Triple H

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Triple H
Triple H at WM30.jpg
Triple H at WrestleMania XXX in 2014.
Birth name Paul Michael Levesque[1]
Born (1969-07-27) July 27, 1969 (age 45)[2]
Nashua, New Hampshire, USA
Resides Greenwich, Connecticut, USA
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Triple H
Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Jean-Paul Lévesque
Terra Ryzing[3]
Terror Risin'
Billed height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)[4]
Billed weight 255 lb (116 kg)[4]
Billed from Boston, Massachusetts
(as Terror Risin'/Terra Ryzing)
Sainte-Mere-Eglise, France
(as Jean-Paul Lévesque)
Greenwich, Connecticut
(as Hunter Hearst Helmsley/Triple H)[4]
Trained by Killer Kowalski[4]
Debut March 24, 1992

Paul Michael Levesque[1] (born July 27, 1969),[5] better known by his ring name Triple H (an abbreviation of his character's full name, Hunter Hearst Helmsley), is an American business executive, professional wrestler, actor, and former bodybuilder. He is the Executive Vice President (Talent/Live Events/Creative) of the New York Stock Exchange-traded professional wrestling promotion WWE and is married into the McMahon family, which maintains majority ownership of WWE.[6] In addition to his corporate role, Levesque makes regular appearances on WWE television as an authority figure and wrestler.

Levesque began his professional wrestling career in the International Wrestling Federation under the ring name Terra Ryzing in 1992. He joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1994, where he was soon repackaged as Jean-Paul Lévesque, a French Canadian aristocrat.[5] In 1995, Levesque moved to the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE), where he became Hunter Hearst Helmsley and, later, Triple H.[7] In 1997, Triple H co-founded the influential D-Generation X stable, which became a major element of the WWF's "Attitude Era". After winning his first WWF Championship and beginning a storyline marriage with Stephanie McMahon in 1999, Triple H became a regular main event wrestler. Over the next decade, he would win a total of 13 world heavyweight championships and lead stables such as the McMahon-Helmsley Regime and Evolution.[4][4][8] Helmsley's real life marriage to Stephanie McMahon in 2003 gave him considerable influence on the creative direction of the company.[9]

From 2010 onwards, Triple H began wrestling on a part-time basis. In mid-2013, he began a storyline in which he and Stephanie McMahon were portrayed as unctuous, judgmental WWE co-owners dubbed "The Authority." Together as a power couple, they make what are often portrayed as self-serving decrees while claiming only to be concerned for "what's best for business," all the while romanticizing each other in the process with public displays of affection.

In the course of his WWE career, Triple H has held a total of 23 championships, including the WWF/WWE Championship on eight occasions and the World Heavyweight Championship on five occasions.[10][11] He was the winner of both the 1997 King of the Ring tournament and the 2002 Royal Rumble, and has wrestled in the main event of WrestleMania, WWE's flagship pay-per-view, on six occasions (WrestleManias 2000, X-8, XX, 21, 22, and the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania). Outside of professional wrestling, he has made numerous guest appearances in film and on television, including the lead role in the WWE Studios production The Chaperone.

Early life

Levesque was born in Nashua, New Hampshire.[12] He watched wrestling for the first time when he was five, a match involved Chief Jay Strongbow. Levesque began to take up bodybuilding at the age of 14, because he wanted to look like professional wrestlers. Following his graduating from high school in 1987, Levesque entered several bodybuilding competitions.[13] He was crowned Teenage Mr. New Hampshire in 1988.[14]

Professional wrestling career

Early career (1992-1994)

Levesque was trained to wrestle by Killer Kowalski at his school in Malden, Massachusetts.[4] His class mates included fellow future WWF wrestlers Chyna and Perry Saturn. Levesque made his professional debut on March 24, 1992 in Kowalski's promotion, the International Wrestling Federation, performing under the ring name "Terra Ryzing". In July 1992, Levesque defeated Mad Dog Richard to win the IWF Heavyweight Championship.[3]

Levesque wrestled for various promotions on the East Coast independent circuit until 1994. During this period, he was managed by John Rodeo.[15]

World Championship Wrestling (1994–1995)

In early 1994, Levesque signed a one-year contract with World Championship Wrestling (WCW).[14][16] In his first televised match, Levesque debuted as a villain named Terror Risin', defeating Keith Cole. His ring name was soon modified to Terra Ryzing, which he used until mid-1994, when he was renamed Jean-Paul Lévesque.[7][17] This gimmick referred to his surname's French origins and he was asked to speak with a French accent, as he could not speak French.[18] During this time, he began using his finishing maneuver, the Pedigree.

Levesque had a brief feud with Alex Wright that ended at Starrcade 1994[7] with Wright pinning him.[19] Between late 1994 and early 1995, Levesque briefly teamed with Lord Steven Regal, whose upper class British persona was similar to Levesque's character.[17] The team was short-lived, however, as Levesque left for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in January 1995 after WCW turned down his request to be promoted as a singles competitor.

World Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE

The Connecticut Blueblood (1995–1997)

Helmsley wore a tailcoat suit and carried a traditional spray bottle to highlight his effete snobbishness.

In a modified version of his gimmick in WCW, Levesque started his WWF career as the "Connecticut Blueblood" Hunter Hearst Helmsley.[18] Levesque appeared in taped vignettes, in which he talked about how to use proper etiquette, up until his wrestling debut on the April 30, 1995 episode of WWF Wrestling Challenge.[20]

Although he was highly promoted in the first few months after his debut, Levesque's career stalled during 1996, starting off with a feud with Duke "The Dumpster" Droese following a loss during the Free for All at 1996 Royal Rumble.[21][22] Up until that event, his angle included appearing on television each week with a different female valet (which included Playboy Playmates Shae Marks and Tylyn John).[7] Sable was his valet at WrestleMania XII, and after his loss to Ultimate Warrior,[23] as part of the storyline, he took his aggressions out on her. The debuting Marc Mero—her real-life husband—came to her rescue, starting a feud between the two wrestlers.[24]

On June 1, 1996, Helmsley appeared on an episode of WWF Superstars in a match against Marty Garner.[25] When Levesque attempted to perform the Pedigree, Garner mistook the maneuver for a double underhook suplex and tried to jump up with the move, causing him to land squarely on top of his head and suffer neck damage.[25] Garner sued the WWF, eventually settling out of court and later discussed the incident in an appearance on The Montel Williams Show.

The MSG Incident.

Levesque was known backstage as one of the members of The Kliq, a group of wrestlers including Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman and Scott Hall, who were known for influencing Vince McMahon and the WWF creative team.[21] It has been claimed that he was scheduled to win the 1996 King of the Ring tournament, but the victory was instead awarded to Stone Cold Steve Austin after the Madison Square Garden Incident, in which the Kliq broke character after a match to say goodbye to the departing Nash and Hall.[26] Despite the punishment, Helmsley did have several successes following the MSG Incident. Mr. Perfect became his manager and he won the WWF Intercontinental Championship for the first time on October 21, 1996, defeating Marc Mero.[24][26] When Mr. Perfect left the WWF, his departure was explained to be a result of Helmsley turning his back on his manager as soon as he won the Intercontinental Championship. Levesque held the belt for nearly four months before dropping it to Rocky Maivia on the February 13, 1997 special edition of Monday Night Raw, called Thursday Raw Thursday.[27] For a very brief time, Helmsley was accompanied by Mr. Hughes, who was his storyline bodyguard.[28] After losing the Intercontinental title, he feuded with Goldust, defeating him at WrestleMania 13.[29] During their feud, Chyna debuted as his new bodyguard.[30]

D-Generation X (1997–1999)

Main article: D-Generation X

Helmsley was being highlighted again in 1997, winning the 1997 King of the Ring tournament by defeating Mankind in the finals.[26][31] Later that year, Shawn Michaels, Helmsley, Chyna and Rick Rude formed D-Generation X (DX). This stable became known for pushing the envelope, as Michaels and Helmsley made risqué promos—spawning the catchphrase "Suck It", using a "crotch chop" hand motion,[32] and sarcastically deriding Bret Hart and Canada. By that point, Helmsley had fully dropped the "blueblood snob" gimmick, appearing in T-shirts and leather jackets. During this period, his ring name was shortened to simply Triple H.[26] Even after the DX versus Hart Foundation storyline ended, Helmsley continued to feud with the sole remaining Hart family member Owen Hart over the WWF European Championship. This ended in a match between the two at WrestleMania XIV, with the stipulation that Chyna had to be handcuffed to then-Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter. Helmsley won after Chyna threw powder into Slaughter's eyes, momentarily "blinding" him and allowing her to interfere in the match.

Triple H and Chyna in April 1999.

After WrestleMania, Michaels was forced into temporary retirement due to a legitimate back injury sustained at the Royal Rumble,[33] with Triple H taking over the leadership position in DX,[26] claiming that his now-former associate had "dropped the ball". He introduced the returning X-Pac the night after WrestleMania and joined forces with the New Age Outlaws.[26][34] As 1998 went along, D-Generation X became more popular, turning the group from villains to fan-favorites. During this time, Levesque adopted an entrance gimmick of asking the crowd "Are you ready? I said, are you ready?", followed by a parody of rival promotion WCW's ring announcer Michael Buffer's famous catch-phrase, "Let's get ready to rumble," substituting the word "rumble" with the DX slogan, "suck it." Also during this time, he began a feud with the leader of the Nation of Domination and rising WWF villain, The Rock.[13] This storyline rivalry eventually led to a feud over the Intercontinental Championship, which Triple H won in a ladder match at SummerSlam.[13] He did not hold the title long, however, as he was sidelined with a legitimate knee injury.[13] When The Rock won the WWF Championship at Survivor Series,[35] the rivalry between the two continued, as DX fought The Corporation stable, of which The Rock was the main star. Triple H received a shot at the WWF Championship on the January 25, 1999 Raw in an "I Quit" match against The Rock, but the match ended when Triple H was forced to quit or see his aide Chyna chokeslammed by Kane.[13] This began a new angle for Triple H, as Chyna betrayed him by attacking him after the match and joining The Corporation.[13]

At WrestleMania XV, Triple H lost to Kane after Chyna interfered on his behalf, and she was thought to have rejoined DX.[13] Later on in the night, he betrayed his long-time friend and fellow DX member X-Pac by helping Shane McMahon retain the European Championship and joined The Corporation.[13] turning heel in the process. In April, he started to move away from his DX look, taping his fists for matches, sporting new and shorter wrestling trunks, and adopting a shorter hairstyle.[13] Levesque's gimmick changed as he fought to earn a WWF title shot.[13] After numerous failed attempts at winning the championship, Triple H and Mankind challenged WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin to a Triple Threat match at SummerSlam, which featured Jesse "The Body" Ventura as the special guest referee. Mankind won the match by pinning Austin.[36] The following night on Raw, Triple H defeated Mankind to win his first WWF Championship.[13]

Triple H dropped the WWF Championship to Vince McMahon on the September 16, 1999 SmackDown! before regaining it at Unforgiven in a Six-Pack Challenge that included Davey Boy Smith, Big Show, Kane, The Rock, and Mankind. He defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin at No Mercy before dropping the title to Big Show at Survivor Series. Triple H then continued his feud with Vince McMahon by marrying his daughter, Stephanie McMahon. He then defeated McMahon at Armageddon. As a result of the feud, an angle with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon began which carried the WWF throughout the next seventeen months; together they were known as the "McMahon-Helmsley Faction".[37]

McMahon–Helmsley Era; The Power Trip (2000–2001)

Helmsley dominated WWF television in this period owing to his on-screen marriage with Stephanie McMahon.

By January 2000, Triple H dubbed himself "The Game," implying that he was on top of the wrestling world (as in not merely the "best in the game", but that he was the game) and was nicknamed "The Cerebral Assassin" by Jim Ross. ("The Game" nickname was originally intended for Owen Hart, with Triple H adopting the nickname in honor of Owen.)[38] On the January 3 Raw is War, Triple H defeated The Big Show to win his third WWF championship.[39]

Triple H feuded with Mick Foley in early 2000. They both fought at the Royal Rumble in a Street Fight Match for the WWF Championship, which Triple H won after doing two pedigrees on Foley. The feud ended at No Way Out in a Hell in a Cell, where Triple H retained the title and forced Foley to retire. Triple H pinned The Rock at WrestleMania 2000 to retain the title,[40] but lost it at Backlash to The Rock.[41] He regained it three weeks later, in an Iron Man match at Judgment Day,[42] only to lose it back to The Rock at King of the Ring.[43] Triple H then entered a storyline feud with Chris Jericho, which culminated in a Last Man Standing match at Fully Loaded. Afterwards, Triple H entered a feud with Kurt Angle, initially over the WWF Championship but then as a love triangle between himself, Angle, and Stephanie. On the August 3 SmackDown!, Triple H and his wife, Stephanie McMahon, along with Kurt Angle, were booked in a Six-man tag team match by Commissioner Mick Foley, against the Dudley Boyz (Buh-Buh Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley), which Triple H, McMahon, and Angle won. After the match, as Triple H left the ring, Angle and McMahon hugged in a victory celebration, frustrating Triple H and marking the beginning of the Triple H-Angle feud. On the August 24 edition of Smackdown!, Angle kissed Stephanie McMahon after she was injured during a tag team match. At SummerSlam, The Rock defeated Triple H and Angle in a Triple Threat match to retain the WWF Championship after Angle received a concussion at the hands of Triple H. On August 28 edition of Raw is War, Angle interfered in a match between Eddie Guerrero and Triple H by attacking both men with a chair. On September 11 edition of Raw is War, Angle interfered in Triple H's match with Chris Jericho and distracted Triple H, causing Triple H to leave the ring and chase Angle. Later that night, Angle attacked both Triple H and McMahon after his Handicap match against T & A. The feud culminated at Unforgiven, where Triple H defeated Angle with a Pedigree after a low blow from Stephanie.[43]

A later storyline feud between Triple H and Steve Austin started when it emerged that Triple H had paid off Rikishi to run down Austin at Survivor Series, causing him to take a year off. In storyline, Triple H said he had did it in order to shield Austin from the WWF Championship and end his career. In reality, Austin's previous neck injuries started bothering him again, forcing him to have surgery. In 2000, Triple H and Austin had a match at Survivor Series that ended when Triple H tried to trick Austin into coming into the parking lot to run him over again, only to have Austin lift his car up with a forklift and flip the car onto its roof 10 feet high. Triple H returned a few weeks later and attacked Austin. The feud continued into 2001 and ended in a Three Stages of Hell match in which Helmsley defeated Austin. In 2001, Triple H also feuded with The Undertaker, who defeated him at WrestleMania X-Seven.[44] The night after WrestleMania, Triple H interfered in a steel cage match between Austin (who had just won the WWF Championship) and The Rock where he joined forces with Austin and double teamed on The Rock,[45] forming a tag team called The Two-Man Power Trip. Triple H then defeated Chris Jericho for his third Intercontinental Championship on the April 5 SmackDown!,[46] and won it for a fourth time two weeks later by defeating Jeff Hardy. Triple H then became a tag team champion for the first time at Backlash when he and Austin defeated Kane and The Undertaker in a winner-take-all tag match. As Triple H was still Intercontinental Champion, the win made him a double champion.[47]

During the May 21, 2001 Raw, he suffered a legitimate and career-threatening injury.[7][48] In the night's main event, he and Austin were defending the Tag Team Championship against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. At one point, Jericho had Austin trapped in the Walls of Jericho. Triple H ran in to break it up, but just as he did, he suffered a tear in his left quadriceps muscle,[7][48] causing it to come completely off the bone.[14] Despite his inability to place any weight on his leg, Triple H was able to complete the match.[14] He even allowed Jericho to put him in the Walls of Jericho, a move that places considerable stress on the quadriceps. The tear required an operation, which was performed by orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews. This injury brought an abrupt end to the McMahon-Helmsley Era, as the rigorous rehabilitation process kept Triple H out of action for over eight months,[7][14] completely missing The Invasion storyline.

Return from injury and Shawn Michaels feud (2002)

Triple H after winning the Undisputed Championship at WrestleMania X8.

Triple H returned to Raw as a face on January 7, 2002 at Madison Square Garden.[14] He won the Royal Rumble and received an Undisputed WWF Championship match at WrestleMania X8.[49] At WrestleMania X8, Triple H beat Chris Jericho for the Undisputed Championship.[7][49] After holding the title for a month, Helmsley dropped it to Hulk Hogan at Backlash.[49] Triple H then became exclusive to the SmackDown! roster due to the WWF Draft Lottery and continued to feud with Jericho, culminating in a Hell in a Cell match at Judgment Day. On June 6 SmackDown, Triple H defeated Hogan in a Number One Contenders match for the Undisputed Championship at the King of the Ring against The Undertaker but was unsuccessful at the event.

In the interim, between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, the McMahon-Helmsley Faction was brought to an official on-screen conclusion. By the time he returned, Triple H's on-screen marriage to Stephanie McMahon was faltering, so Stephanie faked a pregnancy in order to get him back on her side.[50] When he learned that it was fake, he dumped her publicly on Raw when they were supposed to renew their wedding vows.[50] Stephanie aligned with Jericho afterward,[50] but she was forced to leave after losing a Triple Threat match on Raw the night after WrestleMania when she was pinned by Triple H.[51] The divorce, and thus the storyline, was finalized at Vengeance.[52]

Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels had made his return to WWE and joined the New World Order (nWo). Michaels and Kevin Nash planned to bring Triple H over to Raw in order to put him into the group. Vince McMahon, however, disbanded the nWo following several backstage complications and brought in Eric Bischoff as the Raw general manager. One of Bischoff's first intentions was to follow up on the nWo's plan and bring Triple H over to the Raw roster. Triple H did indeed go to the Raw brand, reuniting with Shawn Michaels, but on July 22 he turned on Michaels by performing a Pedigree on him during what was supposed to be a DX reunion, turning heel once again. The following week, Triple H smashed Michaels' face into a car window to prove that Michaels was weak. These events led to the beginning of a long storyline rivalry between the former partners and an eventual "Unsanctioned Street Fight" at SummerSlam, in which Michaels came out of retirement to win. Afterwards, however, Triple H attacked him with a sledgehammer, and Michaels was carried out of the ring.[53]

Before September 2, 2002, WWE recognized only one champion for both the Raw and SmackDown! brands. After SummerSlam, champion Brock Lesnar became exclusive to SmackDown!, leaving Raw without a champion. Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff then awarded Triple H the Big Gold Belt (which had been used for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and WCW World Heavyweight Championship) making him the first World Heavyweight Champion.[54] Triple H retained his title against Rob Van Dam at Unforgiven when Ric Flair hit RVD with a sledgehammer.

In October 2002, Triple H began feuding with Kane, leading to a match at No Mercy on October 20 in which both Kane's Intercontinental Championship and Triple H's World Heavyweight Championship were at stake. In the weeks preceding the match, Triple H claimed that, several years earlier, Kane had an unrequited relationship with a woman named Katie Vick.[55] He went on to claim that, after Vick was killed in a car crash, Kane (the driver) raped her corpse.[55] Triple H later threatened to show video footage of Kane committing the act in question; however, the footage that finally aired showed Triple H (dressed as Kane) simulating necrophilia with a mannequin in a casket;[55] Kane's tag team partner The Hurricane responded the following week by showing a video of Triple H (rather, someone wearing a Triple H series of masks) getting an enema. The angle was very unpopular with fans,[56] and was de-emphasised before the title match. Triple H went on to defeat Kane at No Mercy, unifying the two titles.[57]

Triple H eventually lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Shawn Michaels in the first Elimination Chamber match, at Survivor Series.[58] He defeated RVD for the title shot at Armageddon with Michaels as special referee. He regained the title from Michaels in a Three Stages of Hell match at Armageddon.[58]

Evolution (2003–2005)

Triple H in April 2005.

In January 2003, Triple H formed a stable known as Evolution with Ric Flair, Randy Orton, and Batista. Triple H and Ric Flair challenged RVD and Kane for the World Tag Team Titles, but they lost the match. The group was pushed on Raw from 2003 to 2004. The height of their dominance occurred after Armageddon when every member of Evolution left the pay-per-view holding a title.[59] Triple H held the World Heavyweight Championship for most of 2003, defending it at a match against Booker T at Wrestlemania that year in an angle with racist undertones.[60] He lost the title in September 2003 at Unforgiven to Bill Goldberg, in a match with the stipulation that had Goldberg lost, he would have to retire.[61] After a failed attempt to win back the title from Goldberg in a rematch at the Survivor Series, he finally regained the championship against Goldberg in a triple threat match at Armageddon which also involved Kane. At the 2004 Royal Rumble, Triple H and Shawn Michaels fought in a Last Man Standing match to a double countout, so Triple H retained the title as a result.[59] Triple H dropped the title to Chris Benoit at WrestleMania XX,[62] and he was unable to reclaim the belt from Benoit in subsequent rematches, including a rematch from WrestleMania between Triple H, Benoit, and Shawn Michaels at Backlash.[62]

He then ended his feud with Michaels, defeating him in a Hell in a Cell match at Bad Blood.[62] After another failed attempt, losing to Benoit at Vengeance, he focused on Eugene, beating him at SummerSlam.[63] Triple H then regained the title from former associate Randy Orton at Unforgiven.[64] Following a Triple Threat World Heavyweight title defense against Benoit and Edge on the November 29, 2004 Raw, the World Heavyweight Championship became vacant for the first time.[65] At New Year's Revolution, Triple H won the Elimination Chamber to begin his tenth world title reign.[66] At WrestleMania 21, Triple H lost the championship to Batista,[67] and subsequently lost two rematches at Backlash and Vengeance.[68][69] After Vengeance, Triple H took a hiatus from WWE due to suffering from minor neck problems.[70]

After four-month hiatus, Triple H returned to Raw on October 3, 2005 as part of WWE Homecoming. He teamed with fellow Evolution member Flair to defeat Chris Masters and Carlito. After the match, Triple H turned on Flair hitting Flair with a sledgehammer, sparking a feud between the duo.[71] Flair defeated Triple H in a Steel cage match at Taboo Tuesday for Flair's Intercontinental Championship.[72] Subsequently, Triple H defeated Flair in a non-title Last Man Standing match at Survivor Series to end their feud.[72]

D-Generation X reunion (2006–2007)

Although Triple H failed to win the Royal Rumble match at the Royal Rumble, another championship opportunity arose for Triple H in the Road to WrestleMania Tournament. He won the tournament, granting him a match for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 22. At WrestleMania, Triple H and John Cena fought in the main event for the title, which Triple H lost via submission.[73] Later that month at Backlash, Triple H was involved in another WWE Championship match, fighting Edge and Cena in a Triple Threat match, where he lost again. Angered at his loss, a bloodied Triple H used his sledgehammer to attack both Edge and Cena and then performed a number of DX crotch chops.[74] Triple H unsuccessfully attempted to win the WWE title from Cena on numerous occasions, blaming his shortcomings on Vince McMahon, which eventually led to a feud between the McMahons and Triple H.

DX striking their signature pose.

Shawn Michaels returned on the June 12 Raw and soon reunited with Triple H to reform D-Generation X, turning Triple H into a fan-favorite once again for the first time since 2002.[8] DX defeated the Spirit Squad at Vengeance in a 5-on-2 handicap match.[75] They continued their feud with Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon and the Spirit Squad for several weeks. They then defeated the Spirit Squad again on the July 18, 2006 Saturday Night's Main Event in a 5-on-2 Elimination match. They then again defeated the McMahons at SummerSlam, withstanding the attack of several wrestlers who assaulted them before the match aas directed by Vince McMahon.[74] At Unforgiven, D-Generation X then defeatedThe McMahons and ECW World Champion Big Show in a 3-o-2 handicap Hell in a Cell match. During the match, DX embarrassed Vince by shoving his face in between Big Show's buttocks, and DX won when Triple H broke a sledgehammer over the shoulders of Vince McMahon after Michaels performed Sweet Chin Music on him.[76]

At Cyber Sunday during DX's feud with Rated-RKO, special guest referee Eric Bischoff allowed the illegal use of a weapon to give Rated-RKO the win.[76] At Survivor Series, DX got their revenge when their team defeated Edge and Orton's team in a clean sweep during their Elimination Match.[77] In January 2007, at New Year's Revolution, DX and Rated-RKO fought to a no-contest after Triple H suffered a legitimate torn right quadriceps (similar to the one he suffered in 2001 in his other leg) 15 minutes into the match.[78][79] Surgery was successfully performed on January 9, 2007 by Dr. James Andrews.[78]

Record breaking WWE Champion (2007–2009)

Triple H performing his ring entrance on WWE Raw in November 2007.

Triple H made his return at SummerSlam, where he defeated King Booker.[80] Two months later at No Mercy, Triple H was originally scheduled to face Umaga in a singles match. However, at the start of the night Triple H decided to challenge newly named WWE Champion Randy Orton, reigniting his rivalry with Orton that had been interrupted following his injury. Triple H won the match, winning his eleventh world championship and sixth WWE Championship,[81] and then defended his title against Umaga in his regularly scheduled match after Mr. McMahon declared the match to be for the WWE title.[82] After that McMahon gave Orton a rematch against Triple H in a Last Man Standing match in the main event, and Triple H lost after failing to beat the ten count when Orton hit his RKO onto the announcer's table.[82] Triple H's title reign at No Mercy is the fifth shortest reign in WWE history, only lasting through the duration of the event.[82] After winning the Raw Elimination Chamber at No Way Out, Triple H gained a WWE Championship match, by outlasting five other men, last eliminating Jeff Hardy after a Pedigree on a steel chair.[83] However, at WrestleMania XXIV, Randy Orton retained after punting Triple H and pinning John Cena following Triple H's Pedigree on Cena.[84] A month later, at Backlash, Triple H won the title in a Fatal Four-Way Elimination match against Orton, Cena, and John "Bradshaw" Layfield, tying the record for most WWE Championship reigns with The Rock.[85] Triple H then retained the title against Orton at Judgment Day in a Steel Cage match and again at One Night Stand in a Last Man Standing match.[86][87] Orton suffered a legitimate collarbone injury during the match, thus ending the feud prematurely.[88]

Triple H as WWE Champion in November 2008.

On June 23, 2008 Raw, Triple H was drafted to the SmackDown brand as a part of the 2008 WWE Draft, in the process making the WWE Championship exclusive to SmackDown.[89] He defended the championship over the summer and was the only champion to retain his title at Unforgiven's Championship Scramble matches. After this he defended it against Jeff Hardy, who was in the Unforgiven match.

At Survivor Series, Triple H was scheduled to defend the championship against Vladimir Kozlov and Hardy, however Hardy was kept out of the match after a scripted attack and injury. During the match, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero announced that Edge had returned and introduced him into the contest. Jeff Hardy interfered and hit Triple H with a steel chair meant for Edge, thus costing him the title and resulting in Edge winning his sixth world title. Triple H entered seventh in the 2009 Royal Rumble, but was last eliminated by Randy Orton. In February at Elimination Chamber, Triple H won the WWE Championship in the SmackDown Chamber match, setting the record for most reigns at eight. That record stood until 2011 when John Cena won his ninth WWE Championship.

The Legacy feud and DX farewell (2009–2011)

Triple H after retaining the WWE Championship against Randy Orton at WrestleMania XXV.

On the February 16, 2009 Raw, Triple H made an appearance aiding Stephanie and Shane McMahon, after they were attacked by Randy Orton.[90] On the February 20 SmackDown, Triple H was interviewed by Jim Ross, in the interview, footage was shown highlighting the events that occurred on the February 16 Raw. Ross asked Triple H how he felt seeing that footage, in response, he broke character (after 5 years of marriage) by admitting that Vince McMahon is his father-in-law, that Shane is his brother-in-law, and that Stephanie is his wife, thus creating a rivalry between Triple H and Orton. On the February 23 Raw, Triple H confronted Orton, before attacking him, Ted DiBiase, and Cody Rhodes (a group known as The Legacy) with a sledgehammer and chasing them from the arena.[91] At WrestleMania XXV, Triple H defeated Orton to retain the title. He, with Shane McMahon and Batista, then faced Orton and Legacy in a six-man tag match for the WWE championship at Backlash (2009). He lost the title to Orton after trying to stop Batista from hitting Cody Rhodes with a chair, allowing Orton to hit the RKO and punt to the head. After six weeks off of TV, selling the injury, he lost a Three Stages of Hell title match to Orton at The Bash. At Night of Champions, he again lost a title match to Orton, this time a Triple Threat match, also involving John Cena.

Triple H at Tribute to the Troops in December 2010.

On the August 10, 2009 Raw, Triple H met with Michaels at an office cafeteria in Texas where Michaels was working as a chef; throughout the show, Triple H tried to convince Michaels to return to WWE from hiatus. After several incidents (including grease grill burgers on fire and Michaels shouting at a little girl), Michaels agreed to team with Triple H to face The Legacy at SummerSlam, superkicked the girl, and quit his chef job.[92] On the August 17 Raw, in St. Louis, MO, Michaels and Triple H officially reunited as DX, but as they were in the process of their in-ring promo, Legacy attacked them both.[93] Their first match after reuniting was against Legacy at SummerSlam, which they won.[94] At Breaking Point, however, they lost to Legacy in the first ever Submissions Count Anywhere match in WWE history.[95]

At Hell in a Cell, DX defeated Legacy in a Hell in a Cell match.[96] DX unsuccessfully challenged John Cena for the WWE Championship in a triple threat match at Survivor Series,[97] after which they remained friends and partners. On December 13, at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, DX defeated Chris Jericho and The Big Show to win the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match.[98] This was their first tag championship reign together.

On December 21, Triple H announced that Hornswoggle was the new DX mascot.[99] This came about after Hornswoggle sued DX for emotional and physical distress due to them not allowing him to join DX.[99] After being taken to court where they were ruled guilty by a jury and judge consisting of dwarves, Michaels told Triple H that Hornswoggle could be the mascot. Triple H agreed to it only if the charges were dropped, which Hornswoggle agreed to.[99] On January 11 Mike Tyson, who was the Raw guest host for the night, teamed with Jericho to face DX; however, at the end of the bout, Tyson turned on Jericho and aligned himself with Michaels and Triple H.[100] On the February 8, 2010 Raw, DX lost the Unified Tag Team Title to ShoMiz (The Miz and The Big Show) in a Triple Threat Elimination tag match, also involving The Straight Edge Society (CM Punk and Luke Gallows.) On the March 1 Raw, they lost a rematch for the title. This was their last televised match before Michaels retired.[101] Michaels and Triple H had a non-wrestling reunion at the 2010 Tribute to the Troops.

On February 21, Triple H eliminated WWE Champion Sheamus from an Elimination Chamber match, though he did not win the title himself. Sheamus attacked him weeks later, setting up a match at WrestleMania XXVI, which Triple H won.[102][103] Also at WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels lost to The Undertaker and was forced to retire. While giving a farewell speech the next night, Sheamus attacked him. This set up a rematch at Extreme Rules. Sheamus attacked Triple H at the start of the show, before later winning the match. Triple H then took time off to recover from injuries.[104] Triple H made an untelevised appearance on October 30 at the WWE Fan Appreciation Event and also at the 2010 Tribute to the Troops.[105]

Chief Operating Officer (2011–2013)

Triple H performing his entrance at WrestleMania XXVII, walking between shields.

On the February 21, 2011, Raw, Triple H returned to WWE by interrupting the return of The Undertaker. He challenged him to a match at WrestleMania XXVII, which later became a No Holds Barred match. A week later, he put Sheamus through the announce table with a Pedigree, in retaliation for Sheamus giving him a ten-month injury. At WrestleMania XXVII, Triple H lost, which extended Undertaker's undefeated streak to 19-0; however Undertaker was carried from the ring on a stretcher whereas Triple H left the ring on his feet.[106]

At the end of the July 18, 2011, Raw, Triple H returned on behalf of WWE's board of directors to relieve his father-in-law Vince McMahon of his duties.[107] This was followed by the announcement that he had been assigned to take over as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the WWE. This was during a storyline where CM Punk had won the WWE Championship and left the company. Though a new champion was crowned, Triple H helped re-sign CM Punk and upheld both championship reigns. He announced he would referee a match to unify both WWE Championships at SummerSlam. Although he counted a pinfall for CM Punk to win, John Cena's leg was on the ropes, which would break the pin. Regardless, Triple H's longtime friend Kevin Nash attacked Punk immediately after the match to allow Alberto Del Rio to become champion.[108] Though Nash and Punk demanded a match against each other, Triple H fired Nash for insubordination and booked himself in a No Disqualification match at Night Of Champions with his position of COO on the line.[109] He won the match despite interference from John Laurinaitis, Nash, The Miz and R-Truth.[110] After repeated attacks from these wrestlers in various matches, the majority of WWE's on-screen staff gave Triple H a vote of no confidence. Mr. McMahon returned to relieve him of his duties on Raw though he remained COO. He was replaced as General Manager of Raw by Laurinaitis, who booked him in a tag team match against Miz and R-Truth at Vengeance.[111] During the match, Nash once again attacked him and did so the following night on the October 24 Raw, hospitalizing him.[112] WWE later announced that Triple H had sustained a fractured vertebra, and would be out of action. He returned on December 12, as part of the Slammy Awards. On December 18, he defeated Nash at Tables, Ladders, and Chairs in Sledgehammer Ladder Match, after attacking him with a sledgehammer.[113]

Triple H being taunted by The Undertaker ahead of their second consecutive WrestleMania match.

Triple H returned on the January 30 edition of Raw, to evaluate Laurinaitis' performance as General Manager. Before he could announce the decision, he was interrupted by the returning Undertaker.[114] After initially refusing the rematch as he did not want to tarnish Undertaker's legacy,[115] Triple H accepted the challenge after being called a coward who lives in Shawn Michaels' shadow, on the condition their rematch be contested inside Hell in a Cell.[116] Triple H went on to lose this match at WrestleMania XXVIII.[117]

Triple H returned on the April 30 Raw, when he refused to give in to Brock Lesnar's unreasonable contract demands, resulting in Lesnar attacking him and storyline breaking his arm.[118][119] Upon his return two weeks later, Triple H was confronted by Lesnar's legal representative, Paul Heyman, who announced Lesnar was filing a lawsuit against WWE for breach of contract. After he accosted Heyman, Heyman threatened another lawsuit against Triple H for assault and battery.[120] At the No Way Out in June, Triple H challenged Lesnar, who was not present, to a match at SummerSlam,[121] which Heyman refused on Lesnar's behalf the following night on Raw.[122] At Raw 1000, Stephanie McMahon managed to goad Heyman into accepting her husband's challenge against Lesnar.[123] To anger Triple H, Lesnar broke his best friend Shawn Michaels's arm on the August 13 Raw.[124] Six days later at SummerSlam, Lesnar defeated Triple H via submission after once again breaking his arm.[125][126]

On the August 27, 2012, Raw, Triple H was supposed to address his potential retirement, but did not make a definitive decision.[127] Triple H returned on the February 25, 2013 Raw, brawling with Brock Lesnar after he attempted to attack Vince McMahon. The brawl resulted in Lesnar having his head split open and requiring 18 stitches.[128] The following week, Triple H issued a challenge to Lesnar, requesting a rematch with him at WrestleMania 29, which Lesnar accepted on the condition that he could choose the stipulation.[129][130] The following week, after Triple H signed the contract and assaulted Heyman, the stipulation was revealed as No Holds Barred with Triple H's career on the line.[131] Triple H went on to win the match after hitting Lesnar with a Pedigree onto the steel steps.[132] On the April 15 Raw, Heyman challenged Triple H to face Lesnar in a Steel Cage match at Extreme Rules,[133] which Triple H accepted the following week.[134] Triple H ended up losing the match at the pay-per-view on May 19 thanks to interference from Heyman, where he also injured his jaw.[135]

The next night on Raw, Triple H wrestled Heyman's newest client, Curtis Axel. He suffered a storyline concussion and was deemed to have forfeited.[136][137][138] Despite being medically cleared to wrestle before the June 3 Raw, Vince and Stephanie McMahon did not allow Triple H to wrestle Axel, citing concerns for his well-being and the safety of his children. In response, Triple H stormed out the arena and vowed to return to the ring the next week on Raw.[139] On that episode, he lost to Axel when McMahon dubiously disqualified him, ordered Axel to leave the ring, then stole the bell and microphone to prevent the match from being restarted.

The Authority; Evolution reunion (2013–present)

Triple H and Stephanie McMahon as The Authority.

Triple H refereed the John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan WWE Championship match at SummerSlam. After Bryan won the match and the title, Triple H gave Bryan a Pedigree so that Randy Orton could cash in his Money In The Bank briefcase, therefore turning heel for the first time since 2006.[140] Along with his wife Stephanie, they created The Authority, with The Shield as his enforcers and later Kane joining as the Director of Operations. Over the coming weeks he set up handicap matches against any wrestlers who questioned his decisions, such as Big Show and Dolph Ziggler, even firing Cody Rhodes in retaliation for the latter's insolence. On the October 7 edition of Raw he was knocked out by Big Show and was carried out by officials out of the arena.[141] At the Slammy Award Raw special, Triple H immediately Pedigreed Orton after Daniel Bryan shoved the WWE Champion onto Stephanie McMahon, despite Orton's shock.[142]

At WrestleMania XXX, Triple H lost to Daniel Bryan, thereby granting Bryan a part in the subsequent title match against Batista and champion Randy Orton. Triple H assault Bryan after their and later attempted to prevent Bryan from winning the title by recruiting Scott Armstrong as a crooked referee. These attempts were unsuccessful Batista submitted to Bryan, who thus became champion. In order to end Bryan's title reign, Triple H reformed Evolution with Orton and Batista on the April 18 episode of SmackDown, but Bryan remained champion due The Shield turning on the Authority. At Extreme Rules, Evolution lost to The Shield[143] Batista subsequently left the group but Triple H managed to split up the Shield when Seth Rollins who turned on his team mates, which he calls "Plan B".

Backstage roles

In 2010, Levesque's role as an Executive Senior Advisor was officially formalized as he was given an office at WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.[144] Levesque was named Executive Vice President, Talent in 2011. In this role he oversees the talent relations and talent development departments, training of performers and management of worldwide recruitment. In addition to his talent duties, Levesque has worked as a director and producer of the creative direction and storylines of WWE's programming.[145]

Following his departure from TV after the 2012 SummerSlam, Levesque changed his hairstyle from long hair to a buzz cut.[146][147] Levesque got the hair cut for informal attire-based reasons[clarification needed] due to his backstage involvement with the company.[citation needed]

In 2013, Levesque earned a combined salary of just over $1.5 million (U.S.) from his office job and as a wrestler. He also owns just over $1.5 million (U.S.) in WWE stock.[6]

Personal life

In 2000, Levesque began dating Stephanie McMahon and they married on October 25, 2003.[148] The couple have three daughters.[149][150][151] He had previously been in a long-term relationship with former WWF wrestler Chyna.[152] He also has a sister, Lynn.[14]

In late 2004, Levesque released a book titled Making the Game: Triple H's Approach to a Better Body.[153] Mostly devoted to bodybuilding advice, the book also includes some autobiographical information, memoirs, and opinions.

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1998 Pacific Blue Triple H
1998 The Drew Carey Show The Disciplinarian
2001 MADtv Himself
2004 Blade: Trinity Jarko Grimwood
2005 The Bernie Mac Show Triple H[154]
2006 Relative Strangers Wrestler[155] Uncredited
2011 The Chaperone Raymond "Ray Ray" Bradstone
2011 Inside Out Arlo "AJ" Jayne
2014 Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery Himself (voice)

Bibliography

  • Making the Game: Triple H's Approach to a Better Body (2004)

In wrestling

Triple H about to perform a Pedigree on John Cena.
Triple H with his signature sledgehammer.
Triple H performing his signature ring entrance pose on the middle rope.
  • Nicknames
    • "The Connecticut Blueblood"[165]
    • "The Cerebral Assassin"[70]
    • "The Game"[7]
    • "The King of Kings"[70]
  • Entrance themes
    • World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment
      • "Blue Blood" by Jim Johnston (April 28, 1995 – December 15, 1996)
      • "Symphony No. 9 (Fourth movement)" by Ludwig van Beethoven (December 15, 1996 – November 10, 1997)
      • "Break It Down" by The DX Band (November 10, 1997 – April 5, 1999; June 19, 2006–April 2007; August 24, 2009 – March 1, 2010; July 23, 2012)
      • "Corporate Player" by Jim Johnston (April 25, 1999 – May 10, 1999)
      • "Higher Brain Pattern" by Jim Johnston (May 16, 1999 – June 21, 1999)
      • "My Time" by The DX Band (June 27, 1999 – December 10, 2000)
      • "My Time(V3)" by The DX Band, Jim Johnston (2000-2001)
      • "The Kings" by Run-D.M.C (March 17, 2000-July, 2000)
      • "The Game" by The DX Band (December 10, 2000) Used only once; sometimes used in promos
      • "The Game" by Motörhead (January 8, 2001–present)
      • "Evolve" by Jim Johnston (February 10, 2003 – June 16, 2003) Used while in Evolution.
      • "Line in the Sand" by Motörhead (July 19, 2003 – November 14, 2004; December 10, 2007; April 14, 2014–present) Used as part of Evolution.
      • "King of Kings" by Motörhead (used for promos and as prelude to "The Game", currently used under his heel persona; April 2, 2006–present)
      • "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Metallica (WrestleMania XXVII prelude to "The Game")

Championships and accomplishments

Triple H as the World Heavyweight Champion.
Triple H as the WWE Champion at No Mercy in 2007.

1 ^ Triple H's fifth reign was as Undisputed WWF Champion.

Luchas de Apuestas record

Wager Winner Loser Location Date Notes
Title Triple H Cactus Jack (retired) Hartford, Connecticut February 27, 2000 Title vs. career match at WWE No Way Out.
Title Triple H Kane (unmasked) San Antonio, Texas June 23, 2003 Title vs. mask match on Raw.

Notes

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References

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