What You Should Know From The Triple H/Stone Cold Podcast: Roman Reigns, NXT, And Super Bowl Play Calling

All things considered, Triple H had it pretty easy on last night’s live podcast with Stone Cold Steve Austin on the WWE Network.  All he had to do was produce less of an unmitigated brushfire than Vince McMahon did on his edition, and it would be a relative success.  Thankfully, as of today, we have no infamous brass-ring buzzwords to angrily post on forums.  Triple H was entertaining and very frank about the business of wrestling.  Once again, as the Senior Flag Controversy And Podcast Correspondent of With Spandex, here’s a recap of some of last night’s big talking points.

  • On the difficulty of booking in the Reality Era:  “It’s tough.  I think that’s the hardest thing you have to do… There is that different component of the internet, and people being smarter to the internal workings of the business.”  Triple H notes that Vince gets the final say in pretty much everything.  “The beauty of what makes WWE work is that there’s one man calling the shots, right?  And that’s Vince.  Unlike places where there have been booking committees or large numbers of guys setting things up, when you have one guy calling the shots… Trust me, that Royal Rumble was debated and pored over and gone through, and there were a lot of suggestions.  The beauty of it is, you’ve got one guy who takes all those suggestions, boils it all up, and that’s the direction you’re going.”
  • On reactions to Roman Reigns:  “There are towns now at TV [tapings] and they’re giving Roman a hard time and they’re booing him out of the building because they believe that’s the push he’s getting, but… just this past week, the live events we were at, there wasn’t a person booing him in the building.”
    Austin compares it to him winning King of the Ring when Triple H was originally scheduled to do so.  And in retrospect, Triple H says he probably wouldn’t have been “ready” had he won anyway.  “I would have failed.  I would have dropped the ball in ’96, bad.”
  • On John Cena’s appeal:  “There was such a long period of time where half the people were booing John and half the people were cheering for him, but he was packing arenas.  He was selling more merchandise, he was more popular than ever… We go across every single age group every single race and religion, you cross so many barriers that it’s hard to say ‘This is the one guy, everybody’s gonna like this guy’… Worst thing you can do right now is make somebody a good guy.”
  • On Daniel Bryan’s road to Wrestlemania XXX: “During the 8-10 month build to Wrestlemania for Daniel Bryan… we changed it as things changed along the way.  But there were periods of time when I can remember Daniel even saying ‘I can’t succeed tonight, guys.  I know everybody’s getting so fed up with it, but this is the wrong time for me to succeed here.  I think you guys should kill me again.'”
  • On his “exit strategy” had he not married Stephanie McMahon:  “I think that if I never met her, I’d probably end up in this same place.  Not exactly the same place, but I’d still be here, I’d still be behind the scenes, I’d still be doing this work.”
  • On former independent workers at the Performance Center: “Some indy guys come in and they’re a sponge, some indy guys come in and they just [say] ‘No.  This is what I do, and I’m not gonna do what you do.'”
  • On NXT as a developmental system: “I don’t know anybody that’s in there that doesn’t want to be up here on Raw or Smackdown, so yeah, to me they’re all there to learn and they’re all there to develop.  At the same point in time though, I think we’ve created a bit of an alternative brand, and that’s what I like about it.  My goal now is to put NXT on the road.”
  • On the Undertaker, as a gimmick: “[The character] was Vince’s concept and creation, right?  He takes it to Mark [Calaway], and you could’ve given that Undertaker character to a hundred different guys, and they would’ve all died a miserable death in that character.  But Mark did what probably nobody else on the planet could do.  He took a concept and an idea, put it to himself, and became that.  And he just took it to something that probably nobody would’ve imagined it being.”
  • On Chyna: “Does she deserve to go in the Hall of Fame?  Absolutely… There’s no beef on this side with anything, and I mean that 100 percent.  From a career standpoint, should she be in the Hall of Fame?  Absolutely.”  However, Triple H goes on to very loosely imply that he doesn’t want a scenario where children are looking up New Hall of Famer Chyna online and end up finding her explicit material.  It’s pretty entertaining to watch Triple H figure out on the fly how to say “She did porn” in the most diplomatic possible way.  “I’m not criticizing anybody, I’m not criticizing lifestyle choices… It’s not a morality thing or anything else.  It’s just the fact of what it is.  It’s a difficult choice.”
  • On his all-time dream opponent, Buddy Rogers: “He was the first guy that transcended… He wasn’t just a shooter, he had this look, the way he carried himself… He could manipulate the crowd.  He had that larger-than-life thing going.”
  • On CM Punk:  “I’ve never had a beef with him.  I never have… The decisions that were made were Vince’s, and they were made to help [Punk]… He’s hard to get to know, he doesn’t talk, he doesn’t communicate well.”
  • On Paul Heyman:  “There’s a fine line between crazy and genius, and he rides that line like a razor blade.”
  • On Pro Wrestling versus Sports Entertainment:  “I love wrestling.  It’s what we do at the end of the day, we get in the ring and wrestle.  I love it, and I can scientifically break it down, and it’s the greatest thing in the world sometimes for me to watch that.  Also, though, I understand that’s limiting… And the sports entertainer part of it is because, to the general world, outside of people who say ‘I love pro wrestling,’ you gotta explain to them what it is, because they don’t know.”
  • On the last play of the Super Bowl:  “I think the Seahawks overthought it.”
  • On pre-scripted promos:  “I think there are some guys that want to be scripted fully, and I think there are some guys that like to work on bullet pointS, and there are some guys that we script stuff out for and they go and change it, put in their own words and get a feel for it.  It’s a trust level, it’s live TV.  It’s a different era, and we have to be careful with things that are said with sponsors and everybody else.”

Like I said, reasonable reactions all the way around here.  Of course, I’d like to hear CM Punk’s reaction, but he’s got a fight to train for and they probably don’t have the WWE Network at the Roufusport gym.