged stay in WWE’s doghouse. He entered the company as a huge star - he was fed legends on his way to the top of the roster - and has remained at or near the top for well over a decade now. What’s amazing is that Orton has achieved all of this despite his attitude problems, public altercations, and violations of the substance abuse policy. That’s the kind of push that only happens if you’ve got the full support of Vince, Triple H, and probably a few more top WWE employees.
2 Disagree - Samoa Joe
For years, fans wondered when WWE was going to wise up and offer Samoa Joe a big money contract. Remember that there was a time - around 2005 - when Samoa Joe was arguably the best wrestler in the world. Along with guys like CM Punk and Bryan Danielson, Joe made a name for himself without WWE’s help. Well, Joe finally made it to WWE. Even though Joe was a bit past his prime by that point, he still managed to make a name for himself. However, Joe has stated that he and Vince don’t have the best of relationships. Joe isn’t the kind of guy who likes prolonged meetings or company politics, meaning his interactions with Vince are almost always brief. Triple H, though, clearly sees what makes Joe so special.
1 Both Love - AJ Styles
AJ Styles, much like Samoa Joe, has long been on the radar of WWE’s fans. Styles basically made himself the face of TNA through sheer force of will. When that company screwed him over, Styles went to Japan and completely reinvented himself as a top heel and overall better worker. Finally, WWE came calling for Styles, and Styles immediately established himself as one of the best decisions WWE eventually made.
We know that Triple H has been big on Styles for years now, but some fans may be surprised to learn that Vince McMahon is just as fond of Styles as Triple H is. We can’t help but think that Vince probably likes Styles because he’s constantly over, ready to work, and is able to adapt to the company’s style.