Even if you aren’t a big fan of everything they do, all of their events and weekly television shows, the WWE has certainly improved under Triple H’s stewardship in many ways.

Some mistakenly thought though that HHH wouldn’t be plagued by his own issues or be hampered by hurdles that are part and parcel of working within the WWE environment. Yet he hasn’t been the revolutionary force in sports entertainment that they thought he would be, either, at least not yet in taking over Raw and Smackdown.

How has HHH performed during the last six or so months? Here is my report card based on various categories:

Grade of C

Like it or not, TV ratings are a gauge of show’s success and overall popularity. How has HHH done compared to Vince McMahon this year?

Average Raw Weekly Viewership Under McMahon (Jan – July): 1,735,000

Average Raw Weekly Viewership Under HHH (July to December): 1,777,260

That’s an increase of just 2.3%.

Average Smackdown Weekly Viewership Under McMahon (Jan to July): 2,125,275

Average Smackdown Weekly Viewership Under HHH (July to December): 2,072,400

That’s a decrease of just 2.4%.

Despite all of the changes HHH has made to both Raw and Smackdown, he hasn’t gained much ground but he hasn’t lost much either. HHH’s TV record is pretty mediocre. He hasn’t improved much on McMahon’s efforts. There is very little advancement despite the big changes creatively by management and the talent pool. By bringing back many superstars who were known for their work in NXT over the years, HHH appears to put personal friendships above business and that could be hindering his success — as well as Raw and Smackdown’s.

Grade of C

Since McMahon’s departure HHH has went on a rehiring spree bringing back many of the superstars McMahon let go during his reign. The array of WWE talent is assuredly different but those faces haven’t improved ratings in any major way and many of those callbacks have been quite a disappointment. Having given these superstars a second chance it is clear why McMahon gave them their walking papers in the first place.

Mediocre to Weak Returns

Candice LeRae
Hit Row
Dexter Lumis
Braun Strowman
Karrion Kross and Scarlett
Dakota Kai

Lumis and perhaps Strowman are the only stars among this group who might rise in popularity. Lumis’ feud with The Miz dragged on far too long and he has lost a lot of heat and Strowman’s booking is just all over the place.

Fair to Strong Returns

The Good Brothers
Bray Wyatt
Johnny Gargano

Gargano has been met with a mixed response though. He could easily slip down to mediocre to weak soon enough.

Faction. Faction. Everywhere a faction. The WWE in 2022 mirrors the WWE back in the 1990s, which focused on such stables as The Nation Of Domination, Los Boricuas, The Disciples of Apocalypse, etc. In order to make better use of all the superstars they had under contract the WWE, flooded their TV with gang warfare. In 2022, WWE is no different with The OC, Judgment Day, The Bloodline, Imperium, The Brawling Brutes, Damage Control, etc.

That approach has led to messy, predictable television and the WWE kicking the manager or valet license rule to the curb and permitting anyone in a stable or tag team to be at ringside when they shouldn’t be. It begs the question… if you are a WWE superstar, why not bring a handful of your friends to ringside every match to at bare minimum distract your opponent because according to the WWE rules anyone is allowed to be at ringside these days. It has been constant interference and one big brawl after another big brawl weekly on WWE TV. Those brawls aren’t limited to factions either. Even individuals like Bobby Lashley and Austin Theory and a multitude of others are constantly battling outside the ring or backstage when they aren’t even involved in a match.

The big positive with the talent has been the eradication of most of the moronic, childish gimmicks and outdated angles. HHH dumped the 24/7 Championship. He got rid of the Ezekiel/Kevin Owens angle. He has made superstars like Austin Theory and others more serious and hardcore and less campy.

Grade of B

Although the quality of the matches is not really a priority for WWE-only fans, since HHH has been holding the creative reigns we have had better matches overall. Stars like Ricochet, Sami Zayn, Sheamus, Gunther, Asuka, Bayley, Rhea Ripley, etc, have been given the time to have better matches than they ever have before in WWE. That isn’t to say there aren’t many weak to mediocre bouts, but overall the WWE is putting on better matches across the board.

Grade of C

The most curious thing about HHH’s reign so far is that although he has improved the overall product in many ways and made a lot of changes when it comes to the type of content and the main roster talent pool but those changes have not had an effect on WWE viewership or popularity. On average the weekly shows are still racking up the same numbers as they did under McMahon. So, while things are somewhat stable across the board for the WWE they are not making any in-roads or any progress in bringing in new fans to the product or bringing lapsed fans back. Part of the problem could be the stars HHH is highlighting or that he has taken far too much under his direct stewardship. It also could be that because of the performance and popularity of mainstream wrestling as a whole, the WWE is a victim of declining popularity, especially mainstream popularity as every other promotion is nowadays.

To improve next semester’s score Triple H needs to dial into what the Smackdown and Raw audience wants, which might be very different than the NXT audience. It is clear that the NXT approach will not work because most Raw and Smackdown fans haven’t given that brand the time of day from the very start.

He needs to expand WWE’s weak and limited roster with people who have been proven to get over with fans. People don’t want Raw or Smackdown to become another NXT training ground flooded with inexperienced, dull or unexceptional talent. They also don’t want the same faces, the same matches, the same feuds every single week. Get rid of those who won’t and haven’t gotten over and acquire name brand-name, proven talent, those who have made some kind of splash elsewhere.

Most of all, HHH needs to come up with a mainstream, breakout star like Stone Cold, Hulk Hogan, The Rock or a concept like the nWo. That’s talent that crosses into popular culture and becomes a mainstream phenomenon. Look back at how and why the Rock ’n’ Wrestle and Attitude eras appealed to the mainstream. Tap into the public consciousness, pop culture and what excites the everyday person. What modern day heroes are they stanning for and what modern day villains are they ripping apart? It has been decades now since pro wrestling has had that kind of revival and if the deflated industry doesn’t rise again to become a mainstream phenomenon it will continue to tread water or worse yet, sink.

The good news for HHH is that AEW, WWE’s stiffest competition, hasn’t capitalized on WWE’s stagnation. In fact, it has done the complete opposite. AEW’s inability to maintain any kind of momentum in 2022 because of sloppy, erratic, confused booking, unprofessional internal strife, and inability to use those brand name stars to their full potential except for maybe CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley, has severely damaged the brand and its popularity. As 2022 comes to an end, there is no sign that AEW will pull out of its nose-dive as a promotion or a brand. Each and every week, the promotion continues to make the same mistakes or even double down on them.

For HHH, that is the best Christmas present AEW and Tony Khan could ever give him.