Just around the same time Internet chatter took off about the 2011 “PWI 500,” Triple-H assumed leadership of WWE’s day-to-day operations.
We can tell you that “Trips” didn’t rank in this year’s “500,” due mainly to the amount of time he spent on the injured reserve list during the evaluation period. However, if we were to analyze and rank Triple-H for his early performance as a wrestling executive, he’d appear much closer to the bottom of the list than the top.
Triple-H’s first few weeks in charge have been unimpressive to say the least. And we dare say that if the past 14 days are any indication of how Triple-H intends to run the company, WWE is in for a very chaotic future.
It’s a good thing Triple-H isn’t a baseball player, because after whiffing on his first three front-office challenges, we’d have already benched him in favor of a more reliable batter:
Strike One: Triple-H’s first blunder actually occurred months ago when he made his first WWE talent acquisition by signing Mexican sensation Sin Cara. Sure, the lucha libre star is a scintillating wrestler capable of whipping out highlight-reel maneuvers on a whim. And, yes, he appeals directly to the Hispanic and children markets WWE so covets. Unfortunately though, Sin Cara is currently on the sidelines, waiting out a 30-day suspension for a violation of the WWE Wellness Policy. Making matters worse, Sin Cara discussed the suspension in the press, which the gang in Stamford, Connecticut, couldn't have appreciated.
Of course, Triple-H didn’t cause Sin Cara’s violation, but he reportedly lobbied very strongly for WWE to do the deal. And now, there’s no way around the fact that Cara’s sins reflect poorly on Triple-H’s judgment.
Strike Two: More recently, Triple-H orchestrated the distasteful spectacle of publicly firing WWE Chairman—and his father-in-law—Vince McMahon on Raw.
Triple-H may have been acting at the behest of the WWE Board of Directors when he “future endeavored” Vince, but it takes some pretty big grapefruits to humiliate somebody who not only gives you a job, and a wife, but also the proverbial keys to the family business.
The incident not only calls Triple-H’s judgment into question yet again, but this time WWE employees are left to wonder if values such as loyalty and gratitude mean anything to “The Game.”
Strike Three: Triple-H squandered an opportunity to demonstrate his leadership ability when he completely mismanaged the WWE heavyweight championship situation on Raw.
In a scenario where then-champion CM Punk and former champion John Cena were expected to be gone from the Raw brand after July 17, WWE enters SummerSlam with both men holding claim to the same title, but no unification or elimination match announced for the PPV as yet.
Triple-H had an opportunity to restore clarity to the heavyweight title scene by making some bold and decisive decisions regarding Punk and Cena. Instead, he ordered a championship tourney on Raw that only muddied the waters further by getting Rey Mysterio involved. Triple-H has only himself to blame for the bungled mess the heavyweight title picture has become.
In fairness to Triple-H, nobody expected the transition from active wrestler to very visible front-office executive to be seamless. But while some mistakes are acceptable, Triple-H would’ve been better served by staying off of Raw and Smackdown until he saw a viable way through all the confusion.
Luckily for him (and us), however, there are some ways Triple-H can fix some of his mistakes. Senior Writer Dave Lenker expounds on them in an upcoming feature article in the November 2011 issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated (on sale September 27). Let us know what you think!