I don’t mind admitting that when I started watching wrestling in the late ’90s, one of the most prominent figures that drew my attention was Triple H. Yeah, the Attitude Era in WWF at the time featured Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Kane, The Rock and Mankind, but it also featured D-Generation X with Triple H as the faction’s leader, and they were part of some of the most iconic moments in WWF. (i.e. DX invading WCW) I instantly became a fan of DX, especially during HHH’s feud with The Rock and later, the Corporation. Then WrestleMania XV happened, that was my first WrestleMania I watched on TV with my dad, when Triple H turned heel. From there, his career skyrocketed and he became the top heel opposite Stone Cold and The Rock, winning the WWF Championship on multiple occasions.
Fast foreword to 2001 when he tore his quadriceps muscle and was out during the Invasion storyline, then returning to WWF in 2002 to a massive response from Madison Square Garden. I still watch that segment now and then. Then, there was the infamous Reign of Terror from late 2002 to about early to -mid 2005, during which time he formed Evolution with Ric Flair and two future World Champions in Randy Orton and Batista. Yeah, I was one of the many fans who wanted for Triple H to get beaten. Granted, he was the heel so I was supposed to not like him. He turned face in 2006 and reunited with best friend Shawn Michaels to reform DX and I laughed my ass off with each and every segment they put out. By 2010, Triple H was becoming less and less active in the ring and I was becoming more aware of the behind the scenes machinations of the business.
He turned heel again in 2013, forming the Authority in a bid to keep fan favorite Daniel Bryan away from the World Title picture, reformed Evolution with the aforementioned Randy Orton and Batista against the Shield. In my opinion though, I think Triple H’s proudest career moment wasn’t in the ring but behind the scenes at NXT. If not for Triple H, we’d probably never have gotten the Shield, The Undisputed Era, Big E, Asuka, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Bayley, Charlotte Flair, Bray Wyatt, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura, Tommaso Ciampa, Riddle, Damian Priest, Alex Bliss, Ricochet, etc.
Hearing about his health issues felt like a gut punch and I genuinely felt a sense of dread that Triple H was possibly going to pass away, but thankfully he didn’t. When I heard that he was officially retiring because of those issues, I was disappointed because I was of the belief that he should’ve retired on his terms. It sucks because there’s a part of me as a fan that wants to see Triple H wrestle one more time. But as a person, I understand that his health and his family come first. That being said, I’m proud to have been able to watch Triple H’s wrestling career, both the ups and downs. I’m proud to have been able to cheer and boo him at every given opportunity that came around. He’s already a WWE Hall Of Famer as part of D Generation X, but I hope he gets a well deserved solo induction.
As a wrestling fan, I say this; Triple H, thank you.
Long live the King Of Kings.