Ultimate Opponent: Was The Rock Triple H's Greatest Rival?
As it stands Triple H may go down as having one of, if not the most, successful WWF/E career ever.
The Cerebral Assassin, The Game, The King of Kings, whether you loved him or hated him Triple H always had your respect. He’s virtually done it all, over 20 combined championship reigns, led successful stables, including DX and Evolution, won numerous awards and has been both a strong face and heel. Virtually the only thing HHH himself never got to take part in was the Invasion storyline. (Safe to say that Invasion would have been a completely different experience with HHH)
Now in the WWE it’s hard to go at it alone.
In order to pull off engaging storylines one must face off against numerous solid rivals. They make you, and you in turn make them. Without them you can still be successful but it becomes hard for people to take you seriously, just ask John Cena how that feels.
However unlike the WWE of today, the WWF/E in the past had a great roster of credible, believable and most importantly star worthy wrestlers. Triple H had the opportunity to face off against just about all of them during his tenure, creating amazing feuds and rivalries thus leading me to this question: Who is Triple H’s all time greatest rival?
Lets remember this is an opinion article, so in my humble opinion I would have to say The Rock takes that spot. Now some might agree but many will disagree claiming Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels, Batista or even Randy Orton were better rivals and I definitely would like to hear everyone’s thoughts. But for now hear me out.
Triple H and The Rock first started off against each other with Rock as the baby face and Triple H as the heel in 1997. At that time, HHH was a rising star and the WWF wanted someone who could match him thus having The Rock beat him for the Intercontinental Championship.
They would meet again as the two young rising leaders of their respected factions, DX and the Nation of Domination in which Triple H was actually the face and The Rock was the heel. One of the main reasons this feud started was because popularity-wise both Triple H and The Rock were well over with the fans and were apart of strong factions thus making for a very good storyline.
They fought over the Intercontinental Championship a couple of times, which was actually worth something back then, with Triple H winning it in the end.
Now I was a kid at the time, but I liked both guys and loved tuning in to see the great shows they put on. So it definitely was a mystery to me when I suddenly stopped seeing Triple H and only The Rock. I remember hearing all sorts of rumors on why he was missing, but the truth was he was just injured and had to take time off.
When he returned he was immediately thrust back against The Rock in a DX vs. The Corporation storyline in which both men again were the respected leaders. It seemed that around this time, though, people really began to like The Rock favorably because of his charisma while people began to dislike Triple H because of his villain-like tactics.
Eventually Triple H joined the Corporate Ministry, while still feuding with The Rock which would eventually led up to some of the greatest moments in the WWF, the McMahon-Helmsley era.
This is the era that made me believe that The Rock was indeed Triple H’s greatest rival.
A promo between the two could last for 10 minutes and still be as entertaining as a match. When they were up against each other you felt the tension because both guys played off the rivalry between each other so well. Their matches were both thrilling and astonishing and had people in the edge of their seats whether you were at home or at the event live.
At one point there were magazine articles with interviews and comparisons before PPV events featuring a match between the two of them because of the popularity of those two going up against one another. They were close in age, with Triple H three years The Rock’s senior, at that time close in weight and the exact same height at 6’4" yet they both had distinct styles, entrances and finishers.
In essence it was a creative writer's dream to have two guys who had striking similarities yet vast differences who could mesh that well both in and out of the ring.
For a rivalry as good as the one Triple H and The Rock had it was sad to see it end so early due to The Rock leaving the WWE. But maybe it was for the best as I don’t think anyone is sure if they could match what they had in this new PG era.
With Triple H set to return to the WWE at some point, I'm just not sure who could really give him a good push besides The Undertaker himself. The WWE just doesn't have anyone on the roster that I think would make a good rival. Some may say Sheamus, but I never feel any major tension when those two meet, not like when he'd face The Rock, HBK or even Austin.
In all even if you don’t think Triple H’s greatest rival was The Rock, those who were able to witness them during the midst of the attitude era no doubt know of the entertainment that they brought, giving us an era of sports entertainment the likes of which will never be duplicated.
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