Triple H will undoubtedly go down as one of the all-time greats in the storied history of WWE. After starting his career with some terrible names and gimmicks like Terra Ryzing and Jean-Paul Levesque, he debuted in the World Wrestling Federation in 1995 as Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Actually, that original gimmick wasn’t the greatest thing in the world either, but Hunter Hearst Helmsley would soon be shortened to Triple H and he would find success by joining forces with Shawn Michaels to form D-Generation X, which would become one of the most popular stables of all time.
He held the Intercontinental Championship four times and the European Championship two times but had never really been seen as a guy that could put the company on his back and lead as the world champion. After playing second fiddle to Michaels for a while, Triple H would soon carve his own path as the leader of DX when HBK left the company in 1998. It soon became clear that Triple H was one of the most talented wrestlers on the roster and he would soon get his chance to prove that he was a valuable commodity.
As his stock began to rise, Triple H began to be in more and more high-profile matches. An amazing feud with The Rock for the Intercontinental Title in the summer of 1998 solidified him as a top guy and a year later, he would win his first WWE Championship. Since then, he has won 13 more heavyweight crowns. With his 14 title reigns, he trails only Ric Flair (16) and John Cena (15) for the most heavyweight championship runs in history….at least the ones that WWE recognizes.
14 title reigns means 14 title wins…well, sort of. Here are Triple H’s title wins from worst to first.
14. Reign #6: Handed the World Heavyweight Championship on RAW (9/2/02)
In what I believe to be one of the biggest mistakes in wrestling history, Triple H didn’t have even wrestle to start his sixth title reign, which also marked the first time he would hold the World Heavyweight Championship (once known as the WCW Championship). The WCW and WWE belts were unified in 2001, but the decision was made in September 2002 to bring back the ‘Big Gold Belt’ as the RAW championship after Brock Lesnar took the now-WWE title to Smackdown. Instead of holding a tournament, Triple H was just handed the title by Eric Bischoff. Okay then.
13. Reign #14: Wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the Royal Rumble (1/24/16)
I certainly don’t think that this was the way to go on the road to WrestleMania this year, but it happened nonetheless. Entering the Royal Rumble match, in which Roman Reigns’ WWE World Heavyweight Championship was up for grabs, at no.30, Triple H was able to eliminate Reigns and Dean Ambrose to capture his 14th championship. In doing so, he became the second-oldest person (46) to win the Royal Rumble. Vince McMahon won when he was 53. He’s also the third-oldest to win the title. Vince was 54 when he won it back in 1999 and Hulk Hogan was 48 when he defeated Triple H in 2002.
12. Reign #11: def. Randy Orton at No Mercy (10/7/07)
This was actually quite the night for Triple H as he fought in three separate matches for the WWE Championship. After John Cena was forced to vacate the title due to injury, the belt was given to Randy Orton in the opening segment of No Mercy and was told he would have to defend it that night. Triple H came out and challenged Orton and the match started immediately. It wasn’t a long match as Triple H captured the title after giving Orton a Pedigree securing his 11th championship. He would defeat Umaga in their regularly scheduled match later on but would lose the title at the end of the show in a rematch with Orton, who had invoked his rematch clause. The Last Man Standing Match was a much better match than that first one of the night.
11. Reign #3: def. Big Show on RAW (1/3/00)
After losing the WWE Championship to Big Show at Survivor Series that previous November, Triple H finally got his revenge on “The World’s Largest Athlete” on the first episode of RAW in the year 2000. It certainly wasn’t the best match of Triple H’s career as the contest lasted only about seven and a half minutes, but it did serve as the first title win after he hooked up with Stephanie McMahon. He would then hold the title through WrestleMania to Backlash before dropping it to The Rock.
10. Reign #8: def. Goldberg & Kane at Armageddon (12/14/03)
Goldberg and Triple H had battled at Survivor Series for the World Heavyweight Championship, with Goldberg retaining. Kane would inject himself into the rivalry and a triple threat match was made for Armageddon. The match itself was about as decent as a three-way with Goldberg and Kane could be. Each man got their fair share of offense in and the end saw Kane chokeslam Goldberg after he had speared Triple H. Batista would come to the ring and pull Kane out which allowed Triple H to pin Goldberg and capture his eighth championship. It wasn’t a great match but this is a great quote the Cerebral Assassin: “If Goldberg was a symbol of WCW at their time of greatness, then that night, I exposed WCW and Goldberg as being a fraud. Who’s next? Unfortunately for you, me.”
9. Reign #13: won Elimination Chamber at No Way Out (2/16/09)
Coming into No Way Out in 2009, Triple H already had three separate victories inside the Elimination Chamber and would win his fourth on that night in Seattle. Facing off against Edge (he was the champ entering the match), The Undertaker, Big Show, Jeff Hardy and Vladimir Kozlov, The Game was the fifth entry into the contest and made two eliminations. He pinned Big Show after Jeff Hardy had hit a Swanton Bomb from the top of a pod. Hardy was eliminated by The Undertaker, leaving the two legends as the final competitors in the match. Triple H would hit a Pedigree and pin The Deadman to capture his eighth WWE Championship.
8. Reign #9: def. Randy Orton at Unforgiven (9/12/04)
The buildup to this match was great. This was when Randy Orton had been kicked out of Evolution for becoming the youngest World Heavyweight Champion of all time and Triple H became insanely jealous and all of the fun stuff that came along with that. Orton cost him a match on RAW against Eugene a couple of weeks before Unforgiven, which only infuriated Triple H even more. The drama played out in the title match which saw Batista, Ric Flair and even Jonathan Coachman get involved. At the end of a fairly entertaining match, Triple H would capture his fourth World Heavyweight Championship by giving his protege a Pedigree on a steel chair.
7. Reign #12: won Fatal 4-Way Match at Backlash (4/27/08)
After successfully defending his WWE Championship in a triple threat match against Triple H and John Cena at WrestleMania XXIV, Randy Orton was put into a Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match at Backlash against Cena, HHH and JBL. There was a lot of good action in this match. JBL was out first after submitting to Cena, who was then taken out by Orton after being kicked in the head. This left Orton to once again do battle with his former mentor. They were in the ring, out of the ring and tried multiple finishers until Triple H finally picked up a three count after hitting a Pedigree for the win and his 12th championship.
6. Reign #2: Won Six-Pack Challenge at Unforgiven (9/26/99)
The simple lineup of this match was enough to get excited about. With Stone Cold Steve Austin as the special enforcer, the vacated WWE Championship was contested in a Six-Pack Challenge between Triple H, The Rock, Mankind, Kane, Big Show and The British Bulldog. While I think the match could have gone a bit longer, it was still fun to watch as everybody would hit their finishers on each other. Naturally, Austin would get involved after the regular referee was taken out and would count the 1-2-3 after Triple H hit The Rock with a Pedigree.
5. Reign #5: def. Chris Jericho at WrestleMania X8 (3/17/02)
This match between Triple H and Chris Jericho at WrestleMania X8 sometimes doesn’t get the credit it deserves due to the fact that it went on after the epic encounter between The Rock and Hulk Hogan. Yes, there was a women’s match in between but I think the crowd was just spent after the emotion that played out in the Rock/Hogan affair. However, this was the culmination of Triple H’s comeback after tearing his quad the year before and it really was a solid match for the Undisputed Championship. This also marked the only time that Triple H would win the heavyweight title at a WrestleMania.
4. Reign #1: def. Mankind on RAW (8/23/99)
“This was the ultimate moment – finally reaching the pinnacle of the business.” These were the words of Triple H after winning his first-ever WWE Championship. The night after SummerSlam, he demanded a match with Mick Foley and threatened to break Jim Ross’s arm if he didn’t get the opportunity to face him later that night. He got his wish and in a short but classic encounter on RAW, Triple H would finally reach the top of the mountain.
3. Reign #10: won Elimination Chamber at New Year’s Revolution (1/9/05)
Another great lineup of wrestlers vied for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship at New Year’s Revolution in 2005. With Shawn Michaels as the guest referee, Triple H, Edge, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Batista and Randy Orton battled for nearly 35 minutes in a phenomenal match. Edge was eliminated first, followed by Benoit and Jericho, leaving the three former members of Evolution to battle for the title. Orton would pin Batista after hitting him with a low blow, but Batista got quick revenge by nailing The Viper with a vicious clothesline on his way out of the ring. Triple H would capitalize by hitting a Pedigree and getting the 1-2-3 for his tenth title reign.
2. Reign #4: def. The Rock in Iron Man Match at Judgment Day (5/21/2000)
There’s not a lot of guys that can pull off an Iron Man Match, but in the very first Judgment Day pay-per-view, longtime rivals Triple H and The Rock put together one of their classic battles, this time for The Rock’s WWE Championship. The match went back and forth numerous times as each man won five falls leading up to the closing minutes. I would have gone with a better ending as a returning Undertaker hit a Tombstone on Triple H as time expired, leaving special guest referee Shawn Michaels to disqualify The Rock, but it didn’t take away from the show they put on.
1. Reign #7: def. Shawn Michaels in 3 Stages of Hell Match at Armageddon (12/15/02)
Any time Triple H and Shawn Michaels faced off, the audience always knew that they were in for a treat and their 3 Stages of Hell match at Armageddon in 2002 was no different. They had already put on what was probably the match of the year at SummerSlam and were the final two competitors in the Elimination Chamber at Survivor Series where HBK won the World Heavyweight Championship that he was defending in this two-out-of-three-falls contest.
Triple H won the first fall, a Street Fight, by hitting the Pedigree on Michaels. Shawn would take the Steel Cage portion of the match by hitting a splash on The Game through a table off of the cage. But Triple H would win HBK’s specialty, the Ladder Match, in the third and final fall of the bout. As the two climbed the ladder, Triple H would throw his best friend off of it through four tables that were set up outside the ring and pull down the title. Classic match between two of the absolute best.
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