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ARIEL HELWANI DISCUSSES HOW QUICKLY TRIPLE H HAS CHANGED THE ENERGY & CREATIVE WITHIN WWE

By Billy Krotchsen on 2022-09-21 12:53:00

I was listening to Bill Simmons' podcast as he had Ariel Helwani on and the conversation turned to professional wrestling for a bit.  Here are some interesting quotes about the recent WWE turnaround in creative and behind the scenes under the new regime:

Ariel Helwani on WWE's turnaround:

“I can’t believe how quickly things have turned. Like for me, I remember us talking the last time we spoke. They had just announced Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar as the main event of SummerSlam and I remember saying it was boring, it was tired, we saw it a million times, we saw it at WrestleMania. It wasn’t a good match. I’m tired of this. It was lazy booking. It was the same old, same old. Triple H comes in and the vibe, the atmosphere, the originality, the unpredictability of it all, It has been amazing. I’ve gone to two events since the change. One was SummerSlam. It was too fresh. The other one was Clash at the Castle in Wales, and you get to talk to some of the guys and women as well, and the vibe, the mood surrounding the product, surrounding the company, surrounding the business has dramatically changed. There’s so much optimism. There’s so much positivity. You know what it feels like? It feels like when there’s a coaching change midseason and one of the boys gets promoted from being a bench coach to the interim job if you will - even though he’s not interim, you get what I’m saying, and then the team goes on a 10-game winning streak because they want to win for him. And it seems like everyone wants to win for Triple H and for Stephanie. They’re all beloved. Like, no one says a negative thing about them, and I think the little things that Nick has done...obviously, I’ll always say, we used to work together, but they’re bringing these fun little things, the press conferences. I like this stuff. It’s making it feel real.  The staredowns.  I think there’s more of that to come as well.”

Triple H as the new face of WWE's promotional end:

"Every promotion - it doesn’t matter what combat sport: boxing, MMA, wrestling.  You need a face. You need a guy up on the dais to say like, ‘this is why you need to watch on Saturday and give me your $65’. And all the media loves talking to these guys. Dana White, Don King, Bob Arum, Eddie Hearn, etc. Vince was once that guy, but in the last 20 years, the guy did no media. He never showed his face.  Now all of a sudden, if you notice, they’ve transformed Triple H into that guy. Like, when they had the presser, he’s up there, he’s talking about, he’s doing interviews, he’s doing scrums. They’ve now, all of a sudden, gotten a face, and it’s a recognizable face, and it’s a respected face and it’s not just a fake figurehead. It’s a guy that you believe is actually running the show because we know he’s running the show. He’s the Head of Creative.  They’ve turned him into, like, a good guy Dana White. He’s showing up there, he’s likable, you want to listen to him, you want to talk to him if you’re a media guy, he’s saying good things, he’s rootable, if that’s a word. I mean, he almost died. He said it himself last year. I mean, how could you not root for someone like that. He seems like a family guy. What they’re doing now is really smart with him. I love it.” 

Simmons on Wargames at Survivor Series in Boston:

"He’s also stealing from the history because we broke this on The Ringer that Survivor Series is turning into Survivor Series WarGames. They’re doing it in Boston, one of the only locations where nobody goes away for Thanksgiving. Everybody is gonna be around. The crowd is gonna be great. The WarGames thing is still one of the coolest revolutionary ideas in the history of wrestling and it will be really cool. There’s real thought being put into this stuff now instead of just running it back, running it back, running it back.” 

Simmons on "new energy" within WWE:

"This happens with wrestling, it seems like, I don’t know, every 10 years, every 11 years. It’s like The Godfather when they go to the mattresses where just a seat change happens and you can feel it where AEW is grabbing a lot of real estate from them and they’re becoming the cool, hip, and WWE just feels old and for the first time, it feels like Vince is just out to lunch with how he’s booking stuff, the kind of stars he’s either letting go or pushing. There’s no rhyme or reason to the storytelling. They blow the NXT brand and in the span of six months, you have Vince forced out for a really good reason. Then you have Triple H, who’s kicked to the side. Obviously, there was some Vince/Triple H stuff going on. You have Nick Khan. So now you have this -Nick Khan, Vince, I mean Nick Khan, Steph, Triple H running the WWE in the way that the fans kind of didn’t understand why they weren’t running it this way, getting behind all these different wrestlers, building storylines, having better matches. Like, actually programming Raw correctly, rejuvenating NXT and at the same time, AEW, I don’t want to say it’s cratering, but in real turmoil.” 

Simmons & Helawani on AEW:

Simmons: “It’s so funny. Tony Khan, who runs AEW… I think one of the reasons AEW succeeded was he was a student of the history of wrestling and he really, I think, smartly put together this thing with Cody Rhodes and some of these other guys for how do we stand out against the WWE? And it worked. And he completely replicates 1998 WCW, which I thought, 'You know this. You probably have the old Dave Meltzer newsletters about how this fell apart and you’re just redoing this?' Crazy.”

Helwani: “Mess. That press conference was a mess.” 

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