It’s well known that while every prominent NXT rising star gets a call to the main roster they have to work much harder to satisfy Vince McMahon when they get to the big leagues. Triple H might be at the forefront of hiring some of the top talents from around the world for WWE right now, but even some “world-class” Superstars haven’t pleased Vince in the past few years. There have been multiple wrestlers who have enjoyed a lot of success on NXT, but failed to live up to expectations upon reaching the main roster. This is simply due to McMahon not wanting to push them the way Triple H has.
The King of Kings might work hard into building some amazing stars on NXT and sending them up on a high note, but Vince doesn’t appreciate everyone on the same level. He expects everyone to prove themselves on the main roster, and if they aren’t over with the fans, they won’t be pushed. There have been a few terrific wrestlers who might’ve been huge at NXT, but failed at the main roster due to Vince giving up on them prematurely.
Vince has only kept them relevant due to Triple H’s influence on him, which is quite a bit right now. However, there are a few wrestlers which Triple H brought up that have really impressed the WWE chairman in recent years.
Vince McMahon has developed a profound liking for some former NXT wrestlers and Superstars that Triple H had a big part in building up. So let’s look at the 10 WWE Superstars whom Vince McMahon only tolerates because of Triple H and 10 others he actually likes.
20 Actually Likes: Bobby Lashley
After making his return to the WWE, Bobby Lashley has been pretty dominant as an upper mid-card superstar and is slowly being built to become a top heel. Lashley has only lost cleanly to Roman Reigns, and has mostly thwarted anything sent towards him.
He’s currently being booked as an ultra- dominant heel on the roster, and Vince McMahon is actually a big fan of Lashley. After watching his work on Impact Wrestling, Vince was probably even more impressed. He’s become really fond of Lashley’s work and impressive physique, which could propel him to the top. Lashley is poised for a main event push in the near future, and knowing how he’s being built, it shouldn’t be a surprise if he winds up becoming a Universal Champion sometime down the road.
19 Tolerates Because Of Triple H: The Ascension
They may have been a dominant tag team on NXT, but after coming to the main roster, the Ascension has become an incredibly weak duo. Konnor and Viktor were extremely powerful on NXT, where they were NXT Tag Team Champions for a long period and looked virtually unstoppable.
However, after getting the main roster call, everything started to crumble for them. Vince McMahon probably thought them of being Road Warrior rip-offs and didn’t like them one bit from the start. The Ascension has been made to put over other tag teams ever since and are no longer the terrorizing other duos like before. It’s because of Triple H liking them that Vince has been giving them TV time, or else he would’ve likely made them do live events only.
18 Actually Likes: Andrade
Andrade might have had a bittersweet introduction to the main roster, but his work has already impressed Vince McMahon. The former NXT Champion has earned a lot of praise for his work in the development brand, and it seems like his impressive gimmick and fantastic in-ring ability has also impressed the boss.
Vince seems to believe that Andrade could be a future star on SmackDown Live, booking him in matches against Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles to hone his main event potential. According to rumors, Almas is in running for a big push in the near future and could win the U.S. Championship soon. Vince has really bought into El Idolo’s charisma and could push him to be a babyface, one similar to Rey Mysterio.
17 Tolerates Because Of Triple H: Mike Kanellis
When Maria Kanellis became a free agent a few years ago, WWE raced to sign her back. However, they also had to sign her husband - the promising and talented Mike Kanellis - if Maria was to come back on board.
Mike Kanellis was an impressive wrestler in the independent scene and oozed of charisma, which made him a perfect fit for WWE. But that was not to be the case, as Mike was soon reduced into a lower-mid carder who was used to put over other Superstars.
He rarely appeared on WWE television before recently moving to the 205 Live brand, which was because of Triple H being fond of Kanellis’ abilities. Vince never saw anything in Mike and only kept him because of Triple H. McMahon can only hope that Hunter can do some good with Kanellis in the Cruiserweight Division.
16 Actually Likes: Elias
Elias’ evolution on the main roster has been a spectacle in itself, considering he was never that popular on NXT. After making the jump to Monday Night Raw, his name got shorted from “Elias Samson” to just “Elias,” and Vince did a great job in putting him over.
Elias was booked to be this arrogant musician, and because of his excellent work with the character, he easily got over with the fans. Elias was only an average mid-card tlent on NXT, but he’s now an extremely popular babyface on Raw. Vince McMahon saw potential in him from the very beginning and really bought into his character. The boss is extremely high on Elias, which is why he’s become one of the most entertaining aspects of Raw.
15 Tolerates Because Of Triple H: Eric Young
The introduction of Sanity on SmackDown Live has been very dull, to say the least. They haven’t been booked to look the menacing stable they were at NXT, not one bit. Many pondered that Eric Young could become a prominent star on SmackDown after getting the call-up, but he’s hardly been featured on the show thus far.
Young has not been able to impress Vince McMahon at all, and his gimmick as the leader of the stable simply isn’t working. However, Vince will keep them on SmackDown Live, because of Triple H’s admiration for the Sanity stable. Young will probably be stuck in this limbo for a while, as Vince doesn’t see much in him but is tolerating it because of Triple H’s wishes.
14 Actually Likes: Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe might’ve once been rejected by WWE many years ago, but he’s come a long way to emerge as one of the top heels of SmackDown Live. Joe’s recently heated feud with AJ Styles was evidence of just how excellent of a heel he can be.
While injuries aren’t allowing WWE to put the belt on Joe just of yet, Vince McMahon has been highly impressed with the Samoan Submission Machine. Joe’s terrific in-ring ability with his intimidating personality has made Vince buy into his talent, and praises from Brock Lesnar and company have helped his case. Vince sees Joe as a top heel for the long run, and once he regains fitness and stays healthy, Joe will be catapulted to the top.
13 Tolerates Because Of Triple H: Tye Dillinger
The Perfect 10’s run on the main roster has been anything but “perfect”, as he continues to really struggle in getting over on the same level like he did in NXT. While Dillinger had a really catchy gimmick, it wasn’t one that Vince McMahon could see much potential in.
As a matter of fact, Vince never really liked the gimmick and refrained from pushing Dillinger. The Perfect 10 has been a jobber to the other Superstars, and Dillinger has yet to be involved in a proper feud. Triple H was a big fan of his gimmick, which is why Vince hasn’t scrapped it yet. He’s allowing Dillinger to try and get over on his own in limited time, but it’s hard for that to happen when Vince isn’t sold on you.
12 Actually Likes: AOP
Despite being booked poorly at first, AOP has regained momentum on Monday Night Raw, and they’re finally showing the ruthless aggression side. AOP was an extremely powerful tag team on NXT, where they won both the NXT Tag Team Championship and Dusty Rhodes Classic tournament.
However, after getting the main roster call, they were initially booked to look slightly weak, and the duo were kept off of TV for a while. But Vince has regained confidence in AOP - having recently realizing their potential - and even pairing them with Drake Maverick. AOP look better than ever, plowing through their competition on Raw. They seem set to win the Raw Tag Team Championship again soon, which proves how Vince has quickly grown fond of this duo after all.
11 Tolerates Because Of Triple H: Asuka
It’s no secret that Asuka was one of the most prized athletes of NXT under Triple H - who pushed The Empress of Tomorrow by having her rack up an incredible undefeated streak that lasted almost three years.
She kept the NXT Women’s Championship for a long period - and because of Triple H’s influence - Asuka got a big push upon reaching the main roster as well. However, things started to crumble for her following her loss to Charlotte Flair at Wrestlemania 34.
Late in the year, she won the SmackDown Women's Championship, but she could still flounder. He’s simply tolerating Asuka by booking her relatively strongly because of Triple H’s likeness towards her abilities. Otherwise, Asuka would have likely plummeted downwards by now.
10 Actually Likes: Drew McIntyre
Since his return to WWE, Drew McIntyre has looked like a completely different beast who is strongly focused on getting to the top of the card again.
McIntyre has been booked as a dominant force since re-debuting on Raw, having already won the Raw Tag Team Championship with Dolph Ziggler - and rarely losing any of his matches. He’s being booked as this terrorizing, powerful individual who is on the verge of a main event run.
According to reports, both Vince McMahon and Triple H are highly impressed with McIntyre’s latest run in the company. His physique, mic-skills, and superb in-ring ability have the higher ups and creative team discover faith in him. Since returning, McIntyre has earned a major supporter in Vince McMahon. It’s safe to think that big things are in line for McIntyre down the road.
9 Tolerates Because Of Triple H: Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn’s WWE career has been really topsy-turvy so far, as he’s been injured at crucial points during his run with the company. While he was built as a wonderful babyface thanks to Triple H’s hard work at NXT, Zayn hasn’t really been treated like a big star on the main roster. He’s had stints both as a babyface and a heel, but Vince hasn’t bought into Zayn yet.
The injuries must be mount frustration even more for McMahon, which prevents him from taking Zayn more seriously. If it was up to Vince, he’d probably book Zayn as a mid-carder or even a Cruiserweight. However, Triple H has confidence in the former NXT Champion, and he’s convinced McMahon to tolerate Zayn and give him more time to and opportunities to shine.
8 Actually Likes: Charlotte Flair
If there was one person who is mostly responsible for leading the Women’s Revolution in WWE, it has to be Charlotte Flair, daughter of the legendary ‘Nature Boy’ Ric. After she got called up from NXT - where The Queen had a superb outing - Charlotte was at the forefront in the rise of women’s wrestling in WWE.
While some of her peers lost pace (Asuka and Bayley come to mind), Charlotte has kept on rising among the ranks in WWE, having already won the Women’s Championship six times.
The Queen has really impressed Vince McMahon with her wonderful work, to the point where the boss has made her a face of the Women’s Division. Charlotte’s terrific in-ring ability and charisma makes her an asset for WWE, which is why Vince has grown so fond of her and is always booking The Queen strongly on SmackDown Live.
7 Tolerates Because Of Triple H: Shinsuke Nakamura
Shinsuke Nakamura’s signing was a huge coup for WWE several years ago, when it was announced that the King of Strong Style would arrive at NXT. Nakamura took NXT by storm, winning the NXT Championship twice and being greatly pushed as the charismatic babyface by Triple H.
However, the same kind of likeness hasn’t been found by Nakamura on the main roster. After initial success, his heel turn has turned out to be a bad booking decision. Vince doesn’t really like Nakamura that much because of his lack of mic-skills and is booking him as this dirty, foolish heel. Vince is keeping him in a good light because of Triple H’s influence, but he really doesn’t see Nakamura as his company's top star at all.
6 Actually Likes: AJ Styles
SmackDown Live has been elevated into the “A Show” of WWE due to AJ Styles, whose incredible work ethic for the brand has helped elevate it to new heights. Styles has been the face of SmackDown for two years now, having kept the WWE Championship for almost a full year. The Phenomenal One has been booked strongly because of his popularity among the WWE Universe.
Vince McMahon was skeptical of Styles at first, but has since grown to love him as a devoted Superstar for the company. The way he’s been booking Styles as the face of SmackDown is proof of how much Vince buys this guy as a top star. The chairman of WWE values Styles big time right now, and will continue pushing him strongly because of it.
5 Tolerates Because Of Triple H: Bayley
Bayley may have been an endeared superstar on NXT, but she’s struggled to get over with the fans on the main roster. She became NXT Women’s Champion in the developmental brand and was pushed as a mai event talent for a while.
But ever since Bayley received the main roster call, things have started going astray for the former Raw Women’s Champion. Despite winning the title, Bayley couldn’t get over as much as WWE wanted her, and she even got booed occasionally as a babyface. This made Vince McMahon lose his patience on Bayley, and he hasn’t displayed much confidence in her ever since. Bayley is a favorite of Triple H, which means that Vince has to tolerate The Hugger and book her in somewhat relevant feuds.
4 Actually Likes: Alexa Bliss
While she never was a top star on NXT, Alexa Bliss had a complete transformation after getting the main roster call. She’s managed to impress Vince McMahon with her in-ring work and microphone skills.
Bliss was a fairy-like, babyface talent on NXT at first, before inheriting shades of her heel character towards the end. She truly came off age after debuting on SmackDown Live, where she soon became a big-time heel before making her way into the main event scene. Bliss has since won both the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Championship multiple times, with her “wicked witch” gimmick getting over with fans. Vince McMahon has been blown over by Alexa’s work and natural charisma, which is allowing him to build her as one of the top stars of the Women’s Division.
3 Tolerates Because Of Triple H: Finn Balor
For Finn Balor, things have not been gone well since he had to relinquish his Universal Championship over two years ago. After having an excellent run on the NXT brand, Balor came to the main roster - packed with momentum and popularity. He defeated Seth Rollins as the Demon King at SummerSlam 2016, but unfortunately sustained a shoulder injury during the match.
Balor returned eight months later but has yet to climb back into the main event scene. He’s actually being used to put over other top stars and is being kept strictly in the mid card scene. There have been rumors that Vince McMahon doesn’t see anything special in Balor and thinks he isn’t “over enough” with the fans. Vince is only tolerating with Finn because of Triple H’s influence, which is keeping Balor lingering in the mid-card.
2 Actually Likes: Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins has received WWE’s golden boy treatment and has been pushed as one of the most popular babyfaces in the industry. Rollins has been an incredible work horse for WWE, and has proven to not only be a terrific wrestler, but also has the charismatic personality which allows him to operate as both a babyface and a heel.
The man has been doused with gold over the years and was recently the Intercontinental and Raw Tag Team Champion, which itself proves how much he’s won over the confidence of creative team. Both Triple H and Vince McMahon have been extremely high on Rollins for a while now. Vince loves everything Rollins has been doing for WWE, and he’ll keep pushing The Architect as a top superstar for the long run.
1 Tolerates Because Of Triple H: Bobby Roode
When Bobby Roode was signed by WWE, it was widely perceived that he’d be a big-time asset for the main roster. Roode arrived at NXT with an irresistible swagger - quickly getting over with the fans despite portraying a heel character.
While Roode won the U.S. Championship after arriving on SmackDown Live, things have started deteriorating for him ever since moving to Raw. Roode took part in low-key matches after losing the U.S. Championship and is being treated as a jobber to the stars on Raw. It’s been rumored that Vince doesn’t like Roode at all and is reportedly “completely disinterested” in his character. Vince doesn’t believe Roode can be a top star and is only tolerating him because Triple H thinks otherwise.