Hunter Hearst Helmsley has had many nicknames since making an impact in wrestling. Triple H. The Connecticut Blueblood. The Game. The Cerebral Assassin. The Lord of the Ring. The King of Kings. Poochie (Simpsons’ reference. If you don’t get it, move on).
But the name that sticks out the most is “The Game”. Not because at the time he gave himself the nickname he was on top of the wrestling world, but because Triple H knows how to play the game in and outside the ring. It started with The Kliq (along with Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Sean Waltman) and jumped over the moon when he married Stephane McMahon, aka The Boss’s Daughter. He understood how to get ahead in the business.
Starting out as a midcarder in WCW and then WWF/E, he eventually became a 13-time World Champion in the WWF/E — the WWF/E’s all-time record, closing in on his idol, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Overall, Hunter has won 23 championships in the WWF/E. Even at 43 years of age, he could still tack on a 14th World Title reign, and it would be another day at the office.
But what made him stand the test of time in the company was his commanding presence, his ring-work and microphone skills. Being the son-in-law of Vince McMahon doesn’t hurt as well, as well as being close friends with D-Generation X comrade Shawn Michaels, and the veteran Undertaker… so say his detractors. He was given many an opportunity other wrestlers might not have, due to his backstage influence.
Triple H’s role in the WWF/E has grown considerably, from being squashed by the Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania XII, to having entire shows revolving around him and his real-but-secret wife, Stephanie McMahon in the McMahon-Helmsley era circa 2000-01. He became the first heel to win in the main event at WrestleMania 2000, and “ended” Mick Foley’s legendary career in a Hell in a Cell match.
If asked whom Hunter’s biggest feud was against, you may be at a loss. He had great feuds against all the top wrestlers in the WWF/E, including Steve Austin, The Rock, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, Randy Orton, The Undertaker… and the list goes on.
These days Hunter is semi-retired from the WWF/E, acting as the Chief Operating Officer, and preparing for his WrestleMania 28 match against The Undertaker.
Defining Match Of The WrestleMania Era: Triple H vs. Ric Flair on Monday Night Raw
What would be the most defining match in Triple H’s career? Would it be the match in which he retired Mick Foley? His Hell in the Cell match with Shawn Michaels? His Undisputed Championship win over Chris Jericho at WrestleMania X8? His 2011 WrestleMania match with The Undertaker?
All good choices, but my personal pick was on a RAW in 2002 when Triple H defended his World Heavyweight Championship title against his idol, Ric Flair. Hunter had been handed the title earlier, and this would be his first true defense.
Why this match? Flair had been battling his own demons and doubting his own abilities. In this match, he not only proved he still had it, but that Triple H was able to bring it out of him. He made Ric Flair look great again. How many of us would love to not only meet our idol, but to bring out the best in them?