Are WWE Superstars Losing Their Spots Without Vince McMahon There?

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“Giving it to the audience is probably the easiest thing. Finding out what they truly want is probably the most difficult.” — Vince McMahon

Good day to you all, I hope Summer is treating you well! As we know, WWE is going through a subtle transformation in the aftermath of the resignation of Vince McMahon. With a creative team led by Triple H, the shows have a higher level of intensity. We’re seeing some superstars enjoying more exposure, and we (well… most of us) are happy that SummerSlam was thoroughly enjoyable.

If you did not catch my previous article, I talked about ‘Triple H Guys’ Who Can Benefit From Him Leading WWE Creative. In this piece, I highlighted how the WWE main roster could be booked more like NXT used to be, along with playing to the talent’s strengths (while shying away from the weaknesses) to get the best out of everyone. After all, Triple H knew what got most of them over. In most cases, Vince McMahon failed to recognize what made each superstar special, and this hindered their career progression.

‘Vince McMahon Guys’

The original intent of this article was to highlight ‘Vince McMahon guys’ who would likely struggle under the regime of Triple H & Stephanie McMahon. I looked around to see if others had done anything similar, and lo and behold, I found many lists telling us who is likely to suffer. So I thought, right… let’s look at the list of WWE Superstars to find who most fans consider ‘Vince McMahon guys’. To be fair, the list is short. I could probably shove a few more in and explain their inclusion, but ahh… it’s not adding to what I want to say.

Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, John Cena, Roman Reigns, The Usos, Theory, R-Truth, Jinder Mahal, Logan Paul, Omos, Von Wagner, etc.


“Shoving down our throats” is a phrase many have used when explaining Vince McMahon’s booking for the past 17 years or more. It also took a monumental effort from the WWE Universe and some within the company (including Stephanie) to convince him that women have any worth, but that’s another story. I can safely say that Vince McMahon had an old-school approach to booking. They needed to look the part and have enough charisma to carry themselves. Athleticism rarely played into it, because wrestling doesn’t sell.


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Sports Entertainment

I’m in that camp of wrestling fans who agree when others say that wrestling does not sell. Yes, I am aware I may lose a few of you here, but that’s fine with me. The sport of professional wrestling has never been a selling point, otherwise, they wouldn’t have come close to canceling it from the Olympics.

For whatever reason, it hasn’t been a major sport in modern times. The core aspect of wrestling is not what sells on television, it’s the entertainment aspect. Even pro wrestling promotions like AEW need to use entertainment to sell its product. Ring of Honor would never have almost gone out of business had the sport of wrestling been the draw. This applies to other sports too. When you watch the biggest boxing events, why do they have grand entrances for the main events? Because characters and entertainment sell.


No one cares to watch two strangers compete. Fans want to feel a connection, otherwise, they’ll go away and watch another show. Vince McMahon knew this concept better than anybody and made an empire on it. When we bring up the “best wrestlers of all time”, do we talk about wrestling prowess? Or the legendary moments we remember for a lifetime? It’s the latter. Characters are the draw.


However, much like any TV show or movie, you need action sequences to break up the talking. When The Undertaker brings up the fundamentals of a wrestling match, he likes to bring up how superstars need to “tell a story” in the ring. The best pro wrestlers of all time are those who make you feel something without words. A good wrestling match isn’t about hitting all your moves while showing off your athleticism. It’s about enhancing the characters and/or storyline they are involved in. A wrestling match is an opportunity to make another fan, and not because you can flip around and no-sell everything. It’s because you made a moment the fan will remember forever.

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Triple H’s Philosophy

Triple H appreciates professional wrestling, but he also understands sports entertainment on Vince McMahon’s level. When NXT was the black & gold brand, many like to bring up how the wrestling was miles ahead of the main roster. Yet, what some forget is that NXT had a heavy focus on character development.

When NXT aired video packages, they often had the goal of connecting you to the talent on a personal level. Also, getting heat on the heel was a big deal, because you’re more likely to garner sympathy for the babyface. What they did outside wrestling matches often proved more important.

And I’m not saying the professional wrestling business hasn’t always done this, but NXT turned it into an art form. We rarely saw NXT struggle despite so many main roster call ups. They could build up new superstars to replace those who had carried the brand in a relatively short time.


With Vince McMahon, superstars had two paths. Either they were fast-tracked because they were hand-picked, or they had to work their butts off for years to prove they belonged in the main event spot. The glass ceiling often meant that no amount of proving themselves would be enough to convince him otherwise. However, this isn’t the same under Triple H. The glass ceiling never existed in NXT. So long as a superstar was getting over, management utilized them.

Part-Timers

Let’s talk about part-timers because I know that was one of the biggest gripes in recent years. I believe Triple H realizes what they bring, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we continue seeing returns for guys like John Cena, Brock Lesnar, or Goldberg. Why wouldn’t you use them if they’re available? It’s best for business. They bring a lot of hype and it can only benefit those they work with. In saying that, I believe we’ll see Triple H using them differently.


Goldberg, for example, he’s about done and is best used to get others over. He even admitted in an interview that this was his time to give back. John Cena is the same. He has no interest in coming back to go over someone like Theory because it doesn’t help WWE. Brock Lesnar is something else, though. We know that his booking was solely on Vince and he may not want to answer to anyone else. He may not have the same influence, however, I firmly believe that Triple H doesn’t want to hurt his character.

Brock Lesnar has lost too many times in the past few years, and I believe Triple H would want to give him a boost. Paul Heyman is around to point the creative team in the right direction, to ensure Brock’s credibility remains. No, he won’t go after Roman Reigns while he’s champion, but he’s still a valuable commodity. There are so many on the roster who could do with standing in the ring with him, but it’s up to Lesnar.

If he doesn’t like someone, he isn’t putting them over for anybody. So, I feel like Triple H is in a position where he knows he needs to respect what Lesnar brings to the table, and he needs to prove that he will respect his worth as Vince did. Although, understandably, Lesnar may not like the new regime and decide he’s had it with wrestling, which would leave Triple H unfazed. Brock has plenty of money and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was only showing up because Vince knew how to convince him. In the end, if it comes down to Brock falling out with WWE, I know Triple H is confident enough in his abilities to get talent over without him.


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Roman Reigns

The Roman Reigns situation is interesting. Not long before Vince McMahon’s retirement, Reigns negotiated a new contract that does not require him to be full-time. I know there’s some hope that the current management would reverse this decision. In the long term, I’m sure some would love to believe that Reigns won’t be “shoved down our throats” as he has for years. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this isn’t changing. Triple H is a big fan of Reigns, The Usos, and what they bring to WWE.

You’d have to be looking to commit career suicide if you cannot recognize the major draws that Roman Reigns and The Bloodline are now. Yes, Vince McMahon made it that way by pushing them as hard as he did, but he had little choice. WWE direly needed fresh stars who could transcend the mainstream because it could no longer rely on The Undertaker, John Cena, The Rock, and others. Vince threw all his cards on Roman Reigns and hoped it would land. And it eventually did, although it took years and a character change to achieve that.

Triple H appreciates this incarnation of Roman Reigns, and he will use it to the best of his ability. At the earliest, don’t expect the Tribal Chief to lose the Undisputed Universal Championship until next year’s WrestleMania. But that’s only if Triple H can build somebody up to do the job, and that’s no guarantee! If no one is ready to take over as the #1 guy in WWE, then Triple H will realize this and keep Reigns on top for as long as it takes.

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My Theory

I’ve seen many say that Theory isn’t likely to get the same treatment now that his “daddy” isn’t there to protect him. That’s BS! You know that Theory’s appointment to NXT was under Triple H’s management, right? He was likely the first person to go to Vince and say “Hey… come look at this kid, I think you’ll like him”. Just because Vince saw major dollar signs in Theory’s eyes doesn’t mean Triple H didn’t see it first. Sure, Vince fast-tracked him and I doubt Triple H would have done the same (he would have kept him in NXT and made him champion), but it still would’ve happened, eventually.

What we’re seeing on TV with Theory is the dialing back of his character. Because the McMahon character isn’t there to back him up, he’s being brought down a peg to reflect that. No, he hasn’t been “buried” (anyone who says that needs to learn its meaning), but it could mean he’s taking a slower road than he otherwise would have got. He’ll still be a huge part of the show because Triple H knows what he’s capable of, and he will want to capitalize on his youth. He’s all about developing new stars, and I think him being in charge now couldn’t be any more perfect for Theory’s career.

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Conclusion

I’m saying the same for everyone else. Triple H will respect that Vince has an eye for talent and he won’t want to waste what he started. Sure, WWE might not push them as hard, but that would likely help them in the long run. Triple H is all about pushing talent organically, but they have to earn it.

That’s the biggest difference here. If someone like Theory isn’t up to prove that he deserves this, then don’t expect him to get anywhere. Triple H does not reward laziness or entitlement. All WWE Superstars still must prove themselves, but this time they know there’s no glass ceiling and nobody is being hand-picked by the boss. If anyone is doing the hand picking, it’s the fans who make up the WWE Universe. Unlike Vince, who claimed he would listen to the fans, we know Triple H takes the time to do it for real.

With that said, I don’t think any of the ‘Vince McMahon Guys’ will suffer under the new regime. Perhaps they won’t get as much success as they would have got. But they certainly won’t lose their spots soon. Are they doomed without Vince McMahon? Hell no! Sorry if you thought otherwise, but my spoiler is that they’ll still play a vital role in WWE’s weekly programming. Do you agree? If not, please let me know why in the comments. This is an exciting time for WWE and the pro wrestling business, and I’m glad because it gives us more to talk about. Thanks for reading!

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