– Triple H recently spoke with USA Today’s For The Win blog to promote his upcoming induction into the International Sports Hall of Fame. Below are highlights:
FTW: What do you think caused the WWE roster to transform over time from a cast of larger-than-life guys to today’s more diverse group of athletes?
Triple H: It’s changed with the world. You can see the differences in the performers in the WWE from the ’70s and what those bodies looked like, to the ’80s and the ’90s with the Hogans and that era, to the Attitude Era, my era… and the bodies [becoming] sleeker, faster, more versatile…. As crossfit has become more mainstream, as parkour has become a part of the vernacular, you see these guys that are able to do amazing things that 20 years ago we would’ve not even been able to think about doing.
FTW: Has it been a difficult transition for you to go from a full-time wrestler to a WWE executive? Do you still wish you were wrestling each week?
Triple H: Yeah, every now and then I’ll hip toss somebody in the board room by accident. I’ll just walk in there and clobber somebody. Old habits die hard. It’s tough — when I first made the transition, Vince [McMahon] was on me about doing it a lot. He felt like I was getting to a point where I could really contribute. I had been doing it behind the scenes a lot for years and he just wanted me to contribute more in that role. It eventually got to a point where I had an injury, spent some time in the office, and it just sort of morphed into me doing it full time and becoming an executive. When you’re used to traveling 250 days a year and then next thing you know you’re in an office every day wearing a suit and tie having meetings. 90 percent of my day is spent doing either creative or things like developing talent or recruiting talent, so that is the stuff that’s very intriguing and stimulating to me and I love doing. I could do without maybe some of the finance meetings.
FTW: What has been your biggest accomplishment outside of the ring?
Triple H: We didn’t even have a department called ‘talent development’ when I came in. It was a concept that I pitched to Vince, that I said ‘we have talent relations and all this stuff that we do with talent, but we’re not doing anything to develop the future.’ Or very little, I should say. And we started a division called talent development that I just grabbed, and Vince thankfully gave me the freedom and the trust and confidence and ability to be able to create this.
I started a process of creating something from nothing, and I just looked at it from the standpoint of ‘if I was 20 years old, and I was trying to make it in the WWE knowing everything I know now, what would I want?’ What would I need? What would make it the easiest for me to get where I needed to be? And then I set about creating that system and designing it. We opened up a little less than 30,000-foot Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, partnered with Full Sail college to produce a TV show with us, and NXT was born. We started a recruiting process where we, rather than sitting and waiting for talent to call us, we were going and finding them. We were starting to find out that people were really interested, but they had no idea. Like how do you go about being a WWE superstar? So we created a system and a format for them to be able to do that.