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How multi-time world champion Triple H became heir to Vince McMahon’s WWE throne

Monday - 15/05/2017 14:16
TRIPLE H is one of WWE’s true in-ring legends.
Triple H attends the WrestleMania 30 press conference.
Triple H attends the WrestleMania 30 press conference.

He’s a multi-time world champion, has won the Royal Rumble twice, and headlined WrestleMania on seven occasions.

But did you also know that he’s one of the company’s biggest players backstage and heir to Vince McMahon’s WWE empire?

We take a look back at how Triple H rose to become the second most powerful man in wrestling.

EARLY DAYS

How did he get started in wrestling?

Real name Paul Levesque, Trips trained under old school legend Killer Kowalski and began wrestling in 1992.

He had a brief tenure in WCW under the name Terra Ryzing — the highlight of which was his ridiculous blonde mullet — and later as French snob Jean-Paul Levesque.

He joined WWE in 1995 as the “Connecticut blue blood” Hunter Hearst Helmsley — allegedly a dig at high society types who spurned self-made millionaire Vince McMahon.

Though Helmsley feuded with wrestling bin men and pig farmers (yes, really) he got an early taste of backstage power as part of “The Kliq”.

THE KLIQ

WWF pro-wrestlers Chyna (L) and Triple H flexing their muscles for supporters during TV show 'Raw Is War'.
WWF pro-wrestlers Chyna (L) and Triple H flexing their muscles for supporters during TV show 'Raw Is War'.Source:News Corp Australia

A controversial locker room gang comprised of Shawn Michaels, Kevin “Diesel” Nash, Scott “Razor Ramon” Hall, Sean “1-2-3 Kid” Waltman, and Triple H.

They were notorious for their backstage influence, hogging championships and spotlight, and for not wanting to lose matches except to each other.

Trips and Michaels eventually brought a version of the Kliq — the rebellious faction D-Generation X — to WWE screens in 1997.

Along with his bodyguard/real-life girlfriend Chyna, it would be Triple H’s first major success in the wrestling.

THE GAME

By 2000 Triple H had become WWE Champion and the best heel in the business.

He also married Vince McMahon’s daughter Stephanie to create the McMahon-Helmsley Faction in control of WWE.

The on-screen romance would become a reality when Trips and Stephanie began dating in real-life and married in 2003.

His relationship with Steph has caused much controversy and criticism.

Cynical fans claiming Trips used his as position as the boss’s son-in-law to keep his spot at the top of the card — often at the expense of other superstars.

And there’s no doubt the WWE careers of Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Randy Orton, and CM Punk were all stifled under Triple H’s reign of dominance.

CM Punk discussed his longstanding issue with Triple H on his now infamous podcast with Colt Cabana after walking out of WWE.

Wrestler — Hunter Hearst Helmsley "Triple H".
Wrestler — Hunter Hearst Helmsley "Triple H".Source:News Limited

HEIR TO THE WWE

Fans had long known that Trips played a major role in backstage — but it was made official when he was named Executive Vice President of Talent and Live Events in 2011.

This was reflected on-screen too as he began to wrestle on a part-time basis and played the role of WWE’s COO — eventually becoming a classic heel authority figure.

Of course, the real heir to WWE is his wife Stephanie.

This in itself has caused some controversy, as the rumours are that Vince’s son Shane McMahon was passed over in favour of Steph and Trips.

Some say this is why Shane left WWE in 2009.

Shane O’Mac fuelled more speculation with a frosty attitude when asked about his relationship with Triple H during a WWE Network interview last year.

Though Steph is rightful heir, fans know that Triple H will be the real driving force behind WWE’s future when Vince eventually steps down as chairman.

WHY?

Paul Levesque talks to reporters at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando.
Paul Levesque talks to reporters at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando.Source:Supplied

Three letters: NXT.

Triple H has been the brains behind WWE’s developmental brand and its state-of-the-art Performance Center training facility.

The success of both is proof of Triple H’s savvy mind for wrestling and eye for talent.

In particular, NXT’s back-to-basics storylines and focus on in-ring action have seen the hardcore fans heap praise on “The Game”.

Working with indie promotions on the Cruiserweight Classic and UK Championship Tournament has also been seen a major step forward for WWE — all thanks to Triple H.

THE FUTURE UNDER HHH

Some would say it’s just another political ruse by “The Cerebral Assassin” — positioning himself alongside “internet darling” indie talents to win over the fans who once criticised him.

But there’s no denying his passion for wrestling and creative talents behind the scenes.

His numerous projects — from the UK Championship to upcoming women’s tournament — are designed to attract more talent than from around the world.

Which means under Triple H, WWE is only going to get bigger and more exciting.

Some fans say that Vince lost touch years ago.

Which means there’s only one thing to say about the future of WWE: all hail the “King of Kings”.

This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission.

Source: News Corp Australia Network:

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