Triple H’s legacy is fascinating. We all know he’s one of the most successful wrestlers of all time and a clear WWE legend. The downside for Triple H has been the reputation he’s earned, as someone who uses political power to hold down others and give himself long title reigns. For years, Triple H has stated he was no voice in creative or making decisions because that is solely up to Vince McMahon. He played it off like he would never play a role in making the big decisions but the last few years have showed that was a lie.
Triple H currently holds one of the most powerful positions in the wrestling industry. As the second in command behind Vince, Triple H definitely plays a huge role in deciding what the company does and where they will go in the future. Speaking of the future, NXT may be the most incredible phenomenon associated with Triple H’s career. He decided to put his effort into a developmental program to get experience for when he takes over the company but it became more successful than anyone could have expected. NXT is selling out venues, creating stars, making large profits off merchandise and many prefer it to the main shows like Raw or SmackDown.
The rise of NXT has caused a large percentage of fans to change their once negative opinion of Triple H into a positive. Perception is reality and the drastic change in belief about his reputation is incredible. Triple H is giving the fans what they want and is being looked at as a hope for the future of wrestling. While he deserves the credit and praise for his work with NXT and his overall stance of building new stars, we can’t forget Triple H’s past errors. As a performer with influence, he used his position to win matches he had no business winning and it destroyed the pushes or careers of others. These are the top fifteen wrestlers Triple H has buried.
15. Randy Orton
Randy Orton is obviously a legend and a future Hall of Famer but he still never hit the peak WWE predicted for him. Orton was expected to become an equal to John Cena as “the guy” to build the company around. The only time Orton ever flirted with entering the elite status of WWE was on the road to WrestleMania XXV. Orton was a tremendous heel after punting Vince McMahon and making out with Stephanie McMahon in front of Triple H. WrestleMania was the perfect venue to have him win the title and go forward as a must-see act, but he took the loss in a terrible match. Orton would win the title a month later but the impact was less significant and more forgettable.
14. Paul London and Brian Kendrick
The tag team of Paul London and Brian Kendrick never achieved the success they should have in WWE, despite their tremendous talent and hilarious real-life personalities. After a long title reign on SmackDown, London and Kendrick moved over to Raw but failed to be utilized in any significant storylines. Their biggest moment came when they saved Triple H from getting attacked by three heel wrestlers. Traditional wrestling logic would indicate this would lead to a six man tag or the faces all embracing. Triple H instead hit both men with the Pedigree and laughed at them. The duo ranted in various shoot interviews about the moment that unofficially ended their chances at success in WWE.
Sheamus’ selection was difficult one to make because Triple H is one of his biggest believers and has been a supporter since the two became workout partners six years ago. Today, Sheamus is working with Triple H on the main program, but he’s still not relevant. What made fans look at him as a complete joke? His feud with Triple H. Sheamus lost to Triple H at WrestleMania XXVI in a match many felt the younger star should have won to gain credibility
Sting entered WWE with a world of hype behind him. The WWE Network numbers grew around Survivor Series 2014 when the icon made his first appearance in WWE. Sting was scheduled for his first ever WWE match at WrestleMania 31 against Triple H and it was arguably the biggest attraction match on the card. Instead of the expected finish of Sting getting his “WrestleMania moment” with a win over the dastardly heel, Triple H got the win. Considering that it may be Sting’s only WrestleMania appearance, it was an extremely disappointing finish for fans.
11. The Miz
As a former WWE Champion and WrestleMania XXVII main eventer, The Miz has endured a hard fall from the top. He’s currently a glorified enhancement talent when he wrestles, with the occasional Miz TV segment meant to put over others. One of the defining moments in re-establishing him as a lower card act was a dark segment with Triple H. The Miz was cutting a promo and “The Game” made his way to the ring. The moment saw Triple H kick Miz, Pedigree him and walk right out the ring in a humorous moment. While funny, there was no need for it and it definitely harmed The Miz’s career.
10. Zack Ryder
Another segment that saw Triple H randomly come out to Pedigree a wrestler for absolutely no reason involved Zack Ryder. The Long Island native was finally starting to get over with the crowd after working his ass off to create a YouTube show and improve his matches. This was even worse than The Miz’s instance because Ryder was a face. It is one thing for a face like Triple H to humiliate a heel, but it is unjustifiable to do it to another face. A move like that more or less tells the audience to laugh at the victim and not take him seriously.
At a time when dominant monster heels were hard to create, Umaga actually found a way to get over and become somewhat credible. Between an undefeated streak in his first few months with the gimmick and a defining feud against John Cena, Umaga was one of the best heels in the company with a chance to get even better. That was until he entered a feud with Triple H. The reason Umaga worked so well was because other wrestlers looked vulnerable against his strength. Triple H didn’t allow that. Hunter won every match between the two and it completely destroyed all that Umaga built.
8. Kurt Angle
One of the more entertaining WWE storylines in 2000 was the love triangle between Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Kurt Angle. All three performers were on fire and the programming was great. There was a perfect mix of good wrestling and hilarious segments but it never really reached a big culmination. The Wrestling Observer reported at the time that the plans were likely for Stephanie to turn on Triple H to join Angle. The alleged story is that Triple H said it wasn’t believable for Stephanie to leave him for a guy like Angle during a backstage meeting and it was apparently dropped. Angle’s career didn’t suffer in the long run, but it would have been a great break for him at the time.
7. Chris Jericho
Similar to the Kurt Angle story, Triple H’s real-life relationship with Stephanie McMahon hurt a storyline involving Chris Jericho this time. Jericho aligned with Stephanie to take on Triple H in the WrestleMania X8 main event, but the storyline and match were huge disappointments. On his Talk Is Jericho podcast, Jericho shared the story about wanting to make out with Stephanie after she left Triple H (in kayfabe) to get more heat going into the show. The idea was shut down and while he didn’t say why, we could read between the lines to know that Triple H didn’t want that.
Unlike the other examples on this list, this is a more personal story. After dating Chyna in real life and being a package deal on television for years , Triple H entered a love storyline with Stephanie McMahon. The two actually fell in love and Hunter started to cheat on Chyna in real life. When Chyna found out, she claims Vince McMahon let her go by not engaging in talks to extend her contract. Chyna’s life fell apart and she’s endured many personal demons due to her poor decisions, but it all started with Triple H leaving her for another women.
Triple H and Bill Goldberg have always disliked each other. The two would trash the other during interviews during the final days of the Monday Night Wars. Later on, Triple H was caught on the Tough Enough reality show chewing out the contestants for having a Goldberg poster in their home. Not holding anything back, Triple H flat out said Goldberg had no passion or heart. Fast forward a few years and Goldberg entered the WWE with a big push. His first loss came at the hands of Triple H in an Elimination Chamber match. While he used a sledgehammer to get the pin, he ended Goldberg’s short streak and Goldberg was never viewed the same by WWE fans after the night.
4. Scott Steiner
Another former WCW star to enter WWE with a big push and get buried by Triple H was Scott Steiner. During the brand split days, Steiner was brought over to Raw to become one of the top faces by entering an instant feud with Triple H. Steiner’s debut with the company led to a massive crowd response at Survivor Series 2002 in Madison Square Garden. He seemed to be over with fans, but being put in a feud with Triple H killed it. The two had some of the worst matches in WWE history and Steiner has stated in shoot interviews that he believes Triple H tried to intentionally make him look bad. Steiner constantly trashes Triple H for it to this day and refers to him as “the Kevin Federline of professional wrestling.”
3. Rob Van Dam
The early days of the brand split saw a weird dynamic between Raw and SmackDown. The SmackDown brand was highlighted by Brock Lesnar, Edge, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero and others becoming the new stars of the company. Raw saw Triple H dominate with no new stars being made. Rob Van Dam was the only exception on Raw during that period. Fans loved RVD for his laid back personality and tremendous in-ring skill. Unforgiven 2002 saw Triple H vs. Van Dam in a match that many have second guessed for years. Triple H won and RVD was sent back down to the midcard for the majority of his WWE career. The era of Triple H’s doom continued and sunk the potential of Rob Van Dam being a main eventer.
2. CM Punk
There has never been a personal hatred between two wrestlers to deliver as many stories as CM Punk and Triple H. From Punk’s days in developmental, stories have circulated about Triple H burying him and thinking he didn’t belong in WWE. Punk worked his way to the top of the company to prove him wrong and became the hottest thing in WWE during the summer of 2011. Unfortunately the momentum slowed down after he lost the title due to Kevin Nash’s interference and entered a storyline with Triple H. Instead of the new top star getting the big win over the legend, Triple H came out of retirement just to beat Punk. The hatred between the two lives on and Punk has made the world aware of his belief that Triple H tried to sabotage him.
1. Booker T
The absolute worst case of a talent getting buried by Triple H was Booker at WrestleMania XIX. It was a high profile title match and Booker T had established himself as one of the most loved wrestlers in the company during the year leading up to it. The time was right for Booker to get the big win and become a credible top performer for WWE going forward. Triple H instead retained the title and continued his reign of terror as champ. To make matters worse, Triple H used racist promos as a way to get heat going into the match and didn’t even give a payoff for the babyface. Booker was relegated to the midcard for years until getting a title reign when he moved over to SmackDown.
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