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WRESTLING COLUMNS

He's That Damn Good
May 19, 2005 by Wes 'The Demon' Martinez


Hello, everyone. This is Wes "The Demon" Martinez, here to hopefully provide you with another entertaining article. After my last article had gotten some views and some constructive criticism, I decided it was time to write my second article; an article that I would put every fibre of my being into. But I couldn't think of what, or who, to write about. Should I address the Matt Hardy/Lita/Edge situation, or should I maybe write a column devoted to the ECW pay-per-view" Then it just came to me: why not do an article on a major player in the business, and one of the people who was the main focus of my last article" That's right; this article is about none other than Triple H. I've researched a lot about The Game, and for the sake of this article, I've researched even more, and I hope that you find it entertaining.

Paul Michael Levesque was born on July 27th, 1969 in Nashua, New Hampshire to Paul and Patricia Levesque. He grew up in a fairly close family, along with his sister Lynn, who is four years his senior. Young Paul was obsessed with professional wrestling as he was growing up. During his high school years, he had developed a strong passion for bodybuilding. He was a good student, but was in trouble quite a bit for not knowing when to keep his mouth shut. He graduated high school at the age of 17 and continued bodybuilding and also going to a little bit of college, as he had an interest in graphic arts as well as a talent for drawing. Much of his time was used working as a consultant at local health clubs and trying to find out how to get into the small circle of wrestling schools he knew about.

It was at a bodybuilding competition that young Paul Levesque met Ted Arcidi, a professional wrestler who was well known for his incredible physique, along with being the first man to bench-press 400 pounds. Through Arcidi, Paul was introduced to Walter "Killer" Kowalski, a legendary wrestling heel and the current owner of a small wrestling school in Massachusetts. Kowalski immediately saw the potential in the young bodybuilder, and took him in as a pupil. Paul caught on to wrestling very quickly; often attending extra training sessions with his teacher after the other students had left. It was March of 1992 when he debuted in Kowalski's IWF promotion under the name Terra Ryzing. Barely a year into his career, Paul received an offer to become a part of the World Wrestling Federation by Pat Patterson, who had been coming to IWF shows and was very impressed with him. Paul knew that he wasn't ready to wrestle for a company like the WWF, so he declined. He began to try and get into World Championship Wrestling, where he would be able to understand the business better at a much slower pace. He received a tryout with WCW and flew down to Atlanta on his own expenses. Once there, he wrestled with Keith Cole, after being told before the match that it would not be televised. Soon after that, WCW offered him a contract for two years, but Paul took the contract for only one year, instead. He then went home, and while waiting for WCW to come up with a new character for him, he was surprised to see himself on WCW's Saturday night TV program, wrestling in his tryout match.

It took about half a year before Paul finally received the gimmick change that WCW had promised him. The folks at WCW realized that Paul's last name was French and decided to give him the gimmick of a snobby French aristocrat. He became known as Jean-Paul Levesque, and cut promos using the best French accent he could develop, which, as he would recall later, wasn't that great. Eric Bischoff, however, did not see the potential in the young star, and jobbed him to Alex Wright at his only WCW pay-per-view, Starrcade 1994. He was, however, on the verge of getting his first major push when his contract expired. Almost immediately he received a call from Vince McMahon, who told Paul that he really wanted him to work for the WWF, and that he would be given a good spot on the roster and a better opportunity to develop his wrestling ability than he was receiving in WCW. Paul took the offer and left WCW in the spring of that year.

Paul visited the WWF backstage at WrestleMania XI, getting acquainted with the people he would be working with. There, he met Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman, and they became known as the "Clique." He debuted in May of 1995 under the name Hunter Hearst Helmsley, a spoiled rich kid from Greenwich, Connecticut, whose name came from publisher William Randolph Hearst and "The Queen of Mean" Leona Helmsley. Hunter's early feuds were with the men on the roster who were the complete opposite of an aristocrat, which included Duke "The Dumpster" Droese (who was a garbage man) and Henry Godwinn (who was a hog farmer). In late 1995, he wrestled against Godwinn in a Hog Pen Match at the Hershey Arena, during an In Your House event. Hunter was victorious, but Godwinn got the last laugh in the end by pushing him into the hog pen, which was filled with mud, hogs, and hog faeces.



When it came to wrestling, Hunter was off to a good start. Backstage, however, he and his friends were considered to be a bunch of troublemakers, using backstage politics to get themselves ahead and causing chaos with their immature antics. Paul was guilty by association, although he had little to do with the poor behavior the more prominent Clique members. In May, 1996, the contracts of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall expired. Their last matches took place at Madison Square Garden, where Scott Hall wrestled Hunter, who was victorious in the end. Soon after, in the main event, Shawn Michaels defeated Kevin Nash in a steel cage match. Afterwards, Hunter and Scott both came down to the ring, entered the cage, and the four Clique members embraced each other in farewell.

Vince had okayed the Clique doing a little farewell at the end of the show, but to many members of WWF, the "Curtain Call" (as it came to be known) had gone too far. Vince had no choice but to punish somebody for the incident. Hall and Nash were gone and going to WCW, and Shawn Michaels was the new WWF Champion and Vince's current top star, so there was no way he'd let him take the heat. So, Vince took it out on none other than Hunter. For the majority of 1996, Hunter was jobbed to every single mid-carder on the roster, from an over-the-hill and out-of-shape Jake "The Snake" Roberts to the likes of Ahmed Johnson. Hunter was also set to be the King of the Ring winner for 1996, but the spot was taken from him and given to Stone Cold Steve Austin. Hunter was squashed by Sid Vicious in the first round of the Intercontinental Title tournament in August of that year and was kept off of all WWF pay-per-views from June until October, when he wrestled and lost to Steve Austin.

However, the night after his defeat to Steve Austin, things would start to turn around. Hunter captured his first WWF Intercontinental Championship from "Wildman" Marc Mero. However, he would be jobbed twice while IC Champion; once to Shawn Michaels (who was the current World Heavyweight Champion), and once to Sid Vicious, after Sid became World Champ a little later. Hunter would reign as the Intercontinental Champion until February 1997, when he would lose it to another young up-and-comer, Rocky Maivia. Soon after his Intercontinental Title loss, Hunter gained a bodyguard of sorts; a muscular woman named Chyna (Joanie Laurer) came onto the scene and began attacking his opponents. She would eventually become his real-life girlfriend for the next few years. In June of 1997, Hunter would become King of the Ring. His interview with Vince McMahon on his victory the next night on RAW was interrupted by Mankind, whom he had defeated the night before. Hunter feuded with Mankind for the next two months, with a double-count out at the July '97 In Your House event and a loss to Mankind in a cage match in August at Summerslam.

In the Summer of '97, Hunter was being forced to team with best friend, Shawn Michaels, to wrestle the tag team of Mankind and the Undertaker. Both Shawn and Hunter didn't want to team together, but the chemistry was there, and the two left together after Shawn hit the Undertaker with two brutal chair shots during the match. Hunter began regularly appearing with Shawn Michaels, helping him defeat the Undertaker a few more times as well as members of the Hart Foundation. Soon after Hunter helped the Heartbreak Kid acquire the European Title, Shawn began another feud with Bret Hart, which would climax with the infamous Survivor Series incident. In October 1997, Shawn and Hunter, playing off of Bret's labelling of them as "degenerates," declared themselves to be "D-Generation X," and a new era of the WWF was born.

For fans of Shawn and Hunter, this was a great time period. However, in March of 1998, Shawn Michaels was taken out of wrestling with a back injury. Hunter then took the lead of D-Generation X after WrestleMania. He inducted Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and X-Pac (Sean Waltman) as members of the new DX, and the group continued for another year. Hunter led the "DX Army" throughout 1998; this was the first time he'd performed as a babyface in the WWF, and he quickly became one of its most popular stars. During this time, he also began feuding with the Rock, who at the time was a heel. It was in August of that year in an incredible ladder match against the Rock that Hunter would capture the Intercontinental Title for the second time.

When The Rock won the WWF Championship in late 1998, the rivalry between the two continued, but it became more of a gang war. DX fought against Mr. McMahon's Corporation stable, of which the Rock was the main attraction, so to speak. At WrestleMania XV, Triple H wrestled as a babyface for the last time in a long while, defeating Kane with the aid of Chyna. Soon after, he turned on his DX companions by helping then-heel Shane McMahon retain the European Championship from fellow DX member, X-Pac. This earned him the hatred of the fans and helped push him further towards the WWF Championship. Hunter later joined the Corporation. However, this put him alongside the Rock, who was a long time Corporate member. Unable to get along, the Rock left the Corporation and took Hunter's place as a babyface.

Meanwhile, Hunter was working harder and harder to get close to the WWF Championship. Along with turning heel, Hunter then began to change his look to the current one we know today, wearing wrestling trunks rather than pants, growing a small beard and moustache, and wrestling with his hair down and wet, to give himself an edgier look. Eventually, with the death of the Corporate Ministry (the group which was created when the Corporation and the Undertaker's Ministry merged), Hunter found himself closer to the WWF Championship. After numerous failed attempts, Triple H, along with Mankind, would face then-World Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin in a Triple Threat match, which featured Governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura as the special guest referee. Mankind was the winner, and became World Champion for the third time. Furious, Hunter and Chyna laid waste to Austin. The following night on RAW is War, Hunter threatened to break Jim Ross's arm if Mankind didn't give him a title shot that very night. Hunter received his match, and that night he won his first WWF Championship. After winning the title, Hunter then interviewed Jim Ross to see what Ross thought of him. Good old J.R.'s reply was that Hunter was a "no good, drunken S.O.B." and earned a serious beating.

In December of 1999, Hunter began a storyline as the husband of Stephanie McMahon, forcibly marrying her in a drive-in theater to annoy her father, Vince McMahon. Stephanie would later reveal that she was in on it the whole time, and the two would dominate the company for the next year, in what became known as the "McMahon-Helmsley Era." Stephanie and Hunter would later become a real-life couple after Hunter and Chyna broke up in early 2001. However, 2000 would be Hunter's best year to this day. He put on a terrific set of matches, from January at the Royal Rumble where he wrestled Mick Foley in a street fight, to May at Judgment Day where he went sixty minutes with Rock in an Iron Man Match. Hunter was declared 2000's Wrestler of the Year by many wrestling websites and magazines, among them the WWF itself.

The most difficult moment of The Game's career occurred on the May 21st, 2001 edition of RAW, during a tag match with then-partner Steve Austin against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. He suffered a legitimate and career-threatening injury when he tore his left quadricep muscle, and, despite his inability to place any weight on his leg, Hunter was able to complete the match, something that his fans and fellow wrestlers saw as an admirable display of dedication to the business. He even allowed Chris Jericho to place him in his standard finishing maneuver, the Walls of Jericho, a move that places a considerable amount of stress on the quadriceps. The tear required an operation, and Hunter was out of action for close to eight months. Hunter returned on January 7th, 2002. He came back to SmackDown! and became face by turning on Kurt Angle. On July 22nd, 2002, Hunter turned heel for the third time by turning on his long time friend (and recently turned babyface) Shawn Michaels by performing his finishing move, The Pedigree, on him and smashing his face through a car window during a DX reunion. These events led to the beginning of a heated rivalry between the former partners.

Then, prior to September 2, 2002, WWE recognized only one World Champion, and that champion represented both RAW and SmackDown! Just after that year's Summerslam, however, champion Brock Lesnar became exclusive to SmackDown!, leaving RAW without a champion. RAW General Manager Eric Bischoff then declared that since Lesnar had left for SmackDown!, RAW needed its own champion. With that, he opened a briefcase, pulled out the old WCW Championship, and gave it to Hunter, naming him the first ever World Heavyweight Champion. The rest, as they say, is history.

So, there you have it: a biographical column about The Game. In a sense, Triple H has done it all: he's written and published a book, has started an acting career, and has secured himself as one of the hardest workers in the business. He's paid his dues to get where he is today, and he deserves a lot of credit for what he's done for the industry. Triple H may be a controversial figure; he may have a hand at backstage politics, and he may be married to the chairman's daughter, but you can't deny the fact that this man is both a great performer and a great businessman, and chances are, he'll be a major player for many years. In closing, I'd just like to say: he's the Cerebral Assassin, he's The Game, he's Triple H, and he's that damn good.

by Wes 'The Demon' Martinez ..


Matthew Geddes wrote:
It's about time !!! Other commitments have stopped me writing a column singing the praises of Triple H, so how happy I am to see someone else give the man the respect he so thoroughly deserves.

Face it. The guy jobbed for years to every midcarder and low carder before he had even heard of The Kliq. He put on two of the greatest main events with Mick Foley in 2000. He may be married to the boss's daughter, but he was a superstar way before that.

He stepped up to the plate when The Rock, Foley and Stone Cold left the scene for various reasons and scored home run after home run.

Good on you Wes for giving Triple H the credit he more than deserves. You're right. He is that damn good, and the sooner everyone stops whining about it the better !
Huthaifas wrote:
Anyone who thinks its easy being the boss's son in law, are drinking the conspiracy Kool Aid. Vince loves Stephanie, not Hunter. Hunter must be a good husband, hell he must be a great husband, or his career is over. If Vince is as easily manipulated as people seem to think, then the person who gets it worst, has to be Hunter. Let say Hunter does an Edge, what do you think would happen to Hunter" Let say Hunter does an Austin, what happen to Hunter then"Let say Hunter is like every other husband in the world, and makes his wife mad. What happens when Steph cries to Daddy" Are you seeing my point"

Vince has shown time and time again, he cares more about the show, then he does personal business. Why in the Blue Hell, do you think Bischoff is employed by them. Hell, he let Eric slob down his wife. Vince doesnt care about being beaten down or humiliated, he just cares that the crowd is entertained. Take a closer look at Vince's history, and then check your conspiracy theories about the guy. They dont match.
ADowney87 wrote:
can i join in the praise for the game. He is a world class worker who has busted his butt to get where he is today. I agree with the fact that he was a star in the 90's why would Vince sign him otherwise if he thought he was not going to be a star. Did Vince think in 1994 or whenever he signed him he will be no good and released within a week.

He has fantastic mic skills and can tell a story and keep you entralled by his storylines. he can elevate a midcarders career to main event within a month look at Batista, now my point is i am not saying that Batista could not do it by himself what i am saying is that he has certainly was responsible for him being a main eventer probably 2 months earlier than he could been and partly thanks to HHH he main evented at wrestlemania and won.

and another question if he uses his backstage "powers" why does he put over everyone he fueds with and they end up with more overness when they are done even if the game wins the fued ---- HE IS THAT DAMN GOOD!!!!!!!!!!
Darron wrote:
Anyone who thinks Triple H is a great wrestler needs their ass kicked. Triple H lives to hold down talent so that he can keep the spotlight on himself, Just ask RVD, Goldberg, Chris Jericho and Booker T who he squashed and made them look weak in their matches against him. He hasn't put on an above average match since last year in his matches with Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit and those matches were mostly good due in part to Benoit and Michaels who are better workers than Triple H could ever hope to be. Triple H is only on top because he's married to Stephanie "Idiot" Mcmahon which is a conflict of interest from a business standpoint because he gets to do things that keep him on top like sit in on booking meetings and sway Vince and Stephanie's business decisions which keeps him on the top tier.

The only reason why he's a 10 time champion is because that's what he wants and everyone has to to take the backseat because of it except for The Rock, Steve Austin and Mic Foley who Triple H can''t touch because they outdraw his ass everyday of the week and the put more money in Vince's pocket than Triple H ever could so that's that.

As far as you guys saying that he makes talent look good other than Batista who was gonna get a push anyway cuz he's a steriod freak who else has Triple H helped in the ring" The answer is nobody go back and watch WM 19 when he was carried to a good match by Booker T but hit him with a Pedigree which was the worst looking Pedigree he has ever hit might I add only to pin him almost 5 minutes later which killed Booker T and made him look weak, Then go and watch Unforgiven 2002 against Rob Van Dam where he did the same thing which was make Van Dam look weak.

Rarely does he put anyone over and when it does it doesn't matter cuz he ends up taking the strap back a month or so later like he's gonna do with Batista. To even try to say he's one of the best is a joke because I can name 10 workers on the roster right now that blow him away.
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