Triple H, with Stephanie.
Let's be honest: It's more than time for Triple H to step back from his role as an on-screen character. He's simply not doing the product any good whatsover while he remains on television.
In fact, the evidence would indicate he's actively hurting the company he will one day preside over.
Officially, of course, I could just claim that Triple H is needed more backstage.
He's training to take over from Vince McMahon eventually—a tough task, however you want to look at it. He needs to concentrate more on the complex corporate side of things, rather than going on the road all the time and being a bad guy on Raw.
While this is a perfectly valid reason—and maybe one Triple H and his supporters could use to save face if he ever does take himself off television—there is more to the story.
Mainly, as a character on Raw, Triple H is not helping get over new stars at all.
Randy Orton is the new WWE world heavyweight champion. He's supposed to be the top bad guy in town. Except, of course, that he isn't. He's Triple H's henchman these days. Orton is essentially at his boss' beck and call these days, constantly searching for ways to remain in his good graces.
If Orton unwittingly does something wrong—say when he accidentally bumped into Stephanie and sent her flying earlier this month on Raw—he goes to Triple H, grovelling and apologizing.
It's not really a surprise the star isn't taking off a draw—as WrestlingInc.com mentions, Orton/Big Show at Survivor Series did an appalling buyrate—when you consider how shoddily as a heel he's been booked.
Thanks to the efforts of Hunter, Orton is about as far away from a dominate heel as you can get.
The terrible treatment of Daniel Bryan in the autumn is worthy of an article all by itself. Throughout Bryan's main event run in September and October, Triple H would frequently tear down the star and remind everyone watching of every one of his weaknesses.
Triple H's jaw-droppingly counter-productive speech on the October 21 edition of Raw may be one of the worst promos in wrestling history. Per the executive, not only was Bryan not a star, he wasn't even someone a real star would waste their time wrestling. (This also made Orton look like a loser, too.)
Not content with verbally ripping apart two main eventers, Triple H took petty shots at Edge, Chris Jericho and Rob Van Dam, for seemingly no other reason than that he could. Who was supposed to get over here? What purpose did Triple H trashing everyone serve?
If, years and years from now, there ever is a Death of WWE book, this promo may very well be Exhibit A.
Maybe he wasn't ever destined to be Steve Austin circa 1998 when it came to doing amazing business, but Triple H certainly didn't do him any favors in the run-up to these shows.
The aforementioned terrible SummerSlam number is also strong evidence of Brock Lesnar's waning drawing power (Lesnar co-main evented the show with CM Punk).
Yes, Lesnar, who was at one point main eventing some of the highest-grossing UFC events in history, is now struggling to do a mere 300,000 buys worldwide with WWE. It's staggering how much steam he's lost since he worked under Dana White.
Certainly, working so much with Triple H in 2012 and 2013—and he generally came out of that program looking weak—doesn't seem to have helped him much either.
Of course, people will say I'm being too harsh on the executive and am practically claiming he's behind every single thing that goes wrong ever in wrestling.
Maybe I am heaping too much responsibility on him. After all, he's not to blame for every single star who didn't make it or every top draw who can't deliver strong numbers anymore.
Indeed, one could argue WWE did its real damage to Lesnar when it foolishly booked him to lose clean to John Cena in April 2012 less than a month after he debuted.
Orton, meanwhile, probably does lack the personality, talking skills and charisma to be a genuine megastar. Due to Bryan's small size and unconventional look, it's possible Vince was never going to get fully behind him anyway.
Is it time to take Triple H off television?
This isn't all on Triple H.
But the buyrate numbers don't lie. Neither do the mediocre ratings. The star being all over television and cutting arrogant and self-indulgent promos is not helping anyone.
Will Triple H—a smart man by any standard—finally recognize this and wisely write himself off-screen? Or will fans be forced to put up with him as the man Raw revolves around for years to come?