Do you feel Ronda Rousey signing a full time WWE contract can open the doors to other athletes outside to pursue a career in the WWE?
Triple H: “I do, you know the performance center and our recruiting efforts have sort of changed that perception outside of our world anyway. There’s been a lot of, whether it be NFL players or soccer globally or anything else that have had a desire maybe to try and want to do this but never had that pathway in front of them. The pathway is now there, I say it all the time: What I’m doing internationally with all these other markets is I’m trying to create pathways. I’m bringing a recruiting team there trying to create an environment where if somebody says “Man, I love that, and I’d like to try and do that,” there’s a way for them to do that. Ronda took that path that wasn’t there before. We created that path, she came to us; she approached us probably about the same time we approached her, but the pathway was there and I think now she will open a lot of eyeballs of athletes around the world to say “Well, why can’t I?”
Stephanie McMahon: “We recruit from the Olympics; we recruit from rugby, football overseas; we recruit from everywhere. I do think Rhonda has brought heightened awareness. She is arguably one of the world’s greatest athletes. She is also just a tremendous star. She just exudes this energy and charisma that you can really connect to because you have to have the total package. Athleticism alone is not enough. And I think Rhonda speaks to the caliber of athleticism that is in WWE but it also speaks to the women’s evolution, and I can’t wait to see how her presence will give the women’s evolution even more weight.”
For anyone who hasn’t experienced WrestleMania before, what can you tell them?
Triple H: “I can tell you, this is especially as an executive, there’s a lot of times we meet… potential sponsors, business partners, or anything that aren’t necessarily… aware of the product — they’re aware of the reach right, but they’ve never been before. I see that a lot. I’ve seen that a lot in the last five or six years. I don’t know of anyone that comes to… WrestleMania… and doesn’t leave and go “Oh my God that was the greatest spectacle I’ve ever seen.” We’re different than anything else… When you talk about the Olympics or something there’s a series of events, but they do this unbelievable opening ceremony and then some Olympic events take place, or a massive opening then a soccer game happens or whatever. With us, the spectacle and the grandeur takes place the entire event… It’s this kind of attack on all your senses, so to speak. When you’re there, the excitement, the energy it’s infectious. It’s hard not to become involved. And for me, I always feel like it’s one of those things that you can go to where people can come to from around the world, people you’ve never met in your life, and you can sit in that crowd and if you say “Oh what’s this guy’s deal what’s his storyline?” The person behind you will go “Let me tell you what he does, his thing is this.” And all of a sudden everybody comes together and it’s like a big giant 70,000 person family reunion of people you’ve never met before, just all having a great time together. And that, to me, is what’s awesome about it. Without sounding like a goofy cliché, it brings people together and that’s really cool.”