As far as wrestlers go there are few more polarizing than Triple H. Sure, Cena splits crowds just by showing up with his corny schtick but Triple H goes a lot deeper than that, tales of his insipid machinations backstage juxtaposed by tales of fatherly guidance and generosity. He is truly a massive figure in the world of professional wrestling, even outside of his onscreen persona, with his influence felt for generations of wrestlers.
Since shifting over to the corporate side of the business Triple H has been on the record as providing great initiatives and pathways for a whole new crop of independent wrestlers to finally make it into WWE. In that same role, he’s been accused of favoritism, scheming, lying, racism and drug abuse. There is simply never going to be a consensus opinion on the man that the outside world can nail down unless he writes a tell-all autobiography.
He’s been the subject of internet videos chronicling his character by a Hollywood producer. Scathing reviews from his peers judging him as barely adequate despite having a score of all-time great matches on his resume. He has dirty laundry from the Chyna/Stephanie relationships as well as glowing endorsements from most of the NXT rosters. In essence, Triple H has every right to claiming to be the most loved and most reviled man in WWE, with plenty of personal accounts supporting both views.
15. Love Him – Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens may never have even gotten to WWE without Triple H. Vince McMahon is hugely influenced by what he sees when looking at a wrestler and Kevin Owens physique is historically a roadblock to even getting signed to the largest professional wrestling company in the world. Triple H, on the other hand, knows what a talent Kevin Owens is and thanks to him we not only got to see Owens become a WWE superstar he’s been the focal point of both Raw and Smackdown now that Vince is also on board with his talents.
Kevin Owens recently had to leave a WWE overseas tour due to family reasons. Triple H stepped in as his replacement, which is all well and a fine thing to do for the fans, but it was revealed that he also gave his pay for the tour to Kevin Owens. It’s maybe a small gesture by Triple H’s standards but for Kevin Owens and anyone suffering a family tragedy, it is an incredible outreaching of support and compassion. No doubt Kevin feels the same gratitude we all would under those circumstances.
14. Hate Him – Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner is always a fountain of quotable gibberish and when it comes to his relationship with The Game, working or otherwise, the tales are incredible and entertaining.
Firstly, Scott Steiner has claimed many times that Triple H sandbagged and ruined his last run in WWE when Scott was already injured but was also at his height of character as the Big Bad Booty Daddy. The two matches they had at Royal Rumble 2003 and No Way Out the following month are legendarily bad and Steiner places the blame squarely at the feet of Triple H.
Moreover, Steiner has gone on record with the story that Vince McMahon once came to him informing him that the WWE required him to undergo mandatory drug testing. Steiner’s reply was essentially ‘Sure, I’ll go. As long as Triple H goes with me and takes the same test.’
13. Love Him – The Four Horsewomen
This one is plain and obvious if you just see any of these women with Triple H during a post-match from NXT. Each and every one of them falls into his arms crying with joy as they get to live out their wildest dreams of success in a WWE ring without the long-held limitations placed on women wrestlers for time immemorial.
Triple H clearly has great pride in not only helping all of them break down the barriers of gender within WWE but also in realizing their fullest potential as he sees them capable of. There’s a reason Sasha and Bayley were unmatched successes in NXT and that it hasn’t been replicated once they are out of Triple H’s carefully constructed eco-system.
12. Hate Him – Bret Hart
While it is outwardly pushed by WWE that all of Bret Hart’s hatchets have been buried with Shawn, Vince, and Hunter, there is always a simmering distaste from the Excellence of Execution towards the man who reportedly was the mastermind behind the Montreal Screwjob.
It has been told after the fact that it was Triple H who essentially said “F*** him, if he’s not going to do business, we’ll do business for him”, leading to the infamous 1997 Survivor Series. Bret has also been on record stating that highly regarded matches from Triple H he considers to be 4/10 at best, further distancing the two parties from having a working relationship.
Lastly, Bret Hart has said that in recent times he is very eager to offer guidance and assistance to WWE creative as a consultant, however, every offer has been met with cold responses, which he attributes to Triple H as well.
11. Love Him – Bobby Roode
The man who Triple H thinks very highly of probably because he’s so similar, Bobby Roode may be 40 but Hunter sees a surrogate superstar to continue his style and legacy.
Debuting in NXT with massive fanfare aided by perhaps the single greatest bombastic entrance since Macho Man, the now ‘Glorious’ Bobby Roode became NXT Champion in short order before being called up to Smackdown where he inexplicably got turned face. Perhaps it was due to the entrance being so wildly popular that Vince wanted to capitalize on its effects, but either way Triple H’s pet project is now riding high on Smackdown.
The two appear to have a close connection outside the ring as well as in it, with Bobby reportedly receiving word that Triple H has been a fan for years, facilitating his signing and progression within WWE.
10. Hate Him – Ken Shamrock
Ken Shamrock was a big deal during the Attitude Era at the beginning, however, before his departure he recalls that several times when he got to either defeat Triple H or when he was required to do the job the member of DX was less than pleased to be giving Ken so much heat. Shamrock recalls the interactions between the two as Triple H being petty and jealous at having to make Shamrock look good, which he believes results in Triple H’s resentment to this day.
Shamrock has also stated that he believes his exile from WWE, despite being (in his own view) a marketable Attitude Era star who would happily return to WWE, is a direct result of Triple H’s ascension to power and continued dislike for the former shoot fighter. Shamrock has allegedly reached out to WWE in search of roles to fill only to be given the cold shoulder, again attributing it to Triple H.
9. Love Him – Randy Orton
You could argue that no one has benefitted from a working relationship with Triple H more than Randy Orton, his accolade as the youngest World Champion ever as well as his avoidance of final punishment for Wellness Policy Violations indicators of just such treatment.
Randy benefited from Triple H’s guidance on and offscreen in Evolution, the pair clearly hitting it off as Hunter looked to create megastars who would forever be associated with him directly. It succeeded wildly for both Randy and Batista, however, Randy is the one to have never strayed nor bucked his teachers mentoring.
Randy subscribes to Triple H’s philosophies inside the ring to extremes, his style foregoing the impressive athletics he is capable of to focus on slower, methodical output, much like Triple H. Overall, a clear teacher-student relationship persists to this day, with both men accepting the rewards of such.
8. Hate Him – Paul London
An infamous incident that has led to ongoing animosity from London towards Triple H to this day. Paul London and Brian Kendrick (before the The) were WWE’s best tag team, tearing it up on SmackDown with a title reign that has only recently been dethroned as the company’s longest in modern history. Despite a few hiccups such as Vince inexplicably making them remove their masks after wearing them for months without a problem the duo had traction and were a highlight weekly for their fast-paced, high-flying matches.
Enter Triple H, who was getting beaten down until London and Kendrick made the save, only for Triple H to turn around and pedigree them both into oblivion in a faux Stone Cold attempt at volatility. This muted the team’s momentum instantly and began London’s trend of disrespecting Triple H.
London has since accused Triple H of being wildly jealous of superstars like RVD who can completely outdo Triple H athletically, painting the COO as a petty, small man who London wouldn’t return to work for under any circumstances. London’s bridge has definitely burned down.
7. Love Him – Finn Balor
A great mix of athleticism and theatricality saw the former Prince Devitt brought into NXT and in short order winning the NXT Championship under Triple H’s direction. The Game clearly saw why the former leader of The Bullet Club was so revered internationally and wanted to capture that epic presentation for himself and WWE, signing the newly christened Finn Balor and ensuring that he was not only a centerpiece on NXT but an immediate player on Raw when he became the first Universal Champion.
Finn clearly appreciates the trust Triple H put in him, and you can see the bitter disappointment in his face when in his WWE Network documentary he has to inform Triple H moments after the Universal Championship win that he has severely injured his shoulder. You can’t fake that genuine rapport between the two and it illustrates that both have each others backs and are working together towards big things.
6. Hate Him – Mr. Kennedy
Mr. Kennedy, or Mr. Anderson in Impact Wrestling, was on a rocket ship to the top in WWE until circumstances and Triple H’s close confidants bungled him out of WWE. As Kennedy told it in a shoot style promo on Impact, his initial push where he beat 10 former world champions was ended and then crushed underfoot by behind the scenes machinations that he blames Triple H for.
Kennedy’s push where he was to be revealed as Vince McMahon’s illegitimate son was shelved. He was told not to chew gum on his way to the ring despite Triple H doing exactly that since forever. He was involved in a match where Cena’s pectoral muscle was injured and all those incidents and Kennedy’s reactions to them only further distanced him from Triple H and Vince.
The final nail came when in his return match from injury Kennedy over-rotated Randy Orton on a back suplex, bringing him down awkwardly on his oft-injured shoulder. Randy had a word with Triple H, who had a word with Vince and Kennedy’s WWE career was over, and Kennedy made it clear he blames Triple H for much of that eventuality.
5. Love Him – Sheamus
For the longest time, there were rumors swirling that the reason Sheamus was hot-shot from ECW obscurity to the WWE Champion within weeks of his Raw debut was that he was Triple H’s training partner. Whether this was true or not Sheamus denied the claim saying he and The Game only worked out once together, but however the association was made, it’s clear Triple H has an affinity for the Celtic Warrior and his style.
Sheamus is one of the select opponents Triple H has had at WrestleMania the last decade, and the two have crossed paths several times onscreen with Sheamus usually held as an equal, especially when he cashed in his Money In The Bank contract on Roman Reigns at Survivor Series a couple of years back.
4. Hate Him – Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio has twice tried to make a relationship with WWE work but now he is committed to not returning and this has resulted in him freely firing back at Vince McMahon, Triple H, and the WWE culture altogether.
He has stated that on several occasions the chairman and his son-in-law have engaged in racist comments directed at him and other superstars, not to mention seeming to support the media manager who Alberto slapped prior to his first firing. On top of that Alberto claims WWE sabotaged his relationship with Paige by splitting them up during the WWE draft which contributed to his decision to walk away a second time.
3. Love Him – Seth Rollins
Triple H’s first NXT Champion, another WrestleMania opponent, his prized star during The Authority angle and someone he has chosen to personally mentor and guide since day one, Seth Rollins is firmly entrenched in Triple H’s circle.
Rollins has benefited from Triple H since his earliest WWE career began. Apparently, a stubborn personality who rigidly rejected changing the way he did things in the ring, it was Triple H he credits with laying out the conditions he’d have to abide by to succeed. Triple H essentially told him that he’d have to toe a particular line within WWE to get along, and since Rollins stuck to that advice his ascent has been rapid even compared to his Shield brethren.
2. Hate Him – CM Punk
Was there ever any doubt that the number one hater of Triple H would be the man who hid it the least?
CM Punk revealed what a lot of people suspected already when he blasted Triple H all throughout his tell-all podcast after leaving WWE. He singled out Triple H for him ruining his 2011 ‘Summer Of Punk’ by defeating Punk when his momentum dictated he win. He resented Triple H for their frosty relationship whenever Punk was in a room. He put Triple H on notice right to his face, in front of Vince McMahon over not wanting or needing to face Triple H at WrestleMania which rankled The Game immensely. Suffice to say the relationship is frosty as all hell and has only gotten worse.
When WWE sent CM Punk his firing notice on the day of his wedding CM Punk alleged it was a petty final jab from a bitter Triple H. Vince has since claimed it was an unfortunate error, but Punk is known for holding grudges and so a working relationship let alone any professional or personal relationship between Triple H or Punk is now a near impossibility.
1. Love Him – Roman Reigns
You don’t work your ass off for months on end in storylines and behind the scenes trying to get someone over like Triple H did for Roman Reigns unless you really want to try to help them. It may have been futile but Triple H in the Authority storyline tried his darndest to get Roman Reigns some WrestleMania cheers heading into WrestleMania 32, trying sympathy, brutality and anything else they could think of to try to get the crowd on board with their new chosen one.
The man who chose Roman Reigns is even suggested to be Triple H himself.
Rumors have swirled that Vince McMahon was considering Big E (Langston at the time) as the next huge superstar to follow John Cena except Triple H advised that Roman be given the shot. Vince clearly agreed and so Triple H practically handed Roman a guaranteed future of stardom and wealth that few dream of. He was protected at all turns, ‘made to look strong’ whenever possible, kept all The Shield’s music and gear when they split since it was popular, and overall has nothing but positive things to say about Triple H behind the scenes. Clearly, the two are happy with the current arrangement.
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