Many WWE superstars have "played the game" inside the ring against Triple H, and needless to say, things didn't go well for them. Booker T, Rob Van Dam, CM Punk, and even Sting played the game only to be on the receiving end of Triple H's "golden shovel." Triple H has had a career of burying other WWE superstars he didn't like when he was a full time wrestler. Now that he's the heir apparent to WWE, he can keep Superstars he doesn't like out of the company altogether.
Triple H the wrestler has a history of supporting his guys while holding back others, and Triple H the boss is no different. He's responsible for bringing back some awesome talent like Goldberg and Sting, but there are still plenty of Superstars that aren't ever coming back, whether it's due to personal heat with those Superstars, or because it's just business. Still, Triple H is a merciful king and isn't opposed to bringing back certain Superstars that have defied him in the past should the opportune time arise.
Even though The Game has butted heads with other superstars, he still knows what's "best for business." Triple H would not be against bringing back certain superstars if it benefits the company. There are plenty of former WWE superstars he could forgive and bring back, even if it's just behind the scenes duties. Take The New Age Outlaws, who eviscerated Triple H during interviews. Trips forgave them, and Road Dogg works behind the scenes in WWE today. Still, there are many superstars that have committed unforgivable transgressions against the King of Kings, and these Superstars are clearly in store for eternal banishment. In this article we discuss 10 of these Superstars that Triple H will never bring back, and 5 that he might forgive.
15 Never: Brad Maddox
If there was ever an unlikely General Manager of Raw, Brad Maddox would be at the top of the list. Maddox came up from WWE’s developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling, and had the support of Triple H. Despite not being in WWE that long, Maddox was placed as GM, put in proximity to The Authority and involved in some big angles with CM Punk, Ryback and The Shield. Maddox’s quirky behavior made him fairly entertaining, but his career in WWE didn’t end well.
In 2015, Brad Maddox, now hilariously wrestling as Mad Braddox, was released by WWE after he uttered the phrase “cocky p***ks” at a live show. Although Triple H might not have fired him for those remarks, it’s unlikely Maddox is going to be invited back. Despite Triple H being high on Maddox at one point, the leak of his tape with Paige, and his bizarre video messages that followed definitely don't help his chances of returning.
14 Never: Colt Cabana
If you don’t know Ring of Honor star, Colt Cabana, you may remember him better as former WWE superstar Scotty Goldman. Or not.
Colt Cabana had a far more memorable career in the lesser known ROH, but his career went nowhere in the more widely recognized WWE. Colt Cabana is even better known as best friend to CM Punk, who hosted the 2014 podcast in which Punk aired his grievances towards WWE, namely Triple H.
Because of the Cabana podcast and his association to the vilified CM Punk, Colt Cabana has been blacklisted by WWE. That’s unlikely to change with Triple H assuming power. Triple H has no love for Cabana or any use for him either. And with the lawsuit stemming from the podcast, Scotty Goldman’s dismal run in WWE is probably his last.
13 Might Forgive: Batista
Batista was a big star in WWE and has since moved on where he’s a big star in Hollywood. Following his success in Guardians of the Galaxy, The Animal returned to WWE where he received a lukewarm reception. Batista won the Royal Rumble, when it was Daniel Bryan’s year, to the fan’s outrage. However, to Batista’s credit, he put over Bryan and later The Shield, but the whole return left a sour taste in Batista’s mouth.
During interviews, Batista ripped the company for not following through on agreed upon promises that contributed to his willingness to return. He even ripped the fans for tainting his return, which resulted in WWE changing their plans and perhaps their promises to Batista. Nevertheless, Batista hasn’t ruled out another return and has stated interest in working a match with Triple H. Despite Batista’s candid remarks, Triple H will forgive Batista and bring him back when the time is right. There’s a huge market for Batista, both were close at one point, and bringing Batista back would help make good on broken promises from his last WWE run.
12 Never: Eric Bischoff
The mastermind behind WCW’s rise and success, former executive producer, Eric Bischoff made a shocking debut in WWE as the new general manager of Monday Night Raw. Though not a wrestler, the argument could be made that there is still a market for Bischoff either behind the scenes or on screen. However, if Triple H has his way, Bischoff will remain buried along with WCW.
Eric Bischoff came very close to putting WWE and Triple H out of business, and that fact has never been lost on those who worked in WWE at the time. This bitterness carried over onto WWE programming with former WCW Superstars getting dominated by the WWE Superstars relentlessly. Just look no further than Triple H’s needless win over Sting at WrestleMania 31. If you think Triple H has forgiven WCW or Eric Bischoff, think again. He may be rumored to be making a one-off appearance at the Raw 25th anniversary special, but if Triple H had his way, that almost certainly won't lead to a full-time return.
11 Never: Ryback
Ryback appeared to be a star on the rise in WWE. He had the look, the fanbase, and he wasn’t completely terrible in the ring either. He had a moderately successful career in his short time in WWE, but his run could have been more. Due to Ryback’s actions in the ring and out, it’s unlikely Triple H will be feeding him more.
Ryback wasn’t the easiest to work with. His reckless ring skills injured superstars, and his Twitter rants bragging about it didn’t endear himself to WWE officials or his peers. Ryback's insane Twitter ramblings about injuring superstars and feelings on how WWE Superstars’ pay shouldn’t be determined by wins and losses made “The Big Guy” more of a big headache. WWE officials let Ryback know how they felt and let him walk when his contract came up. If it’s up to Triple H, Ryback has had his last meal in WWE.
10 Might Forgive: AJ Lee
AJ Lee is the wife of CM Punk, who hates Triple H and vice versa, giving AJ one strike already for a WWE return. It also didn’t help that AJ made Stephanie McMahon look like an idiot by responding to Stephanie’s tweet and pointing out the poor wages and lack of screen time for WWE's female wrestlers. Despite the association with Punk and the savage response to Stephanie’s tweet, there is definitely a higher chance of Triple H forgiving AJ than Punk.
AJ Lee gets zero acknowledgement for her role in the “Women’s Revolution” or her historic WWE Divas Title run. Triple H may be able to forgive AJ for embarrassing Stephanie and bring AJ back at least in some capacity to further the Women’s Revolution which both Triple H and Stephanie want to take credit for. AJ never ripped Triple H personally, and she was super over with the fans. If AJ Lee is only guilty for her association with CM Punk, then there is still hope for her as long as it’s up to The Game and not his wife.
9 Never: Mr. Kennedy
No one fell faster or harder than the one who became Mr. Money in the Bank and was slated to cash in during WrestleMania and get involved with a huge angle to become Mr. McMahon’s "son," and his name is Mistahhh KENNEDY...! KENNEDY!
Mr. Kennedy moved to Raw with Shawn Michaels, Triple H, John Cena and Randy Orton, but they all seemed to have it in for him. They hated how Kennedy worked in the ring, blamed him for allegedly injuring superstars and even criticized his mannerisms. Kennedy would be released and later rip Triple H a new one in subtle shot during a promo on TNA Impact. Kennedy has recently said he has no problem with Triple H, but that doesn’t mean Triple H is keen on bringing him back. Kennedy’s stupid Wellness Violation and public comments on Impact have likely gone unforgotten by Triple H. There's just very little upside to bringing Kennedy back at the moment, and Triple H knows it.
8 Never: Scott Steiner
Big Poppa Pump was a huge star in WCW, but when Scott Steiner came to WWE, he was involved in one of the worst feuds and worst matches of his career. Steiner’s feud with Triple H involved pose-offs, push-up contests and one terrible match involving two injured superstars. Steiner’s tenure in WWE was a joke, and his relationship with Triple H wasn’t exactly friendly.
Before joining WWE, Steiner was asked to test for steroids to which Steiner responded that he would take it if Triple H took a test also. Steiner was never a fan of Triple H and wasn’t afraid to expresses his feeling on The Game. With Steiner’s unstable mental state, questionable drug free status, lackluster WWE run and hate towards Trips, The Game won’t be hollering back for The Big Bad Booty Daddy to return to WWE.
7 Might Forgive: Cody Rhodes
How bad was it for Cody Rhodes to leave the pinnacle of professional wrestling where he was making pretty good money (one would assume) and seen by millions of fans worldwide? Cody Rhodes couldn’t take the Stardust character any longer and left the company where his half-brother still works to join ROH. Cody is killing it there and hasn’t been shy about ripping his Stardust character. Despite leaving WWE to work for a rival promotion, there’s a high chance Triple H will leave the door open for Cody to return.
Cody Rhodes may have hated the Stardust character, but he never had a problem with Triple H, at least not publicly. Cody’s stock is actually rising in ROH, and Triple H has a keen eye for talent growing in popularity. When Cody is ready and willing, Triple H will welcome the son of a son of a plumber back into WWE.
6 Never: Alberto Del Rio
It may have been Alberto Del Rio’s destiny to join WWE and become the WWE and World Heavyweight Champion, but both of Del Rio’s runs in WWE were largely forgettable. “Mexico’s Greatest Export” never really caught on with the WWE fans, and his behind-the-scenes issues will definitely keep Triple H from bringing him back. But you already knew that.
Del Rio didn’t leave WWE on the best of circumstances after either one of his runs. He would get into a physical confrontation with a WWE employee and asked for his release after he was suspended for violating the WWE’s Wellness Policy during his second WWE run. Add to the fact the Del Rio has been involved in some bad press and domestic abuse investigations, there's very little chance Triple H has any interest in Del Rio, regardless of his tremendous in-ring talent.
5 Never: Jim Cornette
Jim Cornette has a great mind for wrestling and has been a great manager and commentator for WWE in the past. He's currently working behind the scenes for Impact Wrestling as a road agent, but working behind the scenes is something Cornette became involved with during his WWE days as well. Despite Cornette's great wrestling insight being an asset to WWE in the past, Triple H is undoubtedly finished with Cornette.
While Cornette may have a great mind for wrestling, he doesn't have a great mind for controlling his mouth or his temper. He was released from his duties in WWE after a backstage slapping incident involving a young Santino Marella and has dogged WWE and the McMahon family on his podcast. Cornette was famous for his blow-ups backstage during creative meetings in WWE, and he was never afraid to speak his mind against Vince or any member of the Creative Team. Cornette would blow a gasket sitting in the creative meetings today, and that's something Triple H won't want any part of.
4 Might Forgive: Jeff Jarrett
There is definitely some bad blood between Jeff Jarrett and WWE, Vince McMahon and Triple H. Double J was an old-school talent who hated the way WWE treated Bret Hart, hated how they goaded his best friend Owen Hart into performing the stunt that killed him and hated how he had to wrestle women on his way out of the company. Jarrett begrudgingly put over Triple H’s girlfriend at the time, Chyna, which didn’t endear himself to Triple H and vice versa. It also didn’t help that Jarrett practically extorted money from Vince to appear for one night after his contract expired before jumping ship to WCW.
Jarrett is getting clean thanks to WWE-sponsored rehab, and Triple H knows bringing Jarrett back and controlling him is better than Jarrett working against WWE. Jarrett could probably use the financial help to go along with help he's getting for his personal issues. If Jarrett wanted to return, Triple H would give him the chance. While Jarrett and Vince may not care to do business with each other, Jarrett and Triple H might be a different story.
3 Never: CM Punk
CM Punk may be the "Best in the World," but in WWE, Triple H remains the "King of Kings." Even though Triple H has said he'd welcome Punk back, there's no way Punk will ever set foot in a WWE ring again if Triple H has any say in it. Punk wasn't exactly complimentary to Vince, but he absolutely roasted Triple H live on Raw then again on Colt Cabana's podcast. Punk hated Triple H and resented The Game beating him during his rise. With these two butting heads in the past, and Punk being blacklisted from the company, the doors to return are slammed shut and sealed.
Punk wasn’t always the easiest to get along with and his worked shoot promos on Triple H as well as his candid account of events that led to Punk walking out of WWE isn’t going to be forgotten or forgiven by Triple H. Punk is still widely popular, but with the bad blood between the two as thick as ever, don’t expect CM Punk to be main eventing any WrestleManias anytime soon.
2 Never: Christy Hemme
The winner of the 2004 WWE Diva Search contest, Christy Hemme was awarded a one-year contract and a mega-push in the WWE Women's Division. Her Diva Search win allowed her to appear in Playboy magazine and wrestle an atrocious match at WrestleMania XXI against Trish Stratus for the WWE Women's Championship. Despite the accolade of being the first Diva Search winner to get a contract, Christy Hemme probably isn't returning to WWE, not just because of Triple H but because of Stephanie as well.
Although these are only rumors, there is an alleged link between Christy and Triple H. The belief is that Trips had an affair with Christy, and that led to her inital win and push. When Stephanie found out, Hemme's push abruptly ended along with her WWE career. If the rumors are true, you can bet Triple H is saving his marriage and keeping Christy out of their WWE home for good.
1 Might Forgive: Gail Kim
Widely regarded as one of the best women's wrestlers of all time, Gail Kim is a former WWE Women's Champion, having worked with some of the greatest female wrestlers in the industry. Gail Kim's WWE departure is almost more memorable than her WWE career because she eliminated herself from an all-female battle royal.
Gail Kim has since retired, having finished her career outside WWE. However, despite her "unprofessional" departure from WWE, with the Women's Revolution underway, Triple H has to be more inclined to forgive her. Even if it's just a non-wrestling role, having Gail Kim back in WWE during the ongoing Women's Revolution would be invaluable to the female wrestlers and to the company as a whole.
Kim herself was full of praise for Triple H, crediting him with the shift in women's wrestling. In an interview with PressBox, she stated:
"I honestly feel like [Triple H] has done so much for the girls, because he started that whole thing in NXT with the Four Horsewomen. When I left WWE, he was one of the people who was so positive. He told me, 'You're talented and don't let anyone else tell you any different.' I was very flattered and glad that he respected women's wrestling."