Triple H (aka Hunter Hearst Helmsley) may be the smartest man in the wrestling business. While others have battled WWE owner Vince McMahon for a tiny share of his giant wrestling empire, "The Game" did an end around, sneaking up to the owner's box and sitting next to the boss's foxy daughter, Stephanie. The two fell in love and got married, and he's been by her side (and Vince's) ever since.
Triple H's ascension to the throne has actually hurt him in some ways. Fans are so skeptical of his connections, seeing nepotism and favoritism around every corner, that he has been cheated out of the credit he deserves for his continued success. Now 43, his Hall of Fame career is slowly coming to a close, derailed by a series of injuries and a desire to take a larger role behind the scenes.
Brock Lesnar is a monster of a man. A former NCAA wrestling champion, he rose to the top of the WWE almost immediately in his first tenure with the company. He's a dream villain, mean looking and imposing.
But Lesnar, in many ways, wasn't built for the wrestling business. He hated the travel and the political pressure and departed after lighting every bridge on fire, then pouring kerosene on the ashes and burning them too. Soon he was UFC champion, a bigger star outside the WWE than he ever was in it.
His ability to draw a huge crowd, along with time, healed all those old wounds. He has returned to a limited schedule, which makes him happy, and to great effect at the box office when he does wrestle, which makes McMahon happy. He recently extended his contract and may be sticking around for a while.
The feud between Lesnar and Triple H revolves around Helmsley's sometimes-acknowledged role as one of the WWE's key backstage leaders. The two squabbled on television over contract terms and appearances, and eventually Lesnar made his final counterclaim in the form of breaking Triple H's arm.
Then he broke Triple H's best friend Shawn Michael's arm. When "The Game" sought revenge at SummerSlam last year, he had his arm broken again. 2012 was not a good year to be a Triple H appendage.
Now Triple H is back, siding with Vince against Lesnar and his evil representative, Paul Heyman. Lesnar and Heyman have raised the stakes here significantly, goading Triple H into signing for a match with stipulations of their choosing by attacking an already-hobbled McMahon.
Not only is the match "No Holds Barred," presumably a Lesnar specialty from his days in the UFC, but Triple H had to put his career on the line. If he loses the bout, The Game's water-spitting days are over for good.
What to Expect
Lesnar won the last match between the two. Normally, in classic "even Steven" WWE booking, it would be Triple H's turn to get his hand raised. On Raw, it was announced that Michaels would be in his corner, yet another reason to expect Hunter to walk away victorious.
Not this time. I expect a brutal and hard-hitting match. These two are going to try to raise the bar for physical brutality. But Lesnar will triumph here, with Triple H assuming McMahon's old role as the on-screen owner and authority figure for the next decade. He will get back at Lesnar from the boardroom instead of the ring.