Will he or won’t he? Is he or isn’t he? There have been near constant rumors Triple H is being groomed to take over WWE whenever his father-in-law Vince McMahon steps down as chairman of the WWE.
The trouble dates back to the troubled roll out of the WWE Network. The price of shares of WWE stock rose sharply between the announcement of the WWE Network and it’s February 2014 release. Triple H and the entire WWE roster promoted the network at every opportunity, even in the middle of commentary and in-ring speeches. Then the subscription numbers began to roll in, and they were lower than expected. Stocks started to decline almost immediately, but bottomed out in June following the official announcement that the WWE subscription numbers were too low for the company to break even.
With Vince McMahon losing money and investor faith, fans and journalists speculated that Triple H was being groomed to take over and clean up. Wrestlers are suffering as well, following two series of mass layoffs. Now reports suggest that bonuses paid to the wrestlers following Pay-Per-View events have been low since the WWE Network debuted.
It would make sense. Shane McMahon, son of Vince and brother-in-law of Triple H, left the company to make his own success. Triple H has certainly been the boss in front of the camera. The Authority, a stable he runs with wife Stephanie McMahon, are the main bad guys on the company’s weekly show Monday Night RAW. Aside from common complaints about boring and rehashed story lines — which are largely being laid at Vince McMahon’s feet — fans have been eager for “new blood” in the form of a WWE run outright by Triple H.
As recently as September, Triple H insisted that he isn’t being groomed to take over, though not because he’s incapable. In fact, Chris Jericho’s recent return was completely handled by Triple H. According to Jericho, Triple H is the perfect man to take over the company.
“I’ll be completely flatly honest, I think he’s the right guy to take over the company. I think he’s prepared for it. He’s learning a lot about how to be the corporate guy. There’s so much more than just calling finishes and signing guys. He’s got to run the whole corporate side of it. Go to all the meetings, do all that stuff. I think it’s in very good hands if Vince ever retires or passes away.”
But according to Triple H, Vince is a workaholic, and shows no signs of slowing down.
There is some promise. Recently, former WWE superstar Kurt Angle revealed that, as Jericho said, Triple H is essentially running the company now. If nothing else, that might put shareholders worries to rest. WWE stock prices have been rising since October 1, but they are still nowhere near pre WWE network levels.