Hannifan talks how his relationship with Triple H differed from his relationship with Vince McMahon.
For nine years of his television broadcast career, Tom Hannifan, formerly known as ‘Tom Phillips’, was with WWE. He worked on the company’s NXT, NXT UK, Raw, SmackDown and 205 Live shows throughout his time there.
Present day, Hannifan is commentating for IMPACT Wrestling alongside Matt Rehwoldt. He looked back on his time with WWE as he guest appeared on ‘Counted Out With Mike & Tyler’.
Hannifan talked about the difference in his professional relationship with Vince McMahon versus his relationship with Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque. While doing so, he told the story of when he and Michael Cole had to inform members of the broadcast team about their release from the company in April 2020. Hannifan said Levesque checked him on to see how he was doing.
I’ll never forget, I remember doing an NXT. I think it was April 15th, 2020 exactly and it was unfortunately a day where, A, we’re in the pandemic, we’re doing an NXT in front of no fans and a lot of people were released that day and I was working as a member of the announce team/staff with Michael Cole so unfortunately, I had to do some of those phone calls for within our staff so it was an extremely emotional day, for everybody. Not just myself included and I remember just, you know, Triple H coming up, he’s like, ‘Hey.’ He was just checking on everybody because he knew it’s like, between the pandemic and these budget cuts obviously that were happening out of necessity because of the pandemic, he came over and asked and he’s like, ‘How’s everybody doing?’ And I just couldn’t lie. I was emotional, I was damn near in tears and I was like, ‘I’m not okay’ and there’s often the alpha male wrestling mentality and that’s every promotion that you work with and he was good enough to just pull me aside, talk to me for five minutes and just give me that space to breathe. So, I think I definitely had a… I’d say a more extensive relationship with Triple H [than Vince McMahon] just because of the opportunities I was given on NXT were really special and they were just different in that, you know, it’s not that they weren’t special opportunities on Raw and SmackDown. I’m getting to call freaking WrestleManias, Royal Rumbles, SummerSlams, Money in the Banks, you name it. But with Triple H and NXT, those were grounds for me to reinvent myself because I wasn’t doing a good job and I needed to learn, I needed to try new things and he gave me this stage to do that, to do something really great with Corey Graves. I will never forget that as long as I live so, it’s just apples to oranges. One flavor versus another flavor of ice cream so to speak.
Hannifan’s one-year anniversary with IMPACT is coming up this January. He hopes to be with the company for years to come. He opted not to disclose his contractual status but said he would not be where he is today without IMPACT.
That is the hope going forward [that I’ll be with IMPACT for years to come]. I really don’t like to put anything out there publicly in terms of my contract or anything. That’s between me and IMPACT Wrestling but that’s the hope right now is just making sure that I’m part of the company for years to come. That was something that was expressed when I signed on last year. They gave me an opportunity when I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to even be back in professional wrestling and dipping my toe back in the water and hearing that there was need and want from IMPACT Wrestling and then getting to learn what everybody there was all about. It’s extremely important to me and you know, like I said, there’s just certain things that I just keep personal and other things that are public but my journey, personally and professionally over the last two years, I’m not where I am today without IMPACT Wrestling so I feel very, very strongly about my relationship with them. So yeah, that’s the hope. Hopefully for a number of years to come, I’m with IMPACT.
Hannifan will be on the call for tonight’s IMPACT on AXS and POST Wrestling is going to have written coverage of the show.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Counted Out With Mike & Tyler with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.