There aren’t too many duos in wrestling that are as joked about as Triple H… and a shovel. The Cerebral Assassin has made quite the name for himself over the past 24 years and continues to change the entire concept of professional wrestling in the 21stcentury. But he’s not always had such a positive effect on the business. From his ‘burials’ of young, upcoming stars to his backstage politics, HHH has quite the reputation. But it’s not always been quite so victory laden. Here are ten superstars that you likely forgot about, who have a win over Hunter under their belts.
It’s well documented how Shelton Benjamin’s return to WWE hasn’t gone how anyone really expected, with the former IC and tag champion criminally underutilised since returning to the company a couple of years ago. And it’s because of this that his huge 2004 push is forgotten about. Benjamin, split apart from Charlie Haas, put in one of the most impressive showings in WWE history to elevate himself from a tag-team wrestler to a bona fide singles competitor. This is one of the rare occasions that Hunter actually put over young talent, but he made Benjamin look a ready-made star on his Raw debut. He went on to pick up two more victories over The Game over the coming weeks, elevating his star further.
The Curtis Axel in 2019 is very different to the Curtis Axel we first saw in 2013. The son of Mr Perfect was given a huge push early in his WWE career, obtaining the Intercontinental title early on and being put in a major feud with Triple H. And in that time, Axel picked up a pair of wins over Hunter. Axel, at the time a Paul Heyman guy, picked up a pair of wins – one by DQ and another by forfeit. It’s fair to say they are the biggest results of his career so far, and any similar push seems very, very unlikely.
How we’d love to see this bout today. Cody Rhodes has come a long way since being part of mid-card stables in the late 2000s, and is the next genuine challenge to WWE’s dominance following the arrival of AEW. There is no chance of ever seeing the man formerly known as Stardust in a WWE ring again, and even less chance of HHH heading to AEW.
But in an earlier era, the two faced off numerous times. Rhodes’ first victory came in a 2008 handicap match, with another handicap win the following year… and then another one in 2010. Hunter won all the solo bouts, but Rhodes and HHH have plenty of previous.
Umaga was at one time the biggest monster in the WWE. The man formerly known as Jamal in Three Minute Warning was given a Samoan character and became the ultimate destroyer on Monday Night Raw – think Braun Strowman a couple of years ago. Put into battle with John Cena, Umaga also had a rivalry with The Game and picked up a pinfall win in 2006. Of course it didn’t come clean (a win over Triple H rarely does), with McMahon senior and junior both playing their part, but it showed the heights Umaga was treading at the time. Sadly, it never led to a run with the big belt.
The career of Val Venis in the WWE is a difficult one to follow. He was, at one time, one of the biggest draws on the roster, and the Attitude Era would have been quite a different place without the Big Valbowski. But it was later in his WWE tenure that things got messy. He was used as Chief Morley under Eric Bischoff before returning to his Venis character, but was only ever destined to appear on Sunday Night Heat. But at a 2005 Raw in the UK, he picked up a DQ win when HHH cracked him on the skull with a chair. Triple H proceeded to decimate Venis after the bell, adding a couple more chair shots and a pedigree just for good measure. Does this count as one of Venis’ biggest wins? We’ll leave that to you to decide.
Long before he was put as part of the most dominant stables in the 2000s, Batista was placed alongside Reverend D-Von over on Smackdown. And it was his debut night that saw his original mentor pick up the biggest win of his career against his future mentor. Dudley had taken on the Reverend moniker after the brand split, the first time in WWE he had gone solo. And in May 2002, Dudley picked up the biggest victory of his time as a solo competitor. But as with so many others on this list, it didn’t come clean. Both Batista and Chris Jericho played their part in D-Von’s victory, with a money box over the head enough for the pin.
Ask any watcher of WWE in the mid 2000s and they’ll know that where Triple H is, Ric Flair was not far behind. The two were a duo before Evolution began and stuck together after Orton and Batista went on to bigger and better things.
But the two had a lesser remembered feud following Batista’s departure and faced off at Taboo Tuesday 2005 after HHH turned on his long time sidekick. That night, Flair kept hold of his IC title after a gruelling steel cage bout. Two years later, Flair saw off The Game again in a career threatening match.
WWE don’t make much mention to Eugene anymore, and it’s for good reason. The character, brought in as Eric Bischoff’s supposed nephew, was evidently a special needs character that would be completely out of touch in the modern era. But at the time, he was one of the most over men on the roster and was put in the same ring as The Rock, Chris Benoit and Triple H. And back in 2004, Eugene picked up a victory over the Game in a Raw main event, after a helping hand from Randy Orton. It led to a couple more main events, with Eugene decimated in both.
A third of Jim Ross’ victories as a wrestler have come against Triple H. It’s quite the record for a man with no in-ring experience, but JR has beaten HHH in two different millenniums. His first win came in a tag-team bout back in 1999. JR, making his wrestling debut, teamed with Stone Cold to see off the duo of Triple H and Chyna. An impressive start, but he followed that up in 2005 with a pinfall victory in singles action. Yes, he was given a slighthelping hand from Batista, but a win is a win. A rematch is unlikely.
Back on a May 2000 episode of Smackdown, The Rock was forced to defend his WWE title in a 3 on 2 handicap match against Triple H, Road Dogg and X-Pac. But at least he had a partner and didn’t have to do it alone. Well actually, he sort of did, because his partner was senior official, Earl Hebner. Hebner was placed into some major feuds, and in particular against The Game. While not tagged in during the bout, Hebner had the final say with a low blow to X-Pac, before The Rock finished it off with a Rock Bottom. Admittedly HHH did have a sling on one arm due to injury, but Earl Hebner still boasts a 100% record over the Game.