Triple H sat down with “The Masked Man” (@AKATheMaskedMan) of Grantland in a stellar interview to discuss a wide-range of topics from how he got started in the WWE, to his feeling on dirt sheets, to getting his foot in the door on the Creative team, and so much more. It really is a must-read for wrestling fans. Do yourself a favor and CLICK HERE to read the entire interview. Here are a few snippets of it that I wanted to share:
On how he got his start with the WWE creative team and working the “Gorilla Position” with Vince McMahon:
Starting a year after I got to the WWF, Vince would say, “Hey, you have an opinion on this, what’s your opinion?” And I’d give Vince my opinions. Sometimes he liked it, sometimes he didn’t, but we kind of established that working relationship so that when Russo left in the middle of the night to go to WCW, I went to Vince and I just said, “I understand how creative works. You can’t bounce ideas off yourself. So if you want to bounce ideas off me, I’m happy to just hear you out and give you my opinion. Not saying you need it, just saying it’s there.”
So two days later, my phone rang, and Vince said “Hey, pal, you got a minute? You talked to me about bouncing around some ideas. Can I run a couple things by you? See what you think?” And that started it. Shortly thereafter, it was, “You want to start coming to production meetings? I could really use you in there.” And I’ve been doing it since probably ’98, ’99.
On his disdain for “Dirt Sheets”:
It blew my mind that these guys don’t even really have an honest opinion. There’s a lot of guys over the years I’ve seen put over [in the dirt sheets] and I just didn’t get it. But then I realized, those guys give them insider dirt. In the Attitude Era, we’d be on a plane and there’d be four of us traveling in first class or something, and a week later, I’d read the conversation verbatim in the dirt sheets. I’d be like “Fuck, how does that happen?” Because it had to be one of the four of us. I always thought, just do your job. If the crowd reacts to you, positively, negatively, if you’re getting a reaction, they’re going to push you. That’s what nobody gets. We don’t tell the fans who’s going to be over. We put somebody on the table, fans react, and then we decide where to go with them. What people forget is we have a focus group every single night, 10,000 people somewhere. We didn’t get Austin over. Austin got over with the fans.
On the now-infamous Reddit leaker spoiling WWE pay-per-view results:
We just dislike when people ruin stuff for fans. It’s like telling kids Santa Claus is fake. Why do it? It doesn’t benefit anybody other than the ego of the person who put it out there. I never understood that. Why would you tell people what’s going on? Isn’t that the whole point of what we do, to keep them on the edge of their seats? I mean, yeah, we see where the Internet is going. We’re giving fans more access now and doing shows like Total Divas. But I laugh, like, when writers say “Oh, CM Punk laid the pipe bomb and lifted the fourth wall in a promo.” So let me get this straight, you think we put him out on TV, he broke fucking everything we were supposed to do, and then sat down Indian-style and started blistering everybody, and we didn’t think Let’s take him off the air? If that would’ve been a shoot, it would’ve been off the air the second he started.
On the improvements to WWE Developmental:
People see NXT, but NXT is just the guys in developmental that are ready for TV. We have at any given time between 75 to 100 people in developmental, and that might get bigger. The new performance center has seven rings. When we built it, I thought, OK, if I was a kid today and I wanted to get in the business, what tools would I need? We used to learn how to cut promos by cutting promos in the mirror. Now we have an HD camera set up so you can push the button and cut a promo and watch it back. There’s a 6,000-square-foot strength-and-conditioning program that’s overseen by Joe DeFranco, the NFL combine guy. We have a full physical therapy and rehab, a doctor-run staff, green-screen rooms, we have an audio room that can train the next Michael Coles. We have one ring that’s a big padded thing so guys can do moonsaults without killing themselves. And we set up a dummy in there so you can practice all your stuff and not take years off your career. Learning is when you make the most mistakes. We have so many tools there on every level for them to succeed, and people to help them right from the start, from your footwork all the way to the character.
Trust me, this seems like a lot, but the interview is so much longer and covers such a wide variety of topics. It is worth the 10 minutes to read every word of it. You can check out the entire article at Grantland.