He calls himself The King of Kings - the nickname is no exaggeration. Triple H is WWE royalty. From his days as a
rule-breaking founder of D-Generation X, to the time he spent shepherding Randy Orton to WWE greatness in Evolution,
Triple H has just existed on the cutting edge, he's been the one sharpening the blade. Now that his DX-mate, Shawn Michaels
has hung up his spurs, will The Game follow? Not likely. You can bet that, despite injuries sustained at
Extreme Rules at the hands of Sheamus in a Street Fight, The King of Kings will return to the ring stronger. And
when he does, he'll prove, once again, that it's all about the game and how you play it. But if you choose to play,
remember. You're playing by his rules, and you'd best be prepared to lose.
The Rock Insults Triple H Before Match At Fully Loaded '99
Even on the slim chance that someone could talk as well as The Rock, it goes without saying that you won't see a segment
like that again.
Does Triple H Really Love Stephanie?
A happy family
The widespread belief that Paul Levesque is unscrupulous and power hungry has provoked much skepticism over the sincerity
of his feelings towards World Wrestling Entertainment creative chief Stephanie McMahon, who ultimately became his wife and mother
of his children. Even Kevin Nash, a close friend of Levesque's, hinted at what is largely assumed.
When asked in a 2007 interview if he was surprised by his former protege's rise to power, he chuckled. "Nah, why
would I [be]? You can't determine who you fall in love with," Nash said with a sly smile.
Former WWE writer Dan Madigan recalled sharing a limo with the McMahon family and Triple H in which he witnessed Vince
snuggling Stephanie to sleep in his arms, then falling asleep himself, and catching Levesque looking at them nuzzling each other
with a mixture of utter contempt and spectacular triumph.
"The one thing I wonder about Triple H is: how could you love Steph?" says Madigan. "It's a work man. Lemme tell you a story.
"I was riding in the McMahon family limo. Stephanie was sleeping in Vince's arms in that creepy way that starts all those rumors
about them. I caught Triple H watching Stephanie nuzzled into her father like a baby, and, lemme tell you, the look I saw wasn't
a look of love. It was this contemptuous, objectifying look, like: yeah, I got it, I got the world in my hands, I got the
prize ham at the fair. It was an ugly look. Our eyes met for a second, and he laughed and shrugged, like he dropped the act for
a second and he didn't give a shit that I noticed."
"At Least I Haven't Got To Be Around Triple H No More"
Shared a mutual dislike for Mr. Stephanie
During an August 2008 media tour of the U.K., the ever-candid Randy Orton revealed that Umaga's initial response to being
transferred to the SmackDown brand in the 2008 WWE Draft was, "Man, you know what? At least I haven't got to be around Triple H no
more." When "HUNTOR" was also transferred to SmackDown from Raw later in the draft, the Raw roster survivor hilariously
recalled his response as:
"Yes! Oh, my God, yes, yes, yes!" while punching the air. "I went right up to Umaga," Orton continued, "and I was, like,
'You've got to deal with him now!" It was my favorite draft pick, to be honest with you."
Orton stated earlier in the interview that he kept track of his friends' matches during his hiatus from a broken
collarbone (naming Umaga and Carlito), but not those featuring Trips.
"...I'll watch the matches whenever I get a chance. I'll watch some of the guys, like Umaga and Carlito, who
are good friends of mine," Orton said. "Triple H not so much."
Triple H's former stablemate and friend Billy Gunn
really let loose on "The King of Kings" during an interview with RF Video, describing the son-in-law of Vince McMahon as, "A cocksucking,
piece of fucking shit...a bad person; he stabs people in the back."
He retirated his disgust for "The Game" during a subsequent interview with the Voice of Wrestling.
"People are scared to talk about him. They won't talk about him because he's got all the power there," Gunn said. "It was never a
vendetta; it's just he's a piece of shit."
The multi-time tag team champion noted that some people think he's jealous of Triple H and his lofty position in WWE. Gunn,
however, adamantly denies such accusations.
"Nobody's got the spot he's got because he's an asskisser, and I was never that," he said.
Gunn believes he's telling like it is as far as Triple H and the WWE office is concerned.
"It's evil up there," he explained, "and he's (Triple H) an evil person. When you're up there...everybody knows that he runs
the show and if he doesn't like it, or he doesn't like you, he'll say one thing in front of you, but he'll turn right around
and stab you right in the back".
Gunn goes as far to suggest that Triple H married Stephanie McMahon for power and not out of love.
"I don't talk about people behind their back--unless of course it's to my girlfriend--but I never cut anybody down and I
always helped people because the better other people get, the better everybody else is, the better the company goes...but
he's just a one-guy person and whatever's best for him is what works. And that doesn't work like that because you burn every
bridge known to man. But now he's married the boss's daughter and if there's love there, shoot me in the head please!"
The WrestleMania XXV main event pitting Triple H against Randy Orton was largely regarded by critics as a
disappointing ending to the show. Gordon Holmes of Comcast.net believes that the match "never seemed to click" while
Baltimore Sun sports columnist Kevin Eck stated that he was "disappointed that it didn't feel more special after
some great angles on TV." SLAM! Wrestling writer Nick Tywalk felt that it was "solid and had its share of drama,
but the lack of outside interference or plot twists of any kind failed to spark the same feeling of energy Reliant Stadium
had in it a few hours before. It was almost a "That's it?" reaction that first came to mind." Pro Wrestling Torch
editor Wade Keller called the match "good, both well-plotted and well-executed, appropriate to the storyline and
feud," but added that "it just wasn't able to follow the classic two matches earlier." Orton later attributed the dismal
reaction to the match to the stipulation that if Triple H was disqualified, he would lose the championship, stating that the
storyline called for Triple H to get retribution, but he wasn't able to get it because "We weren't able to go to the
extreme. If anything hurt us, it was that."
WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart,
a staunch wrestling critic, weighed in on the lackluster match months later during an interview with Fighting Spirit.
He attributes their mediocre showing to Triple H lacking the psychology to deliver a standout performance.
So, did you watch WrestleMania 25?
I really enjoyed it. The only match I didn't like was the last one [Triple H versus Randy Orton]. It didn't work. You
could hear a pin drop.
You're a man who has been in the main event of WrestleMania on more than one occasion. What do you think
Hunter and Orton did wrong?
I think they just miscalculated... they didn't think it out right. It's hard to come up with the right psychology sometimes.
I remember when I wrestled my brother Owen Hart, we hadn't wrestled each other before. We had the Madison Square Garden WrestleMania X
coming up and in the build up, we had tag matches where we were experimenting with moves that we were going to get into our
WrestleMania match. We had a lot of wrestling holds and reversals -- it was Dean Malenko kind of stuff, all cute
Anyway, I was at my house the day before we left for WrestleMania and I called Owen and told him to meet me in
the dungeon. He walked in and said, "What's up?" and I said, "Everything. The whole match that we've planned out for the last
few weeks -- forget it. We're ditching all of it. We're going to stink the place out, it'll be a babyface match. You've got
all these drop kicks and all these nice moves, but you're a bad guy... it's going to be a disaster."
And so we switched it around. I made Owen way more vicious, I came up all sorts of nasty little things for him to do in
the match. We recalculated what was needed to keep the story going.
I think with Randy and Hunter, they didn't think through what they were doing. They tried to kill each other in the last
thing I saw before the event and when they got to the big match, they gave everybody an opening match instead. It lacked all
the intensity of two guys trying to kill each other. They misread what they were selling.
It's the same situation as when [Shawn Michaels] wrestled [Kevin Nash] at WrestleMania; the strategy and psychology of the match
wasn't thought out. When the bell rang and it was over, Shawn was the hero. It should have been Kevin Nash's defining moment,
but his career was over. They dropped the ball on him, they told the wrong story.
The thing with Triple H and Randy Orton is they've had better matches than that before. Do you think Triple H doesn't
have it anymore?
Triple H is an imitator, not a creator. He's not a guy that innovates and comes up with stuff -- he's a wannabe great
wrestler, not a great wrestler. He's a cheap imitation of Bret Hart and a lot of other guys mixed together. It works, he
gets through. He's a decent enough wrestler that he's worth having on the roster. If I had a company, I'd him him... but I
wouldn't make him the star of the show.
I'm sure he had a lot to do with the WrestleMania match -- he practically runs the show -- but he doesn't have
the brains to create a match to follow up the pre-story. He could have started out like me and [Steve Austin] did at WrestleMania 13
and whipping ass. It should have been Hunter in some way battling all odds and getting sympathy. But I don't think he has
the psychology to deliver.
Ultimate Warrior Lashes Out At Triple H
Called Triple H a "Puffy Man"
On September 27, 2005, World Wrestling Entertainment released a video retrospective focusing on the wrestling career of
Ultimate Warrior, entitled The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior. The DVD featured clips of his
more notable feuds and matches along with commentary from WWE talent past and present, most of which are unflattering. Having
been decisively squashed by the face painted grappler at WrestleMania XII, Triple H notably said that Ultimate Warrior was the most
unprofessional wrestler he ever worked with.
Warrior posted a scathing message on his official website regarding WWE's burial piece, blasting those who criticized
him, including Triple H. Warrior calls the future head of WWE "the biggest unprofessional asshole the business has ever seen"
and accuses him of using human growth hormone -- undetectable during WWE drug testing -- to bloat his exterior.
"I'm the most unprofessional person you've ever stepped into the ring with? Well, now, ain't that pretty. Because what I
remember, Mr. Stephanie McMahon, is that you were only in the ring with me one time -- and for less than 5 minutes. Here all
these years since leaving the ring and becoming interested in mentoring young people, I often wonder what kind of impact I am
having because I take it seriously and it is important to me do it effectively. Well, it sure sounds like I taught you very
well in the 5 minutes you had in the ring with me. Because from what I hear you are the biggest unprofessional asshole the
business has ever seen. You are welcome.
"And sure, in the ring that day it was a work, but in the locker room before the match, it wasn't. Don't leave the good parts
out, puffy, little jealous man. Let's be sure and recall all the details and tell the audience how you tried to pull some
rookie, punk bs with me, using that loser Gerald Brisco to steel your weak backbone, and I got in your face and told you to
store it and that if you had something you wanted to discuss with me, you go find the man-balls to confront me yourself,
don't bring a never-did-I-succeed-in-the business agent as a bodyguard and mouthpiece. It's funny that you have so much to
say now from afar, because I remember giving you the chance to respond then, but your lips quivered you mouth shut.
"What I did that day was nothing personal, it was wholly professional. Ultimate Warrior was in a whole other league than
all you B-players at the time -- yes, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels included -- and it was my professional business
responsibility to protect His worth. Whether you liked it or not, I didn't really much give a fuck. Yet, here you are today
taking every cheap-shot opportunity you can to mock the Ultimate Warrior persona and deride me, personally, about how I
handled my business as if you don't get it. But you do. In fact, you got it real well. Well enough that you followed my lead
and have, as a professional asshole watching out for his professional self, done quite well for yourself.
"Hell, Paul, own up little, puffy man. You tried to replicate everything about me. So what you used a few more wrestling
moves. Nobody cares and even fewer will remember. It was the Ultimate Warrior intensity and look you strove for. You knew
this was the ticket. It became your mission. You even took up a serious interest in bodybuilding and began rubbing your very
narrow shoulders with famous bodybuilders, like doing this would make you more of a real bodybuilder like I once was and,
you prayed, more like an Ultimate Warrior. Difference is, Paul, it didn't work. Ironically, your bodybuilder friends are
some of the same guys who used to ask for me for training advice when WWF came through town and we'd train at The Mecca,
THE Gold's Gym in Venice, CA. Yet we can be sure -- they don't ask you. It's a good thing Vince backed off the drug testing
as he did because without them you wouldn't have made muscle grade enough for the real freaks to even let you be one of
their friends. BTW, to get rid of the puffy look, get off the GH and train hard. Yeah, that's right -- train hard. Your
body tells us all that you train like a twat and rely most on your "sports supplements."
"Yes, Paul, sorrily, your whole career has been a mission to outdo Ultimate Warrior. But guess what little, puffy man? You
failed. Oh, how you failed. I set an iconic standard none of you could reach. And you are bitter about it. So bitter. You
all are. Indeed, it is this bitterness that you most have in common with your father-in-law. In fact, he recognized the
depth of it in you and knew if something ever happened to him you would continue the mission to fulfill HIS vendetta. To
secure it, he gave you his daughter. But he must be a little concerned, because it seems the only masculinity you can drum
up is while you are hanging onto her booking skirt. You know, think about it. If I hadn't been smitten with my own honey at
the time and Vince would have been more sensible, he might have hired me to become his son-in-law. You know, the Original
Ultimate Warrior, not a dismal imitation. On second thought, I had strong self confidence and Vince never felt sorry for me
as he evidently does for you."
Triple H returns to a distinctly different WWE than the one he left in 2010. In his first WWE Magazine
interview in three years, The King of Kings sizes up his latest competition, talks about starring in the new film, The
Chaperone, reveals what Shawn Michaels has been really up to since WrestleMania, and explains when, if ever,
he'll leave the ring for good.
You're returning to WWE after a slew of top guys have left the company. Does the landscape feel that much different to
It does. I'd been in the ring a million times with a lot of guys who left. Now, when you look at Wade Barrett or The Miz,
these are guys that I've never been in the ring with. Do I know them? Sure, I see them all the time, but from an in-ring
standpoint, I just know them the way everybody else knows them. I've never had my hands on them.
Does that present any new challenges for you?
In a way, but then again, I didn't know Batista when he first walked in the door, either. But through the process of him
being a member of Evolution and being in the ring with him, I got to know him very well. The big difference now is that I'm
walking in as a WWE veteran from almost a different era in the business. Really, the only guys left are myself and Undertaker.
We were both here before The Attitude Era, we helped usher in The Attitude Era, we watched The Attitude Era go away, and
we're still here now.
What's your current state of the WWE locker room?
There are a lot of young guys with a lot of energy running around, but they really don't know where they're going or how
they're going to get there yet. Guys like Undertaker and myself have a much clearer vision of where you want to go and what
you've got to do to get there.
So do you think that a lot of these younger Superstars need guidance?
Here's the difference: When I broke into the business, you walked into the locker room, and there were twenty veterans
and three green guys. Now, you walk into our locker room and there are thirty green guys and two veterans. When I came in, I
was working 300 days a year with Razor Ramon, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Undertaker and Yokozuna. I had a plethora
of guys to learn from. They're weren't pulling me aside and teaching me, but you couldn't help but learn from being in the
ring with them. You're getting beat up by the best every day and learning all the time. That was the difference. Often these
new guys struggle to pick up the fundamentals of the business because they're just being told what to do. No one is the ring
with them, which the only way you learn.
In your opinion, what's missing from WWE in 2011?
I feel there is no "Destroyer." There's nobody who, when his music hits, the other guy in the ring goes, "Oh no." When
Undertaker's bell hits, people know that, to quote J.R., "Business is about to pick up." When you hear that guitar riff
and Lemmy says, "Time to play the game," you know business is about to pick up. I don't think we have that now.
How will your next run as a WWE Superstar differ from previous ones?
In the past, my goal was just becoming WWE Champion or World Heavyweight Champion. But there's a certain time when you get
beyond that. Shawn moved beyond that. Shawn didn't have to be in contention for a championship. I don't have to be in
contention for a championship. I don't have to be contending for a championship. Undertaker doesn't have to be in contention.
We've moved beyond needing a title to prove that we're the best. That's where I am now. Cena will eventually be there, but
right now, he's still smack dab in the middle of the hunt.
If we told you three years ago that The Miz would one day be champion, would you have believed us?
I don't believe you now! If you were to go back and show me video of The Miz, just enough for me to get to know who he is,
and then told me he was World Champion, I would have punched you in the face. I would have said never in a million years. But
I will say this about The Miz: He's earned every right be where he is through hard work. That kid works his butt off.
As a guy who's been part of two legendary stables, DX and Evolution, where do you think The Nexus ranks in terms of
The jury's still out. DX lasted from 1997 through 2010. The only reason it's dead is because Shawn retired. Does The Nexus
have that kind of staying power? I don't know. In Evolution, we had a 16-time World Champion, a 13-time World Champion, as
well as Batista, who went on to become a six-time World Champion, and Randy Orton, who would go on to be a seven-time World
Champion. The Nexus is a group of guys who made a massive impact on the business walking in the door, but can they maintain
that? I think they have the potential.
What are your criteria for a successful stable, and does The Nexus have it?
I always judge groups by asking them what happens to the guys who are in the group when they leave. Edge had guys, Kurt Angle had guys, and they were all supposed to be the big, massive stable that never materialized. When they broke up, the
key guy stayed the key guy, and the rest just rode off into the sunset. D-Generation X, in all forms, was popular. In The
Four Horsemen, you had Arn Anderson and Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard and Ole Anderson, Barry Windham or Lex Luger, guys who
were all big stars in their own right. You split The Nexus apart now, and I don't what happens to David Otunga. I don't
know what happens to Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater. It's too early to tell.
You've recently branched out into acting, starring The Chaperone. What have you learned from your movie-making
Trips on the set of WWE Studios blockbuster The Chaperone
Well, what I made Blade: Trinity, I was in a different place in my life. While I enjoyed making the film, it
couldn't hold a candle to what I did in the ring. I couldn't wait to get done so that I could go back to work. I got offered
a three-picture deal when that movie came out, and I turned it down because it wasn't what I wanted to do. This time, I was
able to enjoy the experience more. It wasn't the "I can't wait to get back" mentality. I knew the wrestling business was
still there. I never take it for granted, but I'm comfortable taking the time to make movies. It still doesn't compare to
being in the ring.
This past spring, you watched Shawn Michaels retire. How hard was it to say goodbye to someone with whom you basically
spent your entire career?
It was bittersweet. Shawn and I had talked for years about how we never wanted to be the two guys who hung around too long.
We wanted to be the guys who, when we said we were done, we were done. And we made a pact that if we got to that point and one
of us didn't recognize it on our own, the other would say, "Dude, hang it up." So it was awesome for me to see Shawn go out
on his terms. We have had a unique relationship--there were times in my life when I saw him more than anyone else. We still
talk all the time, though.
In your conversations, has Shawn ever told you whether he'll return to the ring?
Shawn has no intention of wrestling. For all the calls he gets begging him to come back, as of this moment, he has no intention
of ever putting his trunks on and wrestling again. And he's at peace with that, which is awesome.
When you retire for good, do you think you'll make the same clean break?
I hope so. Look, if I can't do this the way I feel like I should be able to, then I want to be done. And I don't want to
come back here and tarnish that. I don't want to do the nostalgia run where I come out and say I'm the greatest in the world.
There was a time when I would have argued that I was the best in the business. When I don't feel like I can perform at that
level, I don't want to do it anymore. I don't want to be just a guy in the ring. I want to be the guy in the ring.