The history of WWE has seen Vince McMahon responsible for almost every major decision to go down behind the scenes. WWE will only go all the way with a wrestler winning a world title if McMahon believes it is the right decision. This has led to quite a few instances of him picking champions that no one else wanted. Despite other people with important positions believing the decision was not a good one, McMahon used his power to ensure it happened. Most of these champions did poorly in the role while others found a way to surprise everyone and prove Vince right.
WWE is still witnessing McMahon making unpopular decisions that other people disagree with. Triple H is one of the important people behind the scenes that reportedly will clash with McMahon when it comes to their opinions on various wrestlers backstage. We will look at both the history and the future of WWE. The history of McMahon’s choices for a champion that others disagreed with will be examined, especially how things worked out for said wrestlers. Triple H’s future could see current wrestlers on the WWE roster reaching the top of the mountain due to his belief in them that McMahon may not have. Find out which wrestlers benefit from the trust of an important figure. These are ten former champions that only Vince wanted along with ten that Triple H wants next.
20 Vince wanted: JBL
JBL's rise to the main event as a WWE Champion came out of nowhere. Following almost a decade in WWE as a tag team wrestler and lower mid-carder during singles runs, Bradshaw received a character change as JBL. He transitioned from a tough face to a cowardly heel that bragged about his wealth.
Vince McMahon has always viewed JBL as one of his closest friends in WWE. This is the only reason JBL was the one selected to get a huge run as WWE Champion on Smackdown. McMahon also viewed Smackdown as a lower tier show than Raw which allowed experiments like this to go down. The break to come from McMahon’s support changed JBL’s career forever.
19 Triple H wants: Shinsuke Nakamaura
The past year has been quite a ride for Shinsuke Nakamura. Most would assume a year that starts with winning the Royal Rumble match and ends with a lengthy United States Championship reign is a successful one. However, Nakamura fell from a rising main eventer to a mid-carder.
Triple H has been the biggest supporter of Nakamura from day one as he made the decision to sign the Japanese sensation. Vince McMahon was the one to hesitate on pushing Nakamura to the top due to the language barrier. Nakamura likely won’t get a run as a world champion unless Triple H receives full creative power.
18 Vince wanted: Nia Jax
The recent Raw Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania 34 featured Nia Jax having the biggest win of her career over Alexa Bliss. Not many fans wanted to see this program, given Jax’s lack of in-ring skills, along with ladies like Sasha Banks and Bayley missing the main card altogether.
Vince McMahon, however, felt the story of Jax overcoming Bliss’ bullying was the best story. Despite Jax getting the win on the biggest night of her career, the title reign turned out to be a flop. McMahon even had The Rock’s mom and daughter spotlighted in Jax’s celebration to try to add to the moment, but it did not help at the end of the day.
17 Triple H wants: Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks is one of the biggest instances of Vince McMahon and Triple H having different opinions about main roster talents. Triple H pushed Banks as one of the faces of the women’s evolution starting in NXT with an incredible title reign.
Banks had more momentum than Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch when called up to the main roster together. Vince McMahon did not view Banks as being as good as Flair, which led to her losing most of their major matches against each other. Sasha’s career went downhill while Flair, Lynch, Alexa Bliss, and others passed her by. Triple H is the only one that can save her from Vince’s booking.
16 Vince wanted: Sycho Sid
Taller wrestlers always received preferential treatment from Vince McMahon due to his belief they are bigger draws. Sycho Sid is a wrestler that benefited from McMahon’s outlook on the main event picture. Injuries to Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at different points led to Sid receiving world title reigns.
Sid was able to main event WrestleMania 13 in a match against The Undertaker. McMahon loved the look of Sid and wanted him to become an even bigger star. Sid left WWE shortly after, and had he stayed, he may have received more opportunities in the world title picture against Steve Austin and The Rock.
15 Triple H wants: Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre has become one of the top stars on the Raw brand after getting called up after WrestleMania. The years away from WWE after his first release from the company helped McIntyre become a standout top name on the independent circuit.
Triple H made the call to re-hire McIntyre with a great run coming in NXT. It only took Drew a few months to become the NXT Champion. The main roster call-up came within a year and McIntyre has already passed most of the roster. Triple H was reportedly Drew’s biggest supporter in his first run and the same rings true this time with McIntyre as his employee.
14 Vince wanted: Jinder Mahal
Jinder Mahal was one of the more recent Vince McMahon projects that came out of nowhere. McMahon reportedly took note of Mahal’s improved physique and backstage work ethic. This was enough to move him to SmackDown in 2017 and push him from an enhancement talent to a main eventer.
Mahal won the WWE Championship in a surprising moment by defeating Randy Orton. McMahon had major plans for Jinder than lasted most of the year before he gave up. Instead of the title reign going into WrestleMania 34 as planned, Mahal lost it to AJ Styles before Survivor Series. McMahon was wrong to bank on Jinder, who's almost back to his old jobber role on Raw.
13 Triple H wants: Aleister Black
Aleister Black is rumored to be the next NXT Superstar ready for a call-up, but management is waiting until the right opportunity to pull the trigger. Black's run in NXT has made him among the top prospects in the company with a massive upside if booked well on the main roster.
It remains to be seen if Vince McMahon will have confidence in Black as a top player for the main roster. Triple H, however, does already believe in him. Black won the NXT Championship and that only happens if Triple H thinks you are a capable top star these days. There’s no doubt Triple H wants Black to become a future world champion on Raw or SmackDown.
12 Vince wanted: The Miz
The Miz has become a top-level heel on SmackDown and many people hope he gets a WWE Championship reign in the near future. However, the last time he was WWE Champion featured fewer people championing for him behind the scenes.
Miz has revealed that Vince McMahon was his only supporter backstage for quite some time. It was reported to be a McMahon move to have Miz win Money in the Bank and become WWE Champion in 2010. The title reign was a flop and Miz wasn’t ready for the opportunity at the time. Luckily, he has bounced back to find new success as a huge player for WWE.
11 Triple H wants: Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe was not expected to become a main roster star when signing with WWE. Triple H informed Joe that he was only getting hired to be utilized in NXT due to the uncertainty of whether Vince McMahon would want him on the main roster at all.
Joe had a couple of NXT Championship reigns that made him a favorite of Triple H. He even debuted on the main roster by attacking Seth Rollins on behalf of Triple H to develop an alignment of sorts. Joe has done well as a top heel, but he has yet to receive a world title reign. Triple H is his biggest supporter in the long term.
10 Vince wanted: Big Show
Big Show has received quite a few title opportunities in WWE. They worked out in the long run, as he will retire a legend and eventually end up in the WWE Hall of Fame. However, the first title reign for Big Show came at a time no one could have expected it.
Big Show replaced Steve Austin in a dream triple threat match against The Rock and Triple H. Despite being significantly below the other three names advertised that night, Big Show won the WWE Championship. Vince McMahon was his only major supporter at the time due to his size. The title reign ended poorly, and Big Show waited a few years before receiving another world championship run.
9 Triple H wants: Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens has been one of the top wrestlers for Triple H from the day he joined NXT. Various interviews from Owens revealed that WWE was split on whether he was worth hiring before Triple H made the call as the casting vote to get him hired.
Triple H pushed Owens to the top with a huge debut putting him in a main event angle with Sami Zayn. Owens won the NXT Championship within a few months and was called up to the main roster shortly after. Triple H was KO’s biggest supporter for the Universal Championship reign. Owens has fallen lower in the pecking order, but Triple H is the one that will push hardest for him to get another chance.
8 Vince wanted: Alberto Del Rio
Vince McMahon instantly fell in love with the work of Alberto Del Rio. The arrogant wealthy heel gimmick was recycled from prior Vince favorites like JBL and Ted DiBiase. Del Rio became the top heel on SmackDown within months and won the Royal Rumble match.
His first title reign would come at the hands of cashing in Money in the Bank to defeat CM Punk. Most people thought it was a foolish decision to end Punk’s title reign that early for Del Rio, but McMahon went through with it. Del Rio had disappointing reigns and his career fell apart shortly after.
7 Triple H wants: Andrade "Cien" Almas
Almost every wrestler to receive an NXT Championship reign by Triple H is given the confidence that he expects them to become a world champion on the main roster in the future. Andrade Almas had a short yet memorable title reign as one of the top heels in the industry.
WWE called Almas up to the main roster this year along with manager Zelina Vega, but they have failed to do anything of note with them. Almas is reportedly a part of WWE’s future as Triple H wants him to become an eventual main eventer. Given the lack of importance so far on SmackDown, Almas is another wrestler hoping Triple H gets more power soon.
6 Vince wanted: Diesel
Kevin Nash had a strong career in both WWE and WCW. The first major title reign for Nash took place in WWE under the gimmick of Diesel. Vince McMahon initially brought Nash in to play Shawn Michaels’ bodyguard. He eventually decided to have Diesel win the WWE Championship before Michaels.
Many believed Nash was not ready for such a win, but McMahon wanted to take the risk at a time when the company needed new stars. The Diesel experiment was viewed as a flop, with most business numbers trending downhill for the long reign. Nash did have more successful world title runs later in WCW.
5 Triple H wants: Asuka
Asuka is one of Triple H’s biggest projects in NXT that found huge success. The rise of Asuka made her the face of the women’s division. Triple H went as far as to book her as undefeated for her entire NXT run. Asuka never suffered a loss in NXT and vacated the Women’s Championship before getting called up to Raw.
Asuka's win at the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match proved that Triple H helped her get momentum in the creative meetings. However, the call from Vince McMahon led to Asuka’s streak ending at the hands of Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 34. Asuka has fallen in the pecking order and needs some booking support from Triple H to rise again.
4 Vince wanted: Brock Lesnar
A recent instance to show that Vince McMahon’s voice is the only one that matters at the end of the day is the Brock Lesnar saga. Lesnar has been the Universal Champion for most of the past two years. The lengthy reign ended at the hands of Roman Reigns.
Lesnar has been a part-time wrestler for the entire run which hurts the prestige of the title and makes Raw a tough show to invest in without a world champion. The second reign of Brock came after Reigns vacated the Universal Championship due to his real-life leukemia battle, as the Beast defeated Braun Strowman once again, thanks to McMahon’s vision. Lesnar is having another reign likely going into another WrestleMania, thanks to Vince.
3 Triple H wants: Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins was the first pick of Triple H when it was time to start the new chapter of NXT. The prior success of Rollins in Ring of Honor along with the potential to improve made him the ideal choice. Rollins was the first NXT Champion and later moved to the main roster in The Shield.
The incredible work of Rollins has been helped by Triple H on screen and behind the scenes. Triple H playing his mentor after Rollins turned on The Shield was a play on their working relationship off-camera. The fact that Triple H put over Rollins at WrestleMania shows he believes in Seth as the future of the company. No one wants Rollins to be the man that ends Brock Lesnar’s reign more than Triple H.
2 Vince wanted: The Great Khali
The worst instance of Vince McMahon being the only supporter of a world champion came with The Great Khali. McMahon loved Khali right away due to his massive size as the tallest wrestler he has employed. Khali was downright awful in the ring, with his slower speed and lack of charisma and promo skills making it impossible for him to deliver the entertainment.
McMahon still felt Khali could become a huge draw for the company and made him the World Champion for the SmackDown brand. The title experiment of Khali was a disaster and WWE realized he couldn’t thrive in a major role. McMahon eventually gave up and used Khali as a comedic character for most of the final years of his run.
1 Triple H wants: Finn Balor
Finn Balor was the favorite NXT Champion of Triple H. The initial rise of NXT touring in larger venues came when Balor was the face of the brand. Triple H put the NXT brand on Balor’s back as he requested Finn stay longer than needed in NXT.
The hard work of Balor was rewarded when he won the Universal Championship almost right after getting called up. Triple H helped set up Balor for a great introduction to WWE. An injury ended Balor’s reign after one night and Vince McMahon stopped pushing him then. Balor has been struggling to break out due to McMahon booking him as an also-ran. Triple H’s first major decision if getting full control would be to give Finn another title reign.