It is no secret that WWE executive Hunter Hearst Helmsley the very hands-on mastermind behind “developmental” league NXT, but not many fans know about his ritual of deeply kissing each NXT star after exceptional matches.
Immediately after last Saturday’s two-out-of-three-falls war between Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole, for example, Helmsley tenderly embraced Gargano’s face backstage before engaging in a sensual French kiss that lasted nearly 14 minutes.
Gargano, the son of a Cleveland pizza chef, said Helmsley’s passionate displays of appreciation “take some getting used to, but he is very sincere and tender.”
Cole, the son of WWE commentator Michael Cole, adapted to the ritual more quickly, and is known to softly coo “baybay” while Helmsley kisses his neck.
The habit of French kissing as a sign of appreciation is one that Helmsley developed in the early 1990s, when he performed as the high-society Frenchman, Jean-Paul Lévesque.
Although some NXT stars reportedly find the practice awkward, they are nevertheless grateful that Helmsley never tells anyone to “suck it.”