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Wrestling / The Authority

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Meet The Corporation, version 3.0.

The Authority is a Power Stable in WWE led by WWE COO Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Their goal is to make life miserable for babyface wrestlers (especially Daniel Bryan, The Big Show, and to a lesser extent, Cody Rhodes and Goldust), supposedly because it's "best for business."

Formed the day after SummerSlam 2013 in which Triple H pedigreed Bryan after Bryan defeated John Cena to win the WWE Championship and allowing Orton to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase to become the WWE Champion. The apparent members of the group at that point included the three members of The Shield as their enforcers before they broke away. They also attempted to strongarm The Big Show to do their bidding as a result of Show being apparently broke, but Big Show ended up rebelling.

The Authority made life a living nightmare for WWE Superstars who rebelled against them by putting them in handicap matches and even "fired" Rhodes after Rhodes lost to Orton on the September 2, 2013 episode of RAW. That is until WrestleMania 32 where Triple H, who was then WWE World Heavyweight Champion, lost to Roman Reigns, and their reign of terror over WWE ended with Shane McMahon being given authority to run Raw.


Definitely not to be confused with the superhero team The Authority.

These tropes about The Authority are best for business:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Triple H and Stephanie lost power during Survivor Series 2014. Seth Rollins managed to get John Cena to reinstate them during the final Raw of 2014, making Team Cena's victory a Shoot the Shaggy Dog story.
  • Affably Evil: It's hard to hate Triple H (especially if people know how well he worked behind the scenes with WWE NXT).
  • Arch-Enemy: Daniel Bryan, Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, and other babyfaces. Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns have ascended to the top of the list in the summer of 2014. Most recently, Randy Orton has become this since he was The Authority's original "face of the WWE."
  • Bad Boss: Mostly Triple H, but Stephanie McMahon has her moments, too. Even Authority subordinates Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero aren't safe from the power couple's wrath; for losing control of Raw one week, Maddox got fed to Randy Orton and Vickie was forced into a match with Divas Champ AJ Lee, who hadn't forgotten how Vickie had her ousted as Raw GM.
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  • The Bad Guy Wins: The group became noticeble for managing to achieve complete and ultimate triumph time and time again, and complete and utter devastation for the babyfaces who dared to oppose them. It went to the point where the angle abruptly ended without fanfare, making them also Karma Houdinis. They also basically succeeded in their original goal to put Daniel Bryan away, even if real life was to blame (in-storyline they were responsible for Bryan's Career-Ending Injury).
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: The group being what it is, it's featured several of them. It almost seems to be a requirement, as guys you wouldn't normally see wearing suits (New Age Outlaws and Kane, for example) have donned them during their time with The Authority.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Very early in the Authority angle, Stephanie reamed Orton over his apparent loss of aggression and told him in no uncertain terms that they wanted their jerk back. (More specifically, Stephanie wanted the same guy that was willing to punt Vince McMahon himself; Stephanie even brought up what should have been a traumatizing event for her, as if she was proud of Randy for being a sadist.) Ever since then, though, he's become very difficult and at times defiant. She also forgot that YoungViper!Orton didn't play well with others. Eventually, what they got was the veteran Viper's aggressiveness with the younger Orton's Hair-Trigger Temper and unwillingness to take orders. Predictably, as he was also being called on to play second fiddle to Seth Rollins and bail him out of various self-made predicaments, this didn't end well.
    • After cracks began showing in the Shield, Kane was tasked with getting the trio back on the same page. Whilst Kane wound up doing what he was supposed to, he did it by inadvertently giving the Shield a common foe — himself, and eventually, the Authority itself.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Insulting Triple H would get you a 3 on 1 handicap match versus The Shield.
    • Second-guessing his actions probably isn't smart either. After his Feb. 5, 2014 interview with Michael Cole, where Cole was skeptical about the "internal investigations" Triple H performs (which never really resolve the matter at hand, at least not fairly), Triple H had some "choice" words for Cole.
    • Daniel Bryan demanded that he wanted a WrestleMania 30 match against Triple H on the March 3, 2014 episode of RAW. Guess what happens next.
    • Anything that Stephanie considers a slap in the face to her family's legacy, such as the "Occupy RAW" movement orchestrated by Daniel Bryan, will get you on her bad side big time. Example? The week after, she and Hunter arranged a plot to have Bryan handcuffed by fake cops so that Hunter could administer an absolute beat-down to Bryan, including bashing his head with a steel chair against a ring post.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Triple H and Stephanie.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The 9/16/13 episode of WWE Raw saw a group of midcard faces rescue Daniel Bryan from being brutally beat down by Randy Orton and The Shield.
  • Blatant Lies: Triple H claimed the reason he kept Daniel Bryan out of the Rumble match was that he didn't want to "risk Bryan's health" after his war with Bray Wyatt. Bryan immediately called him out on his bullcrap, claiming someone who was looking out for his health and welfare wouldn't have allowed him to be constantly placed in gauntlet matches and 3-on-1 handicap matches against The Shield and The Wyatt Family.
    • In their return they claim "It's a new authority with no agendas!" Their following course of action was to put former Team Cena members Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan and Ryback in matches with overwhelming odds, which they all lost, and later that night fired all three of them altogether.
    • Their Catchphrase about doing "what's best for business" is obviously a load of crap- the Authority is all about HHH and Steph doing what's best for them (if not just outright punting dogs For the Evulz).
  • Catchphrase: "Best for business." It's the mantra of the group.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • A close examination of the group's roster is Corporate DX-meets-Evolution. note  This was taken Up to Eleven when Evolution actually re-formed during the course of the angle.
    • There's a lot of references to Randy's less-than-stellar history with the McMahon family. Evolution's messy breakup is also still somewhat of a sore point, even if many of the members have (for the most part) moved on from it. Randy is the most noticeable, considering that his ousting from Evolution functions as the defining moment of his career, and for a while, it was thought that he'd never get over it.
    • In general, this was the thematic solvent that prevented the group from bonding; Triple H wants to accomplish an objective, (initially, prevent Bryan from holding the Championship, then gradually wanting to control the whole WWE product) but is so incapable of inspiring genuine loyalty, he depends entirely on his allies having short memories and his ability to deflect blame. To his discredit, this was rarely effective in the long-run. Orton recalls Trips's previous betrayals, Batista leaves after Hunter refuses to honor Batista's promised 1-on-1 title shot, Big Show and Kane are known for abandoning allies due to diminishing returns or perceived sleights respectively, etc.
      • This is ultimately subverted in the case of the Shield, whom the Authority increasingly depended on, despite not being fully incorporated into the Authority, nor the Authority having any tangible degree of control or leverage against them.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
  • The Corrupters: They seem to have a gift for sowing discord among family members or very close friends. They've already gotten Seth Rollins and Nikki Bella to betray The Shield and Brie respectively, and Stephanie tried in a roundabout way to break up Brie's marriage with Daniel Bryan.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The start was Daniel Bryan's loss of the championship just after he won it by pinning John Cena. Okay, so Randy Orton would just be the standard chasing the Money In The Bank cash but he had "the authority" of Triple H and Stephanie on his side, making Daniel Bryan's chances slim. Then they added Kane and the Shield and they pretty much turned hopeless. CM Punk's to the rescue? Oh, wait, here come The New Age Outlaws!
    • Deus ex Machina: Karma seemed to balance its books at Survivor Series 2014, when Sting appeared from out of nowhere and dealt the final blow to the Authority. Well until Seth Rollins forced Cena to bring them back...
  • The Dragon: Randy Orton
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Despite Randy Orton being the Authority's handpicked champion, they've shown very little patience for some of his antics and were especially upset when he relapsed into his old habit of beating the crap out of John Cena's father.
    • Stephanie and Triple H seem to float somewhere between this and White-and-Grey Morality sporadically. One show, they might allow The Shield to beat someone like Daniel Bryan to a pulp over a petty disagreement, and the next, they'll actually force Kane (basically their personal pawn) to apologize to CM Punk (who had made a habit of verbally victimizing Triple H and Stephanie for years). Their actions also have logical basis behind them at times, but then it's usually subverted by the fact that despite making sense, they were also being hypocritical or underhanded in some way.
    • When Damien Sandow (currently saddled with a comedy impersonation heel gimmick) came out in Hartford (Connecticut, which is where the McMahons and WWE itself are based) and did an impression of Vince McMahon, Stephanie was seething and put Sandow in a match with The Great Khali for his trouble.
  • Evil Overlord: Triple H
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • Triple H and Randy Orton, after Triple H pedigreed Bryan which allowed Orton to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase at the 2013 SummerSlam.
    • Kane turned heel by aligning himself with the group, revealing a new suit-and-tie appearance in the process.
    • Batista turned heel after the WWE Universe refused to accept him as their new hero, and it emerged he was brought in by the Authority for that exact purpose.
    • The New Age Outlaws turned heel after betraying CM Punk following his increasingly critical words on Triple H's management style.
    • Seth Rollins turned heel and realigned himself with The Authority by betraying his Shield partners.
    • Big Show turned heel at Survivor Series 2014 by taking John Cena out of the match.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • The entire group's biggest weakness is their lack of internal order. The Authority has so much internal conflict (NaO and Kane vs. The Shield, Batista vs. Orton, Triple H and Orton, Kane/Orton's discontent at having to do Rollins's dirty work) that it's likely to be the cause of their downfall.
    • Really, for Triple H, it's his own assumption that all the above parties are controllable pawns like (to some degree) they were the last time he worked with each of them. Batista and Orton are a full decade Older and Wiser — or, at the very least, their own egos and agendas have grown nearly to the size of Trips's own. Kane's simply not a follower and never has been, and The Shield are natural rogues.
      • Hunter also seems to disregard the fact that he does not have the best history with his Evolution stablemates, stemming from their time during the original Evolution's era. There was the whole schtick with Batista (who he ended up fighting in a Hell in a Cell match with by the end of their feud), but his relationship with Randy has been strained for years due to the latter's ousting from the original Evolution, which also functioned as his Start of Darkness. For that matter, Randy and Dave don't have the fondest memories of each other either, though they only ever really clashed due to conflict of interests — otherwise, they don't bother, seeing as they hate others (primarily Hunter and John Cena) far more.
    • Their belief they can get away with murder is also a common flaw, as several times they've fallen victim to Surprisingly Realistic Outcome when it turns out they're not nearly as immune to legal action as they thought they were.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • Vince McMahon, who's obviously the owner of WWE and Triple H's boss, and Triple H turned heel in the first place to get on Vince's good side. However, oddly he hasn't been on TV much since the group was formed, and isn't actually a member, hence why he's this and not the usual direct Big Bad. He's finally stepped down to Big Bad trying to deal with Roman Reigns after he attacked Triple H and putting him out of action for a while.
    • You could also make a point for the Money in the Bank briefcase itself. It created the Authority at Summerslam, was used to bring them back by Rollins' demand, and was then used to get champions under their thumb twice. If it were ever an Artifact of Doom, it almost certainly was here.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • The Shield had enough of being treated as The Authority's puppets. When they found out, thanks to Kane, that Triple H actually approved of Kane's methods, (even though he had denied it previously), they were not happy. They proceeded to save Daniel Bryan from being assaulted by Triple H, Randy Orton, Batista, and Kane on the April 7, 2014 episode of Monday Night RAW.
    • After Stephanie brought up her late husband, Vickie Guerrero snapped and turned on The Authority.
  • Humiliation Conga:
    • What WrestleMania XXX wound up being for the Authority - First, Triple H lost to Daniel Bryan in the opening match, meaning Bryan would be the third man in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match; Kane and the New Age Outlaws were destroyed by the Shield; and then during the Triple Threat match, Triple H and Stephanie's interference ended up backfiring as Steph wound up collateral damage following a Suicide Dive and Triple H got hit with his trademark sledgehammer, allowing Bryan to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
    • Eight months later at Survivor Series 2014, they went through another one after Dolph Ziggler, the sole remaining member of Team Cena, manages to eliminate Kane, Luke Harper and Seth Rollins with some last-minute aid from Sting despite numerous attempts by Triple H to keep Ziggler from winning. As the stipulation for the match was that if the Authority lost, they would be stripped of all power, the ensuing Villainous Breakdown from Hunter and Stephanie was quite cathartic.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Claiming their actions are "Best for business" when they seem to consist entirely of screwing over Superstars who the fans want to see succeed. Especially when this crossed into real life, as their behavior legitimately got people demanding refunds for the crappy endings of three PPVs in a row, and the first attempt at an Author's Saving Throw was bringing in Batista, an actual grandfather by this point, to push to the title rather than the obvious option.
    • Stephanie McMahon told Kane that members of WWE Management are not to lay their hands on WWE Superstars. Um, yeah, how exactly did Daniel Bryan lose the WWE Title to Randy Orton at SummerSlam?
    • Triple H tried to guilt trip John Cena for the fact if his team lost, his teammates would be fired...despite the fact they're more than willing to fire people at the drop of the hat.
    • Stripping Daniel Bryan of the WWE World Heavyweight title, with the justification he can't defend it because of injury; only to subsequently let Brock Lesnar go several months without defending the title. As Bryan noted on commentary after the 2015 Royal Rumble, Brock had only defended the title once more than Bryan had done during his own title reign.
  • Invincible Villain: It's Triple H and the McMahons, what else would you expect? Compared to prior periods where they ran over the roster, eight months of The Authority having its way does not seem too bad in hindsight.
    • With their return a short period after Survivor Series 2014, it remains to be seen how much should be added to that number of months.
    • It ended up being the better part of 2½ years, until thankfully after WrestleMania 32, their reign of terror ended with not only Triple H dropping the WWE World Heavyweight Championship back to Roman Reigns, but Shane McMahon being given the power to run Raw.
  • Karma Houdini: One of the primary reasons why most fans give them X-Pac Heat is because they're such a long-running version of this, often via Diabolus ex Machina.
  • Kick the Dog: A specialty of just about everyone who's a member of the stable.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: After John Cena was forced to reinstate them, they forced him to watch them fire his Survivor Series teammates.
  • Knight Templar: Their purpose is to ensure that what happens in WWE is "best for business," even if it includes screwing fan favorites like Daniel Bryan over and punishing superstars who have issues with such decisions.
  • Mooks:
    • If need be, Triple H and Stephanie will hide behind the heel members of the WWE roster.
    • Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble are their crony road agents (just like Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson were for Vince in 2000).
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • Firing Big Show and allowing him to hit rock bottom with nothing left to lose, meaning he could invade your programming all he wants without any restrictions.
    • On Raw, the night after WrestleMania 30, Kane managed to slip in the nugget that Triple H was behind the attack on The Shield some weeks prior. This caused The Shield to rebel against The Authority, and scupper their plans to screw Daniel Bryan out of his newly won WWE World Heavyweight championship.
    • Firing Cody Rhodes would become this as time went on - by using The Shield as their attack dogs and setting them on the Rhodes family to try and stop them getting their jobs back, the subsequent victories over The Shield led to Cody and Goldust being both rehired and dethroning The Shield's Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins as tag team champions. Subsequently, cracks began appearing in The Shield and Kane's attempt to get them back on the same page wound up uniting the Shield against him, and Triple H's attempt to break their independence and put them back under the Authority's thumb (See above) would lead to the Shield turning against The Authority as a whole.
    • If Seth Rollins hadn't interfered in John Cena's rematch with Brock Lesnar at Night of Champions, Cena wouldn't have shifted focus from regaining the WWE World Heavyweight title to directly dealing with The Authority.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • What Triple H often asks The Shield to do to anyone who opposes his edicts.
    • What Hunter did to Daniel Bryan on the 3/17/14 RAW, after he and Steph arranged a plot to have Bryan handcuffed and helpless. Triple H would proceed to slam him on the announce table (which could break your wrists if handcuffed), shoved his head into a water tank, dragged him bodily around ringside and bashing Bryan into the ring apron and barricade, and then topped it off with a steel chair shot to Bryan's head while it was sandwiched against a steel post followed by a Pedigree...possibly the most brutal non-PG beating on Raw or WWE entirely since the "PG Era" began.
    • After The Shield rebelled against The Authority, they were at the end of one of these beatdowns.
  • Orcus on His Throne: You can sense there are times where Triple H wants to lose the tie and suit and handle "problems" like Daniel Bryan on his own, but for the most part since Stephanie handed down her edict of management keeping their hands off superstars, he settles for sicking The Shield on them. Then he just got fed up and reformed Evolution.
  • Power Stable
    • The Champion: Seth Rollins, Randy Orton (formerly)
    • The Muscle: Big Show, The Shield (formerly), New Age Outlaws
    • The Manager: Triple H, Stephanie
  • Put on a Bus: The New Age Outlaws after their defeat at WrestleMania disappeared altogether from the group.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: They reformed Evolution as their agents, presumably to combat against The Shield.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Not in the traditional sense, mind you, but Hunter tried his best to acclimate both Randy Orton and the returning Batista, but eventually grew tired of Batista objecting to his management style and Orton pretty much always needing the Authority's help in some way or another to maintain his reign as WWE World Champion. After the two came to verbal blows on the 3/17/14 Raw, Hunter pretty much said "screw it all" and stated that whoever won between him and Bryan would be in the WWE World Title match at WM 30.
  • Revolving Door Band: Perhaps inevitable with how long the stable's been around (a year and a half as of February 2015), but there have been well over a dozen members that have worked under the Authority umbrella at one point or another. Hell, there's been enough time for Big Show to unwillingly work for the Authority, get fired and return, turn heel and willingly join the stable, and for the Shield to defect from the stable only for Seth Rollins to rejoin a few months later.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: What do you expect when the leaders are one of the owners of the company and the COO of it? One notable example is Triple H's repeated tendency to start championship matches when the champion is unable to stand - the general rule is that a referee can't start a match if one competitor can't compete; in fact, when Triple H has ordered that a referee call the bell to start such a match, he's actually been told they can't as the champion can't stand, only to be threatened with unemployment if they don't. This has backfired a few times when Surprisingly Realistic Outcome happens.
  • Self-Serving Memory: After being removed from power at Survivor Series 2014, Triple H and Stephanie blamed Sting for their team's loss, conveniently leaving out the part where Triple H started assaulting referees and Dolph Ziggler when it became clear Rollins wasn't going to be able to get the job done, which was ultimately the reason Sting got involved in the first place.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor:
    • Not unlike his role to Randy Orton in Evolution, Triple H acts the same here for Orton in a more official capacity, expecting the best out of him both in and out of the ring as the anointed "Face of the WWE," a prime example being the proverbial "gauntlet" Hunter set up for Randy where he faces each of his five opponents in the Elimination Chamber match in singles matches.
    • After a very long period of time away from the screen, Vince McMahon seems to have morphed into this for Trips and Stephanie, showing up on TV out of the blue and adding a stipulation for the Survivor Series match that would have The Authority lose their positions if their team lost the match. It's not even clear to The Authority themselves, apparently, whether Vince supports them and is trying to be the above trope, is trying to subvert them and wants his power back (after all, Trips relieving him of his duties is the pivotal moment that created the Authority in the first place), or is doing the entire thing for kicks and giggles.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • After The Big Show's (Kayfabe) bankruptcy, The Authority bought his house and proceeded to use this to blackmail him into being their unwilling lackey, before firing him after he snapped. Big Show promptly filed a lawsuit against the WWE for breach of contract and slander, which led to the Board of Directors ordering The Authority give Big Show whatever he wants in exchange for the lawsuit being dropped.
    • Getting "revenge" on Nikki for her sister Brie's slap? Petty, but completely within Stephanie's power. Slapping Brie when she was a paying customer at ringside? That's assault and battery, and in addition to spending a night in prison, Stephanie had to give in to Brie's demands to get the charges dropped.
    • Turns out detectives brought in for security don't like being treated like hired guns. Stephanie tried to get Roman Reigns arrested for lightly shoving Vince and predictably gets told off by the detectives for treating them as a personal police force. When she tries to bad talk them, they naturally threaten to arrest her if she doesn't quit. When Vince steps in and threatens them, finally putting his hands on one of them after multiple warnings, he ends up lead away in handcuffs for assaulting an officer. You'd think Vince learned his lesson after trying to send in officers to arrest The Undertaker back in 2000, but then again this is pro wrestling.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • It's becoming increasingly clear that none of the McMahons' underlings in the Authority really like each other much and are only working together to get favors out of Hunter and Stephanie's stroke.
    • To say nothing of Brock Lesnar - the Authority don't like Lesnar or his advocate Paul Heyman and would much prefer the champion of the company was in their back pocket, but Brock was clearly a necessary evil to get the WWE World Heavyweight title away from John Cena. Pretty much every interaction with them is Heyman making thinly veiled threats against the Authority if they try and get the title on to one of their hand picked favorites at Brock's expense. This happened at WrestleMania 31 with Seth Rollins cashing in during the title match (to make it a Triple Threat) and pinning Roman Reigns at the last minute, escaping with the title in the slimiest manner seen to date. And by Money in the Bank cash-in standards, that's saying something. Brock was predictably not happy, and after two months to stew (in storyline because he got suspended for beating the crap out of Michael Cole and a cameraman) he came back in June - still not happy.
  • The Inspector Is Coming: Played with. Triple H has claimed a number of times that "internal investigations" have been conducted to help resolve accusations directed at WWE Management and those tied to the Authority. However, 9 time out of 10, the resolution of said "investigation" often benefits Triple H and the Authority. The other 1 time, he usually just throws the Shield (and possibly the Wyatts) out to divert the attention of those Superstars making the accusations.
  • Wild Card: The Wyatt Family appears to be this for the Authority. There are times where they benefit Triple H and company, like apparently indoctrinating Kane enough that he submitted his monstrous services to the Authority upon his return, as well as keeping Daniel Bryan out of their hair for a number of months. Other times, their efforts backfire, such as the January, 28 2014 Raw, where The Wyatts' interference in the six-man main event lead to a DQ victory for Bryan, John Cena and Sheamus over The Shield, the winning trio gaining entrance into the WWE World Title Elimination Chamber match while Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns were seething.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: What Triple H at the very least wants people to think he's doing. "There's always a Plan B" has become one of his catchphrases recently...