– In one of the longest interviews he’s ever done since becoming an Executive within WWE, Triple H spoke about numerous topics with Grantland.com including his new role in the company, negative things said about him and much more. Below are some of the main highlights but you can view the full piece here…
His Role As Head Of Talent Relations: “”Everything that has to do with talent, from the legends to the developmental system, to the live events and all of its operations and the towns we book, to where the pay-per-views are, all of it. Obviously I have a massive team that does all that, but they report to me. “I started in the office full-time a few years ago. Vince had been bugging me for a while, saying ‘When are you going to stop messing around in the ring and come get a real job?’ So one time when I was injured, I shadowed him in the office for three months. I did everything he did. When I finally started full-time, he was like, ‘Take a few months. I want you to dig into everything. Have meetings with finance, dig into every part of this company and see what you think needs work.’ “And the thing I came back to him with was we have this huge global marketing juggernaut, but we’re a victim of our own success. We’ve shut down all the other territories. There’s almost no place for guys to go learn, and when they do, they’re learning how to work in a junior high in front of 50 people. It’s a completely different thing than working in front of 10,000 or a million on TV with a camera in your face. “So I started this little division called talent development. It was basically to build a bridge between creative and the developmental wrestlers. Now, other than Vince saying, “OK, you can have that amount of money,” he doesn’t have anything to do with it. Honest to god, he hasn’t even seen the Performance Center yet. He’s supposed to go next week.”
Stephanie McMahon’s Role: “Yeah. And because she’s not on the road as much, she’ll watch the shows from home and give us a completely different perspective. We say it all the time: It’s the hardest thing to see everything. You’re in the foxhole. We’ll do Raw and I won’t even see the whole show because from Gorilla Position, I’m that filter before it gets to Vince. So Vince sits in one seat and he talks to the truck and stuff, and I’m in the seat next to him talking to the truck and talking to the ring, and if something just changed in Segment 1, I’ve got to nip up5 and go get the change to everybody else, or I’ll call a writer in and say, “This just went down, we gotta go here.” It’s live TV. But when you’re at home watching it, it’s a completely different perspective. Sometimes we don’t see all the video packages or the commercials. You lose perspective. So Steph will see something and say “Hey, guys, I think you’re losing the plot here.” But for the most part, she controls the gigantic entity that creative is so that there’s continuity between the digital and the magazine, continuity between the domestic shows or the shows that run internationally, all of those components and those teams, which is a massive amount of people. But creatively, the final sign-off is Vince.”
Hardcore Wrestling: “All that stuff is just special effects. It’s crazy special effects that you’ve never seen before, but if the story’s not good, it’s still a crap movie — it just has a bunch of stuff exploding. Visually, it’s unbelievable, but you’re bored 20 minutes in. At a certain point in time, those special effects just started to become all we were. We were putting together a Hell in a Cell match once with Shawn and me against Vince and Shane and the Big Show. And Shane is the king of daredevils, and we were putting together all these crazy spots, and it’s just bothering me. Vince was like, “I can tell you don’t like any of this. Why?” It was because all we’re doing is putting together a bunch of special effects. And I said “People paid a lot of money to see Shawn and me stick your head up Big Show’s ass, but we’re jumping off a cage, landing on tables. Why?” And Vince said, “You’re right. Start over.” We could fall off all that stuff that day, but it’s not what they wanted to see. It wasn’t about the special effects; it was about the story line. We reached a point where everything just became special effects. We had to pull back and go back to story lines. People will look at the Attitude Era and they’ll go, “Ahh, the golden age,” but then they’ll look back at the ’80s with Crockett Promotions and the WWF and say, “Oh, that was the golden age, too!” So, which is it? Because they couldn’t be more different. That’s as PG as you can get.
ECW: “Paulie’s genius was he made stars out of a lot of guys who couldn’t make it anyplace else. There were talented guys, too, but a lot of the mainstays — he hid their flaws, he shot up their strengths, he gave them a ton of special effects. And if you watched the show then, it was just a highlight reel. That’s all it was. And it was different, it had never been done before. But it was like watching porn in a way.”
Future Of The Development System: “People see NXT, but NXT is just the guys in developmental that are ready for TV. We have at any given time between 75 to 100 people in developmental, and that might get bigger. The new performance center has seven rings. When we built it, I thought, OK, if I was a kid today and I wanted to get in the business, what tools would I need? We used to learn how to cut promos by cutting promos in the mirror. Now we have an HD camera set up so you can push the button and cut a promo and watch it back. There’s a 6,000-square-foot strength-and-conditioning program that’s overseen by Joe DeFranco,45 the NFL combine guy. We have a full physical therapy and rehab, a doctor-run staff, green-screen rooms, we have an audio room that can train the next Michael Coles. We have one ring that’s a big padded thing so guys can do moonsaults without killing themselves. And we set up a dummy in there so you can practice all your stuff and not take years off your career. Learning is when you make the most mistakes. We have so many tools there on every level for them to succeed, and people to help them right from the start, from your footwork all the way to the character.”
Negative Things Said About Him: “I wish I had the brainpower and the wherewithal and the drive to be as maniacal and devious as people f**king think I am. I’d be fucking Darth Vader. I’d run the Empire, and I guess maybe that’s how some people see it, right? They’d say “Oh, he went in there and he buried this guy,” and it’s like, fuck, I had nothing to do with that. I didn’t even know he was coming in until I saw him that day.”
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