Happy Birthday Triple H: Evolution of 'The Game' Over the Years
From 'Hunter Hearst Helmsley' to becoming Triple H. Here is the journey of Paul Michael Levesque.
Triple H turns 50 today (Photo Credit: WWE)
Paul Michael Levesque has received a number of monikers in the last 24 years with WWE. The Cerebral Assassin, The Game, The King of Kings ---- Triple H, or Hunter Hearst Helmsley, the 14-time world champion has had one of the most storied career arcs in the history of wrestling. Starting his career as Terra Ryzing, a name he got from his trainer Killer Kowalski on the back of a pizza box, Hunter started his mainstream wrestling career with WCW.
EARLY STINT WITH WCW
His one year stint with the company saw him being repackaged as a French-Canadian aristocrat named Jean-Paul Levesque.
Interestingly, it was during this time, he began using his finishing maneuver, the Pedigree.
Between late 1994 and early 1995, Lévesque teamed with Lord Steven Regal, but, the team was short-lived, as Levesque left for World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in January 1995 when WCW turned down his request to be promoted as a singles competitor.
Levesque started his WWF career as a "Connecticut Blueblood. According to Triple H, he was originally given the name Reginald DuPont Helmsley by JJ Dillion. However, Levesque asked for a name to play with the first letters and management ultimately agreed to his suggestion of Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
Helmsley made his WWF pay-per-view debut at SummerSlam, where he defeated Bob Holly.
While pushed early on, his career stalled during 1996 starting off with a feud with Duke "The Dumpster" Droese following a loss during the Free for All at 1996 Royal Rumble.
By 1996, Hunter was already known backstage as one of the members of The Kliq, a stable of wrestlers including; Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman and Scott Hall, who were known for influencing Vince McMahon and the WWF creative team. It was during this period, Hunter was demoted after he broke character after a match to say goodbye to the departing Nash and Hall.
In 1997, Shawn Michaels, Helmsley, Chyna and Rick Rude formed D-Generation X (DX). This stable became known for pushing the envelope, as Michaels and Helmsley popularised shouting out "Suck It" and a "crotch chop" hand motion.
By this point, Helmsley had fully dropped the blue blood gimmick, appearing in T-shirts and leather jackets and most importantly, it was during this period, his ring name was shortened to simply Triple H, a name he would become most remembered as.
MCMAHON-HELMSLEY ERA AND THE GAME
By January 2000, Triple H had dubbed himself "The Game", implying that he was on top of the wrestling world and was nicknamed "The Cerebral Assassin" by Jim Ross.
During the May 21, 2001 episode of Raw Is War, he suffered a legitimate and career-threatening injury. When he suffered a tear in his left quadriceps muscles during a tag team bout with Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit.
Triple H returned to Raw as a face on January 7, 2002, and defeated Chris Jericho for the Undisputed WWF Championship at WrestleMania X8,
In February 2003, Triple H formed a stable known as Evolution with Ric Flair, Randy Orton, and Batista, and during 2006-2007 he had a DX reunion with Shawn Michaels. In 2011, Triple H relieved his father-in-law Vince McMahon of his duties. This was followed by the announcement that he had been assigned to take over as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the WWE.
On the August 12 episode of Raw, Triple H announced that he would be the special guest referee of the SummerSlam main event: the WWE Championship match between champion John Cena and Daniel Bryan. At the event, after Bryan won the match and the title, Triple H attacked Bryan with a Pedigree, allowing Randy Orton to cash in his Money in the Bank and win the title, turning heel for the first time since 2006. Along with his wife Stephanie, they created The Authority, with The Shield as his enforcers and later Kane joining as the Director of Operations.
While Triple H still actively is part of the wrestling business, in 2010, Levesque's role as an Executive Senior Advisor was officially formalized as he was given an office at WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. Levesque was named Executive Vice President, Talent and Live events in 2011 and in this role he oversees the talent relations and talent development departments, training of performers and management of worldwide recruitment.
Most notably, what began as an on-screen storyline marriage in 2000 became a real-life romance when Levesque began dating Stephanie McMahon and were married on October 25, 2003. They have three daughters: Aurora Rose Levesque, Murphy Claire Levesque and Vaughn Evelyn Levesque.
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