They call him the Game, the Cerebral Assassin, the King of Kings, the on-air COO of WWE, the offscreen EVP of Talent, and even the Greenwich Blueblood. Many "smart fans" also see him as the man whose shovel is more effective than his sledgehammer, while the folks at WrestleCrap love looking back on his time in WCW as Terra Ryzing. He is Paul Michael Levesque, a.k.a. Hunter Hearst Helmsley, or just plain old Triple H. And regardless of what you think of him, he's been a very important part of WWE for the past two decades, both as a wrestler and as an executive.
Triple H arguably became "important" in 1997, when he and Shawn Michaels formed the iconic stable D-Generation X, with Trips dropping his snob gimmick and trading raunchy wisecracks with his real-life best friend. And as time passed, the stable would go on to include similarly edgy characters such as The New Age Outlaws and X-Pac, as well as short-lived members like Tori, Hornswoggle, and even Stephanie McMahon. And lest we forget, Shawn and Hunter's fellow charter members were the late Chyna and Rick Rude, with the former playing key roles in DX storylines early on.
We all know that the boys and, on occasion, girls of DX had a great time onscreen and reveled in their antics like a tightly-knit college frat would. But how did, and how does Triple H relate to those people in real life? Let's find out in this list of 15 facts about those real-life relationships Triple H has had with his DX brothers and sisters.
15 RICK RUDE DIDN'T LIKE DX
Going back to the very start of D-Generation X, the stable featured Shawn Michaels, Hunter Hearst Helmsley (soon to simply become Triple H), Chyna, and Rick Rude. The latter two mainly served as enforcers, with Rude in specific acting as DX's "insurance policy." But while Shawn, Hunter, and Chyna were all tight with each other, it was a different story for the older — and old-school — Rude.
All accounts point to "Ravishing" Rick being solidly in the corner of Bret Hart, especially around the time of the Montreal Screwjob, and not liking his on-air associates one bit, especially Michaels and Triple H, due to their backstage politicking. Ultimately, Rude was so upset over the Screwjob that he took advantage of his pay-per-appearance deal with WWE and famously appeared on WCW Nitro — on the very same night he was on a taped episode of Monday Night RAW.
14 ROAD DOGG IS ONE OF TRIPLE H’S TOP LIEUTENANTS
As explained elsewhere in this list, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn of The New Age Outlaws once let ‘er rip on Triple H in a shoot interview. But that was years ago, and they’ve since apologized to The Game, and even gotten to hold the WWE World Tag Team titles for a few weeks in 2014, despite their part time status. The man known as Mr. Ass is no longer with WWE due to a failed drug test, but Mr. Dogg is still very much a part of the company’s backstage team, having recently gotten promoted to creative head of the SmackDown Live brand.
While we mostly associate Triple H with the RAW brand, Road Dogg’s numerous duties as a backstage producer are proof of the faith the real-life Executive Vice President of Talent (and WWE in general) has in the man who once told fans that their a-double-s had better call somebody.
13 BILLY GUNN’S MEMBERSHIP IN THE HUNTER CLUB
Even non-NJPW fans are very familiar with the powerful Bullet Club stable – it’s where AJ Styles, Finn Balor, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson came from. But what about the Hunter Club? That’s the anti-Bullet Club stable led by former WWE Superstar Yoshi Tatsu (or Yoshitatsu as he’s known in New Japan), and it counts “Badd Ass” Billy Gunn as one of its members. And in case you were wondering, the “Hunter” in “Hunter Club” refers to none other than Trips himself, with Yoshitatsu playing the Triple H role in the stable.
Due to Gunn’s previous DX membership, he made a natural addition to the faction, and was happy to help out and contribute his ideas, as he didn’t seem to have any heat with Triple H when he left WWE. And, in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, he expressed a desire to go back to WWE if given the chance, and put over Triple H as someone who gave him good advice when he was about to start work as an NXT trainer.
12 THE VOODOO KIN MAFIA
Road Dogg and Billy Gunn had major heat with Triple H after they left WWE, and we have that covered in a separate entry. But before their brutal, and actual shoot on Mr. Levesque, they had reunited in TNA in 2006, and got together to form a New Age Outlaws-ripoff tag team called – are you ready for this – the Voodoo Kin Mafia. Yeah, because they loved to cut worked shoots on Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
Triple H wasn’t immune to the Voodoo Kin Mafia worked shoots, and he got a lot of scripted hate from his former DX colleagues, mainly because they arrived at the same time he and Shawn Michaels were reviving DX as a tag team. It would seem that the hate was festering and coming out in the form of kayfabe tirades at the competition, but the worst was yet to come as far as the real-life Trips vs. Outlaws feud was concerned.
11 THIS DX MEMBER THOUGHT TRIPLE H AND SHAWN WERE “GAY”
Although she definitely wasn’t a core member of DX, Stephanie McMahon was, ever so briefly, a part of the faction, back when she and Triple H were still onscreen partners only. But there was a time when Steph thought her future husband and his best friend may have been, well, more than just best friends. She admitted this in 2014, well into her marriage with The Game, as she talked about how she’d see DX on television during her college days and think twice about the bromance they had on Monday Night RAW.
And what a bromance it was, as Trips and Shawn would do all those crazy things for shock value – bragging about and sometimes comparing their man-parts to each other’s, and even kissing each other on TV. Personally, this writer thought DX reminded him of meathead frat boys trying to be as loud and obnoxious as possible, phallic obsession notwithstanding, but Stephanie wasn’t alone in thinking there might have been a little something more special between HBK and The Game.
10 HE TRIED TO WARN X-PAC ABOUT CHYNA
They say it's bad form for someone to date a good friend's ex-partner, but that's exactly what X-Pac did when he started dating Chyna not long after she and Triple H broke up. Still, Triple H wasn't upset about it, but rather concerned, as X-Pac remembered last year. In a 2016 interview on the Steve Austin Show (quotes c/o Wrestling Inc.), X-Pac told Austin about how Chyna’s ex Triple H tried to warn him about what he was getting into.
“I don't even know how to explain it, but I just remember Hunter texting me, like, 'hey man, hey kid, what kind of psycho s--- are you getting yourself into now?'” X-Pac recalled. “Yeah, it wasn't like he was mad or 'hey, what are you doing?'” He added that Hunter was mostly looking out for a good friend, though he wisely chose not to delve much into the details, as the interview took place just four months after Chyna’s tragic death.
9 HE WAS HBK's "BABYSITTER" IN THE '90s
Back in the mid-1990s, Shawn Michaels was boozing, popping pills, and partying like a rock star, all the while wowing audiences as one of the most talented workers of his generation. If he was stoned, drunk, or hung over from the night before, few fans, if any, suspected a thing. But away from the spotlight, it was a different story, as it was clear to everyone that HBK was often getting wasted on something.
Despite being the newest member of the Kliq during those times, there were times Triple H looked out for Shawn like a big brother, despite the fact that he's four years Michaels' junior. That included acting as his designated driver, something he gladly did, not only out of concern for a good friend, but also because he was the only straight-edge guy in a backstage faction of party animals. He even went as far as helping Michaels get dressed for his matches, which shows you how wrecked he was back then.
8 SHAWN WOULD COME OUT OF RETIREMENT FOR TRIPLE H
There doesn't seem to be anything that could convince Shawn Michaels to unretire, even for one match. Recently, the AJ Styles match rumors and the 2017 Royal Rumble taking place in Michaels' hometown of San Antonio failed to sway him back into the ring. But if there's one thing that may lure the Heartbreak Kid back into a onetime comeback, it's Triple H's retirement match, whenever that may be.
Just to get things straight, HBK said in 2015 that it’s something he would merely consider, but knowing his best friend Trips like he does, he said he doesn’t expect him to ask, and that Triple H would likely understand it if he decided not to take part in such a retirement match. As such, it's a huge shot in the dark, and as far as we're seeing, Triple H doesn't seem to have any foreseeable plans to retire, even if he barely wrestles these days.
7 AT ONE POINT, THE NEW AGE OUTLAWS HATED TRIPLE H
You would think that everyone in DX was chummy with each other offscreen, especially since most of the stable’s core members were buddies in real life. At first, that may have been true for non-Kliq members “Road Dogg” Jesse James and “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn of The New Age Outlaws, but over time, Messrs. Dogg and Ass became less than chummy with their onetime faction leader.
Earlier in the decade, the New Age Outlaws cut a shoot interview where they verbally tore Triple H a new hole where the sun doesn’t shine. Among other allegations, they claimed that Trips was condescending when it came to their drug use at the time, someone who’d bury people (no shock, but such burials allegedly included the Outlaws themselves), and someone who’d go into business for himself. It was a shock for many who assumed that everyone in DX got along fabulously offscreen, but back then, the Outlaws were furious with Hunter.
Both parties buried the hatchet in recent years, with The New Age Outlaws even getting to hold the WWE Tag Team Championships during their brief early-2014 comeback.
6 TRIPLE H TOOK THE HEAT FOR EVERYONE IN THE CURTAIN CALL
This is a pre-DX example where the only DX member involved was Shawn Michaels, but it's another example of how the wrestler then known by his full ring name of Hunter Hearst Helmsley was willing to "take one for the team" with little complaint. You're probably familiar with the "Curtain Call," that 1996 incident where faces Michaels and Scott "Razor Ramon" Hall and heels Triple H and Kevin "Diesel" Nash hugged each other in the ring at Madison Square Garden, thereby trampling on kayfabe and infuriating traditionalists within the wrestling business.
That was meant to be a send-off for the departing Hall and Nash, and that left WWE Champion Michaels and Triple H as the only men whom Vince McMahon could punish. As Vince wasn't willing to punish Michaels due to his world champion status, Triple H got buried instead (ironic considering his current reputation) by WWE taking away his planned King of the Ring tournament win, and having him lose most of his matches for several months.
5 HEAT WITH CHRIS JERICHO OVER CHYNA'S BLACK EYE
Let's go back in time to 1999, when Triple H was dating Chyna in real life, Stephanie McMahon was dating Test in kayfabe, and Chris Jericho was a WWE rookie feuding with Chyna for the Intercontinental Championship. During one of their matches, Jericho gave Chyna a black eye, and when he later asked her if she was alright, she said yes. Y2J admitted later on to having reservations about working so stiff against a woman, but as he claims, Vince McMahon had encouraged this at first. Chyna, after all, was a powerfully-built woman who could legitimately kick the butt of many a male wrestler back in the day.
To Jericho's surprise, McMahon was less-than-thrilled about Chyna getting a black eye, had to apologize to her for causing it, and was warned that if he doesn't have a good match with X-Pac, he'd be canned mere months after his amazing debut. Apparently, it all boiled down to Triple H playing the role of concerned boyfriend and being upset with Jericho for working so stiff. That led to major heat between both men, and while Y2J is still going strong as he makes lists and asks fans to drink it in, it's not sure whether that heat remains to this day.
4 HUNTER AND SHAWN'S ONE-YEAR ESTRANGEMENT
It’s easy to assume that Triple H and Shawn Michaels have been best of buddies since the former started riding with the Kliq as a WWE rookie in 1995. But there was a time when both men weren’t speaking to each other, and that was the time when HBK was in his second retirement (actually his first if you don’t consider the time he lost his smile) from the ring. Back in 2001, WWE wanted Michaels to take part in a WrestleMania X-Seven segment, but when he showed up to talk business, he was even more wasted than he usually was back in the day.
WWE felt that Shawn was in no shape to run in on the Triple H vs. Undertaker match as planned, and apparently, Hunter agreed – who wouldn’t? That had infuriated Michaels, who had a bitter backstage fight with Triple H, calling him an ingrate and accusing him of throwing him under the bus. The two best friends remained estranged and didn't talk to each other for about a year, though one can say they’ve literally got God to thank for the fact that they ultimately buried the hatchet.
3 KEVIN NASH’S ROLE IN TRIPLE H’S RECONCILIATION WITH SHAWN
Then again, it was more than just divine intervention that helped Triple H and Shawn Michaels end their period of estrangement. By 2002, Michaels had found God, quit his vices, and made a dramatic real-life face turn after becoming a born-again Christian. But he didn't have his best friend back yet, and it was their old Kliq buddy Kevin Nash who helped them put their differences behind them, and convinced Michaels to make that call to Hunter.
Several hours later, the feuding best friends did put their differences behind them, and Shawn was soon back in the WWE, ending his retirement and staying close to the top, if not on top of the card until he finally retired for good in 2010. There were even some DX reunions to be had during that period, though by then, it was just the two men who led the stable at various points —Shawn Michaels and Triple H.
2 TRIPLE H’S RELATIONSHIP WITH CHYNA
Back when he was a snooty aristocrat quietly (or so we thought) climbing up WWE’s midcard, Hunter Hearst Helmsley was dating a female bodybuilder named Joanie Laurer who had trained as a wrestler with Killer Kowalski. The future Triple H and the woman to be known as Chyna had met at a wrestling show, and before long, the two of them were in love. Trips would be instrumental in getting his girlfriend to join WWE, where she would serve as his in-ring bodyguard and replace the buxom, shapely models (and the out-of-shape Curtis "Mr." Hughes) who had once escorted him to the ring.
The stories differ as to why Triple H and Chyna eventually broke it off in 2000 – some say it was an issue of Hunter wanting kids and Chyna not wanting any, others say Stephanie McMahon was the proverbial third party whom The Game was seeing on the side. Whatever the case was, the relationship didn’t end well, and Triple H was quoted as saying in 2015 that he wouldn’t want her in the WWE Hall of Fame because his young children might Google her name and discover her post-wrestling life as a porn star.
Sadly, it took Chyna's death in 2016 for Triple H to speak positively of his ex-flame once again, and mention that she would indeed get Hall of Fame consideration due to her in-ring accomplishments and legacy with WWE.
1 TRIPLE H AND SHAWN MICHAELS: BEST FRIENDS THEN AND NOW
We covered that brief period of time when Triple H and Shawn Michaels were not getting along well with each other, but what about how these two men had become friends in the first place? It all started in 1995, with the popular story being that Triple H, then fresh out of a WCW stint where he worked as Jean-Paul Levesque and Terra Ryzing, approached Kliq members Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash, and told them he was informed that they were the people a young WWE rookie like him should be hanging out with.
It didn't take long for Triple H to become close with the boys in The Kliq, but it was Shawn whom he became closest with, as they both thought alike when it came to the wrestling business, and both loved sharing their ideas about how things should be in the WWE. One could say that's also how The Game became such an influential figure backstage despite only being in his late-20s and just a couple of years into his WWE run, but for the purposes of this article, that's how he and the Heartbreak Kid cemented their friendship, to say little of how Triple H would often "babysit" a drunk and/or stoned Michaels, as mentioned earlier.