Slowly but surely, the WWE continues to evolve. Of course, that is going to happen over time regardless of who’s in charge, but today’s WWE is definitely being shaped by one man more than anyone else — Triple H.
The former (and sometimes still current) wrestler moved his way up the corporate ladder, thanks in part to marrying Vince McMahon’s daughter, and is now one of the key figures behinds the scenes. His creation of the NXT development brand has given the WWE a place to have newcomers learn the ins and outs of the business, and he has overseen the Women’s Revolution, the return of the cruiser weights, and the WWE U.K. Championship tournament.
During Triple H’s rise to power, there’s been a significant change in what kind of wrestler can be seen as “main event” material. The WWE has (somewhat) moved away from the musclebound giants and gone towards a more varied look with their biggest superstars — from small and athletic, like A.J. Styles, to stocky and tough, like Kevin Owens. Even Finn Balor was the unlikely inaugural Universal Champion, before a shoulder injury derailed his title reign.
In a recent interview with NBC Sports, Triple H talks about how the WWE is striving to “diversity on all levels,” and that the main event spots are no longer reserved for guys are are 6’7″ and 265 pounds.
“So, I’m a big believer in talent is talent. It comes in all shapes, sizes, looks, feels, everything. I think sometimes there’s been a bad rap of like take this as the thing that’s most successful, so that’s what we’re going to give.
I think that’s happen here in the past. People can say whatever about WWE and look, is there a particular style of athlete [we look for]? Sure, it’s like that in anything.
If you’re shown steak all of the time, it’s no surprise that you’re going to eat steak. So when everybody coming to you with the same look and feel, a certain pattern begins to develop because that’s what being put in front of you and that’s what you have to select from.
My selection process is different. Yes, I understand what Vince likes and what Vince sees in an ideal archetype performer, but I also know him well enough to know that he likes a lot of different archetypes, so I’m not going to give him one; I’m going to give him a little bit of everything.
He’s going to see a Bray Wyatt and go (Vince voice) ‘That’s great!’ He’s going to see a Braun Strowman and go ‘Ah yeah, that’s my wheelhouse right there. I love that.’ He’s going to see Finn Balor and hear the girls going nuts and then see the paint and go ‘Geez look at that, I love that!’ That’s something that I don’t think would have been put in front of him eight years ago.
I sometimes wonder if Bray Wyatt would have been put in front of him 10 years ago. I don’t know that he would’ve. That doesn’t mean that Vince wouldn’t have loved him back then.
I want there to be so much diversity on every level. I want it to be international diversity. I want there to be something for everybody within WWE so you can gravitate towards characters that you can relate to. That’s still a work in progress.
Triple H also bragged that the current roster of the WWE Performance Center (their training facility) is 40 percent international, with 17 different countries represented. A quarter of the development roster is female.
“I want that diversity. When you talk about the women, I want there to be a Sasha Banks; the smaller, run her mouth, cocky, arrogant, little athlete. I want there to be a bigger, dominant athlete like a Charlotte. I want there to be a Nia Jax that brings a whole different danger component. I want there to be a Bayley that is this naïve, fan-friendly, little girl centric character that everybody loves.
Then you still want there to be the Bellas, who are like the Kardashians of the women’s division. You want that variety.
It’s the same with the guys. I want there to be a Cena, I want there to be a Randy Orton. But I also want there to be a Bray Wyatt. I want there to be a Braun Strowman. I want there to be a Finn Balor. I want there to be a Samoa Joe or a Kevin Owens. Big Cass and then a little guy like Enzo that can run his mouth nonstop.
I want that diversity.”