Triple H missed the mark at the WWE Backlash press event

Triple H was given an opportunity to put a good foot forward with a strong answer to a tough question, but instead he went the same old route and is getting blowback.
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WWE is on a roll. The content on television is getting more positive reviews. Fans are responding to big stars on the roster. And the company just over delivered on what is typically a B-show with WWE Backlash. Yet, there’s a talking point coming out of the event that was an easy unforced error. Triple H’s response to the question about Drew Gulak was a mistake that he could have easily not made, and yet another example of leadership in professional wrestling needing public relations training. 

Triple H was asked if Gulak was released due to the allegations from Ronda Rousey. Rousey recently called out Gulak by name as an individual who touched her sweatpants inappropriately backstage during her tenure with the organization. Gulak was immediately taken off television and eventually released this past weekend. When asked if those allegations were part of the reason why he was released, Triple H instead decided to attack the media outlets that reported the news, causing some swift backlash (no pun firmly intended) across the social media space. 

This isn’t the first time in which Triple H has been involved in an issue like this, and it probably won’t be the last. The WWE is involved in serious allegations, as Janel Grant named the company, Vince McMahon, and John Laurinaitis in a lawsuit earlier this year. This is part of the reason why WWE is on a serious PR tour, using all its promotional power in hopes to pull attention away from those headlines. Yet, leadership has botched the opportunity to answer these questions in a way that wouldn’t draw negative responses. 

For example, imagine at this moment that Triple H gave a response that assured both the roster, staff, fans, and media members that WWE takes these and similar allegations seriously. State that they looked into Gulak’s actions and determined that he must be held accountable, thus he was released. Then reaffirm that WWE is implementing a zero tolerance policy for that type of behavior. The narrative around his response would be completely different. Instead, he took a shot at the media, gave a snarky response, and didn’t truly address the question at hand. He missed a wide open layup on a fast break. 

A big part of promotion is media relations. While professional wrestling has a scripted portion, an organization as public facing needs to know how to better handle these situations. The “us versus them” outlook played a part in getting to this point with the Vince McMahon allegations, and it’s going to take a complete 180 in behavior to change. Triple H missed the mark with this response on Saturday.