Triple H's milestone moments
It's time to play The Game again. WWE COO Triple H made a stunning return by handing Brock Lesnar a brutal beatdown during Mr. McMahon's fight with Paul Heyman on Raw. With The King of Kings seemingly back to conquer his familiar rival, WWE.com looks back on Triple H's most memorable moments from his legendary career.
Take a bow (May 19, 1996)
Triple H’s WWE career gets off to a rocky start stemming from an incident at a WWE live event at Madison Square Garden. During the infamous “Curtain Call,” supposed foes Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Razor Ramon and Hunter Hearst Helmsley embrace in the ring, revealing the now notorious “Kliq” group. Razor and Big Daddy Cool depart WWE and HBK holds the WWE Championship, but Triple H struggles to regain his footing.
Assuming his throne (June 8, 1997)
Hunter Hearst Helmsley has a better showing in 1997’s King of the Ring tournament than he had the previous year when he was eliminated in the first round. On this occasion, the eventual King of Kings sits atop the royal throne after defeating Ahmed Johnson and Mankind, who becomes one of The Game’s greatest rivals.
Two Words For Ya (October 13, 1997)
“Are you ready?” After several months of Triple H and Shawn Michaels interfering in matches on the other’s behalf, the pair of the former Kliq members – plus Chyna and “Ravishing” Rick Rude – officially christen themselves D-Generation X on this date’s edition of Raw, which also includes the first uttering of the faction’s infamous two-word command.
Running with the ball (March 30, 1998)
At WrestleMania XIV, Triple H’s stablemate Shawn Michaels loses the WWE Championship. The next night on Raw, The Game states HBK had “dropped the ball,” and names himself the new leader of D-Generation X. To keep the spirit of the Kliq, Triple H recruits old friend X-Pac. The New Age Outlaws, Road Dogg Jesse James and “Badd Ass” Billy Gunn, also officially become DX members under Triple H’s new regime.
The Game (August 23, 1999)
After joining Mr. McMahon’s Corporation at WrestleMania XV, Triple H receives multiple opportunities at the WWE Championship throughout the year, but always comes up short, including a Triple Threat Match at SummerSlam. The night after the event on Raw, he defeats Mankind to finally win his first-ever WWE Championship, living up to his proclamation of being “the best in the game today.”
The McMahon-Helmsley Era (November 29, 1999)
In perhaps the most poignant moment of Triple H’s life and career, he interrupts Stephanie McMahon's wedding to Test on Raw, and presents footage of himself marrying a seemingly unconscious Stephanie the night before at a drive-thru chapel in Las Vegas. Their alliance is revealed the following month when she helps her husband defeat her father Mr. McMahon, thus beginning the power couple’s reign of terror in WWE.
The Cerebral Assassin (November 6, 2000)
In a shocking moment, The Game nails “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in the skull with a sledgehammer, revealing himself to be the mastermind responsible for influencing Rikishi to run over Austin with a car one year prior. With The Texas Rattlesnake away from the ring, Triple H is able to become the top dog in WWE, a calculated scheme that prompts Jim Ross to dub him “The Cerebral Assassin.”
A world famous return (January 7, 2002)
In May of 2001, Triple H suffers a career-threatening injury, tearing his quadriceps completely off the bone. Following an eight-month hiatus, The Game makes his highly anticipated return at Madison Square Garden to a deafening reaction from the New York City crowd. He goes on to win the Royal Rumble Match later that month and becomes the Undisputed Champion in the main event at WrestleMania X8.
Birth of a title (September 2, 2002)
After Brock Lesnar wins the Undisputed Championship at Summerslam, the title becomes exclusive to the SmackDown brand, leaving Raw without a champion. However, Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff awards Triple H with a brand new championship, represented by a prize carrying plenty of heritage. As the first-ever World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H bestows instant credibility to the new title.
End of a Title (October 20, 2002)
In what proves to be one of his most controversial battles, Triple H strikes a nerve with Kane and defeats The Big Red Monster to unify the Intercontinental Championship with the World Heavyweight Championship. With The Game’s momentous victory, the Intercontinental Title becomes inactive and is not contested for another seven months.
To Hell and back (December 15, 2002)
Throughout the second half of 2002, Triple H engages in a deep, personal rivalry with Shawn Michaels. The Heartbreak Kid wins the first battle, an Unsanctioned Street Fight at SummerSlam – HBK’s first match in more than four years – but The Game wins the war, defeating his former best friend in a brutal Three Stages of Hell Match, to begin his second reign as World Heavyweight Champion.
Everything evolves (February 3, 2003)
Along with 16-time World Champion Ric Flair, Triple H recruits future WWE Champions Batista and Randy Orton. Together, the foursome represents the past, present and future of sports-entertainment. Over the next two years, Evolution dominates WWE. At one point, they collectively hold all championships for which they are eligible. However, egos and jealousy eventually lead to the group’s demise.
The King of Kings (April 2, 2006)
As his King of Kings persona, Triple H marches to the ring at WrestleMania 22 more barbaric and demonic than ever before. He is at the zenith of his talents and is set to challenge John Cena for the WWE Championship. Despite his frosty relationship with the WWE Universe, the Chicago crowd cheers Triple H out of pure adulation. His opponent is treated with disdain, setting the stage for a unique contest.
Are you ready? (June 12, 2006)
In a series of circumstances culminating in a match pitting Triple H against the entire Spirit Squad, The Game reforms D-Generation X with his former best friend-turned-rival Shawn Michaels to confront Mr. McMahon. Over the next four years, the duo practices their familiar brand of chaos, battling teams including Rated-RKO, The Legacy, and Jeri-Show, and they finally win the WWE Tag Team Championship.
The Last Outlaws (April 3, 2011)
Set to avenge Shawn Michaels’ retirement, The Game faces The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVII with The Streak on the line. As the most experienced Superstars on the roster, the two veterans are also battling to determine The Last Outlaw. Triple H performs a devastating Tombstone Piledriver on The Phenom that takes the collective breath out of the WWE Universe, putting The Streak in jeopardy like never before.
End of an Era (April 1, 2012)
Triple H initially declines The Undertaker's rematch request, but accepts when taunted with the notion that Shawn Michaels is better than him. The stakes are raised when the bout is placed inside Hell in a Cell with HBK himself as referee. In perhaps the most epic battle in WrestleMania history, The Phenom advances to 20-0, and the trio takes an unprecedented curtain call in front of nearly 80,000 fans.
"I Tried" (August 19, 2012)
With Brock Lesnar running rampant throughout the WWE locker room, The King of Kings lays a challenge at the feet of the former Undisputed Champion when Lesnar breaks both Shawn Michaels’ and Triple H’s arms in a fit of rage. Their bout, dubbed “The Perfect Storm,” is set for SummerSlam after The Game heals and what ensues is a mighty clash that isn’t so much a wrestling match as a drag-out fight. Triple H battles mightily against his gargantuan opponent, but he ultimately falls short when Lesnar breaks his arm a second time and forces The King of Kings to submit. The next night on Raw, Triple H delivers an emotional address that many interpret as a farewell, leading the WWE Universe to wonder if his days of competition are at an end.
“The Ass-Kicker’s Back” (February 25, 2013)
The King of Kings shocks the WWE Universe when he comes to the aid of an injured Mr. McMahon after Lesnar makes a move to further maim The Chairman. Nearly six months after last setting foot in a WWE ring, The Game taps into his old stores of pent-up brutality and unleashes a battering on The Anomaly, ramming Brock’s head into the ring post and staining the canvas with Lesnar’s blood. Triple H later proclaims that “the ass-kicker’s back,” inviting Lesnar to return the favor anytime he likes.