In his role managing talent, Triple H pulled a complete 360. Working with talent as a wrestler, Triple H didn’t have the best reputation – he had several foes back in the day and some like Scott Steiner still speak ill about The Game and the way he buried others.
In his new position, Triple H is the complete opposite and he’s generally regarded as a father figure. New talent like Adam Cole spoke glowingly about Triple H and his passion for the business while wanting all of his talent to thrive. In this article, we’ll take a look at those that succeeded under The Game’s watch. On the flip side, we’ll also include wrestlers that did not enjoy the same type of success and instead, thrived more so on the main roster.
Enjoy, folks. Let’s get started.
15 Doesn’t - Buddy Murphy
Speaking with CBS, Murphy admitted that his time under Triple H with NXT wasn’t the most productive, finding himself lost at times. Here’s what he had to say;
“I was in NXT for a while and saw some success there, but the majority of the time found myself lost. Then, it all goes full circle and it has been a crazy ride. That glass ceiling that everyone talks about? Well, I’m smashing it and just doing me, I’m just doing me.”
He’s thriving on the main roster at the moment under Vince, recently defeating Daniel Bryan. Yes, he did thrive for a little bit over on 205 Live, but the brand is a sinking ship in truth. Luckily, he got off the ride just in time.
14 Does - Sasha Banks
Part of Sasha’s frustrations have to do with the creative process. Triple H understood Sasha’s strengths and it fully worked in NXT.
We can’t say the same for McMahon, as Banks hasn’t been the same since joining the main roster. She’s finally back on the upswing as a heel, though it is said that Paul Heyman has a big hand in this.
13 Doesn’t - Elias
From the moment Triple H laid eyes on Elias, The Game new such a gimmick was meant for the main roster and not NXT. Hunter didn’t do much with the Elias gimmick during his time – in fact, fans got annoyed of his act.
It all changed under Vince’s watch, especially with all those live performances. He definitely turned into a star under McMahon, as opposed to his lower card role under Hunter.
12 Does - Bobby Roode
Triple H knows how to make use of an experienced veteran. Roode is the perfect example, he climbed up the ladder with NXT working as the perfect heel in the championship picture.
He hasn’t gotten a sniff of the Universal or WWE Titles since joining the main roster and in fact, he’s chasing the Tag Titles at the moment alongside Dolph Ziggler. Let’s hope the veteran can get back on track, alongside The Show Off.
11 Doesn’t - Baron Corbin
Similar to Elias, Corbin lost a lot more matches than he won during his final days with the promotion. He also rubbed some the wrong way with rumors of heat between himself and Finn Balor.
Everything changed for Corbin on the main roster; he’s a favorite of Vince’s, typically slotted in the upper card as one of the top heels. That was never the case under Triple H.
10 Does - Sami Zayn
Zayn turned into Triple H’s first breakout babyface. Labeled as the underdog from the underground, fans fell in love with Zayn’s gimmick during NXT’s earlier days. He was expected to follow the same trajectory as Daniel Bryan on the main roster.
Clearly, that hasn’t taken place and a lot of it might have to do with Vince’s personal opinion of Zayn, thinking he’s a little annoying. Here’s to hoping Zayn gets repackaged and perhaps, rejoins NXT under The Game.
9 Doesn’t - Dolph Ziggler
According to former WWE writer Kevin Eck, both The Game and Vince McMahon were never high on Dolph Ziggler. Here’s what he told Sporting News;
“Triple H wasn’t a big Ziggler fan, either. He thought Ziggler didn’t take direction well and was overly obsessed with trying to be the next Shawn Michaels.”
8 Does - Asuka
Unfortunately, just as Asuka’s character was about to turn with NXT, she got the call up to the main roster. Hunter booked Asuka flawlessly, she never lost a match as a babyface and during her final days, she was showing signs of turning into an arrogant heel.
Instead, her momentum was completely squandered on the main roster following a WrestleMania defeat to Charlotte. A loss to Carmella completely sunk the NXT star. Speaking of Carmella...
7 Doesn’t – Carmella
In fairness, Triple H did see potential in Carmella as a solo act. When Cass and Enzo got their call ups, Carmella was kept behind with the potential to grow as a solo act.
Nonetheless, she never won the big matches – evidentially that all changed on the main roster under McMahon. Carmella not only won the inaugural MITB match but she also got to kick-start episode 1,000 on SmackDown. And yeah, the Women’s Title was another added bonus.
6 Does - Bayley
Arguably the greatest babyface in NXT history, we couldn’t imagine fans booing Bayley years later on the main roster. We can still hear the roar of the NXT crowd following Bayley’s signature Bayley-to-belly move at the TakeOver Brooklyn event against Sasha.
Again, under Vince, the same hasn’t held true. We hope this current Women’s Title run can change this up for the lovable hugger.
5 Doesn’t - Alexa Bliss
She started off alongside Scott Dawson and would later transfer into a fairy gimmick. She finally found success in a managerial role – though, as a solo act, she was never on top of the card with NXT.
Similar to Carmella, her status completely changed on the main roster, becoming the most dominant female. Just this year, she even got to host WrestleMania. It is obvious, McMahon saw a lot more potential in the multi-time champion.
4 Does - Shinsuke Nakamura
It was the biggest signing in NXT history. Nakamura joining WWE was a big deal and he delivered in his debut match against Sami Zayn.
The attraction act was never the same under Vince. It was unimaginable to think of Shinsuke as just another guy but that’s what would unfold under McMahon. Some argue that the language barrier is the main cause. Though Triple H didn’t seem to have a problem with that...
3 Doesn’t - Lana
She served strictly as a valet during her brief time in developmental. Vince saw far greater dollar signs with Lana and in truth, McMahon was on the money as she would explode in popularity.
Vince is hoping to keep her around with rumors of the couple parting ways with the company.
2 Does - Finn Balor
Balor was the face of NXT and the same almost held true on the main roster. Balor defeated the likes of Roman Reigns and later Seth Rollins, on route to becoming the Universal Champion.
After the injury, the momentum completely went away and a lot of the IWC blames it completely on Vince. According to the rumor mill, Balor might take on an entirely different gimmick once he returns. Let’s hope he becomes special again, similar to his days under Hunter or in New Japan as a faction leader.
1 Doesn’t – Brock Lesnar
Triple H never has a heck of a lot to say when it comes to Brock Lesnar. Even when Lesnar’s contract was about to run out, The Game kept quiet about his feelings. In truth, Lesnar and Heyman deal directly with Vince McMahon.
If it would be up to Triple H, we’re pretty sure Lesnar wouldn’t be as successful – especially given his part-time role.
Sources – Sporting News