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Triple H

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Triple H
Triple H At WrestleMania 31 in 2015.jpg
Triple H at WrestleMania 31 in March 2015
Born Paul Michael Levesque
(1969-07-27) July 27, 1969 (age 47)
Nashua, New Hampshire, United States
Residence Weston, Connecticut, United States
Occupation Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events & Creative for WWE
Professional wrestler
Years active 1992–present
Employer WWE
Salary $1.5 million (2013)[1]
Title Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events & Creative
(2013–present)
Spouse(s) Stephanie McMahon (m. 2003)
Children 3
Family McMahon
Website WWE Corporate Bio
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Jean-Paul Lévesque
Terra Ryzing[2]
Terra Risin'
Terror Rising[3]
Triple H
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/Terror Rising)
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[5] (born July 27, 1969),[6] better known by his ring name Triple H (an abbreviation of his previous debut name Hunter Hearst Helmsley), is an American semi-retired professional wrestler and corporate executive. He is the Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events, & Creative of WWE, creator of WWE NXT, and the founder and senior producer of NXT. He is married into the McMahon family, which maintains majority ownership of WWE.[1] In addition to his corporate role, Levesque makes regular appearances on WWE television as an authority figure and former wrestler.

Levesque entered several bodybuilding contests after graduating high school in 1987. He commenced his professional wrestling career in the International Wrestling Federation (IWF) in 1992, under the ring name Terra Ryzing, and won his first championship, the IWF Heavyweight Championship. He joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1994, where he was soon repackaged as Jean-Paul Lévesque, a French Canadian aristocrat.[6] In 1995, Levesque moved to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, 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 (in 2003, Levesque married McMahon in real life). Over the next two decades, he would win a total of 14 world championships and lead stables The McMahon-Helmsley Faction, Evolution, and The Authority, with whom he continues to perform.[4][8] From 2010 onwards, Triple H began wrestling on a part-time basis as he took on a greater behind-the-scenes role within WWE.

In the course of his career, Levesque has held a total of 25 championships, including nine WWF/E Championships and five World Heavyweight Championships.[9][10] He is the seventh Triple Crown Champion and the second Grand Slam Champion in WWF/E history. Triple H was also the winner of the 1997 King of the Ring tournament, and the 2002 and 2016 Royal Rumbles. He has headlined WrestleMania, WWE's flagship pay-per-view, seven times,[a] thus tying Hulk Hogan's record.[11]

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 involving Chief Jay Strongbow. Levesque began to take up bodybuilding at the age of 14, because he wanted to look like professional wrestlers. Levesque attended Nashua South High School, where he played baseball and basketball.[13] Following his graduation from high school in 1987, Levesque continued to enter several bodybuilding competitions, and was crowned Mr. Teenage New Hampshire in 1988 at the age of 19.[14][15] While working as a manager at Gold's Gym in Nashua, New Hampshire, Levesque was introduced to world champion powerlifter, Ted Arcidi, who at the time was employed with the WWE. Eventually, after numerous attempts, Levesque persuaded Arcidi to introduce him to former pro wrestler and trainer, Killer Kowalski, who owned and ran a professional wrestling training school based in Malden, Massachusetts. In early 1992, Levesque enrolled in Kowalski's wrestling school, where he began to train as a professional wrestler.[13][16]

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 (IWF), performing as Terra Ryzing. In July 1992, Levesque defeated Mad Dog Richard to win the IWF Heavyweight Championship.[2]

Levesque wrestled for various promotions on the East Coast independent circuit until 1994. During this period, he was managed by John Rodeo.[17]

World Championship Wrestling (1994–1995)

In early 1994, Levesque signed a one-year contract with World Championship Wrestling (WCW).[15][18] 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][19] 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.[20] 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.[21] Between late 1994 and early 1995, Levesque briefly teamed with Lord Steven Regal, whose upper class British persona was similar to Levesque's character.[19] 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/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 a "Connecticut Blueblood".[20] According to Levesque, JJ Dillion originally gave him the name of Reginald DuPont Helmsley, but Levesque asked for a name to play with the first letters; management ultimately agreed to his suggestion of Hunter Hearst Helmsley.[22] He 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 Wrestling Challenge.[23] He made his WWF pay-per-view debut at SummerSlam, where he defeated Bob Holly.[24] In the fall of 1995, Levesque began a feud with the hog farmer Henry O. Godwinn, culminating in an infamous Hog Pen match at In Your House 5: Seasons Beatings, where Levesque was victorious.[25]

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.[26][27] 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 The Ultimate Warrior,[28] 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.[29]

On June 1, 1996, Helmsley appeared on an episode of Superstars in a match against Marty Garner.[30] 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.[30] 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 stable of wrestlers including; Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman and Scott Hall, who were known for influencing Vince McMahon and the WWF creative team.[26] 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.[31] Despite the punishment, Helmsley did have success following the MSG Incident. Mr. Perfect became his manager and he won the Intercontinental Championship for the first time on October 21, 1996, defeating Marc Mero.[29][31] 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 episode of Monday Night Raw, called Thursday Raw Thursday.[32] For a very brief time, Helmsley was accompanied by Mr. Hughes, who was his storyline bodyguard.[33] After losing the Intercontinental title, he feuded with Goldust, defeating him at WrestleMania 13.[34] During their feud, Chyna debuted as his new bodyguard.[35]

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.[31][36] 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 – using the catchphrase "Suck It" and a "crotch chop" hand motion,[37] – and sarcastically derided 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.[31] Even after the DX versus Hart Foundation storyline ended, Helmsley continued to feud with the sole remaining Hart family member Owen Hart over the 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,[38] with Triple H taking over the leadership position in DX,[31] 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.[31][39] As 1998 went along, DX 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.[14] This storyline rivalry eventually led to a feud over the Intercontinental Championship, which Triple H won in a ladder match at SummerSlam.[14] He did not hold the title long, however, as he was sidelined with a legitimate knee injury.[14] When The Rock won the WWF Championship at Survivor Series,[40] 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 Is War 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.[14] This began a new angle for Triple H, as Chyna betrayed him by attacking him after the match and joining The Corporation.[14]

At WrestleMania XV, Triple H lost to Kane after Chyna interfered on his behalf, and she was thought to have rejoined DX.[14] 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.[14] 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.[14] Levesque's gimmick changed as he fought to earn a WWF Championship opportunity.[14] After numerous failed attempts at winning the championship, Triple H and Mankind challenged then 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.[41] The following night on Raw Is War, Triple H defeated Mankind to win his first WWF Championship.[14]

Triple H dropped the WWF Championship to Mr. McMahon on the September 16, 1999 episode of 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 Mr. 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 began which carried the WWF throughout the next seventeen months; together they were known as The McMahon-Helmsley Faction.[42]

McMahon-Helmsley Era (2000–2001)

By January 2000, Triple H had 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 in fact "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).[43] On the January 3 episode of Raw Is War, Triple H defeated Big Show to win his third WWF championship.[44]

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 performing 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.[45] Triple H pinned The Rock at WrestleMania 2000 to retain the title,[46] but lost it at Backlash to The Rock, thus ending his reign at 118 days.[47] He regained it three weeks later, in an Iron Man match at Judgment Day,[48] only to lose it back to The Rock at King of the Ring.[49] Triple H then entered a storyline with Chris Jericho, who upset Triple H by defeated him for the WWF Championship on the April 17 episode of Raw Is War before the title was returned to Triple H because of a fast count made by referee Earl Hebner, and Jericho's reign is not being recognized.[50] Their feud culminated in a Last Man Standing match at Fully Loaded which was won by Triple H.[51] 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.[52] Both Triple H and Angle wrestled for the WWF Championship against The Rock at SummerSlam, but The Rock retained the title after Angle received a legit concussion during a botched Pedigree on a commentary table by Triple H.[53][54] The feud culminated at Unforgiven, where Triple H defeated Angle with a Pedigree after a low blow from McMahon.[49]

After a brief run as a face that saw him defeating Chris Benoit at No Mercy,[55][56] Triple H reverted to his heel persona and restarted his feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin when it emerged that Triple H had paid off Rikishi to run down Austin at Survivor Series, causing him to take a year off.[57] While in the storyline Triple H said he had done 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 November 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.[58][59] Triple H returned a few weeks later to attack Austin, and their feud continued into 2001 and ended in a Three Stages of Hell match in which Triple H defeated Austin.[60] In 2001, Triple H also feuded with The Undertaker, who defeated him at WrestleMania X-Seven.[61] 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,[62] 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!,[63] and won it for a fourth time two weeks later by defeating Jeff Hardy.[64] Triple H then became a world tag team champion by winning the WWF Tag Team Championship for the first time at Backlash when he and Austin defeated Kane and The Undertaker in a "Winner Take All" tag team match. As Triple H was still Intercontinental Champion, the win made him a double champion.[65]

During the May 21, 2001 episode of Raw Is War, he suffered a legitimate and career-threatening injury.[7][66] In the night's main event, he and Austin were defending the WWF Tag Team Championship against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. At one point, Jericho had Austin trapped in the Walls of Jericho and Triple H ran in to break it up, but just as he did, he suffered a tear in his left quadriceps muscle,[7][66] causing it to come completely off the bone.[15] Despite his inability to place any weight on his leg, Triple H was able to complete the match.[15] 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][15] completely missing The Invasion storyline.

Evolution (2002–2005)

Main article: Evolution
Triple H after winning the Undisputed WWF Championship at WrestleMania X8

Triple H returned to Raw as a face on January 7, 2002 at Madison Square Garden.[15] He won the Royal Rumble and received an Undisputed WWF Championship match at WrestleMania X8,[67] where Triple H defeated Chris Jericho for the Undisputed WWF Championship.[7][67] After holding the title for a month, Triple H dropped it to Hulk Hogan at Backlash.[67] 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, which Triple H won. On the June 6, 2002 episode of SmackDown!, Triple H defeated Hogan in a #1 contender match for the Undisputed WWF 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.[68] When he learned that it was fake, he dumped her publicly on Raw when they were supposed to renew their wedding vows.[68] Stephanie aligned with Jericho afterward,[68] 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.[69] The divorce, and thus the storyline, was finalized at Vengeance.[70]

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. Mr. 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 went to the Raw brand, reuniting with 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.[71]

Before September 2, 2002, WWE recognized only one world champion, the Undisputed WWE Champion, for both the Raw and SmackDown! brands. After SummerSlam, then Undisputed WWE Champion Brock Lesnar became exclusive to SmackDown!, leaving Raw without a world 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.[72] Triple H retained his title against Rob Van Dam at Unforgiven when Ric Flair hit Van Dam with a sledgehammer.

In October 2002, Triple H would begin a controversial feud 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.[73] He went on to claim that, after Vick was killed in a car crash, Kane (the driver) raped her corpse.[73] 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;[73] 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,[74] and was de-emphasised before the title match. Triple H went on to defeat Kane at No Mercy, unifying the two titles.[75]

Triple H eventually lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Shawn Michaels in the first Elimination Chamber match at Survivor Series.[76] He defeated Van Dam to earn a title shot at Armageddon with Michaels as the special guest referee. He regained the title from Michaels in a Three Stages of Hell match at Armageddon.[76]

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 Flair challenged Rob Van Dam and Kane for the World Tag Team Championship, but they lost the match. The group was pushed on Raw from 2003 to 2004 and the height of their dominance occurred after Armageddon, where every member of Evolution left the pay-per-view holding a title.[77] Triple H held the World Heavyweight Championship for most of 2003, defending it at a match against Booker T at WrestleMania XIX in an angle with racist undertones.[78] He lost the title after 280 days in September 2003 at Unforgiven to Bill Goldberg, in a match with the stipulation that had Goldberg lost, he would have to retire.[79] 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.[77] Triple H dropped the title to Chris Benoit at WrestleMania XX,[80] and he was unable to reclaim the championship from Benoit in subsequent rematches, including a rematch from WrestleMania between Triple H, Benoit, and Shawn Michaels at Backlash.[80]

He then ended his feud with Michaels, defeating him in a Hell in a Cell match at Bad Blood, which became the longest Hell in a Cell match in history.[80] After another failed attempt, losing to Benoit at Vengeance, he focused on Eugene, beating him at SummerSlam.[81] Triple H then regained the title from former associate Randy Orton at Unforgiven.[82] Following a triple threat World Heavyweight title defense against Benoit and Edge on the November 29, 2004 episode of Raw, the World Heavyweight Championship became vacant for the first time.[83] At New Year's Revolution, Triple H won the Elimination Chamber to begin his tenth world title reign.[84] At WrestleMania 21, Triple H lost the championship to Batista,[85] and subsequently lost two rematches at Backlash and Vengeance.[86][87] After Vengeance, Triple H took a hiatus from WWE due to suffering from minor neck problems.[88]

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.[89] Flair defeated Triple H in a steel cage match at Taboo Tuesday for Flair's Intercontinental Championship.[90] Subsequently, Triple H defeated Flair in a non-title Last Man Standing match at Survivor Series to end their feud.[90]

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, where Triple H and John Cena fought in the main event for the title, which Triple H lost via submission.[91] 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.[92] 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 episode of 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.[93] They continued their feud with Mr. McMahon, Shane McMahon and The Spirit Squad for several weeks. They then defeated The Spirit Squad again on the July 18, 2006 episode of 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 Mr. McMahon.[92] At Unforgiven, D-Generation X then defeated the McMahons and ECW World Champion Big Show in a 3-on-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 Mr. McMahon after Michaels performed a Sweet Chin Music on him.[94]

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.[94] At Survivor Series, DX got their revenge when their team defeated Edge and Orton's team in a clean sweep during their five-on-five elimination match.[95] 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.[96][97] Surgery was successfully performed on January 9, 2007 by Dr. James Andrews.[96]

WWE Champion (2007–2009)

Triple H made his return at SummerSlam, where he defeated King Booker.[98] 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,[99] and then defended his title against Umaga in his regularly scheduled match after Mr. McMahon declared the match to be for the WWE title.[100] 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.[100] Triple H's title reign at No Mercy is the fifth shortest reign in WWE history, only lasting through the duration of the event.[100] After winning the Raw Elimination Chamber match 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.[101] However, at WrestleMania XXIV, Orton retained after punting Triple H and pinning John Cena following Triple H's Pedigree on Cena.[102] 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.[103] 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.[104][105] Orton suffered a legitimate collarbone injury during the match, thus ending the feud prematurely.[106]

Triple H as WWE Champion in November 2008

Triple H then went on to defeat cleanly John Cena to successfully defend the WWE Championship at Night of Champions.[107] On the June 23 episode of 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.[108] He defended the championship over the summer by defeating the likes of Edge at The Great American Bash[109] and The Great Khali at SummerSlam,[110] and was the only champion to retain his title at Unforgiven's Championship Scramble matches.[111] After this, he successfully defended it against Jeff Hardy both at No Mercy[112] and Cyber Sunday.[113]

At Survivor Series, Triple H was scheduled to defend the championship against Vladimir Kozlov and Jeff Hardy, but 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. Hardy interfered and hit Triple H with a steel chair meant for Edge, thus costing him the title after a 210 days reign and resulting in Edge winning his sixth world title.[114] After failing to regain the title at Armageddon,[115] Triple H entered seventh in the 2009 Royal Rumble, but was last eliminated by Randy Orton.[116] In February at Elimination Chamber, Triple H won the WWE Championship in the SmackDown Elimination Chamber match, setting the record for most reigns at eight.[117] That record stood until 2011 when John Cena won his ninth WWE Championship.

On the February 16 episode of Raw, Triple H made an appearance aiding Stephanie and Shane McMahon, after they were attacked by Randy Orton.[118] On the February 20 episode of SmackDown, Triple H was interviewed by Jim Ross; in the interview, footage was shown highlighting the events that occurred on the February 16 episode of 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 episode of 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.[119] At WrestleMania XXV, Triple H defeated Orton to retain the title. He, with Shane McMahon and Batista, then faced Orton and The Legacy in a six-man tag match for the WWE Championship at Backlash. 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.

DX's final run and various feuds (2009–2010)

On the August 10 episode of 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.[120] On the August 17 episode of Raw, Triple H and Michaels officially reunited as DX, but as they were in the process of their in-ring promo, The Legacy attacked them both.[121] Their first match after reuniting was against The Legacy at SummerSlam, which they won.[122] At Breaking Point, however, they lost to The Legacy in the first ever Submissions Count Anywhere match in WWE history.[123]

At Hell in a Cell, DX defeated The Legacy in a Hell in a Cell match.[124] DX unsuccessfully challenged John Cena for the WWE Championship in a triple threat match at Survivor Series,[125] after which they remained friends and partners. On December 13 at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, DX defeated Jeri-Show (Chris Jericho and Big Show) to win the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match.[126] This was their first tag team championship reign together.

Triple H at the Tribute to the Troops in December 2010

On December 21, Triple H announced that Hornswoggle was the new DX mascot.[127] This came about after Hornswoggle sued DX for emotional and physical distress due to them not allowing him to join DX.[127] 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.[127] On January 11, 2010 episode of Raw, 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 Triple H and Michaels.[128] On the February 8 episode of Raw, DX lost the Unified Tag Team Championship to ShoMiz (The Miz and Big Show) in a triple threat elimination tag match, also involving The Straight Edge Society (CM Punk and Luke Gallows). On the March 1 episode of Raw, they lost a rematch for the title. This was their last televised match before Michaels retired.[129] Michaels and Triple H had a non-wrestling reunion at the 2010 Tribute to the Troops.

On February 21, Triple H eliminated then WWE Champion Sheamus from the 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.[130][131] Also at WrestleMania, Michaels lost to The Undertaker and was forced to retire. While giving a farewell speech the next night, Sheamus attacked him and 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, completely missing The Nexus storyline.[132] Triple H made an untelevised appearance on October 30 at the WWE Fan Appreciation Event and also at the 2010 Tribute to the Troops.[133]

Chief Operating Officer (2011–2013)

On the February 21, 2011 episode of Raw, Triple H returned to WWE by interrupting the return of The Undertaker and challenging 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.[134]

At the end of the July 18 episode of Raw, Triple H returned on behalf of WWE's board of directors to relieve his father-in-law Vince McMahon of his duties.[135] 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 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 the new champion.[136] 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.[137] He won the match despite interference from John Laurinaitis, Nash, The Miz and R-Truth.[138] 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 the 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.[139] During the match, Nash once again attacked him and did so the following night on the October 24 episode of Raw, hospitalizing him (kayfabe).[140] 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.[141]

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

Triple H returned on the January 30, 2012 episode of Raw to evaluate Laurinaitis' performance as general manager. Before he could announce the decision, he was interrupted by the returning Undertaker.[142] After initially refusing the rematch as he did not want to tarnish The Undertaker's legacy,[143] 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.[144] Triple H went on to lose this match at WrestleMania XXVIII.[145]

Triple H returned on the April 30 episode of Raw, when he refused to give in to Brock Lesnar's unreasonable contract demands, resulting in Lesnar attacking him and storyline breaking his arm.[146][147] 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.[148] At the No Way Out in June, Triple H challenged Lesnar, who was not present, to a match at SummerSlam,[149] which Heyman refused on Lesnar's behalf the following night on Raw.[150] At Raw 1000, Stephanie McMahon managed to goad Heyman into accepting her husband's challenge against Lesnar.[151] To anger Triple H, Lesnar broke his best friend Shawn Michaels's arm on the August 13 episode of Raw.[152] Six days later at SummerSlam, Lesnar defeated Triple H via submission after once again breaking his arm in the storyline.[153][154]

On the August 27 episode of Raw, Triple H was supposed to address his potential retirement, but did not make a definitive decision.[155] On the December 17 episode of Raw, Triple H made a non-wrestling appearance for the 2012 Slammy Awards debuting with his new haircut.

Triple H returned on the February 25, 2013 episode of Raw, brawling with Brock Lesnar after he attempted to attack Mr. McMahon. The brawl resulted in Lesnar having his head split open and requiring 18 stitches.[156] 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.[157][158] 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.[159] Triple H went on to win the match after hitting Lesnar with a Pedigree onto the steel steps.[160] On the April 15 episode of Raw, Heyman challenged Triple H to face Lesnar in a steel cage match at Extreme Rules,[161] which Triple H accepted the following week.[162] Triple H ended up losing the match at the pay-per-view on May 19 thanks to interference from Heyman, and he also injured his jaw.[163]

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.[164][165][166] Despite being medically cleared to wrestle before the June 3 episode of 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.[167] 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 (2013–2015)

Main article: The Authority
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon as The Authority

On the August 12 episode of Raw, Triple H announced that he would be the special guest referee of the SummerSlam main event: the WWE Championship match between champion John Cena and Daniel Bryan, before giving original referee Brad Maddox a Pedigree. At the event, after Bryan won the match and the title, Triple H would give Bryan a Pedigree so that Randy Orton could cash in his Money in the Bank and win the title, therefore turning heel for the first time since 2006.[168] 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 episode of Raw, after "firing" Big Show, Show knocked him out in retaliation and was carried out by officials out of the arena.[169] At the 2013 Slammy Awards, Triple H immediately performed a Pedigree on Orton after Bryan shoved him into Stephanie McMahon, despite Orton's shock.[170]

Triple H's grand entrance at WrestleMania XXX

At WrestleMania XXX, Triple H lost to Bryan, thereby granting Bryan a part in the subsequent title match against Batista and champion Randy Orton. Triple H assaulted Bryan after the match and later attempted to prevent Bryan from winning the title by interfering and recruiting Scott Armstrong as a crooked referee, but these attempts were unsuccessful as Bryan won the title by making Batista submit. 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 to The Shield turning on The Authority. At Extreme Rules, Evolution lost to The Shield and again at Payback in a No Holds Barred elimination match.[171] On the June 2 episode of Raw, Batista would leave the group after Triple H refused to grant him his shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H would then resort to "Plan B", which would be Seth Rollins turning on The Shield and rejoining The Authority.

On the October 27 episode of Raw, Triple H would offer John Cena a chance to join forces with The Authority, which Cena refused. This led to Triple H announcing a five-on-five tag team elimination match for Survivor Series, with a team representing The Authority facing a team captained by Cena.[172] On the November 3 episode of Raw, Mr. McMahon announced that if Team Authority would lose, they would be removed from power.[173] On the November 21 episode of SmackDown, Triple H announced that if Team Cena lost, all of Team Cena, except Cena himself, would be fired.[174] At Survivor Series, Big Show joined The Authority by betraying Cena, but Sting made his WWE debut, attacking crooked referee Scott Armstrong and Triple H, and assisted Dolph Ziggler in pinning Rollins to give Team Cena the victory, putting the Authority out of power.

Triple H making his Terminator Genisys inspired grand entrance at WrestleMania 31

After being out of power for a month, Rollins coaxed Cena into reinstating The Authority on the December 29 episode of Raw, by holding Raw guest host Edge hostage with Big Show.[175] On the January 19 episode of Raw, Cena would defeat Rollins, Kane and Big Show in a handicap match when Sting distracted The Authority, allowing Cena to pin Rollins and win back the jobs of Ziggler, Ryback and Erick Rowan, who had been fired two weeks previously by Triple H and Stephanie. On January 26, it was officially announced via WWE.com that Triple H challenged Sting to a "face-to-face" confrontation at Fastlane, which Sting accepted; at the confrontation, Sting challenged Triple H to a match at WrestleMania 31, which Triple H accepted.[176] At WrestleMania, Triple H defeated Sting with interference from D-Generation-X, but shook hands with Sting after the match. After his match with Sting, he and Stephanie McMahon were later confronted by The Rock and Ronda Rousey during a promo regarding the record crowd at the event.[177][178]

Throughout 2015, Triple H maintained his role as the leader of The Authority, and was involved in mediating issues between Seth Rollins and Kane.[179][180] Over the summer, Triple H began to test Rollins by having him defend the championship against Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, and Sting.[181][182][183][184]

After Rollins suffered a legitimate severe knee injury at a live event, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was vacated and it was announced that there would be a tournament to determine a new champion at Survivor Series.[185][186]

On the November 9 episode of Raw, Triple H offered to give Reigns a bye to the finals of the tournament if he joined The Authority, but Reigns refused.[187] At Survivor Series, Reigns defeated Dean Ambrose in the tournament finals to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Triple H came out and attempted to congratulate Reigns, but was instead speared by him. This allowed Sheamus to cash in his Money in the Bank contract and quickly defeat Reigns to win the championship, resulting in Sheamus aligning with The Authority.[188]

The Authority made a rematch between Reigns and Sheamus for the title on the November 30 episode of Raw, with the stipulation that Dean Ambrose and The Usos would lose their Intercontinental Championship and WWE Tag Team Championship title shots if Reigns failed to win the match in under 5 minutes and 15 seconds (which was the length Reigns' title reign at Survivor Series); Reigns won by disqualification, allowing Ambrose and The Usos to keep their title shots.[189] At the TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay-per-view, Sheamus retained the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Reigns due to interference from The League of Nations. After the match, Reigns "snapped" and viciously attacked Sheamus as well as Triple H, who had come to calm Reigns. Due to the injuries (kayfabe) suffered from Reigns, Triple H took a hiatus from television.[190]

WWE World Heavyweight Champion and hiatus (2016–present)

Triple H returned at the 2016 Royal Rumble match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, as the unannounced 30th entrant. After eliminating the defending champion, Roman Reigns, he then eliminated Dean Ambrose to secure his second Royal Rumble win and 14th world championship overall.[191] After breaking Reigns' nose in storyline,[192] Triple H was then challenged by Ambrose,[193] whom he defeated at Roadblock to defend the title,[194] before dropping it back to Reigns – who had become the #1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship by pinning Dean Ambrose in a triple threat match that also involved Brock Lesnar at Fastlane[195] – at WrestleMania 32, ending his reign at 70 days.[196] Triple H would then go on to wrestle the WWE Live tour of the U.K in late April before taking an hiatus from WWE television, although he would continue to appear at NXT and WWE Crusierweight Classic events.

Business career

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.[197] Levesque was named Executive Vice President, Talent and Live events in 2011. In this role he oversees the talent relations and talent development departments, training of performers and management of worldwide recruitment. Levesque's role within the company has been under much criticism since 2003, as many fans and some wrestlers view it as a way to keep him on top on-screen and to give him more television time. Levesque has spoken against this criticism and has denied all of it. Additionally, Levesque has been credited for losing in high-profile matches that helped elevate the careers of younger wrestlers including John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista, Jeff Hardy, Brock Lesnar, Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns.[198][199][200][201][202][203]

As the founder of NXT since its inception in 2012, Levesque has been widely praised for helping cultivate the brand, recruiting fresh new talent, and helping guide the brand to various levels of success including sold-out shows, increased respect for women’s wrestling, and international expansion.[204][205][206]

In 2013, his title was elevated to Executive Vice-president of Talent, Live Events and Creative where he also works with WWE creative direction and storylines of WWE's programming.[207]

In 2013, Levesque earned a combined salary of just over $1.5 million (U.S.) from his front office job and as a wrestler. He also owns just over $1.5 million (U.S.) in WWE stock.[1]

Personal life

What began as an on-screen storyline marriage in 2000 blossomed into a real-life romance when Levesque began dating Stephanie McMahon. They married on October 25, 2003.[208] They have three daughters.[209][210][211] He had previously been in a long-term relationship with former WWF wrestler Chyna.[212] He has a sister named Lynn.[15]

In late 2004, Levesque released a book titled Making the Game: Triple H's Approach to a Better Body.[213] Mostly devoted to bodybuilding advice, the book also includes some autobiographical information, memoirs, and opinions.

Levesque is a fan of the band Motörhead (which has performed three different entrance themes for Triple H over his career), and was good friends with lead singer Lemmy.[214] To pay homage to both Lemmy and the band, Triple H wore Lemmy-inspired facial hair during a large portion of his career.[215] After Lemmy died on December 28, 2015, Triple H attended his funeral on January 9, 2016, where he spoke about the gift of sound that Lemmy and Motörhead have given to him and the friendship they had over the years.

During an interview with ITV London in December 2015, Levesque said that he is a supporter of the English football team West Ham United.[216][217]

Philanthropy

In 2014, Levesque along with his wife Stephanie created the "Connor's Cure" cancer fund in honor of Connor "The Crusher" Michalek, a young WWE fan who died of cancer at the age of eight.[218]

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[219]
2006 Relative Strangers Wrestler[220] Uncredited
2009 Robot Chicken Himself, Werewolf (voice)
2011 The Chaperone Raymond "Ray Ray" Bradstone
2011 Inside Out Arlo "AJ" Jayne
2014 Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery Himself (voice)
2014 WWE Power Series Himself Fitness video
2016 Scooby-Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon Himself (voice)

In wrestling

Triple H setting up the Pedigree on John Cena
Triple H with his sledgehammer
Triple H performing his signature ring entrance pose on the middle rope

Championships and accomplishments

Triple H making his entrance with the WWE Championship, which he has won nine times
Triple H is also a five-time World Heavyweight Champion – totaling being a 14-time world champion overall in WWE

1 ^ Triple H's only reign with the WWE Tag Team Championship was when the championship was unificated with the World Tag Team Championship and it was known as the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship.

2 ^ Triple H's fifth reign was as Undisputed WWF Champion. His next three were as simply WWE Champion, while his ninth reign was as WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

3 ^ Triple H's reign with Shawn Michaels was when the title, then known as World Tag Team Championship, was unified with the WWE Tag Team Championship and known as Unified WWE Tag Team Championship.

Luchas de Apuestas record

Winner (wager) Loser (wager) Location Event Date Notes
Triple H (championship) Cactus Jack (career) Hartford, Connecticut No Way Out February 27, 2000 This was a Hell in a Cell match.[45]
Triple H (championship) Kane (mask) San Antonio, Texas Raw June 23, 2003 [256]
Goldberg (career) Triple H (championship) Hershey, Pennsylvania Unforgiven September 21, 2003 [79]

Notes

References

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External links