Though Vince McMahon hasn’t technically taken back the book from his son-in-law, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, just yet, his return to the Board of Directors has already shaken things up to a degree within the WWE Universe, with fans worried about the future, wrestlers worried that the company will sell to the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, and soon-to-be free agents wondering if they can view the company as a viable employer moving forward.
Case and point, FTR, the team known to the WWE Universe as The Revival, who have since gone on to win the AEW Tag Team Championships, the Ring of Honor Tag Team Championships, the IWGP Tag Team Championships, and the Lucha Libre AAA Tag Team Championships over their impressive run outside of The Fed. Speaking on the topic during his FTR Podcast, Dax Harwood noted that Mr. McMahon simply didn’t like the duo during their shared time in WWE, and his return may cloud a potential return to the company that seemed surprisingly plausible when Levesque was solely leading the creative shot calling.
“He just didn’t like us,” Harwood said. “He wasn’t enamored with us. I think it had a lot to do with this accent that I have, coming from North Carolina because he’s from North Carolina. His real father grew up in North Carolina. He went to East Carolina, and he hated that whole culture. I think that maybe the accent or maybe just us in general reminded him of that. Maybe he just didn’t like us period. That’s okay too. Maybe he didn’t our work. That’s okay, too. But he didn’t like us for some reason, and he made sure to tell us that that day with our brand-new belts in our hands, on a high. We’ve the first-ever WWE Triple Crown Tag Team Champions, WWE Raw, WWE SmackDown, WWE NXT, no one else had ever done that at the time, except for us. We were so proud of that moment, and he decided to take a shit on us in that moment. That’s the kind of things, as a human being, I will never forget how you try to make people feel. The fans were with us, so obviously we didn’t hurt your business. We went out there, put our life on the line, for you, for your company, and coming back to the back as much endorphins running through our body, and you decide to say that to us. That’s one of the things I can’t ever forget. We talk about what I’m gonna do in the future, and now that I think about that, and with him back at the helm, ah, makes this a little questionable for me.”
Did McMahon’s return just cost WWE their second big AEW defection following the return of Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania 38? Only time will tell but based on Harwood’s recollection of his conversation with McMahon after becoming Triple Crown Champions, it sure sounds like FTR aren’t looking to do business with the long-time booker any time soon.
Vince McMahon didn’t “get” FTR in WWE.
Normally, when a booker compares a tag team to Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, half of the Four Horsemen who are among the most storied duos in the industry’s history, it’s meant as a complement. When Mr. McMahon floated the association to Harwood and Cash Wheeler after defeating New Day to become the first-ever WWE Triple Crown Champions, he meant it as anything but.
“We got to the back after we won the belts, and we were all proud of the match, all four of us. We were super happy about the match. We come to the back, and Vince is there waiting for us, off his headset. I’m hoping that, since he’s off his headset, he’s gonna tell us, ‘That was incredible. That was a great job. That was storytelling.’ He comes to us, and he goes to New Day, and he says, ‘Hey, great job, guys. Thank you, I appreciate it.’ They walk off, he leaves Cash and me there. That’s when he says, ‘Everyone tells me that you guys are the next great tag team. Everyone tells me you’re the next Arn and Tully. Well, that’s your problem. You are the next Arn and Tully. You’re just great wrestlers, that’s all.’ He walks off. I’m like, ‘This son of a b*tch thinks that he just hurt my feelings by saying that. But he didn’t. He made my dreams come true by telling me that we’re the next Arn and Tully, that we’re just a tag team, we’re just great wrestlers.'”
Did Mr. McMahon realize his back-handed complement would be viewed as anything but by the FTR duo? It’s impossible to know, but with the Billionaire owner back in the fray, it doesn’t seem like the family-first members of FTR will be looking to jump into bed with “Wrestling’s First Family” any time soon, especially with plenty of other options very much on the table.