There are very few legends who deserve a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame, but if there was ever a man who deserves his own wing it would be none other than “The Great” Triple H. It is only once in a millennium that such an extraordinary man not only exists, but touches the WWE Universe in a way that no one else will ever be able to do again. He is The Game, and the greatest human being to ever wrestle. Over the last decade this man has captivated the wrestling world with his immense level of talent as well as heart.
He is a man who always did the right thing and climbed to the top of the WWE mountain through hard work, passion and a willingness to look out for the future of this industry. Today have returned to do the world a favor and make the case as to why he is not only the greatest of all time but why he deserves that reserved wing in that said hall of fame just to contain a man of his excellence and grandeur.
“It is an article that only comes, Once…In a Lifetime.” - James Earl Jones…(well not really)
Playing the Game - Press X to Start
Triple H would first set foot in a WWE ring on April 30th, 1995 debuting as the “Connecticut Blueblood” Hunter Hearst Helmsley. (Wait, “Hunter Hearst Helmsley”. I get it now, that is freaking awesome). Continuing, HHH would debut and immediately take the WWE by storm as he was seemingly one of the most over wrestlers from the start of his WWE career. For the first year of his career HHH would be quite humble as he participated in menial feuds before facing the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania 12. It was of the belief that his inevitable victory over the Warrior would launch Helmsley into main event status overnight. However that would not happen as HHH would do the unselfish thing and throw The Ultimate Warrior a bone and do the job for him in less that 2 minutes.
What a great guy HHH was that night. Rather than defeat The Warrior as he should have, he allowed the over the hill, past his prime former mega star of “the 80’s” one last chance at relevancy by putting him over to look like he’s still “got it” and that was the first time we truly saw how professional this great man really is. Another act of unselfishness would come soon after as despite him being billed to win the King of the Ring in 1996, he would give up that opportunity to put Steve Austin over, who’s momentum had been considerably declining in recent months. In hindsight, it’s safe to say HHH made “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. I know, the dirt sheets would have you believe he didn’t win that night because of the “Curtain Call Incident” but no one’s ever proven that, right?
Kliqs, Degenerates & The Corporation
HHH would spend the first part of his career the WWE as a member of the Kliq along with Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Sean Waltman. But much like The Rock as a part of the Nation of Domination, it was crystal clear that HHH was the best of the group. As great as those other guys were, HHH was just THAT…DAMN…superior. As the years went by Helmsley would become an innovator as he would take the concept of a faction and make it revolutionary. You know what I’m talkin about, I’m talking D-Generation X. Triple H and Shawn Michaels, along with Chyna and Rick Rude would become the founding members of the most revolutionary faction of the Attitude Era.
It would only become a matter of time before HHH would take over the group as HBK would go down with a back injury. I mean it’s a given that HHH would have taken over eventually b/c he shouldn’t be taking a back seat to the likes of Shawn Michaels but I guess this was the easy way out for HBK, unlike Hunter he actually has reservations when it comes to putting people over. HHH would take that group to new heights the likes of which HBK could never even dream of as he brought in new members (X-Pac, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) before making the Nation of Domination famous and in turn making The Rock famous by feuding with his overlooked faction in 1998 (So basically HHH made The Rock too).
HHH would follow up by facing the Rock in a ladder match at Summerslam in 1998 and surpassing anything his former partner HBK had ever done with a ladder that night as he stole the show and had the greatest ladder match in WWE history up to that point (that was before HHH would take on Kevin Nash at TLC 2011 of course, sorry for the spoiler but it had to be said.) By the time Wrestlemania 15 rolled around HHH shocked the fans as both he and Chyna turned on DX and became a part of Vince Mcmahon’s Corporation. To no surprise, much like DX and the Kliq he was the crown jewel of that faction as well when he finally won his first WWE championship on the August 23rd edition of Monday Night Raw by defeating Mankind.
The Perfect Husband & The Perfect Champion
HHH had become a main stay in the main event by fall of 1999 as he would win his 2nd WWE championship and have a brief feud with The Big Show, putting him over in the process as he dropped the championship to him at The Survivor Series that year and making Big Show the WWE champion. Soon after HHH would reveal to the world that on a cold night in Las Vegas, Nevada he made Stephanie Mcmahon the happiest woman in the world as the two would embark in the most beautiful drive through chapel weddings in wrestling history. For the next two years we would embark on quite possibly the greatest time in pro wrestling known as “The Mcmahon-Helmsley Era”.
HHH would go on to capture multiple championship reigns as well as become a PPV main event mainstay as he carried superstars like The Rock, Stone Cold, The Undertaker and Mick Foley in numerous PPV encounters including a victory and successful championship at Wrestlemania 2000 over The Rock, Foley and Big Show. Everything was looking up for HHH as his status as a future WWE Hall of Famer was already written in stone by this point. He would later align himself with Stone Cold Steve Austin as both men would go on to capture The WWE Tag Team Titles, as well as the Intercontinental and WWE titles. They would dominate the main event scene for a few months before HHH would go down with an injury as he tore his left quad on the May 21st edition of Raw in 2001.
The Comeback & The Evolution
HHH would return on January 7th, 2002 in Madison Square Garden to an ovation that would rival that of The Pope. He would go on to win The Royal Rumble as well as defeat Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania X8 later that year. As the years went by HHH would become the biggest star in not just Monday Night Raw, but of the entire WWE as he would carry the Raw brand on his back for the next 6 years. In his time he would go onto have classic bouts as he defended his World Heavyweight Championship for the majority of 2002-2005. HHH would continue to perfect his craft as he became the next showstopper, dethroning the great HBK at Armageddon 2002 and facing Superstars like Kane, Scott Steiner, Kevin Nash and Bill Goldberg. Successful title defenses over each and every one of them as well as another title win in the process.
But of course HHH is more than just a conqueror, he is an innovator and a visionary. And that would not be more evident than when he created and led yet another great faction known as Evolution. The group would feature wrestling legend Ric Flair, and soon to be world champions Randy Orton and Batista. The group would dominate Raw for nearly two years as both Orton and Batista would break away from the group. Luckily HHH was there to rescue the World Heavyweight Championship away from Orton in 2004 and dominate for the remainder of the year as champion before backing the winning horse in Dave Batista at Wrestlemania 21 for unselfish act #127. HHH would find more success with Evolution than he did DX as he created two future stars while at the same time keeping Ric Flair in the land of relevancy (#128).
Once A Degenerate, Always a Degenerate. Leaving a Legacy.
It was 2006, Shawn Michaels was noticeably falling into a rut. He was in the midst of a hot feud with Vince and Shane Mcmahon and simply could not hang with that great family. So what does HHH do? He puts aside his championship aspirations and rejuvenates HBK’s dwindling career as on June 12 DX would reform and they would become even better than ever b/c this time it was clear that HHH was the nucleus of the team. It was only until HHH got involved that defeating the Mcmahon’s became the norm and DX would continue to defeat them both with a high success rate. The team would eventually move onto feuding with Rated RKO (Edge & Randy Orton) putting them over nicely at Cyber Sunday before destroying the team at New Year’s Revolution in 2007.
However being the selfless man that he is, HHH would sacrifice himself for the good of the team (something HBK would never do) and become injured in the process as he would tear his quadriceps for the second time in his career. Without HHH of course it was evident that this new DX wouldn’t last much longer as HBK couldn’t carry the load as it fell apart in the months that followed. HHH would find himself out of action again for another 8 months before saving the WWE once again and returning at Summerslam in 2007 as he made short work of King Booker as he symbolically handed him his release papers that night in the form of a pedigree.
However, that would not be his grandest accomplishment upon his return. At No Mercy later that year HHH would once again have to carry the load as he pulled “Triple Duty” facing Umaga as well as Randy Orton twice in one night. Not many superstars would be able to wrestle 3 high profile matches in one night, but as you know HHH isn’t just another superstar. That night he was THE superstar as he made Orton look like a star once again as he dropped the championship to him in a brutal Last Man Standing Match. Unfortunately we would be put through hell for the next several months with Orton as champion before HHH would eventually defeat him at Backlash 2008 and became a 12 time World Champion.
It was at this point that The Game had reached legendary status.
Still Going Strong
As the years continued, HHH would be involved in some of the most must see television WWE has ever produced. He would carry the B show Smackdown for a short period from 2008-2009 as that brand’s champion before putting over the next big star in Jeff Hardy. He would later enter and win yet another Elimination Chamber match and his 13th world title in the process. He would feud with Randy Orton once again, taking their rivalry to legendary heights before reforming D-Generation X alongside then kitchen chef Shawn Michaels. The two would spend their final run together humbling the brash young arrogant tag team of Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase before taking DX to even greater heights with the addition of Hornswoggle as the DX mascot.
When 2010 rolled around it was evident that HHH had achieved more than anyone in the company’s history and it was time to take on an even greater role as a WWE executive. HHH was gone for months, and months before he returned on 2/21/11 and challenged The Undertaker for Wrestlemania 27. The Undertaker accepted and off to the races we went as both men would put on a classic in which while The Undertaker was the victor on paper, the fact that he had to be carried out of that arena tells me that HHH was the true winner of that match. To me, the streak ended on April 3rd, 2011 but of course HHH couldn’t do that to The Undertaker. The streak is the Undertaker’s only claim to fame & as we’ve established HHH would never take away from another just to make himself look good in the process.
Triple H would take an on camera role as WWE’s Chief Operating Officer in the latter half of 2011 bringing professionalism back to authority figures in pro wrestling. And once again HHH would come back to do good business for the company. CM Punk was walking around like he owned the place in the summer of 2011 and quite frankly HHH knew that he wasn’t ready. And that’s why at Night Of Champions 2011 in a non title match, HHH defeated CM Punk. Upon Kevin Nash’s return around that same time period HHH would become enthralled in one of the most emotional and heartbreaking storylines of all time. In 2011 Kevin Nash would break The Game’s heart and throw a 15+ year long friendship out the window. And at TLC 2011, HHH would carry Kevin Nash to a phenomenal ladder match and make Big Daddy Cool famous once again for the first time since the nWo days.
The End of an Era & Swan Song
Wrestlemania 28. The Rematch. Undertaker vs HHH. Hell In a Cell.
The Undertaker would go on to face HHH once again, this time in a Hell in a Cell match to put his imaginary streak on the line (we’ve established it ended last year). Luckily for The Undertaker despite his old age and hair loss HHH managed to carry the Deadman to yet another classic bout and one of the greatest matches in the history of Wrestlemania. While The Undertaker may have won (I blame Shawn Michaels’ bad officiating), it was clear that the Game stole the show.
Upon Brock Lesnar’s return to the WWE it was evident that HHH had to be called in once again to stop this renegade. However at Summerslam 2012, HHH would lose to Brock Lesnar as The Game did the right thing and put over this man despite his poor promo skills. Lesnar could never pull off “I love you pop” the way a man like HHH did. However HHH has nothing to be ashamed of, he could have retired the day he debuted and still made the case for why he is the greatest of all time, but NO he went on to have a legendary 17 year career within the WWE and has earned his own wing the WWE Hall of Fame.
Triple H has done more for this business than all the Rock’s, the Hogan’s, the Austin’s, Taker’s, HBK’s, Flair’s, you name them he’s done more than all of them combined. He truly is the miracle that WWE needed at a time when the company was on the brink of extinction. HHH was the catalyst of the Attitude Era and every other era that would follow it as he single-handedly put WCW out of business and drew the highest ratings in wrestling. He has starred in blockbuster films, and has put on the greatest matches, promos and moments than anyone else can ever dream of doing, and in marrying Stephanie he has ensured the security and the prosperity of the WWE going forward.
He truly is The King of Kings, we love you Hunter. Triple H for WWE Chairman!!!!
Thank You Paul Michael Levesque, you truly are the Greatest Game Ever Played.
Your biggest fan, Jason Collins.