5 examples that WWE is more conscious under Triple H
With WWE's change of office this summer, the company has seen many decisions that we never would have expected with Vince McMahon in charge. Under Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Nick Khan's regime, though, it really is a new world.
Several WWE Superstars who fans believe were unjustly released have gotten a second chance. Banned vocabulary has seemingly been thrown out the window. A contracted wrestler is even set to appear for another major promotion in the coming months.
It's a wild time to be a WWE fan, to say the least. Let's take a look at some examples that prove the promotion is more conscious of the world around them under Triple H.
WWE talent can say previously banned words
It's a common complaint from fans and detractors of the company alike. "Why can't they say 'wrestler'? Why is it a 'medical facility' and not a hospital?" For decades, Vince McMahon has been very clear about the way he wants his product to be represented. It needs to be unique from the wrestling world, so how does one go about that?
Well, obviously, stop calling it wrestling. It's "sports entertainment." That rule is so well known that most wrestling promotions have mocked WWE for their sports entertainment-based product. Right now, Chris Jericho has a group in All Elite Wrestling dedicated to that verbiage.
So it left the wrestling world stunned, to say the least, when we started to hear the term "wrestling" pop up more and more across the company's three brands. While they still use "medical facility," commentary also uses the term "hospital" which makes them sound less like aliens who don't have a complete grasp of the language.
Sure, it's a small change, but a welcome one. When talent is freed from these restraints, they seem more natural. It's done wonders for Michael Cole, who has gone from one of the fans' most despised announcers to one of the most beloved.
WWE is mentioning other promotions almost weekly
Evolve, Ring of Honor, New Japan, and Pro Wrestling Guerilla have all been mentioned over the past few months. WWE commentary has done a great job lately of highlighting the pasts of many of their superstars.
Considering most of the roster came from the indies or other major promotions, it's always seemed odd that WWE denied their history. Sure, once in a blue moon ROH will be mentioned. But at this point, we're hearing Michael Cole mention the partnerships and rivalries that superstars have in other companies.
Instead of claiming that "The Good Brothers had a great career in Japan," WWE is now mentioning The Bullet Club and the fact that Karl Anderson is the sitting IWGP Never OPENWEIGHT Champion.
It would be worth its own slot on the list if it wasn't for Mickie James showing up with the IMPACT Wrestling Knockouts Championship during the Royal Rumble. But even then, the commentary team seemed to brush past that detail, and if she wasn't wearing the title, we may not have heard that tidbit at all.
AEW Wrestlers to appear on WWE-produced content?
UpUpDownDown is Xavier Woods' video game-based YouTube channel where he and many other WWE Superstars are seen playing games and interacting with one another outside of kayfabe. It's a great way for fans to get in touch with the person behind each character, save for The Miz, who is seemingly the same person on and off camera. No one is surprised.
Seth Rollins, Kofi Kingston, The Usos, Shayna Baszler, Liv Morgan, The Miz and more are regulars on the channel, and several names listed above even made an appearance on G4 TV with Woods. For a year, Woods was a co-host on Attack of The Show, and we've seen a multitude of WWE Superstars show up as well.
An incredibly popular part of UpUpDownDown was the group known as DaParty, featuring Woods, Adam Cole, Tyler Breeze, and Cesaro. The four often played competitive games, virtual or field, and were incredibly entertaining with one another.
Unfortunately, Breeze was released in the summer of 2021. Adam Cole would let his contract expire soon after, signing with All Elite Wrestling. Cesaro would do the same in February of this year.
While Breeze returned as a member of UpUpDownDown earlier this year, Claudio Castagnoli and Cole are still under contract with AEW. Despite that, they've been teasing a reunion of sorts on their social media lately.
Has WWE been listening to its audience more recently?
In a rather shocking turn of events, Austin Theory cashed in on Monday Night RAW. Instead of opting for Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Theory set his sights on a wounded Seth Rollins. The United States Champion was demolished by a furious Bobby Lashley but still managed to retain against Mr. MITB.
It's no secret that fans dislike Austin Theory. The young star nearly shot to the top of the company thanks to a piqued interest from former Chairman Vince McMahon. Repeatedly given opportunities he didn't earn, Theory was able to capture the United States Championship, Money in the Bank, and even get a match at WrestleMania.
That, combined with a Speaking Out accusation that was brought up during his time in NXT, made fans far from excited to see Theory claim the WWE Championship, talented or not. Considering all that and how poorly he's been received, one has to wonder if he would've failed the cash-in had Vince still been in charge.
Prior to this past week, we had never been told that anyone could challenge for a championship that wasn't the top prize in the company. If Mr. McMahon was still running things, odds are Theory would be the United States Champion once again.
We can look at other instances that prove the company is listening to the fans. Johnny Gargano, Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, Dexter Lumis, and more have all returned since the change in power. It does seem like the promotion may be more aware of what its fans have been saying in recent months.
Shinsuke Nakamura set to work in NOAH for The Great Muta's farewell tour
What's probably the most telling sign of the times changing in the promotion is the fact that a signed superstar is wrestling for another major promotion. Shinsuke Nakamura is set to face The Great Muta at NOAH's The New Year 2023. NOAH revealed that this will also be streaming with English commentary in a reply to a fan on Twitter.
This is an incredible step forward for WWE. In years past, we've seen some appearances by their performers via video recording. In a very strange move back in 2012, Christian did appear at TNA's Slammiversary PPV so that Ric Flair could be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame with the rest of the Four Horsemen.
For a currently contracted wrestler to perform on another promotion's show, however...this is uncharted territory for the company. In an interview with Tokyo Sports, Nakamura revealed that he'd been pushing for this match since Vince McMahon's departure. According to the King of Strong Style, his persistent attitude finally broke through, getting a deal between the two companies in late October.
Triple H has brought back his plan for global expansion of the company, so one has to wonder if this deal is a small step in that direction. Will we see a working relationship between WWE and Pro Wrestling NOAH in the future?
Only time will tell. But one thing's for sure: with this new regime in charge, more changes could be just around the corner.
Will Hulk Hogan step into a WWE ring again? We asked a WWE Hall of Famer here