It was the line most notable to those that knew their history. The line that allowed talents and fans alike to believe that this wasn't what bleary-eyed cynics predicted it would be. The line that implied Triple H was going to do his business differently to his father-in-law.
It was simply the first falsehood.
In December 2016, 'The Game' gathered the wrestling media and a selection of sock-free superstars to announce the maiden UK Championship Tournament the following month, trotting out William Regal and Finn Bálor amongst others to trumpet the bridge built between WWE and the independent scene. It was in the post-script where the open-ended agreement was promised.
Hunter framed his successful scouting missions to PROGRESS, OTT, ICW and others as the reason a positive relationship would be key to the success of the project. Underneath the smiles and shaken hands though, the fix was already in, as Rev Pro, Defiant and select other organisations were frozen out. There were "no restrictions", other than the literal restrictions on talent wishing to work for WWE's half-baked idea and those particular promotions. Selling the dream of superstardom over the safety of consistent employment, the company had used cheap bait to catch some of the country's best workers in a loose net, and had no intention of throwing any of them back.
They were already foreshadowing an eventual scythe through the scene. Ask an older fan though, and they'd tell you how they'd actually done it three decades earlier.
We Need To Talk About Kevin (Nash).
Michael can be found in articles or on podcasts extolling the virtues of New Generation WWF, New Japan Pro Wrestling or the new WWE angle they definitely definitely won’t ruin this time.