It may be the most meaningless short-term consequence of Vince McMahon resigns as WWE president and CEO after 40 years as the most powerful head of professional wrestling – the creative direction of this art form. McMahon has almost exclusively called top-down shots since Ronald Reagan’s first year in office. His decisions, plot ideas, and recent consistent missteps trickle and set the pace for every other American and Canadian squared circle. The long-term effect will be amazing.
The spotlight on mention of McMahon now forever comes with the caveat that he’s being scrapped. Without him calling shots from just behind the curtain, professional wrestling is guaranteed to change. And the biggest substitute to be the catalyst for change is Ba H. Yes, he was heavily influenced by Vince after becoming his son-in-law and was already one of his closest confidants. “The Game” has also proven him to be a personal thinker, making small changes and correcting more than a few mistakes in recent years.
We are in the honeymoon period when it comes to WWE led by Triple H. This is the first time the company’s creative process has not been through someone with the last name McMahon, even if the new dressing room leader is married to Stephanie McMahon. Friday night episode of Smash down! is a prime example of the ripple effect of changes in leadership.
Hit Row returns to WWE as a trio, not a quartet. A popular act that was fired by WWE before they could truly succeed last year was brought back to the company, with commentators Michael Cole and Pat McAfee selling their presence as significant as how. WWE fans with a good memory will notice the absence of Swerve Strickland, as he is now known, the most talented member of the faction.
Strickland is now under contract with All Elite Wrestling and is one-half of the company’s tag team champions with another NXT standout turned WWE castoff, Keith Lee. Mistakes happen, AEW do them weekly. WWE has earned more than that with Vince at the helm. And yes, both products have worked fine since McMahon stepped down. What we are dealing with is truly a new era of professional wrestling. It may sound cliché, but this is the first major change to the landscape since the end of the Second Night War.
AEW’s creation provided an outlet for disgruntled fans looking for an alternative. In its bubble, it was a huge success. Launching a national TV show five months before the coronavirus pandemic broke out that the company didn’t completely derail was a small miracle. We’re finally starting to see now, more than three years after the company’s first show, Double or nothing, a long-term vision. No fluke. AEW is here to stay and do some special shows every month.
For most of AEW’s life, the WWE product was stale, and that’s probably the best way to say it. Mentally numb and frustrated with the visible holes left and right, wasting the potential of the most stacked roster in pro wrestling. That’s better. However, for the die-hard WWE audience, it doesn’t make much sense to introduce AEW to the pro wrestling dictionary. Sami Zayn’s name dropped company once. In here we have are subtle suggestions from Edge and Cody Rhodes. But a casual WWE fan wouldn’t realize that.
Even heavy isolationist WWE fans will eventually notice a changed with Triple H in charge. First of all, watching several hours of WWE programming per week leaves an incredible amount of time to digest other mediums. With a love of professional wrestling, you can’t avoid all the Vince news. Subconsciously or not, change is expected. This is not a rematch for the failed Wednesday night fight of Triple H leading NXT 1.0 against AEW. Tony Khan’s team should have destroyed a TV development territory and did. Having a full-fledged army of his won’t make Triple H focus on anything but improving things internally. And that’s a great sign for WWE fans.
I started building this story two weeks ago. There will be a point about how Karrion Kross and Scarlett are perfect examples about where Vince went wrong. And then Triple H brings them back to the fold. Their NXT presentation is phenomenal. An entrance theme will become an arena song in the same way as Bobby Roode and Shinsuke Nakamura. Both have a “look”. And they showed it, again.
AEW will continue to deliver great shows no matter who runs WWE. Triple H has proven that he can steer the ship better than his father-in-law with a small sample size. The only way to have WWE-AEW penetration is if the ratings become similar. Dynamite attracted 972,000 viewers on Wednesday, while last week Smash down! has an average viewership of 2.01 million. That’s the total difference, regardless of the context of those numbers. But, Triple Effect There’s more to WWE right now than anywhere else. Finally, and yes there is no real prediction of when it will happen, it will not happen.