Let’s face facts: in life, it is often not what you know but who you know, and the wrestling business is no different in that regard. If backstage tales and rumors are to be believed, it is safe to say that holds true in the WWE specifically. A place where a company man like John Cena received infinitely more opportunities than a difficult performer like CM Punk, despite the Straight Edge Superstar lighting the business on fire during the Summer of Punk. With Vince McMahon getting up there in age, it seems pretty clear that his son-in-law Triple H is poised to possibly take his place in the company, even if he shares the throne with his wife and brother-in-law. So, that begs the question: who will most likely find themselves in a better position than ever before if Hunter takes over that role?
When putting together this list, our focus wasn’t limited to any single aspect of the business. Therefore, in-ring performers may find their way here just as easily as someone in a background role. Additionally, people who aren’t linked to the WWE in a defined way publically right now could be featured if it looks like they could take on such a role in Triple H’s future version of the company. So, without any further ado, let’s get to the list.
15 Shawn Michaels
A wrestler who will always be identified with Triple H due to their involvement in D-Generation X and The Clique, it is no secret that Shawn has Hunter’s ear. So, you may be wondering why he finds himself so low on our list and the answer to that is extremely simple, he doesn’t seem to be nearly as interested in wrestling politics as he once was. Renowned during the early to mid-nineties for his skillful manipulation of his boss, Vince McMahon, it appears that he has turned a page in his life both through finding god and retiring in-ring.
Still, there have been a lot of rumors about HBK going back to work under the WWE umbrella as a trainer in the performance center. If that comes to pass, and it certainly seems like it is up to Shawn whether it will or not it does, based on HHH’s statements, it seems like this WWE Hall of Famer would be able to do as he pleases with his friend in charge.
14 Road Dogg
Another former member of D-Generation X, the path that Road Dogg and Hunter have walked down has been surprisingly bumpy. Involved in a storyline while he was a part of TNA’s roster that saw him decrying the latest version of DX, Brian James, the man who plays Road Dogg, took some harsh shots at his former stablemate. However, Hunter seems to have learned from his father-in-law and has begun to exhibit an ability to forgive past transgressions as evidenced by that fact that Brian has been welcomed back with welcome arms.
Extremely loyal these days in his role as a part of the creative team, Brian routinely totes the company line on social media and praises HHH in interviews, he even once claimed Hunter was better than The Rock. We’re guessing that kind of in your face sucking up will serve him well under a new regime and earn him a larger role as either a head writer or some kind of executive.
13 Corey Graves
A former wrestler who was hired to compete in NXT by The king of Kings, he seemed poised to get a massive push as an important member of that roster before suffering several concussions. Eventually, it was concluded that his days of working in the ring were through but in a sign of the high regard his boss had for him, Corey was given a huge opportunity.
Made a member of the NXT announce team, his transition to his new role went far better than anyone could have ever expected. Arguably among the best color commentators in the industries history, he has been called up and serves in that role on Monday Night Raw. Put in such a lofty role, we still argue his career will improve dramatically under Hunter due to the extremely tight grip Vince has on his announce team. Given more freedom to speak his mind, as he had in NXT, Corey seems capable of becoming one of the best of all time.
12 Finn Bálor
Finn is a former New Japan standout who was brought into the WWE fold by The Game and quickly became the cornerstone NXT was built around. Crowned NXT champion when he dethroned Kevin Owens, he would go on to have a reign that lasted 292 days, the longest ever to date, which is a huge indicator of how good of a draw his NXT boss HHH thinks he is.
Drafted to RAW as part of the 2016 Draft, when they created a world title for that brand he won it which made him the inaugural champion but he was also injured in the match and had to vacate it. Currently still on the shelf, we wait with bated breath to see how large a role he plays upon his return but unfortunately are pessimistic he will be placed in that important a role again. A much smaller man than the ones Vince usually rallies behind, we doubt he sees Finn becoming his biggest star. Hunter, on the other hand, has already proven he believes he can fulfill such a role.
11 Bobby Roode
A former TNA Original who won eleven titles while working for that company, including the tag team and world championships, Bobby has recently become one of the hottest acts in NXT. Given arguably the most infectious theme song of all time, his entrances are highly anticipated and his matches don’t disappoint in the slightest. Someone with all the tools needed to succeed; Bobby only appears to require the opportunity to become a main roster competitor in order to take his career to the next level. At least that should be the case if you ask us.
The only problem, it has been proven time and time again that the WWE under Vince’s leadership has a huge problem keeping the momentum going after bringing up an NXT talent. Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze, The Ascension, Bo Dallas, and several others serve as perfect examples of this phenomenon. As a result, we would feel a lot better about Bobby’s chances if Hunter had the say so when gets the call.
10 Bray Wyatt
When the WWE initially aired vignettes announcing that The Wyatt Family would be coming to the main roster it seemed like we were about to see something truly groundbreaking. Sure, some people made a comparison to Skinner but the creepy way in which these guys were introduced had us primed and ready to see what they could do.
Packaged this way while they were still in NXT, in a lot of people’s opinions, ours included, they have yet to live up to their potential for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest, for whatever reason with Vince McMahon in charge of every WWE decision they’ve lost pretty much every major feud they’ve taken on which has hurt the way their leader, Bray, is seen most of all. We’re guessing that under his former NXT boss, Bray would be heavily rehabbed and actually given a few important wins.
Prior to WrestleMania 31, where Rusev was set to fight John Cena, he was set up as one of the most vicious and dominant men in the entire company. Losing the match, as most expected, we could never have guessed the nosedive his career would suffer in the coming months. Involved in one of the worst feuds the company has seen in the last few years, against Dolph Ziggler and involving Summer Rae and Lana, his career trajectory was nothing short of depressing.
Having recently undergone something of a resurgence, he is currently embroiled in a long lasting feud with Roman Reigns which he seems destined to lose, as Roman is beloved by Vince. You’ll excuse us if we worry that Rusev will once again be misused coming out of an important feud with Vince in control. Instead, we’d feel a lot more comfortable that he’d get the treatment his charisma, commitment to character, and ad-libbing abilities warrant under another man’s leadership.
8 Kevin Nash
Another member of The Clique, it seems as though Kevin Nash has already been given every opportunity in the WWE he could ever want under Vince right? Given an extremely lengthy reign as champion in the nineties, he left the company for the greener pastures of WCW but was still welcomed back to the fold as part of the WWE version of the nWo. Pushed throughout his WWE comeback as an important member of the roster despite his increased age and suffering multiple injuries, he even played a part in the summer of Punk.
Still, if you watched his recent appearance on Legends with JBL alongside his best friend Scott Hall, it seems as though Big Kev is waiting for another opportunity. Asked why he has never been a part of the WWE on a creative level, he revealed that he would jump at the possibility if asked. Someone with a spotty reputation, one thing that seems to be largely agreed upon is that Kevin has a great mind for creative. So, if Hunter takes over and Kevin received that opportunity without an onscreen role, it could be great for him and the company.
7 Brian Kendrick
Recently brought back to the company as part of the Cruiserweight Classic, Brian has been lucky enough to have the recently relaunched Cruiserweight division in large part revolve around him. The only problem, so far the division pretty much sucks from a storyline perspective and his boss, Vince McMahon has a long history of being unable to make such an idea work.
However, if the man who was in charge of the CWC, Triple H, took the reins of the company we’re betting it would be greatly improved. After all, that show was simply fantastic, both in-ring and promo wise. Also given a leg up by the fact that he was partially trained by one of Hunter’s best friends, Shawn Michaels, Brian has every reason to want The Cerebral Assassin to take over.
6 Sami Zayn
A former NXT Champion, Sami was one of the hottest acts in that part of the company before he received his call up and took part in the John Cena US Open Invitational. Injuring his shoulder on the way to the ring, he went on to have an almost heroic performance in the eyes of many by gutting through the pain and putting on a wonderful match.
On the shelf for a long time afterward, he would finally return and become embroiled in a vicious feud with his onscreen archenemy Kevin Owen, before finally winning the match that ended their series. Since then, he has amazingly done next to nothing with the momentum that important win clearly should have given him. Not even used on Raw several times in recent weeks, despite the draft cutting the show’s talent pool back dramatically, things clearly look pretty grim for him. Considering that it appears like Vince McMahon has no major plans for him, we’re guessing he is praying that HHH receives the authority to take over his booking completely.
5 Enzo & Cass
The combination of one of the most charismatic talkers wrestling has seen in years and his massive partner who is solid on the mic and good in the ring, these two seemed to be a can’t miss tandem. Possessing immeasurable chemistry with one another, it seems to us that all you need to do is give them a target to focus on, unleash them, and enjoy the magnificent television that results from it.
Of course, this pair is on this list so that means they haven’t even received that. It seems obvious that Vince sees more potential in the much Larger Big Cass, which is totally in line with the booking philosophy he’s exhibited for years. As a result, he was given a singles push and received a shot to be in universal championship contention. Fortunately, everyone seems to have realized that he could use a little bit more seasoning before heading out on his own. Due to that, he lost that match and to the shock of most observers, he and his tag partner seem to have been largely forgotten in the weeks since. If you ask us, Triple H wouldn’t have been obsessed with the size of Big Cass and would have taken full advantage of what they possess as a team long before breaking them up and now forgetting them.
4 Scott Hall
The final member of The Clique on this list, there is zero question that Scott Hall also counts himself as one of Hunter’s best friends. Estranged from one another for a period due to Scott’s substance abuse issues, the loyalty Triple H still feels for his long-time friend became extremely clear once he cleaned himself up. Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as soon as he showed that he had made great strides, we believe that his former running-mate was largely responsible for the accolade.
Speaking about the fact that he would like to have a hand in training up and coming wrestlers as part of the performance center on a recent episode of Legends with JBL, that clearly hasn’t come to pass yet. While he admits that he may not be ready for the role quite yet, we believe that he would receive most opportunities he desires if stays clean under his buddy’s version of the WWE.
3 The Entire Cruiserweight Division
A division that was reintroduced to the WWE audience as part of the Cruiserweight Classic, that version of this group of wrestlers was nearly universally acclaimed. Taking part in energetic and impressive matches that often feature aerial maneuvers their larger counterparts don’t attempt, it is often unfortunate that bookers rest on their in-ring work to make them stars.
Under the leadership of Triple H, the CWC showed off their working style but also gave them stories and personalities for their fans to care about. Now a part of Raw, the majority of them lack dimensions as performers and are being used as nothing more than spot monkeys through no mistake of their own. If you ask us that is because Vince McMahon seems to think that is all they are good for, while Hunter has proven he sees their true potential and would use them in a far more fleshed out manner.
2 Shinsuke Nakamura
Someone that Vince McMahon has yet to get his fingers on, Shinsuke is a wrestler unlike any we’ve seen before. Immensely charismatic, his entrance is wonderful to behold, his matches are vicious, and whenever he steps in the ring he continues to focus on his character rather than just the moves he hits. In short, his is simply fantastic at what he does.
So, why have we included him on this list, let alone so high on it? We find the fact that he is in NXT at all very interesting. HE is part of a group of New Japan talents who were brought under the WWE umbrella at around the same time, alongside AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson. We think it speaks volumes that he is the only one of that group who didn’t immediately join the main roster. Especially considering that he had made far more of a name for himself overseas than either Gallows or Anderson. Either way, we find it hard to believe that Vince McMahon, someone who has made virtually all of his talents from that part of the world racist characteurs, will know how to use him.
Oh Bayley from NXT, how we miss you already. Brought up to the RAW roster in the last few months, she is already nowhere near as popular as she had been in her former stomping grounds. While some of that is understandable, as she needs to be introduced to a large portion of the audience, there is little about the way she has been used that makes us think Vince knows why.
Instead of being brought in as something of an underdog that the audience could get behind, she was introduced as someone they were already supposed to know and love. While we do think that the notoriety she’d previously built in NXT should help make her a big star in the WWE, they need to realize that many of their fans don’t watch that show. As a result of the way she has been used, it feels like a large portion of the audience has no idea how to take her. When she was in NXT, Triple H, and his creative team had made her into quite possibly the most universally beloved figure in all of wrestling. As a result, she seemed capable of becoming the most popular woman in wrestling history. Under Vince’s control, she has become an afterthought that gets lukewarm responses from audiences. Need we say more?
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