Paul Michael Levesque (born July 27, 1969 in Nashua, New Hampshire) is an American professional wrestler, best known as Hunter Hearst Helmsley or Triple H. He is a 10-time World Champion: 5-time WWE Champion and 5-time World Heavyweight Champion.
Triple H was originally packaged as the WWF heel Hunter Hearst Helmsley, a spoiled rich kid from Greenwich, Connecticut whose name invoked both the family of publisher William Randolph Hearst and "The Queen of Mean," Leona Helmsley. Along with fellow Clique member Shawn Michaels and Chyna, he formed one of the most popular stables in wrestling history, D-Generation X in 1997. Around the same time, he shortened his alias to Triple H (a reference to the character's initials, HHH). This was the beginning of The Game's rise to become one of the most successful professional wrestlers ever.
During Triple H's WWE career, he has held a number of titles, including the WWE Championship, the Intercontinental Championship, the European Championship, and (with unlikely partner Stone Cold Steve Austin) the WWF Tag Team Championship. He is only the second of five wrestlers to have held all four of those titles, the first being Shawn Michaels. This is sometimes referred to as being a Grand Slam Champion. He also won the 1997 King of the Ring tournament and the 2002 Royal Rumble match.
Triple H was taught to wrestle by legendary wrestling heel Killer Kowalski. In 1994 he joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW), wrestling there as a heel under the names Terra Ryzing and Jean-Paul Levesque. He left in 1995 for WCW's rival organization, the WWF (now WWE).
Triple H started off his WWE career as the Connecticut Blue-Blood, Hunter Hearst Helmsley. He was not a very popular wrestler whose most notable accomplishment was being squashed by The Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania XII. Hunter was best known backstage as one of the members of the Clique, a group of wrestlers including Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman and Scott Hall who worked exclusively together and were known for influencing Vince McMahon and the WWF Creative team. Because of his connections with the Clique, he was in line to win the 1996 King of the Ring, but was eventually suspended and buried after the MSG incident where the Clique broke kayfabe after a Shawn Michaels/Diesel match to say goodbye to the departing Nash and Hall.
His push resumed in 1997, where he was named 1997 King of the Ring. Later that year, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and bodyguard Chyna formed D-Generation X. DX became known for pushing the envelope, as Shawn and Hunter made risque promos, developing the catchphrase and hand motion "Suck It", and sarcastically deriding Bret Hart and Canada. After WrestleMania XIV, Shawn Michaels was forced into retirement due to a back injury, and Triple H took over the leadership position in DX. He introduced the returning X-Pac the night after Wrestlemania and joined forces with the New Age Outlaws.
Triple H led the "DX Army" throughout 1998; this was the first time he had performed as a face in WWE and he quickly became one of its most popular wrestlers. It was during this time that Triple H began feuding with the leader of the Nation of Domination and rising WWF heel The Rock. This rivalry eventually lead to a feud over the Intercontinental Championship. Triple H defeated The Rock in a ladder match at SummerSlam 1998 to capture the title. Triple H would not hold the Intercontinental title long, being sidelined with a knee injury he suffered in the ladder match. When The Rock won the World Championship at the Survivor Series in 1998, the rivalry between the two continued but became more of a gang war as DX fought Mr. McMahon's Corporation stable, of which Rock was the crown jewel.
As 1999 began, Triple H began to re-evaluate his position in the WWE. He longed for a shot at the WWF Championship, however due to his inferior popularity compared to Stone Cold Steve Austin he knew that the fans would never want to see him take on another fan favorite. Triple H received a shot at the WWF Championship on the January 25, 1999 edition on RAW in an "I Quit" match against The Rock, but was forced to quit or see his aide Chyna chokeslammed by Kane. Chyna would attack Triple H after the match and join The Corporation. At WrestleMania XV Triple H wrestled as a face for the last time in several months when he beat Kane with the aid of Chyna, who was thought to have rejoined DX. Later on he betrayed his long-time friend and fellow DX member X-Pac by helping a heel Shane McMahon retain the European Championship, thus turning heel and taking Chyna with him. This decision earned him the hatred of the fans, and helped push Triple H further in the direction of the WWE Championship. Triple H joined the Corporation, however this placed him in the same boat as The Rock, a long-time Corporate member. Unable to get along, The Rock took Triple H's place as a face and quickly became one of the hottest superstars in WWE history.
Meanwhile Triple H worked hard to get closer to the WWE Championship. Along with turning heel, Triple H got rid of his old "DX" look and took on the look he has to this day, which included the taping of his fists, new shorter wrestling trunks and the shortening of his hair. Triple H was changing his image and his personality as he fought to get a World title shot. During mid-1999, Triple H was "groomed" for the World title. Eventually, with the death of the "Corporate Ministry" (the group which was created out of a merger of the Corporation and the Undertaker's Ministry), Triple H found himself closer to the WWE Championship. After numerous failed attempts, at SummerSlam 1999 Triple H, along with Mankind would challenge then-WWE Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin. In a match which featured Governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura as the special guest referee, Triple H lost to Mankind who became World Champion for the third time.
The following night on RAW, Triple H threatened to break Jim Ross's arm if Mankind refused to give him a title shot that night. Mankind gave Triple H a shot and that night Triple H won his first WWE Championship. After winning the title Triple H then "interviewed" Jim Ross to see "what Ross thought of him." JR's reply was that he thought Triple H was a, "No good, drunken S.O.B." Triple H replied by beating JR to the ground. From then onwards, Triple H would feud with the biggest WWE superstars to date: The Rock, Mick Foley, Steve Austin, Vince McMahon, The Undertaker, Kurt Angle and many, many more. He would earn the hatred of fans around the world due to his dirty, under-handed tactics, including the use of his trademark sledgehammer and scheming nature such as forcing Mick Foley out of the WWF. He would also dub himself "The Game", implying that he was at the top of the wrestling world, as well as "The Cerebral Assassin", implying that he was simply smarter than the other wrestlers (as well as more talented).
Triple H started out 2000 with little credibility as WWF champion. His feud with Vince McMahon failed to set the world on fire and even outraged fans after McMahon won the title from Triple H during an episode of Smackdown. However, the short-lived feud started the Hunter Hearst Helmsley-Stephanie McMahon storyline that would carry the WWF throughout the next couple of years, when Triple H married Stephanie McMahon in a storyline that had him sabotaging the wedding of McMahon and Test.
Some fans had considered Triple H a transitional champion until The Rock regained the title. His feud with Mick Foley changed that line of thinking, with Triple H winning a Street Fight at the Royal Rumble and a Hell in a Cell match at No Way Out that sent Foley into retirement. By the time Triple H shockingly pinned The Rock at WrestleMania 2000 (becoming the first heel to walk out of WrestleMania as champion), he was the hottest character in the WWF and the heel equivalent to Stone Cold and The Rock, being able to get a enormous heat for his entrance and promos.
Although he had become of the most hated wrestlers in the WWF, this was not always the case. In the year 2000, Kurt Angle was making advances towards his storyline wife, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and because of Triple H and his anger towards Angle, the fans took his side and cheered for him to destroy Angle. After Triple H disposed of Angle, he continued to hear the cheers during his feud with Chris Benoit, but in November 2000, he turned heel again when he was revealed to be the man behind "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's accident one year prior. In 2001, Triple H feuded with Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker and would later team with Austin to capture the WWF Tag Team Titles.
The most difficult moment of Triple H's career occurred during a match on a live broadcast of Monday Night RAW on May 21, 2001 when he suffered a legitimate and career-threatening injury. A misstep caused him to suffer a tear in his left quadricep muscle. Despite his inability to place any weight on his leg, Triple H 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 one of his opponents in the match, Chris Jericho, to place him in his standard finishing maneuver, the "Walls of Jericho", a move that places considerable stress on the quadriceps. The tear required an operation, which was performed by famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, in Birmingham. The rigorous rehabilitation process kept him out of action for over seven months.
Return to wrestling
Triple H returned to RAW on January 7, 2002 at Madison Square Garden, receiving an tremendous ovation. He then went to that year's Royal Rumble, winning it and thus recieving a WWE Undisputed title match in the main event at Wrestlemania X-8. After trouble with wife Stephanie ensued, Hunter demenaded a divorce and she aligned herself with then champion, Chris Jericho. In the weeks leading to Wrestlemania X8, Jericho and Stephanie would try to take out Triple H's quad unsuccessfully. Hunter would go on to win the WWE Undisputed Championship at WrestleMania X8 over Jericho. After holding the title for a month, he dropped the title to Hulk Hogan at Backlash thanks to interference from the Undertaker. Triple H then became exclusive to the SmackDown! roster due to the WWE Draft Lottery where he eventually feuded with Taker over the title. Triple H was unsuccessful. About three months later, he would defect to RAW after being persuaded by old friend Shawn Michaels. On July 22, 2002 Triple H turned heel once again by turning on his long time friend Shawn Michaels by pedigreeing him in the middle of the ring during a DX reunion. The following week it was found out that someone smashed Michael's face brutally into a car window, it was revealed to be Hunter who did it to prove that Michaels was 'weak'. These events led to the beginning of a long, heated rivalry between the former partners and an eventual Street Fight at Summerslam '02 in which Michales won, but afterwards Triple H injured him with a sledgehammer.
Prior to September 2, 2002, WWE recognized only one Champion for both RAW and SmackDown! However, after that year's SummerSlam, champion Brock Lesnar inked a (storyline) deal to become exclusive to SmackDown!, leaving RAW without a champion. RAW General Manager Eric Bischoff would then award the first World Heavyweight Championship to Triple H in the form of the old WCW Championship belt. Triple H would go on to hold the belt for almost a year(with the exception on one month in which Michaels held the title) Since that time, Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit, Randy Orton, Goldberg and Batista have all held the championship (always won from Triple H with the exception of Randy Orton). With the exception of Benoit and Batista (current champion), all have lost it relatively quickly (also often to Triple H).
In January 2003, Triple H formed Evolution with Ric Flair, Randy Orton, and Batista. Its purpose was to include the greatest wrestlers of the past (Flair), present (HHH), and future (Orton and Batista), and to support Triple H as the World Heavyweight Champion, with other members interfering in matches on his behalf. On a house show in February, both Batista and Randy Orton suffered injuries, setting the Evolution angle back four months until Randy Orton returned. Batista returned in October, and was little more than Evolution's muscle, whereas Orton was supposed to be the successor to Triple H. Evolution was the most dominant force on 'RAW' and helped to keep 'the Game' on top.
Eventually, Triple H kicked Orton out of the group after Orton won the World Heavyweight Championship from Chris Benoit at SummerSlam 2004. Triple H then won the title back only a month later. The feud continued, but the fans resented Orton as a babyface. The original plan was for Randy Orton to wrestle Triple H at WrestleMania 21, but because Batista had gained significant amounts of popularity in late 2004, he was the one chosen to feud with Triple H up until and after WrestleMania.
Batista won the 2005 Royal Rumble, then turned on Triple H the next month after learning of Triple H's attempts to trick him into jumping to SmackDown! so Triple H would not have to defend his title against him at WrestleMania 21. Batista defeated Triple H at WrestleMania 21 and became the World Heavyweight Champion. With only Flair and Triple H remaining, Evolution was for the most part dissolved.
Triple H lost the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 21, in which he was defeated by Batista. In a subsequent broadcast, Triple H suffered a stinger (minor but painful nerve damage to the head and neck) after a botched legdrop from Rosey. This injury would not cause him to lose any ring time and he would still be able to compete at Backlash in his scheduled rematch against Batista.
At Backlash, Triple H lost to Batista again. The following night on RAW, Triple H was entered into a 'Gold Rush tournament' to decide the new number one contender for the World title, only to be eliminated by Chris Benoit in the first round, who received a bit of help from Batista. The next week, Triple H announced that he was leaving RAW for a while because he knew Batista could not survive as champion without him. On the May 23 edition of RAW, Triple H returned after Batista's victory over the 'Gold Rush' Tournament winner, Edge. Following a low blow from Ric Flair, Triple H attacked Batista with his sledgehammer. Triple H then grabbed a microphone, got in Batista's face and said "You want to fight me now huh?! You want to fight me now?! Hell in a Cell!" He then threw the microphone at Batista and hit the Pedigree on the World Heavyweight title. Triple H challenged Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship to which he agreed, to be held at Vengeance. Prior to Vengeance, Triple H was undefeated in the Hell in a Cell match one-on-one. This time, he lost to Batista following a spinebuster onto the steel steps (which had been brought into the ring) and a Batista Bomb.
Following his final loss to Batista, Triple H put his wrestling career on hiatus and underwent a lengthy orientation process at WWE Headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut intended to broaden his understanding of the corporate side of WWE in preparation for a future executive position.
Return of the Game
He returned to RAW on October 3, 2005, as part of WWE Homecoming. He teamed up with his good friend and idol, Ric Flair (who had turned face during Triple H's absence), to take Chris Masters and Carlito. Triple H's team won, but Triple H turned on Flair after the match, beating him to a bloody pulp with a sledgehammer and dragging him around the backstage area asking him, "What were you thinking?!", thus completely dissolving Evolution. The next week, Triple H explained the reason why he attacked Flair was because he believed that Flair was now a "shell" of what he once was and (comparing Flair to a terminally ill animal) he had to put end Flair's career "for his own good".
The following RAW, as Triple H walked through the locker room, every RAW superstar glared at him. When Big Show saw him, he said that soon, your time will come. When he met John Cena, Cena told him that he lost his respect. Triple H returned by saying that if he wants some, he'll take the championship.
At the Annual Survivor Series PPV, Triple H defeated Flair in a Last Man Standing Match after performing the pedigree 3 times and finishing Flair off with a sledgehammer.
The next night on RAW, Triple H was bragging about putting down Flair, and dared anyone to come out. The Big Show came out and called Triple H a "piece of shit". Triple H then backed away after some more words from Big Show and left.
The angle with the Big Show has continued, and on the December 12th, 2005 edition of RAW, both men were part of qualifying matches for the Elimination Chamber main event at New Year's Revolution. HHH was the direct cause of Show losing his match, after he bashed Shawn Michaels in the head with a chair giving HBK the DQ victory. However, when it came time for HHH's qualifying match with Show's partner Kane, Show returned the favor and helped Kane get the victory. Triple H will be competing against Big Show at New Year's Revolution New Year's Revolution. This will be the first time that Triple H won't be participating in an Elimination Chamber match. Triple H appeared at the Tribute to the Troops where he lost to Shawn Michaels in a Boot Camp Match. On the December 26, 2005 edition of RAW, Triple H and The Big Show signed the contract to face each other at New Year's Revolution New Year's Revolution. The Game later did sign the contract after smashing Big Show's hand with a sledgehammer.
Prior to his relationship with Stephanie McMahon, Levesque had previously been in a relationship with Chyna that mirrored their in-ring partnership. Following his first WWF championship run, Triple H was put into a program with Stephanie McMahon that culminated in Triple H 'marrying' McMahon. During the program, in which Triple H and spoiled-brat Stephanie were the most over heels in the WWF, Levesque and McMahon became personally involved in real life. On October 25, 2003, long after the couple had divorced in the storylines, the couple married for real. His father was his best man at his wedding to Stephanie.
Now Stephanie McMahon's husband, many speculate that once father-in-law Vince McMahon retires, Levesque and Stephanie will assume creative control of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Stephanie McMahon is currently in charge of writing the SmackDown! program, while Triple H is often consulted by the McMahons about storylines.
Levesque is one of the most controversial figures in the history of the business. Many pundits have criticized him for using backstage politics to hog screen time, retain titles, elevate his friends, and generally hold down talented workers who might otherwise deserve to share the limelight with him. The Clique, including good real-life friends Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Sean Waltman, was notorious for this in the late 1990s, and Levesque's influence continued after the departures of Waltman, Hall, and Nash from the WWF.
This view has only increased since he became the real-life son-in-law of WWE promoter Vince McMahon, which at one time was merely part of his gimmick. Former D-Generation X member Billy Gunn gave an interview, now part of the popular "shoot" RF Video series, in which he claims having personally witnessed much of this controversial behavior.
At the same time, his career is filled with notable performances against a wide variety of opponents. All else aside, he consistently draws one of the biggest crowd reactions (whether cheers or boos) in any arena he performs in, a mark of high success in the professional wrestling world.
Television, films and books
Levesque has appeared as Triple H on MADtv and Saturday Night Live. Levesque played a role in the movie Blade: Trinity, as a vampire enforcer named Jarko Grimwood. Some speculate that Triple H will be the next performer to jump ship to Hollywood in the footsteps of The Rock and Hulk Hogan. Triple H has disputed this in interviews, however, saying that he will always be a professional wrestler first, and (if offered more acting roles) actor second.
He is scheduled to star in the WWE-produced movie entitled Jornada del Muerte.
In late 2004, Triple H released a book entitled Making the Game: Triple H's Approach to a Better Body. Mostly devoted to bodybuilding advice, the book also includes some autobiographical information, memoirs, and opinions.
- "I am that - damn - good!"
- "I am...the Game!"
- "Game over."
- "It's not screw me, it's screw you."
- "You know you're a world champion, when you're the Game."
- "Two words, SUCK IT!"
- "Let's get ready to SUCK IT~!!"
- "The Game ... is OVER!
- The Game
- The Cerebral Assassin
Finishing and signature moves
- The Pedigree (double underhook facebuster)
- Indian deathlock
- Jumping high knee
- Running neckbreaker
- Facebreaker knee smash (back body drop counter)
- Figure four leglock
- Signature weapon: Sledgehammer
Previous managers and valets
- Ric Flair
- Curt Hennig
- Mr. Hughes
- Vince McMahon
- Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley
- Shawn Michaels
- Trish Stratus
- When Triple H uses a sledgehammer as a weapon, it is in fact a real sledgehammer, and not a prop as is widely believed. Triple H covers the head of the sledgehammer with his hand just before it strikes his opponent. On one occasion when Triple H did use a fake sledgehammer when he accidentally injured his opponent, The Undertaker.
- While wrestling as "Terra Ryzing" in World Championship Wrestling, Levesque was given only five minutes to create his new character, that of "the French guy" (WCW officials realised that his surname sounded French). Levesque created the character of "Jean-Paul Levesque", and was asked to speak "with a French accent" as he could not speak French).
- He is a longtime Motörhead fan. His theme song was recorded by the band, as is Evolution's theme song.
- Levesque faced Mick Foley in Foley's two "retirement matches" in 2000 at the Royal Rumble and No Way Out. He claims that his bloody street fight with Foley at the 2000 Royal Rumble "made Triple H the superstar that he is today."
Championships and accomplishments
- Independent Wrestling Federation
- 1-time IWF Heavyweight Champion
- 1-time IWF Tag Team Champion with Perry Saturn
- PWI ranked him # 139 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003. Is ranked 4th in 2005 PWI top 500
- He also won several PWI Awards. He won Most Hated Wrestler in 2003 and 2004. He was involved in the Match of the Year in 2004 (vs. Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels) and the Feud of the Year in 2000 (vs. Kurt Angle) and in 2004 (vs. Chris Benoit).
| colspan = 3 align = center | WWE Championship
| width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
Mankind | width="40%" align="center" | First | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
Vince McMahon |- | width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
Vacant | width="40%" align="center" | Second | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
Big Show |- | width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
Big Show | width="40%" align="center" | Third | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
The Rock |- | width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
The Rock | width="40%" align="center" | Fourth | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
The Rock |- | width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
Chris Jericho | width="40%" align="center" | Fifth. Was known as WWE Undisputed Championship after it had been merged with World title | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
Hulk Hogan |- | colspan = 3 align = center | World Heavyweight Championship |- | width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
awarded by RAW GM Eric Bischoff | width="40%" align="center" | First | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
Shawn Michaels |- | width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
Shawn Michaels | width="40%" align="center" | Second | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
Bill Goldberg |- | width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
Bill Goldberg | width="40%" align="center" | Third | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
Chris Benoit |- | width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
Randy Orton | width="40%" align="center" | Fourth | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
vacant* |- | colspan = 100 align = center | * Championship was made vacant after a controversial match on the November 29, 2004 edition of RAW. |- | width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
vacant | width="40%" align="center" | Fifth | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
Batista |- | colspan = 3 align = center | WWE Intercontinental Championship |- | width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
Marc Mero | width="40%" align="center" | First | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
The Rock |- | width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
The Rock | width="40%" align="center" | Second | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
Title vacated due to injury |- | width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
Chris Jericho | width="40%" align="center" | Third | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
Jeff Hardy |- | width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
Jeff Hardy | width="40%" align="center" | Fourth | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
Kane |- | width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
Kane | width="40%" align="center" | Fifth | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
Merged with the World Heavyweight Championship |- | colspan = 3 align = center | (WWE) World Tag Championship |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
The Undertaker and Kane | width = 40% align = center | First, with Stone Cold Steve Austin | width = 30% align = center | Followed by:
Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho |- | colspan = 3 align = center | WWE European Championship |- | width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
Shawn Michaels | width="40%" align="center" | First | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
Owen Hart |- | width="30%" align="center" | Won from:
Owen Hart | width="40%" align="center" | Second | width="30%" align="center" | Lost to:
D'Lo Brown |- | colspan = 3 align = center | Royal Rumble Winners |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Stone Cold Steve Austin | width = 40% align = center | First (2002) | width = 30% align = center | Followed by:
Brock Lesnar |- | colspan = 3 align = center | King of the Ring |- | width = 30% align = center | Preceded by:
Stone Cold Steve Austin | width = 40% align = center | First (1997) | width = 30% align = center | Followed by:
Ken Shamrock |- Template:End box
- WWE.com Page
- Profile at powerwrestling.com
- Levesque-Online (Triple H Fan Site)
- Triple H Unleashed (Hunter Fan Site)
- Paul Michael Levesque at the Internet Movie Databasede:Paul Levesque