It appears that Triple H and Tony Khan might have more in common than first appears, at least in some ways.
Since the launch of AEW much has been made of the level of trust Tony Khan places in talent to work on their own character via lots of creative freedom. This is something that also became a staple of the ‘Black and Gold era’ of NXT which was run by Triple H.
It has been revealed by multiple stars that these ideals have also carried forward into Triple H’s booking of the main roster.
One star who has experience working with both men is Swerve Strickland. The former NXT North American Champion enjoyed a fine run with WWE’s developmental brand only to be released along with the rest of Hit Row shortly after arriving on the main roster. Once a free agent, Strickland found his way to AEW.
Speaking during an appearance on The Wrestling Perspective Podcast with Lars Frederiksen and Dennis Farrell, Strickland discussed having creative freedom in WWE and creating something that was uniquely his.
“No, there’s still a lot of creative freedom, because nobody could talk like us, nobody could write our material, so ghngfthey kind of gave us like guidelines. When we kind of put our own little spin on it. However, the time would fit even doing small short promos with the New Day. We just came up with that right then and there, or doing something with Sami Zayn. We just came up with it with those guys there.
What I figured out is that I was trying to create something that nobody else can tell you how to do it. Because it’s your’s and that’s where if you’re confident with it, people believe in it. That’s where a lot of my confidence came from. I know this will work, I believe in it because I am the one that can pull this off. I’m the only one who knows and sees three steps ahead how this can form and flow into what the culmination will be.
Strickland added that it was this confidence that led Triple H to believe in him, noting that Tony Khan is exactly the same way.
“So you can’t take this and put it with them, you can take this and put it with her, and I have to do it. I’m confident, I know I can do it, and being able to stand up to Triple H and say, “I know I can do this, I need you to believe in me.” You can’t help but be confident in yourself, and I think he and I knew he felt that, and therefore he put it out there for me. He just was like, “alright go, because you believe in it, I believe in it.”
Now, Tony Khan is the same way with all of 2022, like even me taking pliers to Billy Gunn’s hands. I believe in this, and then he believed in me. He believed this would work, even bringing Kevin Gates and Rick Ross, all these things they do work. Because I believed in it and I have to be confident with it.”
Update On Triple H Being Disappointed With Returning WWE Stars
Since Triple H assumed creative control of the main roster one of the main features of his stewardship has been the re-signing of a number of former stars he worked with in NXT. This has included Hit Row, minus Strickland. Back in December, it was reported that The Game was “underwhelmed” by some of the performances from talents he had brought back.
However, a fresh report has claimed that this isn’t the case, and many of the signings were about adding depth to the Raw and SmackDown rosters.
H/t to Fightful