When it is all said and done, Triple H may go down as the most polarizing figure to ever take part in the wrestling world, even perhaps surpassing his father in-law, Vincent Kennedy McMahon. While his in-ring career is more or less over, with HHH only competing in a couple matches per year, his budding administrative career has only just begun, meaning that Triple H is going to be a part of wrestling for decades to come.
Now that Triple H’s time as a wrestler has more or less come to a close, his accomplishments can be put for the first time in some form of perspective. Over the last 15 years, no wrestler has been as heavily scrutinized for putting himself first and others second than Triple H, but are those criticisms justified?
HHH will never be able to escape the fact that much like a medieval nobleman, he married into a monarchy. By marrying Stephanie McMahon, HHH secured himself a permanent spot in the lofty hierarchy of the WWE. By all accounts, Triple H is the heir apparent to Vince McMahon’s wrestling empire, and it appears that sooner rather than later, HHH will take the reins for good.
Because of his marriage to the boss’s daughter, every time Triple H has been put into a main event slot, fans have attributed his success to his marriage. Never mind the fact that Triple H was already a multiple time world champion and top star before his marriage to Stephanie, in some fans eyes, if it wasn’t for his marriage, Triple H would be a mid-carder at best.
Despite the idea of Triple H being a no-good egomaniac being one with a decent amount of support, it can be said that Triple H has certainly done his part to get other wrestling stars over. Although Triple H gets more shovel-based jokes made about him than anybody else, Triple H has proved in the past that he is willing to do the job and to help make new stars.
Dave Batista owes essentially his whole career to Triple H. Under the guidance of Triple H and Ric Flair, Batista went from being a goof with a good body to being one of the horses WWE pegged its future upon. Triple H fostered a long-simmering feud with his bodyguard, setting up for Batista’s victory in the main event of Wrestlemania 21.
Not only to Triple H do the job that night to Batista, but he also would go on to lose to Batista at Backlash, and then again inside the Hell in a Cell at Vengeance. In addition to Batista, Triple H has done big-time jobs to other top stars, such as John Cena, Randy Orton, The Undertaker, Jeff Hardy, Brock Lesnar and many others.
I will be the first one to insist that Triple H’s reputation does not necessarily reflect the way he really is, but there are plenty of times where Triple H seems to get a few extra handouts from the WWE that no one else on the roster seems to get. The most famous example is Triple H simply being awarded the World Heavyweight Championship in 2002, bringing an end to the Undisputed Championship era. Triple H did not beat anyone for the vacated title, it was simply handed to him by Eric Bischoff.
Another example that has surfaced in recent years is that now that Triple H is calling the shots in the WWE, he has been inserted into some of the WWE’s hottest feuds. When CM Punk was emerging as the top performer in the company in 2011, suddenly Triple H showed up and began to feud with Punk. This did not do a whole lot for Punk, and it resulted in a bizarre Triple H/Kevin Nash feud that ended in a horrendous ladder match at TLC between Nash and Triple H.
When Brock Lesnar made his big return to the WWE last year after being away for so long, Brock lost a fantastic match to John Cena at Extreme Rules in what should have been the start of a long feud between the two. Instead, when Brock was set for another ppv, we got Triple H vs Brock Lesnar, and the two had a series of so-so matches at Summerslam, Wrestlemania and Extreme Rules.
And most recently, Daniel Bryan had reached heights similar to Punk in 2011, and Triple H showed up again, this time inserting himself directly in the biggest storyline the WWE has had in several years. Triple H is now the most dominant heel figure in the WWE, even more so than Randy Orton, the guy who is actually wrestling the matches. I am a fan of Triple H, but sometimes this stuff really rubs me the wrong way, and I can’t ignore that there may be some truth to all the talk about Triple H being an egomaniac.
As much as people like to bash Triple H, I do think that the WWE is in good hands with him at the helm. Triple H may be his own biggest fan, but I think the man has a really good mind for the business, and so far the WWE has done a really good job of building it’s company for the future.
Triple H is known for his old-school mentality. He was taught by the legendary Killer Kowalski, and his in-ring prowess reminded many of legends such as Harley Race and Arn Anderson. At a time when the WWE may seem a little too cartoony for some fans tastes, Triple H brings a balance of realistic, hardened violence that many fans are dying to see.
But Triple H has also shown faith in more 21st Century tactics in addition to his old-school beliefs. Since he has taken more control over the day-to-day operations of the company, the WWE has signed a boatload of the most talented independent performers in the wrestling world. Untraditional wrestlers such as CM Punk and Daniel Bryan have also seen a real boom in commitment towards themselves since HHH has taken some of the reigns away from Vince McMahon.
The book on Triple H is far from closed, and realistically his biggest contributions to the wrestling world are most likely yet to come. As Vince McMahon continues to be phased out of a lot of the WWE’s operations, the Triple H’s impact on wrestling will only continue to grow. For the sake of professional wrestling as a major form of entertainment, let us hope that The Game is up for the task.