The recently retired Vince McMahon is undeniably the biggest pro wrestling promoter of all time, but he wasn’t the first to popularize the “one true sport” — though you wouldn’t know it if you asked his son-in-law. Paul Levesque, fka Triple H, recently sat down with new WWE signee Logan Paul on his “Impaulsive” show to talk about recent developments in WWE spurred by McMahon announcing his retirement, and the current head of WWE creative and EVP of Talent Relations provided a response that left something to be desired in the realm of factual accuracy.

“It’s going to take an entire team of people to jump in those shoes, because without [McMahon] there’s none of this, right?” Triple H said. “The vision to take it from this tiny little thing happening in bars to [a] global sensation like nothing else … Certain movies only resonate in certain countries. Certain sports only resonate in certain countries. Name one that goes everywhere. It’s WWE.”

Of course, far from being a “tiny little thing happening in bars,” professional wrestling had it’s fair share of major events before McMahon made it a national television product in the mid-1980s.  It was the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and Jim Crockett Promotions that brought Starrcade back in 1983 as the first-ever pro wrestling pay-per-view. It was Georgia Championship Wrestling that first aired on national television via TBS back in 1979. Even McMahon’s late father, Vince McMahon Sr., sold out Madison Square Garden on more than one occasion. As for reach, both the American Wrestling Association and Jim Crockett Promotions made major strides in expanding their territories outside their home base, and it was the NWA (along with Bruno Sammartino, the biggest star of McMahon Sr.’s original World Wide Wrestling Federation) who formed a strong bond overseas with Giant Baba’s All-Japan Wrestling. These are just a few of the many examples one could cite to invalidate the claim that wrestling was “tiny” before Vince McMahon came along.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit the “Impaulsive” show and give a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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