In 2014, prior to Triple H's WrestleMania XXX showdown against Daniel Bryan, Stephanie McMahon narrated a video package where she emphatically declared, "In the end, all that lasts is The Game!" Looking at this past year, with Triple H winning the Royal Rumble along the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and adding to his WrestleMania main event resume with his battle against Roman Reigns, it may have been the truest thing Stephanie's ever stated. At 46 years old, he's not as athletically gifted as he once was, but physically he's still in a league of his own. Triple H's many years in the ring have turned him into the ultimate ring general, capable of thinking his way to great a match to compensate for any decline in his physical ability.
Additionally, the news of Triple H signing a new wrestler contract, that will take him to WrestleMania 35 in 2019, will further The Game's career and allow him to close it in grand style. However before that day comes, WWE would be wise to get the most out of HHH's limited wrestling schedule by spreading his matches out over the next few years. With it being 2016, the time period would lend itself to three or four matches every 12 months on average. When looking at prospective opponents to finish his career, it is a balanced mix of generational rivals ready for one last showdown, apprentices who now identify as equals, and members of 'The New Era' who can benefit from being associated with The Cerebral Assassin. Like it or not, Triple H is an essential part of wrestling's past, present, and holds the keys to WWE's future.
There are several ways for Triple H to end his time as an in-ring performer, but facing the following 12 wrestlers would correctly close the book that began his WWE career in 1995.
12 Shane McMahon (SummerSlam '16)
Shane McMahon vs Triple H seems like the natural progression to the McMahon power struggle. In fact, it has been reported as a headlining SummerSlam contest that would blow the angle off and perhaps send Shane, and the fighting McMahon trope, off into the sunset once and for all.
Additionally, as the holder of the "did he just do that?" championship belt, for his theatrics at WrestleMania 32, putting Shane McMahon in a No Holds Barred environment against Triple H would cater to both men's strengths. It's a match where the two could pull any stunt or trick they'd like to make it memorable, without relying on having a traditional match. With Stephanie McMahon being put between her brother and her husband, expect great promos and a violent story to be told within the ropes. Shane isn't still around to just book matches. His enormous wave of babyface momentum should lead him to a showdown with The Game.
11 Alberto Del Rio (Survivor Series '16)
Another competitor Triple H needs to face off with is Mexico's greatest export, Alberto Del Rio. This feud could play off of numerous real life factors, including Del Rio's controversial exit from the promotion back in 2014 where he slapped a backstage employee over a racist statement made. The story has never been told on camera and with Del Rio in no man's land for the foreseeable future, turning to the side of good to confront the executives who fired him would ignite his career.
Furthermore, the alleged real life heat between Del Rio and Triple H could be spun into something special. There are stories of mistrust from Triple H's end and not wanting to give Alberto an elevated position within WWE. If this were worked in a real life style like the Daniel Bryan B+ storyline, WWE may have a license to print their own money, when it's time for Triple H vs Alberto Del Rio to happen.
10 Neville (RAW, 2018)
Going back decades, Triple H has done tremendous work with competitors who are smaller than him. Since his transition to the main event level, he’s wrestled spectacular matches against Shawn Michaels, Daniel Bryan, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, and many more. He tends to not have the slow plodding matches he does with bigger guys, which sometimes damage his perception among some fans.
In Neville, the former longest reigning NXT Champion, and one of WWE’s brightest young stars that hasn’t really got the chance to define himself, Triple H will be motivated to match The Man Gravity Forgot. While you shouldn’t expect The Game to unveil his own Phoenix Splash, he’ll be right there move for move. It would perhaps work best as a shock match on RAW, similar to his March 2016 contest against Dolph Ziggler. Triple H probably should still win, but Neville would shine in defeat and get to advance as a star.
9 Bray Wyatt (Royal Rumble 2017)
Triple H vs Bray Wyatt is a match that wasn't even in consideration until a few months ago during the Royal Rumble. When the two faced off and Bray Wyatt refused to do Triple H's bidding, it felt like a moment in time which will be included in a video package one day.
Subsequently, WWE's new dark mysterious character is badly in need of top level victories and refocus for his character. His promos have been overexposed and repetitive, while his potential fluctuates from somewhere between being huge star or being the Kane of this era. If Triple H the executive values the future, he'll make sure Triple H the wrestler helps establish Wyatt as strongly as possible. Remember, Triple H can shake free of any defeat because there is always a Plan B. He can easily leave TV or move directly into a more exciting program.
8 Kevin Owens (Survivor Series '17)
Longtime independent star, and potentially the premier heel of his era, Kevin Owens will need validation as a cornerstone eventually. Wrestling Triple H in high level feud would certainly establish that. The John Cena feud was a great start, but Owens hasn't seen a top level feud since then. Triple H has been high on Kevin Owens from his initial time in NXT and cast the deciding vote to send Owens up to the main roster.
Furthermore, Owens is versatile enough to wrestle any type of style against Triple H, to carry the match between the ropes. Either man would be suited to be a heel, but Triple H would be the superior choice, establishing Owens as an anti-hero in the process.
7 Shinsuke Nakamura (Japan Network Special, 2018)
Sometimes, a great match is all that needs to happen. In the case of Triple H vs Shinsuke Nakamura, that's exactly what it would be. Nakamura is the greatest ever Japanese star to enter a US promotion in his prime; furthermore, he was a Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Famer before ever signing with WWE.
Analogous to Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura, this would be purely a spectacle. Triple H has thrived in physical contests as evidenced by his clashes with Mick Foley and The Undertaker, and matching him with The King Of Strong Style would be the ultimate test to see if he's still The Cerebral Assassin he once was. To make this match what it could potentially be, set it in Japan on a live network special and watch the carnage unfold.
6 AJ Styles (Battleground '18)
Since his debut in WWE, AJ Styles has thrilled audiences with his incredible move-set and ahead of the curve performances in the ring. As arguably the in-ring performer of the year thus far in 2016, there is no reason to think Triple H and Styles wouldn't author a classic.
Historically, Triple H has been the guy to face "outsiders" when they came to WWE such as Sting, Booker T, Goldberg, RVD, Scott Steiner, etc. The story could revolve around what actually took Styles so long to come to WWE. Triple H could reveal it was him all along and he only caved in because he thought beating Styles now would be best for business. As things cut deeper on Triple H's end, he could speak of The Bullet Club being ripoffs of everything The Kliq/nWo was in the 90s, which would not only enhance this feud but possibly start another.
While Styles should get the win, history tells us nothing is guaranteed when it comes to Triple H.
5 Finn Balor (SummerSlam '18)
Directly after doing battle with AJ Styles, Finn Balor not only should fight Triple H afterwards, it should be an old school vs new school match for the ages. Balor as a heel has shown himself to be what Triple H was in the past. Arrogant, defiant, and willing to go through anyone to climb the ladder of success.
Furthermore, Triple H largely grew his greatest creation NXT on the back of Balor, who became the longest running NXT Champion of all-time. Similar to Styles and Neville, Balor is an ideal opponent for Triple H. Finn Balor eclipsing the legend of Triple H could be his gateway to WWE superstardom. If not at a WrestleMania, it's at least a SummerSlam match that will generate lots of interest.
4 Chris Jericho (Royal Rumble '19)
Yes, we're digging up this beef one last time from the old country.
As one of the few direct generational rivals of Triple H that is still wrestling on a regular basis, Chris Jericho has to challenge The Game one final time to close out this long running rivalry. Stretching back to the year 2000, these two have been a part of some classic matches, as both men traded face and heel status. They always found a way to meet back up, until ultimately going their separate ways.
Like with many wrestlers, real life competition bled into their on-screen personas. Jericho has admitted that he and The Game were out to sabotage, and flat out hated, one another from 2000 to 2002. If they could have one last feud to truly find out who the man was, it would be a welcome dose of nostalgia. For old times, lets take the leash off Jericho and let him go after Stephanie too!
3 The Rock (WrestleMania 33)
One man took over Hollywood, one man is at the foot of the throne in WWE. Since 1996, they've been in direct and unspoken competition with each other, battling to see who was first to reach main event status and later over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Even as both men slowed down their everyday careers, they've maintained their direct rivalry, as referenced at WrestleMania 31 and on an episode of Smackdown.
When thinking about it, this match should have probably headlined WrestleMania 32, but it's been pushed back until further notice. They've never had the chance to main event a WrestleMania, or a SummerSlam, one-on-one, which is a travesty. This should be on the list for both of their last matches. The chance to see these two square off one more time cannot be passed up even at their advanced age. Can you imagine the video package?
2 Seth Rollins (WrestleMania 34)
Seth Rollins is the last up and coming star to be affiliated with Triple H and The Authority. The former WWE World Heavyweight Champion has been injured since last November and is due to return within the next few months, perhaps to a monster babyface reaction.
The story for Rollins vs Triple H is simple. Triple H fights each and every one of his alliances in blood feuds at some point, which will be the same case here (HBK, Batista, Orton, and Flair come to mind). Since Shawn Michaels is long retired, this will be the closest thing to wrestling his best friend. This story is ready to be picked up at anytime, as Triple H could claim Rollins was the wrong choice, and in reality Triple H had to become champion due to Rollins' failures and weakness as a champion. This is a WrestleMania match waiting to happen.
1 Randy Orton (WrestleMania 35)
Without question, the final match in Triple H’s career should be against none other than Randy Orton. Orton and Triple H share a tremendous history dating back to their days of terrorizing WWE as members of Evolution. It was Triple H who crowned Orton as the coal who would be squeezed into WWE’s next diamond. Orton went on to a Hall Of Fame level career, but never quite one upped Triple H in solo competition on a top level scale. Their initial rivalry seemed to come too early and saw Triple H dominate a not quite ready for primetime Orton.
Subsequently, when the heel/face roles were reversed in 2009, many saw it as a failed chance to vault Orton over The Game. This rivalry has all the signs of working much better in a career-threatening context. To put Triple H down for good, Orton would have no choice but to revert to once again being The Legend Killer to end the man who was once a friend, enemy and mentor. He would simply be doing what Triple H brought him into WWE to do in a sense.