Paul Michael Levesque
July 27, 1969
Nashua, New Hampshire, U.S.
|Years active||1992–2022 (wrestling)|
|Title||Executive Vice President of Global Talent Strategy & Development|
|Ring name(s)||Hunter Hearst Helmsley|
|Billed height||6 ft 4 in (193 cm)|
|Billed weight||255 lb (116 kg)|
|Billed from||Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.|
Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S.
|Trained by||Killer Kowalski|
Paul Michael Levesque (born July 27, 1969) is an American business executive, actor, and retired professional wrestler, better known by the ring name Triple H. Widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, as of 2022, he is serving as the executive vice president for Global Talent Strategy & Development of WWE and is also executive producer of the NXT brand.
Born and raised in Nashua, New Hampshire, Triple H began his professional wrestling training from 1990 to 1991 and his career from 1992 to 1993 with the International Wrestling Federation (IWF) under the ring name Terra Ryzing. He joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) from 1994 to 1995 and was repackaged as a French-Canadian aristocrat named Jean-Paul Lévesque, and was later repackaged in 1995 when he signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE), where he became Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and later, Triple H.
In WWF, Triple H gained industry fame after co-founding the influential D-Generation X stable, which became a major element of the "Attitude Era" in the 1990s. After winning his first WWF Championship in 1999, he became a fixture of the company's main event scene, and was widely regarded as one of the best wrestlers in North America by the turn of the millennium. Triple H has headlined several major WWE pay-per-view events, closing the company's flagship annual event, WrestleMania, on seven occasions.[a]
Triple H won a number of championships in his career, being a five-time Intercontinental Champion, a three-time world tag team champion (two World Tag Team Championship reigns, and one Unified WWE Tag Team Championship reign), a two-time European Champion, and a fourteen-time world champion, making him the company's seventh Triple Crown Champion and second Grand Slam Champion. He is also a two-time Royal Rumble match winner, and a King of the Ring tournament winner. Later in his career, Triple H gained notability for his behind-the-scenes work at WWE, creating the developmental branch NXT, and gaining praise for his business acumen in professional wrestling.
Outside of wrestling, Triple H has been a figure of substantial media attention due to his marriage to Stephanie McMahon, daughter of Vince and Linda McMahon, who are majority owners of WWE. In 2019, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the D-Generation X group.
Paul Michael Levesque was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, on July 27, 1969. He has a sister named Lynn. Levesque watched his first wrestling match, involving Chief Jay Strongbow, when he was young. He attended Nashua South High School, where he played baseball and basketball. Following his graduation in 1987, Levesque continued to enter bodybuilding competitions—having taken up bodybuilding at the age of 14 because he wanted to look like the professional wrestlers he saw on television—and won the 1988 Mr. Teenage New Hampshire competition at the age of 19. While working as a manager of a gym in Nashua, he was introduced to world champion powerlifter Ted Arcidi, who was employed by WWE at the time. Eventually, after numerous attempts, Levesque persuaded Arcidi to introduce him to former wrestler Killer Kowalski, who ran a professional wrestling school in Malden, Massachusetts.
In early 1990, Levesque began to train as a professional wrestler at Killer Kowalski's school in Malden. His classmates included fellow future WWF wrestlers Chyna and Perry Saturn. He made his professional debut on March 24, 1992, in Kowalski's promotion, the International Wrestling Federation (IWF), under the name "Terra Ryzing", defeating Tony Roy. In July 1992, he defeated Mad Dog Richard to win the IWF Heavyweight Championship. Managed by John Rodeo, he wrestled for various promotions on the East Coast independent circuit until 1993.
In early 1994, Levesque signed a one-year contract with World Championship Wrestling (WCW). In his first televised match, Levesque debuted as a villain named Terror Risin', defeating Keith Cole. His ring name was soon modified to Terra Ryzing, which he used until mid-1994, when he was renamed Jean-Paul Lévesque. This gimmick referred to his surname's French origins and he was asked to speak with a French accent, as he could not speak French. During this time, he began using his finishing maneuver, the Pedigree. Lévesque had a brief feud with Alex Wright that ended at Starrcade with Wright pinning him. Between late 1994 and early 1995, Lévesque briefly teamed with Lord Steven Regal, whose upper class British persona was similar to Lévesque's character. The team was short-lived. Lévesque had previously met with Vince McMahon to discuss jumping to the World Wrestling Federation which did not result in his working for the company. After McMahon watched Lévesque's Starrcade match, an employment offer was made and Levesque left for the WWF in January 1995.
In a modified version of his gimmick in WCW, Levesque started his WWF career as a "Connecticut Blueblood". According to Levesque, J.J. Dillon originally gave him the name of Reginald DuPont Helmsley, but Levesque asked for a name to play with the first letters and management ultimately agreed to his suggestion of Hunter Hearst Helmsley. He appeared in taped vignettes, in which he talked about how to use proper etiquette, up until his wrestling debut on the April 30, 1995 episode of Wrestling Challenge defeating Buck Zumhofe. Although technically still on a no-compete with WCW, Helmsley was allowed to compete in the opening bout against Ray Apollo at the WWF's last show held at the Boston Garden so that he had a chance to perform in front of his father. Helmsley made his WWF pay-per-view debut at SummerSlam, where he defeated Bob Holly. In the fall of 1995, Helmsley began a feud with the hog farmer Henry O. Godwinn, culminating in an infamous Hog Pen match at In Your House 5: Seasons Beatings, where Helmsley was victorious.
Although Helmsley was highly promoted in the first few months after his debut, 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. Due to the stipulation of this loss, Helmsley was forced to enter the Royal Rumble match in the #1 position. He started off against former rival Henry Godwinn, lasting over 48 minutes before being eliminated by Diesel. Up until that event, his angle included appearing on television each week with a different female valet (which included Playboy Playmates Shae Marks and Tylyn John). Sable was his valet at WrestleMania XII and after his loss to The Ultimate Warrior, as part of the storyline, he took his aggressions out on her. The debuting Marc Mero – her real-life husband – came to her rescue, starting a feud between the two wrestlers.
On June 1, 1996, Helmsley appeared on an episode of Superstars in a match against Marty Garner. When he attempted to perform the Pedigree, Garner mistook the maneuver for a double underhook suplex and tried to jump up with the move, causing him to land squarely on top of his head and suffer neck damage. Garner sued the WWF, eventually settling out of court and later discussed the incident in an appearance on The Montel Williams Show.
Levesque was 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 has been claimed that he was scheduled to win the 1996 King of the Ring tournament, but the victory was instead awarded to Stone Cold Steve Austin after the Madison Square Garden Incident, in which the Kliq broke character after a match to say goodbye to the departing Nash and Hall. Despite the punishment, Helmsley did have success following the MSG Incident. Mr. Perfect became his manager and he won the Intercontinental Championship for the first time on October 21, 1996, defeating Marc Mero. When Mr. Perfect left the WWF, his departure was explained to be a result of Helmsley turning his back on his manager as soon as he won the Intercontinental Championship. Helmsley held the title for nearly four months before dropping it to Rocky Maivia on the February 13, 1997 special episode of Monday Night Raw, called Thursday Raw Thursday. For a very brief time, Helmsley was accompanied by Mr. Hughes, who was his storyline bodyguard reminiscent of Ted DiBiase and Virgil. After losing the Intercontinental title, he feuded with Goldust, defeating him at WrestleMania 13. During their feud, Chyna debuted as his new bodyguard.
Main article: D-Generation X
Helmsley was being highlighted again in 1997, winning the 1997 King of the Ring tournament by defeating Mankind in the finals. Later that year, Shawn Michaels, Helmsley, Chyna and Rick Rude formed D-Generation X (D-X). This stable became known for pushing the envelope, as Michaels and Helmsley made risqué promos—using the catchphrase "Suck It" and a "crotch chop" hand motion—and sarcastically derided Bret Hart and Canada. By that point, Helmsley had all but dropped the "blueblood snob" gimmick, appearing in T-shirts and leather jackets. During this period, his ring name was shortened to simply Triple H, though he was still called Helmsley from time to time and Hunter for the rest of his career. Even after the D-X versus Hart Foundation storyline ended, he continued to feud with the sole remaining Hart family member Owen over the European Championship. This ended in a match between the two at WrestleMania XIV, with the stipulation that Chyna had to be handcuffed to then-Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter. Triple H won after Chyna threw powder into Slaughter's eyes, momentarily "blinding" him and allowing her to interfere in the match.
After WrestleMania, Michaels was forced into temporary retirement due to a legitimate back injury sustained at the Royal Rumble, with Triple H taking over the leadership position in D-X, claiming that his now-former associate had "dropped the ball". He introduced the returning X-Pac the night after WrestleMania and joined forces with The New Age Outlaws. As 1998 went along, D-X became more popular, turning the group from villains to fan favorites. During this time, he adopted an entrance gimmick of asking the crowd "Are you ready? I said, are you ready?", followed by a parody of rival promotion WCW's ring announcer Michael Buffer's famous catch-phrase, "Let's get ready to rumble", substituting the word "rumble" with the D-X slogan, "suck it". Also during this time, Triple H began a feud with the leader of the Nation of Domination and rising WWF villain, The Rock. This storyline rivalry eventually led to a feud over the Intercontinental Championship, which Triple H won in a ladder match at SummerSlam. He did not hold the title long, as he was sidelined with a legitimate knee injury. When The Rock won the WWF Championship at Survivor Series, the rivalry between the two continued, as D-X fought The Corporation stable of which The Rock was the main star and Triple H received a shot at the WWF Championship on the January 25, 1999 Raw Is War in an "I Quit" match, but the match ended when Triple H was forced to quit or see his aide Chyna chokeslammed by Kane. This began a new angle for Triple H, as Chyna betrayed him by attacking him after the match and joining The Corporation.
At WrestleMania XV, Triple H lost to Kane after Chyna interfered on his behalf and she was thought to have rejoined D-X. Later on in the night, he betrayed his long-time friend and fellow D-X member X-Pac by helping Shane McMahon retain the European Championship and joined The Corporation. turning heel in the process. In April, he started to move away from his D-X look, taping his fists for matches, sporting new and shorter wrestling trunks and adopting a shorter hairstyle. His gimmick changed as he fought to earn a WWF Championship opportunity. After failed attempts at winning the championship, Triple H and Mankind challenged then WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin to a triple threat match at SummerSlam, which featured Jesse "The Body" Ventura as the special guest referee. Mankind won the match by pinning Austin. The following night on Raw Is War, Triple H defeated Mankind to win his first WWF Championship. He dropped the WWF Championship to Mr. McMahon on the September 16, 1999 episode of SmackDown! before regaining it at Unforgiven in a Six-Pack Challenge that included Davey Boy Smith, Big Show, Kane, The Rock and Mankind. He defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin at No Mercy before dropping the title to Big Show at Survivor Series. Triple H then continued his feud with Mr. McMahon by marrying his daughter Stephanie McMahon and defeating McMahon at Armageddon. As a result of the feud, an angle with Triple H and Stephanie began which carried the WWF throughout the next seventeen months; together they were known as The McMahon-Helmsley Faction.
Main article: The Two-Man Power Trip
By January 2000, Triple H had dubbed himself "The Game", after stating he was above the top of the wrestling world (as in not merely the "best in the game", but in fact "the game") and was nicknamed "The Cerebral Assassin" by Jim Ross. On the January 3 episode of Raw Is War, Triple H defeated Big Show to win his third WWF championship.
Triple H feuded with Mick Foley in early 2000. They both fought at the Royal Rumble in a Street Fight Match for the WWF Championship, which Triple H won after performing two Pedigrees on Foley. The feud ended at No Way Out in a Hell in a Cell, where Triple H retained the title and forced Foley to retire. Triple H pinned The Rock at WrestleMania 2000 to retain the title, but lost it at Backlash to The Rock, thus ending his reign at 118 days. He regained it three weeks later, in an Iron Man match at Judgment Day, only to lose it back to The Rock at King of the Ring. Triple H then entered a storyline with Chris Jericho, who upset Triple H by defeating him for the WWF Championship on the April 17 episode of Raw Is War before the title was returned to Triple H because of a fast count made by referee Earl Hebner, and Jericho's reign is not being recognized. Their feud culminated in a Last Man Standing match at Fully Loaded which was won by Triple H. Afterward, Triple H feuded with Kurt Angle, initially over the WWF Championship, but then as a love triangle between himself, Angle, and Stephanie. Both Triple H and Angle wrestled for the WWF Championship against The Rock at SummerSlam, but The Rock retained the title after Angle received a legit concussion during a botched Pedigree on a commentary table by Triple H. The feud culminated at Unforgiven, where Triple H defeated Angle with a Pedigree after a low blow from McMahon.
After a brief run as a face that saw him defeating Chris Benoit at No Mercy, Triple H reverted to his heel persona and restarted his feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin when it emerged that Triple H had paid off Rikishi to run down Austin at Survivor Series, causing him to take a year off. While in the storyline Triple H said he had done it in order to shield Austin from the WWF Championship and end his career, in reality Austin's previous neck injuries started bothering him again, forcing him to have surgery. In November 2000, Triple H and Austin had a match at Survivor Series that ended when Triple H tried to trick Austin into coming into the parking lot to run him over again, only to have Austin lift his car up with a forklift and flip the car onto its roof 10 feet high. Triple H returned a few weeks later to attack Austin, and their feud continued into 2001 and ended in a Three Stages of Hell match at No Way Out in which Triple H defeated Austin 2–1. In 2001, Triple H also feuded with The Undertaker, who defeated him at WrestleMania X-Seven. The night after WrestleMania, Triple H interfered in a steel cage match between Austin (who had just won the WWF Championship) and The Rock where he joined forces with Austin and double teamed on The Rock, forming a tag team called The Two-Man Power Trip. Triple H then defeated Chris Jericho for his third Intercontinental Championship on the April 5 SmackDown!, and won it for a fourth time two weeks later by defeating Jeff Hardy. Triple H then became a world tag team champion by winning the WWF Tag Team Championship for the first time at Backlash when he and Austin defeated Kane and The Undertaker in a "Winner Take All" tag team match. As Triple H was still Intercontinental Champion, the win made him a double champion. In doing so, Triple H became the seventh Triple Crown winner and second Grand Slam winner in WWE history.
During the May 21, 2001 episode of Raw Is War, he suffered a legitimate and career-threatening injury. In the night's main event, he and Austin were defending the WWF Tag Team Championship against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. At one point, Jericho had Austin trapped in the Walls of Jericho and Triple H ran in to break it up, but just as he did, he suffered a tear in his left quadriceps muscle, causing it to come completely off the bone. Despite his inability to place any weight on his leg, Triple H was able to complete the match. He even allowed Jericho to put him in the Walls of Jericho, a move that places considerable stress on the quadriceps. The tear required an operation, which was performed by orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews. This injury brought an abrupt end to the McMahon-Helmsley Era, as the rigorous rehabilitation process kept Triple H out of action for over eight months, completely missing The Invasion storyline.
Main article: Evolution
Triple H returned to Raw as a face on January 7, 2002, at Madison Square Garden. He won the Royal Rumble and received an Undisputed WWF Championship match at WrestleMania X8, where Triple H defeated Chris Jericho for the Undisputed WWF Championship. After holding the title for a month, Triple H lost it to Hollywood Hulk Hogan at Backlash. Triple H then became exclusive to the SmackDown! roster due to the WWF draft lottery and continued to feud with Jericho, culminating in a Hell in a Cell match at Judgment Day, which Triple H won. On the June 6 episode of SmackDown!, Triple H defeated Hogan in a #1 contender match for the WWE Undisputed Championship at King of the Ring against The Undertaker, but was unsuccessful at King of the Ring.
In the interim, between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, the McMahon-Helmsley Faction was brought to an official on-screen conclusion. By the time he returned, Triple H's on-screen marriage to Stephanie McMahon was faltering, so Stephanie faked a pregnancy in order to get him back on her side. When he learned that it was fake, he dumped her publicly on Raw when they were supposed to renew their wedding vows. Stephanie aligned with Jericho afterward, but she was forced to leave after losing a triple threat match on the March 25 episode of Raw when she was pinned by Triple H. The divorce, and thus the storyline, was finalized at Vengeance.
Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels had made his return to WWE and joined the New World Order (nWo). Michaels and Kevin Nash planned to bring Triple H over to Raw in order to put him into the group. Mr. McMahon disbanded the nWo following several backstage complications and brought in Eric Bischoff as the Raw general manager. One of Bischoff's first intentions was to follow up on the nWo's plan and bring Triple H over to the Raw roster. Triple H moved to the Raw brand at Vengeance, reuniting with Michaels, but on July 22 he turned on Michaels by performing a Pedigree on him during what was supposed to be a D-X reunion, turning heel once again. The following week, Triple H smashed Michaels' face into a car window to prove that Michaels was weak. These events led to the beginning of a long storyline rivalry between the former partners and an eventual "Unsanctioned Street Fight" at SummerSlam, in which Michaels came out of retirement to win. Triple H then attacked him with a sledgehammer and he was carried from the ring on a stretcher.
Before September 2, 2002, WWE recognized only one world champion, the WWE Undisputed Champion, for both the Raw and SmackDown! brands. After SummerSlam, then WWE Undisputed Champion Brock Lesnar became exclusive to the SmackDown! brand, leaving the Raw brand without a world champion. Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff then awarded Triple H the World Heavyweight Championship, represented by the Big Gold Belt (which previously had been used to represent the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and WCW World Heavyweight Championship), making him the first World Heavyweight Champion. Triple H retained his title against Rob Van Dam at Unforgiven when Ric Flair hit Van Dam with a sledgehammer.
In October, Triple H began a controversial feud with Kane, leading to a match at No Mercy in which both Kane's Intercontinental Championship and Triple H's World Heavyweight Championship were at stake. In the weeks preceding the match, Triple H claimed that, several years earlier, Kane had an unrequited relationship with a woman named Katie Vick. He went on to claim that, after Vick was killed in a car crash, Kane (the driver) raped her corpse. Triple H later threatened to show video footage of Kane committing the act in question; the footage that finally aired showed Triple H (dressed as Kane) simulating necrophilia with a mannequin in a casket; Kane's tag team partner The Hurricane responded the following week by showing a video of Triple H (rather, someone wearing a Triple H series of masks) getting an enema. The angle was very unpopular with fans, and was de-emphasized before the title match. Triple H went on to defeat Kane at No Mercy, unifying the two titles.
Triple H eventually lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Shawn Michaels in the first Elimination Chamber match at Survivor Series. He defeated Van Dam on the December 2 episode of Raw to earn a title shot at Armageddon with Michaels as the special guest referee. He regained the title from Michaels in a Three Stages of Hell match at Armageddon, winning 2–1.
In February 2003, Triple H formed a stable known as Evolution with Ric Flair, Randy Orton, and Batista. Triple H and Flair challenged Rob Van Dam and Kane for the World Tag Team Championship, but they lost the match. The group was pushed on Raw from 2003 to 2004 and the height of their dominance occurred after Armageddon, where every member of Evolution left the pay-per-view holding a title. Triple H held the World Heavyweight Championship for most of 2003, successfully defending against Booker T at WrestleMania XIX in an angle with racist undertones. He lost the title after 280 days in September 2003 at Unforgiven to Goldberg, in a match with the stipulation that had Goldberg lost, he would have to retire. After failing to win back the title from Goldberg in a rematch at Survivor Series, he finally regained the championship from Goldberg in a triple threat match at Armageddon which also involved Kane after interference from Evolution. On the December 29 episode of Raw, Triple H defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Shawn Michaels, but the match ended in a double pinfall. The two met in a Last Man Standing rematch at the 2004 Royal Rumble, where both failed to answer the ten count, so Triple H retained the title as a result. Triple H lost the championship to Chris Benoit at WrestleMania XX in a triple threat match also involving Michaels. Triple H was drafted to the SmackDown! brand on the March 22 episode of Raw and failed to capture the WWE Championship from Eddie Guerrero. Triple H was traded back to Raw without competing on SmackDown! and tried to reclaim the World Heavyweight title from Benoit in a WrestleMania rematch against Benoit and Michaels at Backlash, but came out unsuccessful.
He then ended his feud with Michaels, defeating him in a Hell in a Cell match at Bad Blood, which became the longest Hell in a Cell match in history. He then resumed his feud with Benoit, facing him for the title at Vengeance and on the July 26 episode of Raw in a 60-Minute Iron Man match, losing both times after Eugene interfered and hit him with a steel chair. He went on to defeat Eugene at SummerSlam. The following night on Raw, Triple H turned on his protège Randy Orton (who became the youngest world champion in WWE history the night prior at SummerSlam), expressing jealousy over Orton's title victory. He then regained the championship from Orton at Unforgiven after interference from Evolution. At Taboo Tuesday, Shawn Michaels was voted by the fans to challenge Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship, but Triple H retained after Edge interfered. He then led a team of himself, Batista, Edge, and Snitsky against Orton's team of Orton, Benoit, Chris Jericho, and Maven at Survivor Series in a traditional elimination tag team match, which they lost after Triple H was lastly eliminated by Orton. After a triple threat World Heavyweight Championship defense against Benoit and Edge on the November 29, 2004 episode of Raw ended in a draw, the World Heavyweight Championship became vacant for the first time. At New Year's Revolution, Triple H won an Elimination Chamber match to regain the World Heavyweight Championship after last eliminating Orton following interference from Evolution, then defeated Orton at the Royal Rumble to retain the title and end their feud. Also that same night, his stablemate Batista won the 2005 Royal Rumble match, thus earning a world title match at WrestleMania 21. Tension between Triple H and Batista began in the weeks leading up to the pay-per view as Triple H tried to convince Batista to challenge for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania instead of his World Heavyweight Championship. On the February 21 episode of Raw, Batista turned on Triple H and signed a contract to face him for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. At WrestleMania, Triple H lost the championship to Batista, and subsequently lost two rematches at Backlash and Vengeance in a Hell in a Cell match at the latter event (where Batista became the first man to pin Triple H inside the Cell). After Vengeance, Triple H took a hiatus from WWE due to suffering from minor neck problems.
After a four-month hiatus, Triple H returned to Raw on October 3, 2005, as part of WWE Homecoming. He teamed with fellow Evolution member Flair to defeat Chris Masters and Carlito. After the match, Triple H turned on Flair hitting Flair with a sledgehammer, sparking a feud between the duo. Flair defeated Triple H in a steel cage match at Taboo Tuesday for Flair's Intercontinental Championship. Subsequently, Triple H defeated Flair in a non-title Last Man Standing match at Survivor Series to end their feud.
By this time Triple H started to act like a tweener, as he began to get cheers by live audience. Although Triple H failed to win the Royal Rumble match at the Royal Rumble, another championship opportunity arose for him in the Road to WrestleMania Tournament. He won the tournament, granting him a match for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 22, where Triple H and John Cena fought in the main event for the title, which Triple H lost via submission. In this match Cena was booed by the crowd, while Triple H got heavily cheered. Later that month at Backlash, Triple H was involved in another WWE Championship match, fighting Edge and Cena in a triple threat match, where he lost again. Angered at his loss, a bloodied Triple H used his sledgehammer to attack both Edge and Cena and then performed a number of D-X crotch chops. Triple H unsuccessfully attempted to win the WWE title from Cena on numerous occasions, blaming his shortcomings on Vince McMahon, which eventually led to a feud between the McMahons and Triple H.
Shawn Michaels returned on the June 12 episode of Raw and soon reunited with Triple H to re-form D-Generation X, turning Triple H face for the first time since 2002. D-X defeated The Spirit Squad at Vengeance in a 5-on-2 handicap match. They continued their feud with Mr. McMahon, Shane McMahon and The Spirit Squad for several weeks. They then defeated The Spirit Squad again on the July 15, 2006 episode of Saturday Night's Main Event XXXIII in a 5-on-2 elimination match. They then again defeated the McMahons at SummerSlam, withstanding the attack of several wrestlers who assaulted them before the match as directed by Mr. McMahon. At Unforgiven, D-X then defeated the McMahons and ECW World Champion Big Show in a 3-on-2 handicap Hell in a Cell match. During the match, D-X embarrassed Vince by shoving his face in between Big Show's buttocks, and D-X won when Triple H broke a sledgehammer over the shoulders of Mr. McMahon after Michaels performed a Sweet Chin Music on him.
At Cyber Sunday during D-X's feud with Rated-RKO, special guest referee Eric Bischoff allowed the illegal use of a weapon to give Rated-RKO the win. At Survivor Series, D-X got their revenge when their team defeated Edge and Orton's team in a clean sweep during their five-on-five elimination match. In January 2007, at New Year's Revolution, D-X and Rated-RKO fought to a no contest after Triple H suffered a legitimate torn right quadriceps (similar to the one he suffered in 2001 in his other leg) 15 minutes into the match. Surgery was successfully performed on January 9, 2007, by Dr. James Andrews.
Triple H made his return at SummerSlam, where he defeated King Booker. Two months later at No Mercy, Triple H was originally scheduled to face Umaga in a singles match. At the start of the night, Triple H challenged newly named WWE Champion Randy Orton, reigniting his rivalry with Orton that had been interrupted following his injury. Triple H won the match, winning his eleventh world championship and sixth WWE Championship, and then defended his title against Umaga in his regularly scheduled match after Mr. McMahon declared the match to be for the WWE title. After that McMahon gave Orton a rematch against Triple H in a Last Man Standing match in the main event, and Triple H lost after an RKO on a broadcast table. Triple H's title reign at No Mercy is the fifth shortest reign in WWE history, only lasting through the duration of the event. After winning the Raw Elimination Chamber match at No Way Out, Triple H gained a WWE Championship match by outlasting five other men, last eliminating Jeff Hardy after a Pedigree on a steel chair. At WrestleMania XXIV, Orton retained the title in a triple threat match after punting Triple H and pinning John Cena following Triple H's Pedigree on Cena. A month later, at Backlash, Triple H won the title in a fatal four-way elimination match against Orton, Cena, and John "Bradshaw" Layfield, tying the record for most WWE Championship reigns with The Rock. Triple H then retained the title against Orton at Judgment Day in a steel cage match and again at One Night Stand in a Last Man Standing match. Orton suffered a legitimate collarbone injury during the match, thus ending the feud prematurely.
On the June 23 episode of Raw, Triple H was drafted to the SmackDown brand as a part of the 2008 WWE draft, in the process making the WWE Championship exclusive to SmackDown. Triple H then went on to defeat John Cena cleanly to retain the WWE Championship at Night of Champions. He defended the championship over the summer by defeating the likes of Edge at The Great American Bash and The Great Khali at SummerSlam, and was the only champion to retain his title at Unforgiven's Championship Scramble matches. After this, he successfully defended it against Jeff Hardy both at No Mercy and Cyber Sunday.
At Survivor Series, Triple H was scheduled to defend the championship against Vladimir Kozlov and Jeff Hardy, but Hardy was kept out of the match after a scripted attack and injury. During the match, SmackDown general manager Vickie Guerrero announced that Edge had returned and introduced him into the contest. Hardy interfered and hit Triple H with a steel chair meant for Edge, thus costing him the title after a 210 days reign and resulting in Edge winning his sixth world title. After failing to regain the title at Armageddon, Triple H entered seventh in the 2009 Royal Rumble, but was last eliminated by Randy Orton. In February at No Way Out, Triple H won the WWE Championship in the SmackDown Elimination Chamber match, setting the record for most reigns at eight. That record stood until 2011 when John Cena won his ninth WWE Championship.
On the February 16 episode of Raw, Triple H made an appearance aiding Stephanie and Shane McMahon, after they were attacked by Randy Orton. On the February 20 episode of SmackDown, Triple H was interviewed by Jim Ross; in the interview, footage was shown highlighting the events that occurred on the February 16 episode of Raw. Ross asked Triple H how he felt seeing that footage, in response, he broke character (after 5 years of marriage) by admitting that Vince McMahon is his father-in-law, that Shane is his brother-in-law, and that Stephanie is his wife, thus creating a rivalry between Triple H and Orton. On the February 23 episode of Raw, Triple H confronted Orton, before attacking him, Ted DiBiase, and Cody Rhodes (a group known as The Legacy) with a sledgehammer and chasing them from the arena. At WrestleMania 25, Triple H defeated Orton to retain the title. On the April 13 episode of Raw, Triple H was drafted back to the Raw brand as part of the 2009 WWE draft.He teamed with Shane McMahon and Batista against Orton and The Legacy in a six-man tag match for the WWE Championship at Backlash, which they lost after Orton pinned Triple H following a Punt Kick. After six weeks off of television, selling the injury, he lost a Three Stages of Hell title match to Orton at The Bash. At Night of Champions, he again lost a title match to Orton in a triple threat match also involving John Cena.
On the August 10 episode of Raw, Triple H met with Michaels at an office cafeteria in Texas where Michaels was working as a chef; throughout the show, Triple H tried to convince Michaels to return to WWE from hiatus. After several incidents (including grease grill burgers on fire and Michaels shouting at a little girl), Michaels agreed to team with Triple H to face The Legacy at SummerSlam, superkicked the girl, and quit his chef job. On the August 17 episode of Raw, Triple H and Michaels officially reunited as D-X, but as they were in the process of their in-ring promo, The Legacy attacked them both. Their first match after reuniting was against The Legacy at SummerSlam, which they won. At Breaking Point, they lost to The Legacy in the first ever Submissions Count Anywhere match in WWE history.
At Hell in a Cell, D-X defeated The Legacy in a Hell in a Cell match. D-X unsuccessfully challenged John Cena for the WWE Championship in a triple threat match at Survivor Series, after which they remained friends and partners. On December 13 at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, D-X defeated Jeri-Show (Chris Jericho and Big Show) to win the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match.
On December 21, Triple H announced that Hornswoggle was the new D-X mascot. This came about after Hornswoggle sued D-X for emotional and physical distress due to them not allowing him to join D-X. After being taken to court where they were ruled guilty by a jury and judge consisting of dwarves, Michaels told Triple H that Hornswoggle could be the mascot. Triple H agreed to it only if the charges were dropped, which Hornswoggle agreed to. On January 11, 2010, episode of Raw, Mike Tyson, who was the Raw guest host for the night, teamed with Jericho to face D-X; at the end of the bout, Tyson turned on Jericho and aligned himself with Triple H and Michaels. On the February 8 episode of Raw, D-X lost the Unified Tag Team Championship to ShoMiz (The Miz and Big Show) in a triple threat elimination tag match, also involving The Straight Edge Society (CM Punk and Luke Gallows). On the March 1 episode of Raw, they lost a rematch for the title. This was their last televised match before Michaels retired.
On February 21, Triple H eliminated then WWE Champion Sheamus from the Elimination Chamber match, though he did not win the title himself. Sheamus attacked him weeks later, setting up a match at WrestleMania XXVI, which Triple H won. Also at WrestleMania, Michaels lost to The Undertaker and was forced to retire. While giving a farewell speech the next night, Sheamus attacked him and set up a rematch at Extreme Rules. Sheamus attacked Triple H at the start of the show, before later winning the match. Triple H then took time off to recover from injuries. Triple H made an untelevised appearance on October 30 at the WWE Fan Appreciation Event and also at the 2010 Tribute to the Troops.
On the February 21, 2011 episode of Raw, Triple H returned, interrupting the return of The Undertaker and challenging him to a match at WrestleMania XXVII, which later became a No Holds Barred match. A week later, he attacked Sheamus with a Pedigree through a broadcast table in retaliation for Sheamus giving him a ten-month injury. At WrestleMania XXVII, Triple H lost, which extended Undertaker's undefeated streak to 19–0; Undertaker was carried from the ring on a stretcher whereas Triple H left on his own accord.
At the end of the July 18 episode of Raw, Triple H returned on behalf of WWE's board of directors to relieve 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. This was during a storyline where CM Punk had won the WWE Championship and left the company. Though a new champion was crowned, Triple H helped re-sign Punk and upheld both championship reigns. He announced he would referee a match to unify both WWE Championships at SummerSlam. Although he counted a pinfall for CM Punk to win, John Cena's leg was on the ropes, which should have broken the pin. Triple H's longtime friend Kevin Nash attacked Punk immediately after the match to allow Alberto Del Rio to become the new champion. Though Nash and Punk demanded a match against each other, Triple H fired Nash for insubordination and booked himself in a No Disqualification match at Night of Champions with his position of COO on the line. Triple H defeated Punk at Night of Champions despite interference from John Laurinaitis, Nash, The Miz and R-Truth. After repeated attacks from these wrestlers in various matches, the majority of WWE's on-screen staff gave Triple H a vote of no confidence. Mr. McMahon returned to relieve him of his duties on Raw, though he remained the COO. Laurinaitis was named interim general manager of Raw, and booked him and Punk in a tag team match against Miz and R-Truth at Vengeance. During the match, Nash once again attacked him (costing Triple H and Punk the match) and did so the following night on the October 24 episode of Raw, hospitalizing him (kayfabe). WWE later announced that Triple H had sustained a fractured vertebra, and would be out of action. He returned on December 12, as part of the Slammy Awards. On December 18, he defeated Nash at TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs in sledgehammer ladder match, after attacking him with a sledgehammer.
Triple H returned on the January 30, 2012 episode of Raw to evaluate Laurinaitis' performance as general manager. Before he could announce the decision, he was interrupted by the returning Undertaker. After initially refusing the rematch as he did not want to tarnish The Undertaker's legacy, Triple H accepted the challenge after being called a coward who lives in Shawn Michaels' shadow, on the condition their rematch be contested inside Hell in a Cell. Triple H went on to lose this match at WrestleMania XXVIII.
Triple H returned on the April 30 episode of Raw, when he refused to give in to Brock Lesnar's unreasonable contract demands, resulting in Lesnar attacking him and storyline breaking his arm. Upon his return two weeks later, Triple H was confronted by Lesnar's legal representative, Paul Heyman, who announced Lesnar was filing a lawsuit against WWE for breach of contract. After he accosted Heyman, Heyman threatened another lawsuit against Triple H for assault and battery. At No Way Out in June, Triple H challenged Lesnar, who was not present, to a match at SummerSlam, which Heyman refused on Lesnar's behalf the following night on Raw. At Raw 1000, Stephanie McMahon goaded Heyman into Triple H's challenge against Lesnar. To anger Triple H, Lesnar broke Michaels's arm on the August 13 episode of Raw. Six days later at SummerSlam, Triple H lost to Lesnar after submitting to the Kimura Lock, breaking his arm again in storyline.
Triple H returned on the February 25, 2013 episode of Raw, brawling with Brock Lesnar after he attempted to attack Mr. McMahon. The brawl resulted in Lesnar having his head split open and requiring 18 stitches. The following week, Triple H issued a challenge to Lesnar, requesting a rematch with him at WrestleMania 29, which Lesnar accepted on the condition that he could choose the stipulation. The following week, after Triple H signed the contract and assaulted Heyman, the stipulation was revealed as No Holds Barred with Triple H's career on the line. At WrestleMania, Triple H defeated Lesnar after a Pedigree onto the steel steps. On the April 15 episode of Raw, Heyman challenged Triple H to face Lesnar in a steel cage match at Extreme Rules, which Triple H accepted the following week. Triple H ended up losing the match at Extreme Rules on May 19 thanks to interference from Heyman, and he also injured his jaw.
The next night on Raw, Triple H wrestled Heyman's newest client, Curtis Axel. He suffered a storyline concussion and was deemed to have forfeited. Despite being medically cleared to wrestle before the June 3 episode of Raw, Vince and Stephanie McMahon did not allow Triple H to wrestle Axel, citing concerns for his well-being and the safety of his children. In response, Triple H stormed out the arena and vowed to return to the ring the next week on Raw.
Main article: The Authority
Triple H served as the special guest referee of the SummerSlam WWE Championship match between champion John Cena and Daniel Bryan. After Bryan won the match, Triple H attacked him, allowing Randy Orton to cash in his Money in the Bank contract and win the title, which turned heel for the first time since 2006. Along with his wife Stephanie, they subsequently created The Authority, with The Shield (Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose) as his enforcers, Kane as the Director of Operations and Orton as their hand-picked WWE Champion. The group of heel authority figures became known for storylines involving them abusing their power.
At WrestleMania XXX, Triple H lost to Bryan, thereby granting Bryan a part in the subsequent WWE World Heavyweight Championship match against Batista and Orton, which Bryan ultimately won. In order to end Bryan's title reign, Triple H re-formed Evolution with Orton and Batista on the April 18 episode of SmackDown, but Bryan remained champion due to The Shield turning on The Authority. Evolution subsequently lost back-to-back matches with The Shield at Extreme Rules and Payback. Batista quit WWE on the Raw after Payback after Triple H refused to grant him his shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H then went to "Plan B", Seth Rollins, who turned on The Shield and rejoined The Authority.
The Authority were briefly removed from power after losing a five-on-five tag team elimination match at Survivor Series after Sting made his WWE debut to assist their opponents. However, The Authority were reinstated on the December 29 episode of Raw after Rollins coaxed Cena into reinstating them by holding Edge hostage. Back in power, Triple H began feuding with Sting, whom he defeated at WrestleMania 31 after interference from D-Generation X. After his match with Sting, he and Stephanie McMahon were later confronted by The Rock and Ronda Rousey during a promo regarding the record crowd at the event.
The WWE World Heavyweight Championship was vacated after Rollins suffered a legitimate severe knee injury in November 2015 and a tournament to determine a new champion was held at Survivor Series, which was won by Roman Reigns. Throughout the remainder of 2015, The Authority aligned with Sheamus, who successfully cashed in his Money in the Bank contact immediately after Reign's victory. After Sheamus defeated Reigns at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, Reigns viciously attacked Triple H, which resulted in a storyline injury that took him off television. During this hiatus, Reigns regained the championship from Sheamus on the December 14 episode of Raw. Triple H made his return during the 2016 Royal Rumble match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, as the unannounced 30th entrant. After eliminating Reigns, he then eliminated Dean Ambrose to secure his second Royal Rumble win and 14th (and final) world championship. He successfully defended the championship against Ambrose at Roadblock, but lost the championship to Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania 32, ending his last world championship reign at 70 days.
After WrestleMania 32, with The Authority now disbanded, Triple H competed in the WWE Live tour of the United Kingdom in late April before taking a hiatus from WWE television. However, he continued making occasional appearances in an executive role for NXT.
On the August 29 episode of Raw, Triple H made his return by interfering in the main event for the recently vacated and established WWE Universal Championship. Firstly, he attacked rival Roman Reigns with a Pedigree, allowing former Authority stable member Seth Rollins to eliminate him, before attacking Rollins with a Pedigree, allowing Kevin Owens to win the title. This began a monthslong feud with Rollins, which culminated in a "non-sanctioned match" at WrestleMania 33 on April 2, 2017, where Rollins defeated him.
Despite being part of Kurt Angle's Team Raw at Survivor Series, Triple H attacked him and caused him to be eliminated in their match against Team SmackDown, and he ultimately got credit for winning the match after he pinned Shane McMahon of Team SmackDown. Angle subsequently joined forces with the debuting Ronda Rousey, and the two defeated Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a mixed tag match at WrestleMania 34 after Stephanie submitted to Rousey's armbar.
The last feuds of Triple H's in-ring career were high-profile rematches with wrestlers that he had previously worked with. At the Greatest Royal Rumble in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, John Cena defeated Triple H in the first match ever featured on a Saudi pay-per-view event. He subsequently defeated The Undertaker at Super Show-Down in a match that was billed as the "Last Time Ever". His feud with The Undertaker continued into Crown Jewel, where Shawn Michaels came out of retirement to reform DX with him, in a winning effort against The Brothers of Destruction (The Undertaker and Kane). At WrestleMania 35, Triple H defeated Batista with assistance from Ric Flair in what was Batista's retirement match. Triple H's final match in front of a live television audience was at Super ShowDown on June 7, 2019, which culminated in a loss to Randy Orton. However, his final match, which took place on June 29, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan, was not televised. At the event Triple H and Shinsuke Nakamura teamed up to defeat Robert Roode and Samoa Joe after Nakamura pinned Roode.
After 2019, Triple H's appearances became increasingly sporadic and 2020 became the first year in which he did not wrestle a match since the start of his career. However, he continued to make occasional on-screen appearances in non-wrestling roles. One such appearance occurred on the April 24 episode of SmackDown, which was dedicated to his 25th anniversary in WWE. His final on-screen physical altercation took place when he brawled with Randy Orton on Raw on January 11, 2021, which ended in a no-contest after Alexa Bliss and "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt got involved.
Due to his newly discovered heart condition, Triple H announced his retirement from wrestling during an appearance on First Take on March 25, 2022. On April 3, he introduced the second night of WrestleMania 38 as the COO of WWE, subsequently leaving a microphone and his wrestling boots in the ring to signify his official in-ring retirement.
Considered one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, Triple H received most of his acclaim for his work as a villain throughout his career. His rivalries with The Rock and Kurt Angle during the Attitude Era were highly praised. In 2011, the Pro Wrestling Torch stated that he was "widely regarded as the best wrestler in North America" by 2000. His WrestleMania matches against Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XX, John Cena at WrestleMania 22, Cena and Randy Orton at WrestleMania XXIV, The Undertaker at WrestleManias X-Seven, XVII, and XVIII, and Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania XXX have been considered among Triple H's best WrestleMania matches and in WrestleMania history.
Triple H's later career, especially after 2014 during which he was a part-time performer, has been sometimes criticized. Bret Hart commented on Triple H winning the 2016 Royal Rumble match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship while not wrestling full-time, saying: "I didn't like the decision that Triple H, surprise, put the belt on himself again ... it just showed a real lack of imagination if you ask me." Triple H using his relationship with the McMahon family to continually dominate the spotlight and book himself in high-profile matches has been a subject of criticism since his full-time career ended. After his tag team match along with Michaels against Undertaker and Kane at Crown Jewel in 2018, at which point he was 49 years old, Dave Meltzer wrote that "when Ric (Flair) was 48, he was a lot better than Triple H". Wade Keller from Pro Wrestling Torch wrote that Triple H "moves like the trees in Wizard of Oz". Jason Powell from Pro Wrestling Dot Net stated that wrestlers like Triple H, alongside Michaels, Undertaker, and Kane, "need to accept their limitations, stop pretending they belong in main events, and stop acting like being in these main events isn't stealing the spotlight (from newer talent)".
As the founder and executive producer of NXT since its inception in 2010, Levesque has been widely praised for helping cultivate the brand, recruiting fresh new talent, and helping guide the brand to various levels of success including sold-out shows, increased respect for women's professional wrestling, and international expansion. Fellow wrestler Jon Moxley, who performed in WWE under the ring name Dean Ambrose, praised Triple H for his work behind the scenes in February 2019, saying: "[Triple H] is a guy that thinks about things a lot. He would be more open to giving people more freedom. But if he sees something and thinks there is a better way he will come and tell you. He watches television and he is the closest thing to Vince that we have." Under his leadership, NXT matches received critical acclaim.
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. In 2013, his title was elevated to Executive Vice-president of Talent, Live Events and Creative where he worked with WWE creative direction and storylines of WWE's programming. That year, he earned a combined salary of just over $1.5 million from his front office job and as a wrestler. He also owns just over $1.5 million in WWE stock.
His title was elevated to Executive Vice President, Global Talent Strategy & Development in 2020. In this role, he oversees the company's Talent Development department and serves as a senior advisor to the CEO for talent strategy.
He is also the founder and executive producer of WWE's NXT brand.
In 2014, Levesque and his wife Stephanie created the Connor's Cure cancer fund in honor of Connor "The Crusher" Michalek, a WWE fan who died of cancer at the age of eight.
From 1996 to 2000, Levesque was in a relationship with fellow wrestler Joan "Chyna" Laurer. What began as an on-screen storyline marriage in 2000 became a real-life romance when Levesque began dating Stephanie McMahon. They were married in Sleepy Hollow, New York, on October 25, 2003. They have three daughters: Aurora Rose Levesque (born 2006), Murphy Claire Levesque (born 2008), and Vaughn Evelyn Levesque (born 2010).
In 2004, Levesque released a book titled Making the Game: Triple H's Approach to a Better Body. It is mostly devoted to bodybuilding advice but also includes some autobiographical information, memoirs, and opinions.
A lifelong teetotaler, Levesque was automatically the designated driver in the 1990s when partying with wrestlers such as Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash, who were well known for their alcohol and drug use. He is an avid fan of English rock band Motörhead, who performed three different entrance themes for him over his career, and was good friends with the band's frontman Lemmy until Lemmy's death in December 2015. He sported Lemmy-inspired facial hair during the early 2000s and spoke at Lemmy's funeral on January 9, 2016. His other close friends include NFL quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He is a supporter of English football team West Ham United FC.
In September 2021, WWE reported that Levesque underwent a procedure at Yale New Haven Hospital following a "cardiac event" caused by a genetic heart issue. Two months later, unnamed inside sources told wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer that the incident was "very, very, very serious". During an appearance on First Take on March 25, 2022, Levesque gave his first interview since being hospitalized. He revealed that he had viral pneumonia and inflamed lungs, which worsened over time. He said that his wife noticed he was coughing up blood, so he went to the hospital, where doctors discovered fluid in his lungs and around his heart; they informed him that his heart was working at a fraction of its full strength, and that he was in a "bad" state of heart failure. He also said there were moments where he thought he would die and confirmed that the event forced him to retire from wrestling: "I was nose-diving and sort of at the one-yard line of where you don't want to be really, for your family and your future. There's moments in there when they're putting you out for stuff and you think, 'Is this it? Do you wake up from this?' That's tough to swallow and makes you think differently. [...] I will never wrestle again. First of all, I have a defibrillator in my chest, which, you know, probably not a good idea for me to get zapped on live TV."
|2004||Blade: Trinity||Jarko Grimwood|
|2011||The Chaperone||Raymond "Ray Ray" Bradstone|
|2011||Inside Out||Arlo "AJ" Jayne|
|2014||Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery||Himself||Voice|
|2014||WWE Power Series||Himself|
|2016||Scooby-Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon||Himself||Voice|
|2017||Surf's Up 2: WaveMania||Hunter||Voice|
|1998||Pacific Blue||Triple H|
|1998||The Drew Carey Show||The Disciplinarian|
|2000||Grown Ups||Cameron Russell|
|2005||The Bernie Mac Show||Triple H|
|2009||Robot Chicken||Triple H / Werewolf||Voice|
Levesque had 412 action figures produced of his likeness between the 1990s and 2010s, according to the Wrestling Figure Checklist. The majority of which were produced by Jakks Pacific and Mattel, this number makes Levesque one of the most produced wrestlers in history.
Levesque has a chapter giving advice in Tim Ferriss' book Tools of Titans.
((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) WWE COO Triple H addresses WWE Universe concerns over a "new regime," Superstar firings and more: WWE.com Exclusive, September 4, 2013
'Paul Levesque, a.k.a. Triple H, underwent a successful procedure last week at Yale New Haven Hospital following a cardiac event. The episode was caused by a genetic heart issue and Paul is expected to make a full recovery.'
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