Triple H was recently interviewed by Grantland. Here are some highlights…
On The Internet’s Perception on Him: I wish I had the brainpower and the wherewithal and the drive to be as maniacal and devious as people fucking 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.
On ECW and Paul Heyman: 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. When I was going to work a program with Foley at one point, I had somebody make me a VCR tape of his Japan stuff. Just to kick around some ideas. He was like, “Well, they’re not that great.” And I was shocked because I’d heard all this great stuff about them. He’s like, “Just look at the spots, and try not to look at how many people are there.” There were some of them that looked like maybe there were people there. And Mick was in all this C4-exploding barbed wire. No semblance of any kind of story. Literally, sometimes Mick would be helping the guy set up the prop. It was just, “For our next trick, folks, we’re going to set this table up with barbed wire and we’re going to set this explosive, and then he’s going to throw me through it, OK? Ready?” And they would go do it. So I got zero out of that. I had no idea. I told Mick and he said, “I told you. It’s all hype, dude.” It just took on a life of its own because people had never seen it before.
On Running Developmental: Yeah, that’s mine. Everything that has to do with talent, from the legends41 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.
On Total Divas: Contrary to popular belief, we’re not really trying to hide anything. People know what we are, they know what we do, but, you know, a magician is not really conjuring black arts. He’s a magician. He gives you an illusion. I’m friends with Criss Angel. Criss has offered me a million times to go downstairs and see the setup. I don’t want to see it. I just want to go, “God, how did you do that?” And that’s all what we’re trying to do. You can see everything else, that’s cool. We just don’t need you to see the piano wire that’s holding up the girl that’s levitating. The reality shows are what they are. It’s creative reality. In our business, they never know what’s real and what’s not. So, like, at WrestleMania when the girls on Total Divas got cut32 — I saw on the Internet, “Oh, isn’t that horrible? They manufactured that whole thing to crush those girls’ spirits.” As if we thought that far in advance, that we thought, You know what we’ll do? On the busiest day of the year for us, we’ll play those girls all day and then pull it out from under them. No, the show is a fluid, live event. One match doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you have an allotted amount of time for a show, if one thing goes two minutes heavy, and one thing goes one minute heavy, the third one goes a minute heavy, another one goes two minutes heavy, you’re six minutes heavy and all of a sudden a match is gone. Nobody wanted that to happen. They prepared as hard as anybody else, they were as excited as anybody else, but it’s part of the show, right? So what do we do? Do we cut Rock-Cena in half, or do we eliminate the Divas match? It’s unfair, but if I’m a fan, I think I’ll pass on the Divas match and watch the entire Rock-Cena match.