Let’s face it: Vince McMahon is going to be difficult to replace.
With his never-ending ambition, unrivaled work ethic and bold, uncompromising personality, the WWE owner managed to navigate his company to the top of the industry—a place it has stayed for almost three decades now.
For many, Vince is WWE. So much so that you could think without the 67-year-old at its helm, America’s No.1 wrestling promotion would be absolutely doomed.
Inevitably, a post-Vince WWE will face problems as it attempts to adjust to life without him. However, will the company fall into total disarray and dysfunction amidst constant power squabbles and petty politics?
Well, thanks to Paul “Triple H” Levesque, Vince’s son-in-law and next in line to run the company, the answer is, probably not.
Indeed, over the past couple of years, the real-life C.O.O has proven himself to be a terrific corporate executive.
Oh, he’s not Vince, of course. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Triple H doesn’t have the litany of eccentricities or larger-than-life personality. You’re never going to see him ranting and raving on television at Stan Kroenke over minor misunderstandings—like Vince famously did in 2009, as ESPN notes—or losing it during embarrassing interviews with Bob Costas.
Hunter is simply too calm, collected and rational for such nonsense.
He’s extremely smart, too. Oh, not in an Ivy League-type way—he didn’t go to Harvard and get his MBA like many others in the boardrooms of America—but he clearly knows WWE inside out and has good instincts for it.
In fact, for someone who has no real business experience, he might be far more suited to the corporate end than his temperamental father-in-law ever was.
And we’ve seen ample evidence of this thus far.
As Bruno Sammartino freely admitted to WWE.com earlier this year, Triple H was integral to him agreeing to be in the 2013 Hall of Fame. Things between Sammartino and Vince had been incredibly tense for years—many assumed a deal would never be made. But it was Triple H who got in there and arranged the legend’s return.
Could a humble and respectful Vince have gone to Bruno, cap in hand, and mitigated peace? Probably not.
In years to come, we may look back and see Bruno's Hall of Fame induction as a watershed moment for Triple H. This was when it became clear he has a drastically different set of skills to Vince and is far more willing to compromise and appease.
Considering how rigid and difficult WWE has been in the past with outside parties and ex-employees, this is a refreshing change.
Of course, not being Vince has its drawbacks too.
Could Triple H have built a business from scratch, like Vince? Could he have fought off strong competition from Eric Bischoff and WCW in the late ‘90s to emerge even bigger and stronger than ever, like Vince did?
Who knows? He’s woefully untested in this area.
Sure, he has way better people skills than Vince, but is Triple H ruthless and resilient enough to do what it takes to run a business like WWE?
We’ll have to wait and see.
But, nonetheless, what we’ve seen from Triple H so far is impressive. He’s performed admirably in his transition from full-time wrestler to high-ranking executive.
Now let’s just hope he does something about all those awful, dull-looking grey business suits and gets himself a fancy tailor, or something. Come on, dress for success, man!