Shawn Michaels and Triple H are two of the biggest names, not just in WWE history, but in the history of professional wrestling. Both have had particularly long and successful careers in WWE, with Shawn pretty much dominating the 1990s, and Triple H finding his most success in the early to mid 2000s. Being that the two are the best of friends, they always manage to find themselves involved with the life and career of the other.
Due to 20+ years in the business for each man, there isn't much we don't know about the lives and careers of Shawn and Hunter. The Kliq, their brief affiliation with the Vince McMahon led corporation, and the multiple variations of the legendary group, D-Generation X have provided us with more than enough information about these two men. Both individually and collectively. So here are 15 things you may not have known about this duo:
15 Their First Meeting
For a friendship that has withstood over 20+ years, you would expect some sort of magical, storybook introduction for its characters right? Well that's not the case here. Shawn Michaels first learned of Paul Levesque (Triple H) while Paul worked in WCW under the horrible gimmick, "Terra Ryzing." Triple H explains on his DVD, "Thy Kingdom Come," that a few months after making the jump to WWE in early 1995, Shawn and the other members of the infamous Kliq literally scooped him up and took him under their wing. Kevin Nash reportedly saw Hunter at a car rental location and offered him a ride to the next city.
Shawn and Hunter's initial bond began during long car rides to and from different cities where they would perform. Michaels has also stated in past interviews that inviting Triple H into the already formed band of brothers was easy because of Hunter's love for the business, and the fact that he was straight edge, making him an easy choice for the groups designated driver.
14 The Curtain Call Incident
1996 was a much different time than 2016. Obviously a lot has changed in the past 20 years in terms of professional wrestling. But one of the main differences was the term "kayfabe." For the casual wrestling fan, kayfabe is a blanket term used in pro wrestling that covers the illusion of making wrestling look real and legitimate. Keeping that illusion was very important back then, as they didn't have the social media and instant access to Superstars that we do today.
So when Shawn Michaels and Triple H, along with Kliq buddies Kevin Nash and Scott Hall shared a hug in the middle of the ring after a live event at Madison Square Garden in 1996, it set the wrestling world on fire. The problem here was that traditionally, the "good guys" and the "bad guys" were not supposed to have any interactions outside of the ring. And here were two fan favorites (Hall and Michaels) showing that they are real life buddies with two villains (Nash and Hunter). It was a big no-no at the impact was immediately felt.
13 HBK vs. HHH 1996?
As we probably all know by now, of the four men involved in the MSG incident, Triple H's career was hit the hardest. Kevin Nash and Scott Hall went untouched because they left for WCW days after the incident. And Shawn Michaels received immunity due to being the World Champion and top man at that point.
However, what may not be so widely known is that before the incident Triple H was in line for a huge push. Hunter has stated that not only was he scheduled to win the 1996 King of the Ring tournament, but was also being groomed for a World title program against HBK. Two things immediately stand out about this scenario. 1. The company must've had a lot of faith in Hunter to book him for such a strong push after only a year with the company. 2. If the Curtain Call never happened and HHH does win the 1996 KOTR, does that mean we never get the legendary Stone Cold "Austin 3:16" promo?
12 Almost Got Raw Kicked Off The Air
As mentioned earlier, Triple H and HBK formed the original incarnation of D-Generation X in 1997. Along with Chyna and Rick Rude, the group became known for its crude adult humor and sophomoric attitude. And no, not like the DX 2.0 we saw in 2006. 1997 DX was in your face and very real. So real in fact, that Michaels and Hunter almost caused Monday Night Raw to get kicked off the air.
As the story goes, the deeper Triple H/HBK got into their DX act, the worse it got for WWE and Raw. The USA Network received several complaints from concerned parents who did not like the duos crotch chops, genitalia references, etc. Luckily for the group and their fans, they did not heed the warnings and instead became more suggestive. Hunter and Shawn were simply playing their real life characters on TV and it worked effortlessly.
11 Torch Almost Not Passed
At WrestleMania XIV in 1998, Shawn Michaels was scheduled to defend his WWE Championship against the hottest Superstar on the roster, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. During this time, HBK was not only dealing with a severe back injury he had sustained two months prior, but was also facing the harsh realities of the alcohol and drug led lifestyle he was living at the time. Those behind the scenes within the company knew that the match between HBK and Austin was meant to be a passing of the crown to Stone Cold. But Shawn almost didn't make it to the event.
Shawn credits his best friend Triple H with basically taking care of him for the months leading up to 'Mania. Between the drugs, the back injury, and the pressures of being World Champion, Michaels was rarely in the correct state of mind. Hunter was basically assigned to make sure his buddy got around from city to city and to never let things get out of hand. This included practically having to dress Shawn in his ring gear the night of WrestleMania. What a pal.
10 The Fight
After dropping the WWE Championship to Stone Cold at 1998's WM, HBK took a brief hiatus from the business. His back injury was thought to have ended his in ring career, but Shawn continued to make sporadic non-wrestling appearances throughout the next two years. During this time, his alcohol and drug abuse continued as well, but without Triple H constantly by his side to keep him in check.
According to Triple H's version of this story, WWE had brought in Michaels to discuss his involvement in that years WrestleMania X-Seven, presumably The Undertaker/Triple H storyline. However, HBK showed up "pilled out of his mind and halfway drooling on himself" and caused a big scene. Many of the talents blew it off as typical Shawn until HBK decided to confront Hunter in front of the locker room.
Michaels allegedly called out Triple H for being a horrible friend, not having his back, and basically told him to go **** himself in so many words. This led to the former buddies not talking for over a year.
9 The Call/Makeup
Over the course of that year in which Shawn and Hunter weren't on speaking terms, a lot of positive things took place. For Triple H, he was at the top of his game. Due to feuds with The Rock, Steve Austin, The Undertaker, and more, Hunter had solidified himself as a main event star in the post DX era. More importantly, Shawn not only found God but made the decision to clean up his life for his wife and child. This was a time of mending fences for HBK.
Sure enough, the biggest bridge that needed rebuilding was his relationship with his best friend Triple H. Shawn credits none other than "Big Sexy" Kevin Nash with sparking the idea of calling Triple H to apologize and rekindle their relationship. The former DX buddies reportedly talked for about for hours and "wept like little girls" en route to becoming best friends again.
8 The Return
As all retired pro wrestlers do, HBK began to feel that "itch" to return and have one final match. After all, how many wrestlers actually stay retired when they leave? Michaels stated in his book that he had a desire to return and have one final match at SummerSlam 2002, and he didn't trust anyone besides "The Game" Triple H to take care of him. So the storyline was set, and the match was made.
However, the "one final match" turned into a near 30 minute classic and led to an eight year career renaissance for "The Heartbreak Kid." Shawn's run from 2002-2010 is arguably just as good, if not better than his original run in WWE. And it's all thanks to that compelling return match with his best friend.
7 Shawn Was Against The DX Reboot
In 2006, after a few months of being teased here and there, Shawn Michaels and Triple H reunited to form the legendary team D-Generation X. Fans were excited at the idea of the two returning to the antics they made famous in 1997-1998. However, a few things were different this time around. Shawn and Hunter were both older and didn't represent the same anti-authority heels they were in the late '90s. Also, HBK had given his life to Christ years prior to this and wasn't feeling the idea of bringing the old Shawn back.
Shawn has stated on multiple occasions that he cringes when thinking or watching what DX used to do on TV. HBK was truly a changed man and doubted the group would have any impact with the younger audience. And for the most part he was right. 2006 did provide a few comical moments, but was nothing compared to the original concept.
6 Shawn Takes Hunter's Spot
WrestleMania is such a big event that one can only imagine how many ideas and concepts get thrown around yearly on how to make the show special. Often times, storylines for 'Mania are planned many months in advance. But more often than not, audibles must be called due to unplanned circumstances. That's where this story picks up.
Both John Cena and Triple H have stated in the past that they were originally scheduled to face each other at WrestleMania 23, in what would have been a rematch from their main event bout a year prior. However, Hunter tore his quad two months before 'Mania putting him out of action for seven months. With WWE needing a replacement for their planned main event, who better to step in than Trips best buddy HBK? Michaels started a brief feud with Cena that essentially culminated with their match at WrestleMania 23.
5 Stephanie Thought They Were Gay
Enter Stephanie McMahon, the true queen of WWE. (Sorry Charlotte) Stephanie began real life dating Triple H in the early 2000s as a result of their on-screen pairing. After a courtship that lasted two years, Stephanie and Hunter tied the knot in October 2003. Years later, when asked about how she first learned who Triple H was, Steph stated that she used to watch Shawn and Hunter on TV in college. As for her initial thoughts of the Cerebral Assassin and his buddy, Steph replied, "I thought they had a little more than a friendship going on."
To sum it up as respectfully as possible, Stephanie initially thought Shawn and Triple H were gay. More than just close friends. Now, to be fair, it's not too difficult to see where she came up with this conclusion. Think about it. The two were grown men on TV talking about their genitalia, pointing to their crotches, and even shared a brief kiss. Can we really blame Steph for this one?
4 They've Only Held The Tag Titles Once
This one might be a little hard to believe, but its definitely true. Through three different eras of the Triple H/HBK led D-Generation X stable, the duo has only held the Tag Team Championship together once. The win came during the last DX run in 2009, by defeating the team of Chris Jericho and Big Show. However, when you break it down (pun intended), one can really see how this happened.
In 1997, although they were labeled as DX, the two weren't really a tag team. Triple H was around more to watch Shawn's back against foes like Steve Austin, The Undertaker, and Bret Hart. In 2006, the group was together for a brief time because Shawn and Triple H joined forces to vanquish The Spirit Squad, as well as Shane and Vince McMahon. It wasn't until 2009 that the duo could really be considered a "tag team" with an opportunity to win the gold.
3 End Of An Era Souvenirs
Triple H faced off against The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVIII in what was billed as "The End of an Era." The match was contested inside Hell in a Cell, with Hunter's best friend Shawn Michaels serving as the guest referee. The two battle for half an hour with The Undertaker coming out victorious.
What isn't known about this match is what happened afterward. The three shared a long hug at the top of the stage and again in the backstage area. And being that Triple H is the world's best historian, he grabbed a few collectibles before the night was over. Hunter took his own wrist/hand tape, Undertaker's gloves he wore that night, and Shawn's referee shirt to frame and put them up in his home office. Must be awesome to see that every day.
2 Stephanie Calls HBK to Calm Down The Game
This piece of information comes straight from the mouth's of Stephanie McMahon and Shawn Michaels on Triple H's last DVD "Thy Kingdom Come." Stephanie revealed that while she won't share the nature of these phone calls, she has called up HBK on several occasions to come over and be a friend in need when Hunter gets too stressed.
Triple H understandably has a lot on his plate. He is currently the Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events, and Creative for WWE. Also in his spare time, he just so happens to run NXT and finds time to learn how to run the business from his father-in-law Vince McMahon. And if that weren't enough, he comes home to a wife and three beautiful daughters. So it's not hard to believe that HBK is called up to make Hunter laugh when he gets too wound up.
1 Shawn Will Consider Wrestling For Triple H's Retirement Match
Shawn Michaels is one of the very few wrestlers to retire from in ring competition and stay retired. HBK has not had a match since he lost to The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVI. Understandably, Shawn is very protective of his in-ring body of work and doesn't want to tarnish it like so many other legends have done with their own careers (Hogan, Flair, Foley, etc). Although he has received many offers to return, he has turned them all down.
However, Shawn stated in a recent interview that the only person he would consider coming out of retirement for is his best friend Triple H. There was a lot of "if" and "maybe" sprinkled into Shawn's answer, but here was the gist of it. The only way HBK would even consider coming out of retirement for one last match, would be if Triple H asked him to wrestle in Hunter's retirement match. And even then he would expect Hunter to understand if he declined the offer.