Triple H has been a major focus of pro wrestling headlines over the past several days. The ironic part however is that it’s not due to anything that the WWE Hall of Famer has specifically done. The reason for his constant name dropping is because of WWE’s latest round of talent cuts.

The most recent target was NXT. The Road Dogg, William Regal and Samoa Joe are now all gone from the company. Each man has direct ties to Triple H and the same is true of many in-ring talents that WWE has released over the past two years. Many fans are crying foul, but is Triple H the common denominator, or is something else going on?


Building a Brand

It’s easy to sit back and presume that Hunter’s handiwork is being singled out here. After all, he was instrumental in building the developmental program that introduced new talent to WWE. He has long been considered the reason for NXT’s success and it’s hard to dispute that. Triple H took a fledgling brand and turned it into must-see television.

He didn’t do it alone, of course. Triple H surrounded himself with a staff he trusted and those people undoubtedly shared his vision of what NXT could become. Hunter also had help from the men and women he put in the ring, all of whom helped bring that vision to life for the world to see.

Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Adam Cole and The Undisputed Era, Keith Lee and Karrion Kross represented a mix of talents that were all believed to be under Hunter’s wing. But now, only Ciampa remains. Ciampa admittedly does not fit the new look of NXT, leading many to believe that the clock is ticking on his run as well.

A key component of this situation is the fact that yes, Triple H and his crew loaded up the NXT brand with indie wrestling stars. It made for a strong roster of solid pro wrestlers, all of whom could deliver on a main event level. Many WWE fans agreed, believing that NXT was outperforming both Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown on a regular basis.

The men and women of that NXT all knew how to bring the big fight feel and they brought it every week. The program felt less like a WWE production and more like an independent promotion bankrolled by an enthusiastic owner. That owner wanted to make a splash in the industry and showcase the best talents the indie scene had to offer. That “owner” of course, was Triple H. 

The Arrival of AEW

But when an actual owner with a hefty bank account and the same mission came to the table, everything changed. Tony Khan brought AEW to the industry and when he did, Vince McMahon’s company pushed the panic button. Longtime WWE fans will argue that point and say that McMahon didn’t care about AEW, but the truth is there. Not only does he care, he still cares. 

The proof of that was the sizable acquisition of talent that took place just before and just after the birth of AEW. NXT was packed with the majority of that talent and the man in charge of making it all work was The Game. His NXT gave something fresh and exciting to fans and they loved him for it.

However, pro wrestling analysts knew it was only a matter of time until that loaded roster would be dealt with. WWE would eventually cut and run, citing budgetary reasons and that’s exactly what happened. So what is really going on here?

Is Vince McMahon, Nick Khan and everyone in WWE’s upper echelon intentionally dismantling Triple H’s NXT because of Triple H? Is The Cerebral Assassin now taking the fall for NXT’s apparent loss in the war with AEW? Can it really be that dramatic and that theatrical? Or is all of this happening because Vince one day decided to pull the plug on Hunter’s NXT experiment and just take it over himself?

Game Over?

Are fans to believe that Vince and Hunter are now enemies? Vince doesn’t speak to Triple H unless it’s in a boardroom setting? Then when they do speak, it’s uncomfortable for everyone else in the room? Is Vince indeed sabotaging Hunter and destroying all of The Game’s work with NXT? Why, because he suddenly no longer trusts his son-in-law with the company business?

All of this makes for compelling headlines, there is no doubt about it. For pro wrestling fans, there’s nothing like a juicy story and this one is definitely oozing. It’s a story of lies, betrayal and power, all of which are at the core of an entertaining pro wrestling program. But can it really be that black and white?

The only ones that can really answer that question are Triple H and Vince McMahon and neither man is talking. Yes, it appears that Vince is ousting Triple H or at the very least, Hunter is losing a step. Almost all of his work with NXT and beyond, does seem to be getting snapped away and Vince definitely appears to be Thanos.

But if that’s true, then who will avenge Triple H? What epic battle will decide the fate of WWE’s power structure moving forward? How ridiculous does all of this sound to fans who simply want to know the truth? 

The fact is that none of it is true. Or maybe, it’s all true. Perhaps all of this is happening because the McMahon family want to sell the company, as everyone believes. If so, then Triple H’s black and gold brand was targeted and destroyed because it didn’t fit the boss’s vision. Or it was nothing more than an unfortunate casualty of business, painting Vince as the villain and Triple H as the hero. Fans may never get the truth or maybe they already have it. The only certainty about WWE right now? Nothing is for certain. 


Tom Clark is a Senior Pro Wrestling Analyst and Featured Columnist for Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Audible, Spotify, iHeart Radio, YouTube and live on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live


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