“He may be the best in the business today.”
-Jim Ross, Survivor Series 2000
“I feel like I’m talking to myself and looking in the mirror twenty years ago, I was that good, that's how good you are.”
-Ric Flair addressing Triple H
If one can go to the unbelievably asinine limits that hyperbole allows us to, one would be inclined to state that not only has Hunter Hearst Helmsley been the face of his generation, but the greatest face of all time.
Unfortunately, some would see fit that I set fire to my legs for making such a claim, so I won’t. I’m merely going to imply it because after all, who knows how much success Triple H would have had without nailing that creaky floorboard in his studio apartment? (You were expecting something else?)
Some would have you believe that Triple H’s backstage politics make it impossible for any superstar to be put over by him, but those few could not be more obviously mistaken or maybe they could, maybe they could state that a certain Irishman’s Christmas present was from no other than the Cerebral Assassin.
If you can put all these theories and hearsay aside and look at the Connecticut Blueblood’s career achievements, then perhaps we can come to an agreement of sorts.
They said I would never make it in the business.
Triple H debuted as the Connecticut Blueblood on WWF TV on April 30, 1995 and since then, he’s been teaching class and civility to all the vagabonds and ruffians that he has come across. He quickly started garnering an unfavorable perception backstage because of his connections to a group of wrestlers who supposedly took care of their own. Any wrestling fan of the 90s will know what the MSG Incident is and the aftermath of the event sent Hunter’s career to the trash can for a considerable amount of time.
They left and became the sh*t, now I’m stuck here wrestling in mud while Shawn hogs the spotlight but I’m going to make it; my time is coming, soon.
Despite being punished, Triple H did his time jobbing to the stars and had eventually captured the Intercontinental championship.
From then on, a series of matches with The Rock, Goldust, Mankind and Owen Hart would provide the proving ground for Triple H that he had, indeed, reformed and was ready to take on the position his former partner in crime Shawn Michaels had previously held. But fate, as it were, would have a lot of ass-whooping and beer swilling inscribed into the annals of the WWE Championship.
Enjoy it for as long as you can because I know the truth; I know I’ll be here long after you finally take your neck to the limit. You can leave if you like, but I won’t. I’ll be the constant, I’ll master this game.
After helping Shane McMahon retain his European Championship at Wrestlemania 15 and cutting all ties with DX, Hunter proceeded to erase all evidence of his prior existence which included changing his look but that still didn’t help satisfy his hunger for gold until finally he accomplished what many thought was impossible.
I knew it; they told me I would never be more than the pretty boy’s lackey. Where’s the pretty boy now? Four years, eight months and twenty three days have been spent in the chase of the definitive destination. But it’s not enough anymore...I need to be the best.
From then on, the infamous McMahon Helmsley era would catapult Triple H to the top of the wrestling business where he would remain; erasing the fine line between what a heel can or cannot do as he continued to dominate the squared circle until suffering a tear in his quadriceps which would put the self proclaimed “Game” on the sidelines.
I won’t be here forever, but this business will be; I need to make sure it lives, I was the future; now I need to find one.
Such is the case with great performers that they reach a level where they have become so good at what they do that it no longer matters whether they’re playing the villain or the hero.
No more Austin, no more HBK, no more obstacles in my path; these people worship me like a god now. They told me it was never meant to be but now it’s useless to resist. It’s time for a new game with a new set of rules.
2003 would be the year where Triple H would begin his quest for the future of the business. With Ric Flair by his side, he chose two who were destined to become champions, two would become synonymous with the word ‘evolution’ as did their protégé.
Being awarded the World Heavyweight Championship once again put Triple H in the position of the top superstar in the business. Elevating Batista and Randy Orton would prove to be a more difficult task for the latter but nonetheless, it was done for the benefit of all concerned. Batista would become a superstar following his matches with Triple H at Wrestlemania 21, Backlash and Vengeance in 2005 after which Triple H took time off thus ending his six year reign as the face of the WWE.
I could list all the accolades, the accomplishments and how many people Triple H has put over and how much merchandise he has sold. I could go on to tell you how Triple H took the role of a heel to a whole new level and made it possible for superstars like Orton and Edge to build on the blueprints laid out for them.
I could argue that he did the best he could with what he had as the face of the WWE and built stars around him and it was enough to build two stars and leave his stamp of approval on a third one.
Instead, I’ll let the facts speak for themselves, I’ll let the classic bouts do the talking, I’ll let the testimonies of legends live forever, and I’ll let the roaring ovation at MSG in 2002 do what I have not been able to do and that’s tell you that he’s that damn good.
“What people are going to remember is that Triple H was every bit as good as he said he was; I was built for the business.”
-Hunter Hearst Helmsley