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NXT 3.0: Triple H Is Betting on His 'Kids' to Fuel WWE's Main Roster Future

Erik BeastonAugust 10, 2022

Credit: WWE.com

It is almost impossible to ignore the influence Triple H has had on the WWE product after just two weeks in his role as head of creative.

Championships are more valued than they were before, there is greater attention to detail, in-ring competition is emphasized, and Michael Cole is allowed to sound like a human being on commentary.

More significant than any of those changes, though, is the impact the men and women who performed in NXT under Triple H's guidance have had on Raw and SmackDown.

Fightful Wrestling @Fightful

Triple H really said<br><br>WE <br>ARE<br>NXT<br><br>πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a>

Early in the Hall of Famer's run as the booker of all things WWE, it has become clear that he has staked both his and the company's futures on the characters he cultivated while overseeing the development of NXT.


'We Are NXT'

The return of Dakota Kai and the arrival of Iyo Sky, coupled with Bayley's hotly anticipated comeback, set the tone for the new regime.

Not only did it open SummerSlam on a noteworthy footing, but it also emphasized the role of women in WWE.

During his time as the head of NXT, Triple H made it a point to prominently feature women's wrestling on his shows. The Women's Revolution in WWE can be directly traced, at least in part, to what he put in place with Paige and Emma in 2014 and built from there for the likes of Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Bayley.

It continued with the Mae Young Classic tournament and the emergence of Asuka, Shayna Baszler and Sky. So, it's no surprise that trio have enjoyed substantial exposure early on in his rule. Asuka and Sky are now part of the top women's rivalry in Raw, and Baszler is the newly minted No. 1 contender to Liv Morgan's SmackDown Women's Championship.

Asuka, Alexa Bliss and Raw women's champion Bianca Belair are all alumni of NXT, too.

Away from the women's division, the men of the black-and-gold brand have benefited as well.

Former NXT champion Ciampa has seen his role increase as he becomes a focal point of Raw's creative efforts, and the recent returns of Karrion Kross and Dexter Lumis prove Triple H's commitment to righting wrongs of the previous regime's last two years.

Kross, in particular, was a statement rehire.

WWE on FOX @WWEonFOX

It can't be! Karrion Kross is back! <br><br>πŸ“Ί <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/realKILLERkross?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@realKILLERkross</a> <a href="https://t.co/6hqjdYQtXr">pic.twitter.com/6hqjdYQtXr</a>

The former two-time NXT champion went from being the centerpiece of the brand to being stripped of the presentation that helped make him a star in the first place, being handed a gladiator's helmet and left to fail miserably on the main roster.

Then he was fired last November, another "budget cut" among a rash of them.

Knowing full well what Kross meant to NXT and how woefully mismanaged he was on Raw, Triple H rehired him and inserted him into the main event picture on SmackDown alongside Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns.

Lumis injected intrigue into Monday's Raw as fans speculated about his story and where it is headed after he attempted to crash the flagship show.

Another NXT export, Chad Gable, has been featured in singles competition, a change of pace for a guy who has been shoved into tag teams the majority of his time on the main roster.

The company's two most consistent main eventers, Reigns and Seth Rollins, laid the groundwork for the NXT brand and helped champion it early in its existence, making them among the earliest of Triple H's so-called "kids."

Sportskeeda Wrestling @SKWrestling_

Triple H is in control and we've got:<br>- Seth Rollins picking up Ws.<br>- Kevin Owens going back to his vicious self!<br>- Ciampa looking like a star even in defeat.<br>- Bayley being the highlight of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RAW?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RAW</a>.<br><br>Pops H looking after his kids! πŸ₯Ί<br>WE. ARE. NXT!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWE?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWE</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWERaw?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWERaw</a> <a href="https://t.co/UhmHWjDifM">pic.twitter.com/UhmHWjDifM</a>

It makes sense that a guy in a role as important as the head booker for wrestling's most prestigious promotion would turn to the people and performers he is familiar with.

The Game knows them, understands their strengths and will work toward emphasizing them. He can build around them and present a show similar to what he accomplished with NXT, just on a grander scale and for a larger audience.

And Triple H most likely isn't finished reintroducing talent to that crowd.


What's Next?

Could Johnny Gargano return to WWE, turning down other big-money offers to work for the man under whom he had the greatest success of his career and evolved into one of the best in-ring performers in the world?

Might Bray Wyatt come back to a company that caused him considerable creative frustration, and work for the man who was among the first to believe in him and his vision for his on-screen persona?

The former WWE champion tweeted about the industry and his thoughts on it, sparking discussion about his potential return to the ring:

WYATT 6 @Windham6

- Windham6 <a href="https://t.co/lZaqeXGFIk">pic.twitter.com/lZaqeXGFIk</a>

Those are just two questions WWE fans are asking early in Triple H's run. Especially as he continues to rehire and reposition stars who should not have been released or de-emphasized in the first place.

Who else might see their stars burn brighter under The Cerebral Assassin?

Baszler is one to watch on SmackDown. Sure, she has already earned No. 1 contender status but she was so dominant in NXT that it would be naive to think the new head of creative does not have plans for her to be a focal point in the division again.

Cedric Alexander, who earned a job with WWE by way of his performance in the Cruiserweight Classic, has never had the opportunity to benefit from Triple H's influence. While it would take considerable work to repair his image after a year or so of subpar booking, he could find himself in a position to thrive on the main roster.

WWE @WWE

A HECK of an endorsement from <a href="https://twitter.com/TripleH?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TripleH</a> to <a href="https://twitter.com/CedricAlexander?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CedricAlexander</a> to close out this week's episode of <a href="https://twitter.com/WWE_CWC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WWE_CWC</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CWC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CWC</a> <a href="https://t.co/qCIwpq3m6A">pic.twitter.com/qCIwpq3m6A</a>

Ditto Mustafa Ali.

If there is one thing Triple H has proved often, it's that he recognizes in-ring talent and knows how to present certain characters in a way that gets them over with the audience.

There will be bumps in the road, especially as he figures out what the audiences of Raw and SmackDown will embrace, but as we have seen with recent episodes of both shows, he is off to a great start.

Given the uncertainty of WWE's future at this point, the only sure thing is that Triple H is willing to hitch his wagon to those he turned into stars, unwavering in both his trust of them and his expectation that they can be industry leaders.

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