Mention the name "Triple H," and it will only be a matter of time before someone follows up with the words "bury" and "shovel."
Over the course of his main event career in WWE, The Game gained the reputation of being a master politician, the type of performer who would go out of his way to derail anyone he saw as competition to his spot atop the wrestling world.
Rob Van Dam, Booker T and Kane are prime examples of stars who could and should have knocked Triple H off and ascended to championship glory in the early-2000s, but after wrestling the Cerebral Assassin, they were sent back down the card and took years to recover their heat.
Booker's case was incredibly difficult to explain, as the story had featured racial overtones and was set up to finally crown the former WCW star as the new World Heavyweight champion. Instead, he was beaten cleanly at WrestleMania and would not capture that title for another three years afterward.
Having worked very hard to get where he was, Triple H was overprotective of his spot. He did everything in his power, which was quite significant thanks to his real-life relationship with Stephanie McMahon, to maintain his position at the top of the card. That is no to say he did not deserve it. That is what is so funny about The Game and the reputation he has garnered, and rightfully so.
Triple H is an immensely talented in-ring worker who was good enough to maintain his spot without reverting to political manipulation to keep others down.
The most over heel in the sport for the better part of six years, he was undoubtedly a top star, and no number of losses was going to change that. In reality, all his paranoia accomplished was stunting the growth of the company by derailing potential headlining babyfaces.
Thankfully, the Triple H fans see in 2014 is a wiser, more responsible performer who understands the value of having a new generation of talent ready to ascend to the top of the industry to continue its advancement and prosperity.
At WrestleMania 30, the chief operating officer of WWE did more to put over Daniel Bryan as a legitimate main event star than he has any star of the last decade. He lost to him clean in the center of the ring and then took a definitive beating from him later in the evening during the WWE World Heavyweight Championship main event.
He has also gone out of his way to make The Shield look like a force, taking a massive spear from Roman Reigns and bailing out of the ring before he could fall victim to the triple powerbomb. Sure, he, Randy Orton and Batista reformed Evolution and beat down Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose on Raw, but it was simply the latest chapter in a story that should end with the three young, breakout stars beating the established main eventers on May 4 at Extreme Rules.
Add to that the fact that WWE is seeing an influx of young talent from NXT, and there is greater evidence than ever that Triple H, a businessman much more than a full-time worker at this point, understands the value of building toward the future. And for WWE, the future is now.
The key will be to make sure he does not overexpose himself as an on-air talent. The minute he begins stealing the spotlight from his peers is the minute he is in danger of falling right back into his past tendencies. That cannot happen because it could very well stunt the growth of the talent he has gone out of his way to position favorably over the last eight months.
His actions have indicated that he will not allow himself to revert back to his old ways. For WWE and the entire wrestling landscape, that is a very good thing.