Now that Triple H is getting headlines for his character-breaking moment, it’s worth taking a look at who Triple H is and how he became the wrestler that had the power to both make a child cry, and take away that child’s tears with an impulsive, heartfelt and magnanimous act.
For the uninitiated, Triple H is a modern-day pro wrestling legend, a 13-time world champion that made his WrestleMania debut in 1996. He spends most of his time in a suit, playing a heel of an authority figure, and despite his largely controversial character he’s a one of the most likely candidates to take over as head of the WWE whenever current board chairman Vince McMahon decides to step down.
But there’s so much more to Triple H than what the latest headlines have shown. Here are just 5 things every new or longtime wrestling fan should know about Triple H.
5. He is married to Stephanie McMahon.
The daughter of WWE chairman Vince McMahon, Stephanie is the woman that Triple H famously left his former girlfriend and fellow wrestler Chyna for. While originally just part of the WWE story line the real life romance that blossomed between the two had the added benefit of greatly increasing his longevity on the WWE card. Triple H first “married” stephanie in a storyline exchanging of the vows in 1999, that was before they fell in love off-camera and got married in 2003. As the son-in-law, Triple H has significant influence over his character and over WWE storylines in general. Should he ever fall out of favor with the billion-dollar princess, however, his good fortune could change.
4. He is loathed by some wrestlers in the industry
When you have the power to hire and fire people, you are going to make some enemies. Triple H, in his influential role as McMahon’s son-in-law, has been criticized over the years for his support of some wrestlers and rejection of others. CM Punk was not happy with the task of facing Triple H at Wrestlemania last year. Although the dramatic confrontation drew in the audience Punk actually wanted to perform in the main event. Even outside the ring, Cm Punk’s competitive spirit was stifled by a plan that seemed more poised to keep him down, forcing him into an off card match just to make Triple H look good. It should also come as no surprise that CM Punk doesn’t actually like Triple H on a personal level either. Punk has been one of his most outspoken critics of Triple H’s booking ideas, among other things. Similarly, Daniel Bryan, whom Triple H has consistently called a “B-plus” player has also spoken out about his dislike of the controversial character. Of course the WWE being what it is, wasted no time in making an opportunity out of a controversy and as such Triple turned his backstage persona into a television character, now playing the role of “The Authority.” If you’ve seen the show, you’ll know that anyone who crosses is almost instantly fired.
3. He used to date Chyna.
Triple H dated 1990s WWF phenom Chyna, the woman who revolutionized professional wrestling for women. Chyna started out as Triple H’s body guard. With her muscular arms, rock-hard jaw and thick thighs, not a whole lot separated Chyna from the boys. Triple H, a former bodybuilder, saw something in her, and gave her a high profile role as the valet for D-Generation X, the group consisting of Triple H and Shawn Michaels. Over time, Chyna got leaner, tanner, bigger breasts (implants anyone?), a face lift (among other things) and actually quite a bit better on the microphone. From then on she began playing a more traditionally female role in pro wrestling. The two were a match made in heaven (or a plastic surgeon’s office, depending on your perspective), until Chyna allegedly found letters from Stephanie McMahon in Triple H’s duffle bag. Since then Chyna is long gone, banished from the WWE while Triple and Stephanie run the show as an in and out of character couple.
2. He took part in arguably one of the worst wrestling angles in history.
In 2002, Triple H, made an on air appearance wearing in a mask, and performed a scripted a sex act with a mannequin in front of the camera. Whether the mask actually helped to hide his identity from the audience the one unavoidable aspect of this supposed sex scene was the fact the mannequin was meant to depict a dead body in a casket, on live TV. Whomever may have concocted this “unique” angle for character development, it certainly proved the limits were endless when you’re dating and soon to marry the boss’s daughter.
As utterly random as the story might seem in the grande scheme of the life of a pro wrestler and their on stage persona the scene was actually part of a much larger story. At the time, Triple H was in a heated feud with Kane, the fire-torched half-brother of The Undertaker. And Kane had a deep, dark secret. Triple H, being the then ‘moral authority’ he was, exposed it and revealed to the world that Kane was behind the wheel when he wrecked a car, resulting in the death a fictional girl named Katie Vick. To rub Kane’s nose in this, Triple H visited the mortuary where he found Vick’s casket and proceeded to have his way with her.
Undoubtably one of the most tasteless story lines the WWF ever went down, it’s no surprise this angle didn’t last very long. What might however be a surprise some is that it wasn’t actually that popular among the fans either. (Ok, perhaps that’s no surprise at all.)
1. He delivered an epic promotional speech that would change the course of professional wrestling.
Triple H had long been Shawn Michaels’ sidekick, until 1998, when Michaels hurt his back and had to take time away from wrestling. Michaels lost the title to Stone Cold Steve Austin and went back to his home in Texas to clean up his life. Triple H stayed on focusing on the development of his partnership with Shawn Michaels later to be known as D-Generation X. The team was a huge part of the attitude era. Wrestling might have lost a lot of its moxie had the DX partnership died when Michaels left. Instead, DX got better and the night after Raw in 1998, with Chyna at his side, Triple H delivered this epic promotional speech:
“You dropped the ball, but don’t worry HBK, because Triple H picked it up. Now the ball is in my court. I’ll take care of the worries. I’ll take care of the problems. I’ll make the decisions. This is the genesis of D-Generation X. Tonight, live in front of the world, I unveil an army to take care of business that should have been taken care of right from the start. And when you start an army, when you set out to do what no one in this business can do, the first thing you do is look to your blood. You look to your buddies, you look to your friends, you look, to the Kliq.”
Enter X-Pac, coming back to the WWF after a run in WCW and the NWO.
Triple H delivered the promo perfectly and brought back the cool factor the WWF had been missing while Michaels was out, but now fans were about to witness an improved version of Degeneration X.
Triple H, has always been an intense and polarizing figure, to some he may have had a too much of power handed to him too quickly, but his ability to consistently improve upon his image and even respond to the fans in the very audience he performs for has proved over time that he is indeed intelligent, dynamic and effective. To many fans, this writer included, he is and continues to be one of the greatest professional wrestling characters of all time.