Ariel Helwani says Paul Levesque, also known as Triple H, has become a "good guy Dana White" since he took over WWE creative.
On July 22, former WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon retired. Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan were subsequently named as the co-CEOs, while Levesque assumed all creative responsibilities on July 25. He was later elevated to Chief Content Officer. In this new era, he was held multiple scrums and press conferences. In doing so, he has given more access to the media.
Speaking with Bill Simmons on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Helwani discussed how Levesque is now the face of the company. He noted that every promotion in combat sports, needs a face, and Levesque fills that role now, whereas Vince McMahon previously didn't do a lot of media.
“Every promotion - it doesn’t matter what combat sport: boxing, MMA, wrestling - you need a face. You need a guy on the dais to say like, ‘this is why you need to watch on Saturday and give me your $65’. And all the media loves talking to these guys. Dana White, Don King, Bob Arum, Eddie Hearn, etc. Vince was once that guy, but in the last 20 years, the guy did no media. He never showed his face. Now all of a sudden, if you notice, they’ve transformed Triple H into that guy. Like, when they had the presser, he’s up there, he’s talking about, he’s doing interviews, he’s doing scrums. They’ve now, all of a sudden, gotten a face, and it’s a recognizable face, and it’s a respected face and it’s not just a fake figurehead. It’s a guy that you believe is actually running the show because we know he’s running the show. He’s the Head of Creative," Helwani said.
He continued by noting that Levesque has been turned into a "good guy Dana White" as a promoter.
"They’ve turned him into, like, a good guy Dana White. He’s showing up there, he’s likable, you want to listen to him, you want to talk to him if you’re a media guy, he’s saying good things, he’s rootable, if that’s a word. I mean, he almost died. He said it himself last year. I mean, how could you not root for someone like that. He seems like a family guy. What they’re doing now is really smart with him. I love it," Helwani said.
Earlier in the show, Helwani and Simmons discussed the changes to WWE's management. Helwani emphasized how things have changed, and there's a lot of optimism surrounding the company now. Simmons noted that Levesque is borrowing from the UFC, and Helwani expressed his support for that.
Helwani: “I can’t believe how quickly things have turned. Like for me, I remember us talking the last time we spoke. They had just announced Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar as the main event of SummerSlam and I remember saying it was boring, it was tired, we saw it a million times, we saw it at WrestleMania. It wasn’t a good match. I’m tired of this. It was lazy booking. It was the same old, same old. Triple H comes in and the vibe, the atmosphere, the originality, the unpredictability of it all… It has been amazing. I’ve gone to two events since the change. One was SummerSlam. It was too fresh. The other one was Clash at the Castle in Wales, and you get to talk to some of the guys and women as well, and the vibe, the mood surrounding the product, surrounding the company, surrounding the business has dramatically changed. There’s so much optimism. There’s so much positivity. You know what it feels like? It feels like when there’s a coaching change midseason and one of the boys gets promoted from being a bench coach to the interim job if you will - even though he’s not interim, you get what I’m saying - and then the team goes on a 10-game winning streak because they want to win for him. And it seems like everyone wants to win for Triple H and for Stephanie. They’re all beloved. Like, no one says a negative thing about them, and I think the little things that Nick has done - obviously, I’ll always say, we used to work together - but they’re bringing these fun little things… the press conferences. I like this stuff. It’s making it feel real. The staredowns. I think there’s more of that to come as well.”
Simmons: “He’s stealing some UFC stuff that I think is smart.”
Helwani: “I love it. Why not?"
Simmons: “Yeah. Why not?”
Helwani: “By the way, UFC has stolen a bunch from them. Steal from UFC as well. No problem. And Nick is obviously a longtime boxing guy as well.”
Triple H recently discussed Dwight Howard potentially coming to WWE, and you can check out his comments here. He also described what he thinks boxing and MMA can learn from WWE. More information is available here.