For 25 years, “The Game” Triple H has accomplished accolade after accolade in the WWE. Whether it was when he first joined the company as a wrestler, or when he took a backstage role as the creator of NXT, his presence has always been spotlighted in some way. When he first arrived on the scene, Triple H recalls his first interaction with Vince McMahon, and how it’s true that McMahon has a larger than life personality, even back then.
“Well, it’s funny for me. One of the first times I met Vince, I was still at WCW,” Triple H noted on WWE’s The Bump. “My contract was coming to an end. I was trying to gain interest, I guess you could say. So, they took me to a meeting. J.J. Dillon at the time was running talent relations and was in charge of that. I spoke to J.J. He brought me into a meeting with Vince. I remember coming in and meeting Vince and thinking well for one, he’s Vince McMahon, he has a larger than life presence. Also, it was the ultimate meeting you could take in the business, especially at that time – maybe even more so today, I guess.
“Going into the meeting, I was obviously, really nervous. I was hoping for a great outcome, then I got in there noticing that this guy had no idea where I was from. I’m sure he was asked – knowing the situation – he was asked to take a meeting with a talent. Here’s a kid that’s new and upcoming that they believe in. His contract is coming up, and we’ll meet with him. I don’t believe he was aware of me, necessarily, as a performer or my work, nor should he have been at that time.
“We had a very cordial meeting. He asked me what my plans were, and why I wanted to go there [WWF], as opposed to where I was, all that kind of stuff. I guess the biggest takeaway for me was the larger than life impression Vince McMahon gave. He has a presence. When you’re in a room with him, that presence carries over. I’ve seen it in meetings with the biggest -so to speak- hitters in history and in the business. He carries the room. It was quite a meeting.
“It was a month later when he called me. I think he was aware of what I was doing. It was right after I was in Starrcade against Alex Wright. It was towards the end of my contract, and he called me right after that and asked if I was still interested in going there [to the WWF].”
Once in the WWF, Triple H had to undergo a change to his move set. Prior to his arrival, HHH liked to use the Indian Deathlock, for example, on his opponents. However, he realized once he was in the main roster, many of his competitors were a lot more muscular than he had expected, which made it difficult for him to lock in that submission move on his opponents. After a lot of trial and error, he and a few other talents in the back came up with his beloved signature move, the Pedigree.
“When I came in, I had been using a version of the pedigree, which wasn’t called the pedigree at the time, it was something that I had started doing when I was still working the independence [scene],” Triple H informed. “I was also using the Indian Deathlock as a finisher. When I came up to WWF, they were asking me about finishes and stuff. I told them that I used the Indian Deathlock sometimes, but it was hard because there were a lot of big guys here; not that I was thinking I was going to put the Indian Deathlock on Yokozuna anytime soon. But, that was a hard move to put on big guys with bigger legs; it can be difficult.
“So, I told them I also use this other move, which didn’t have a name yet, and I tried to explain it to them. They were like we saw this one finish that this guy was using – I think it was Diamond Dallas Page at the time – and somebody suggested that maybe I should give it a try. But, that was in the beginning phases of how to try to do the RKO or the Diamond Cutter, or whatever you want to call it. People were trying to figure ways in and out of it it. Most times when you would ask guys – enhancement guys- to take it, they had no idea how to take the more or how to get it done. It just wasn’t comfortable.
“Every now and then, I would hit it on one guy…I remembered Chief Jay Strongbow came up to me and said, ‘Hey, that finish, what do you think?’ I told him it was hard to get it right, sometimes. Sometimes it looked great, and sometimes it didn’t. He asked if I had anything else that I could do. I showed him this one move where I hook a guys’ arms and I go down, and Chief loved it. He was like, ‘This is great. I have never seen this before. Why don’t you do that?’ I told him that I wanted to do that before, but you guys didn’t want me to do that. So, I switched to what would eventually be called The Pedigree. It was Michael Hayes who named it that.”
You can view Triple H’s full interview above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE’s The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.