Triple H is the most important person in WWE when it comes to the future of the company. Vince McMahon has unofficially named Triple H and Stephanie McMahon as his replacements whenever he gives up the spot running the company. While both members of the couple will contribute in all aspects, it is already known that Stephanie is the one more responsible for the business aspect and Triple H is more hands on regarding the decisions for the on-screen content. Triple H has already started to make his mark on the WWE. Many of the current main roster talents were hired by Triple H. His team hires the wrestlers and prospects most promising and he is the one to have full control over NXT.
Many of Triple H’s wrestlers have been called up to Raw and/or SmackDown with varying results. Some wrestlers thrive right away and prove they were able to make the jump from NXT. Others fail to win over Vince or get over with the larger audience enough to stand out. Triple H has different projects outside of NXT call-ups. Certain free agent signings made by Triple H get to skip the developmental run. There are also some concepts and ideas that Triple H has floated out there. We will look at the biggest hits and misses. These are ten Triple H projects that are working out in WWE along with ten that are not.
20 Working out: Drew McIntyre
Triple H has been one of the biggest supporters of Drew McIntyre throughout his career. McIntyre’s first WWE run featured a huge push with rumors that Triple H and Shawn Michaels talked him up backstage. A lack of experience hurt McIntyre and it led to him getting released from WWE.
McIntyre had an outstanding run on the independent circuit as a top guy away from WWE and Triple H hired him back for NXT. Drew's reintroduction brought him an NXT Championship reign upon Triple H’s decision. McIntyre is now on the Raw brand and arguably the top full-time wrestler on the show. Triple H rehiring Drew is among the best decisions made over the past few years.
19 Not: Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
The tag team of Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows was hired by Triple H during WWE’s unofficial raid of New Japan. Anderson, Gallows, AJ Styles, and Shinsuke Nakamura all made the jump giving up great NJPW spots to sign with WWE.
Anderson and Gallows worked out a deal that allowed them to skip NXT and debut on the main roster. It was a bad move for all involved, as the tag team lost relevance within a couple of months. The only time Anderson and Gallows have had any momentum in WWE is when they teamed with Styles. Today, they struggle to get any television time at all on the SmackDown brand. It seems that WWE is just a poor fit for the Good Brothers.
18 Working out: 205 Live
One larger project taken on by Triple H is trying to find more success for the 205 Live brand. Triple H was the person to run the Cruiserweight Classic tournament a couple of years ago. It led to the cruiserweight division becoming part of WWE and the 205 Live weekly show kicking off.
Many hiccups haunted the show over the first year. Enzo Amore getting fired while being Cruiserweight Champion led to a revamp of the program. Triple H took full control over the show from Vince McMahon and has rescued it. The live crowds are getting more invested in 205 Live, the WWE Network numbers are up, and a few wrestlers are breaking out on the show as new Superstars.
17 Not: NXT UK
Triple H is also involved in expanding WWE and the NXT brands globally. The wrestling market in the United Kingdom is hotter than ever before. Major names like Will Ospreay, Marty Scurll, and Zack Sabre Jr. have all broken out to help get the scene to another level in recent years.
Triple H decided to create the NXT UK Championship and start that project as its own brand. NXT UK just launched a few months ago, but there’s no real end game with it. WWE waited so long to create the show and it feels no different from the average UK independent show. Many of the top stars like Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate and Trent Seven get most of their attention when appearing on the traditional NXT US program.
16 Working out: Becky Lynch
Triple H believes in most of the wrestlers that found success in NXT. These wrestlers found their voice and grew as performers under his vision. This makes it tougher when they struggle on the main roster trying to impress Vince McMahon. Becky Lynch is one of the few wrestlers to return to prominence after struggling for a few years.
Lynch always credits Triple H as being a big supporter backstage. Rumors indicated that McMahon and Kevin Dunn were very down on Lynch in recent years. The character change upon Becky turning on Charlotte Flair created a huge change. Lynch received another opportunity with the ball and is running to the end zone. Triple H is likely the happiest person backstage about her emergence as a top superstar.
15 Not: Tye Dillinger
Tye Dillinger spent a long time in NXT and it earned him the respect of Triple H. The NXT fan base shared the same respect for Dillinger as he became a top face in the developmental brand. Fans loved the “Perfect 10” character and Triple H started booking him stronger as a face.
A call-up to the SmackDown brand has seen Dillinger’s stock fall in WWE. The veteran has done nothing of note aside from taking competitive losses. Recent tweets have seen him express frustration about not getting television. An injury sidelining Dillinger will likely only make things worse for his future in WWE.
14 Working out: Finn Balor
Finn Balor is one Triple H project that can be argued as a success or failure depending on your perspective. The NXT role of being the most dominant NXT Champion and the face of the brand has led to fan disappointment of Balor falling lower in the Raw rankings.
Balor, however, deserves credit for succeeding by all metrics. The merchandise of Balor is in the top five WWE performers and he gets great reactions from the fans every week. Finn’s Demon character has yet to take a loss and comes off as a true spectacle when appearing. There’s room to improve upon success, but Balor has worked out to earn at least a consistent spot on the roster for the foreseeable future.
13 Not: Bayley
Bayley was one of the biggest projects of Triple H in the growing days of NXT. The character of a superfan trying to make it in wrestling is a hard story to tell. Triple H’s vision and Bayley’s talent made it a huge success, as Bayley became one of the top overall performers in NXT history.
The magic has gone since Bayley joined the main roster. Bayley won the Raw Women’s Championship way too early, and that killed the underdog story. Upon losing the title, she received little help in the booking of her character. Bayley is one example of a Triple H project failing in the mind of Vince McMahon.
12 Working out: Women's Evolution
The women’s division, in general, has become a huge part of the WWE program. Evolution is arguably the best WWE PPV of the year so far. Many current stars like Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Ronda Rousey and others are performing at a main event level above most of the men.
The fan interest for the women’s division is as valuable as anything else in WWE right now. Not only are fans happy to see the women compete, but it is the high point of the show for many of them. Triple H was the first major person in management to start this movement and he’s seeing it reach new heights.
11 Not: Evolve relationship
Triple H has created a few relationships with independent promotions. Evolve Wrestling is one of the bigger independent promotions that linked up with Triple H a few years ago. Matt Riddle, Johnny Gargano and Keith Lee are a few wrestlers to get signed by WWE after the Evolve deal.
Recent news featured multiple NXT wrestlers showing up in Evolve and winning gold. WWE talent will now become regular parts of Evolve. However, the attendance numbers for Evolve have been very disappointing this year. A promotion working with WWE getting such low numbers and little interest is a terrible sign, especially with independent wrestling doing so well in general. Time will tell if this move helps Evolve and WWE.
10 Working out: Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe spent many years developing a reputation outside of WWE as one of the best wrestlers in the world. If Hall of Fames meant anything in wrestling, Joe would get inducted into the Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling HOFs due to his legendary runs in both promotions.
Vince McMahon reportedly had zero interest in Joe joining WWE for many years. Triple H was the one to take a chance on Joe and bring him into NXT. Joe was the first signing of the time to keep his independent name which showed how much Triple H was willing to invest in him. Today, Joe has a consistent role as a main event heel on the SmackDown brand.
9 Not: SAnitY
Triple H loves many old school aspects of professional wrestling and factions are one of them. The idea of a great stable is something Triple H clearly loves given his success with D-Generation X and Evolution. NXT has seen quite a few factions form. SAnitY is a group that made the jump from NXT to the main roster together.
Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, and Killian Dain each were called up to SmackDown this year to continue working together as SAnitY. Someone in WWE clearly gave up on the faction within a few weeks. They went from attacking The New Day to taking losses. SAnitY now struggles to get any television time as their momentum is completely gone.
8 Working: Managers
One fundamental difference between Triple H and Vince McMahon comes regarding the importance of managers. Vince has been adamant against managers for years, but Triple H sees a lot of benefits from having it. Andrade Almas became a top NXT star thanks to addition of Zelina Vega as his manager. The tandem was called up to SmackDown together.
Triple H’s influence has seen cruiserweights with personality getting a chance to manage on Raw. Lio Rush has helped Bobby Lashley become a hated heel. Drake Maverick is helping Authors of Pain gain more momentum as the Raw Tag Team Champions. Triple H has reportedly won over McMahon and managers will be given more of a chance going forward in WWE.
7 Not: Bobby Roode
There have been comparisons of Bobby Roode’s wrestling style to Triple H throughout his career in Impact Wrestling. It made sense that Triple H would gravitate towards Roode when he signed a contract with NXT. The popularity of Roode’s "Glorious Domination" theme song helped him become a mega-star right away.
Roode had a strong NXT Championship reign before getting called up to the main roster. Roode's star power has faded away, with fans no longer viewing him as a special performer, even with the cool song. Roode is now stuck in a throw together tag team with Chad Gable as both men currently lack direction.
6 Working: Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens deserves consideration when breaking down the best signings of Triple H. Various interviews with Owens have revealed that the people evaluating talent for WWE were split down the middle following his tryout. It was Triple H’s decision that ended with Owens not only getting signed but debuting in an NXT main event role right away.
Triple H's support is one of the major reasons Owens was called up to the main roster within a few months and defeated John Cena in his debut match. Owens has won almost every title in WWE and will be a credible star for many years to come. Triple H was the one to take the chance on KO and it has certainly paid off.
5 Not: The Revival
Tag team wrestlers often have a tougher time trying to make the transition from NXT to WWE. The Revival was one of the top pushed tag teams in NXT history by Triple H. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder were helped by incredible matches on every TakeOver special they appeared on.
The Revival received the call-up to the main roster a year ago but both members sustained separate injuries to slow down their momentum. Vince McMahon and other important people seemingly gave up on them. Dawson and Wilder are currently struggling to get any credible time on Raw. It is hard to see The Revival finding a way back to success on the main roster.
4 Working out: Seth Rollins
Triple H handpicked Seth Rollins to become the first NXT Champion. Rollins’ talent was the vision Triple H had for the NXT product and for the future of WWE. The first split of The Shield with Rollins joining Triple H was also no accident. Triple H naming Rollins the future of the industry and allowing him to use the Pedigree showed just how much he believed in Seth.
Rollins is one of the few active full-time WWE stars to get a win over Triple H after their match at WrestleMania 33. There is a great chance for Rollins to become the new face of WWE within the next year. Triple H will be one of the people fighting for him backstage.
3 Not: Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt was always a wrestler mentioned by Triple H in interviews when talking about his favorite NXT success stories. There was once a time when Wyatt was just below Roman Reigns in the pecking order of most important rising stars. Wyatt did accomplish a huge goal of becoming WWE Champion in 2017.
However, the past year and a half has been a disaster for Bray. A move to Raw led to his character becoming a joke. Wyatt spent most of the year in a tag team with Matt Hardy and has been missing from television for months now. The sad part is WWE is more so confused about what to do with Bray rather than elaborately planning a huge return.
2 Working out: Ronda Rousey
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were the ones that recruited Ronda Rousey to WWE for many years. There was a friendship sparked during Rousey’s UFC days due to her love for WWE and professional wrestling in general. Triple H waited until Rousey was ready to officially sign her to a contract in early 2018.
WWE did not wait to push Rousey and placed her in difficult matches right away. An argument can be made that she faced off with lesser wrestlers in her first two official matches, involving Stephanie McMahon and Nia Jax. Even her recent match at Evolution wasn’t against the best of workers when she faced Nikki Bella. Rousey has been placed in a lot of difficult situations for WWE, but she always makes it work. There’s no debating that the Rousey signing is a success and she’s officially a top star for WWE.
1 Not: Asuka
One woman that was supposed to be a far bigger star for WWE on the main roster is Asuka. Triple H was the person to hire her and push her to the moon in NXT. Asuka had a long undefeated streak that Triple H booked, to go through her entire run and take to the main roster.
WWE had Asuka win the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match to have a WrestleMania 34 showdown of undefeated streak vs. championship with Charlotte Flair. Vince McMahon made the call to have Asuka lose and she’s never been the same since. Asuka has taken embarrassing losses to Carmella, struggles to get consistent television, and no longer has a mystique to her. Triple H must be frustrated seeing one of his biggest projects wasted.