Triple H, or Hunter Hearst Helmsley if you prefer (notPaul Levesque), is one of WWE's longest tenured performers. He is a multi-time WWE Champion (winning it eight times), and has been part of some of the biggest angles and matches in the company's history. Currently, he is the on-screen Chief Operating Officer (in real life he works in the backstage area of the business, as Executive Vice President of Talent Development and Relations, as well as a "Senior Advisor" to Vince McMahon).Married to Stephanie McMahon, the daughter of WWE chairman/CEO Vince McMahon.As usual, That Other Wiki has a nice, long article on his career.
"Time to read, time to read the TROOOPES!":
Affably Evil: In-character. He's charming, funny, and when he dedicates himself to a cause, he really gives it his all. It's just that if that cause is himself (and it frequently is), he genuinely does not care how much damage he causes to others.
With Randy, it became so personal that Orton had the audacity to attack Hunter's extended family — the McMahons, including his wife Stephanie. Orton even hit Stephanie with a DDT and then kissed her as she laid on the mat, unconscious, while Triple H (handcuffed to the turnbuckle) was forced to watch. Hunter himself retaliated by attacking Randy in his own home, including beating the crap out of him on his own front lawn. He then vowed to (and legitimately attempted to, in kayfabe) break Randy Orton's neck at WrestleMania 25.
Well, a few of those people are Real Life friends of Triple H, and Vince McMahon is his Real Life father-in-law. However, if rumors of his backstage politics are to be believed, Triple H probably has just as many enemies in Real Life, possibly even more.
The "Triple H" came from his original gimmick, a snooty blueblood by the name of Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Likewise, the name of his finishing move, the Pedigree. He's also still billed as from Greenwich, CT despite that not sounding very tough (though he now actually lives there).
Presumably, "Hunter Hearst Helmsley" is still his kayfabe "real name", since other wrestlers who are friendly with him in a given storyline will sometimes call him "Hunter".
Ascended Extra: He was a pretty minor character in WCW as Jean-Paul Levesque. In WWE, he was the Kliq's Designated Driver and "the guy who carried Shawn Michaels' bags."
Triple H loves to make penis gags. Specifically, he loves to imply he has a giant one. Also, according to Mick Foley's The Hardcore Diairies, he was the one to note AC/DC's Brian Johnson's significant pants bulge to the other wrestlers during their time on Saturday Night Live.
His use of Motörhead for his entrance theme counts, though it was incidental. WWE's music director asked if he'd ever heard of Motörhead when it came time to do a new theme; it turns out Trips has been a huge fan of the band since his youth.
That's to the point where the band itself (or simply Motörhead frontman Lemmy) has appeared at WWE events, including one such WrestleMania event.
He also loves old school southern style wrestling with more of an emphasis on the wrestlers than other people, and has been trying to talk Vince into resurrecting the War Games match for years.
Since becoming head of Talent Development, he's signed Sin Cara as well as IWC favorite Awesome Kong, and has focused on the old-school style of using promos to introduce new wrestlers before calling them up. To the IWC's great delight, also, he has also reportedly made some tweaks in developmental, expressing (among other things) a desire to have the talents there learn to cut promos from bullet points rather than the writers writing the promos word-for-word.
By all accounts, WWENXT is a running case of Author Appeal. According to sources, NXT is sufficiently under Vince McMahon's radar, and is Triple H's "baby," and he's pretty much running it himself.
Awesome but Impractical: The Pedigree, while very painful-looking and cool, takes a while to set up in comparison to other finishing moves and leaves him to be easily countered in a myriad of ways (usually either a back body drop or hooking the legs for a slingshot), making it very hard to pull off next to a move like the RKO or Sweet Chin Music.
Harming or even threatening to harm his wife Stephanie is another sure-fire way to get a beat down from The Game.
Triple H's ego has also been used as an intentional Berserk Button. Perhaps the most well-known incident of this manner occurred during the buildup for Triple H's WrestleMania 28 match against The Undertaker. After an in-ring monologue from The Undertaker, the rest of the segment used an obscene number of tropes in a number of different ways as Triple H and 'Taker had a verbal battle for the ages.
Triple H initially refuses The Undertaker's challenge, on the grounds that it would be "bad for business."
Except for when he's The Dragon to WWE's Biggest BadVince McMahon, the owner of WWE and HHH's father-in-law. In fact his two major main event heel runs (his Attitude era run in 1999-2001 and his Evolution/King of Kings run in 2002-2006) ultimately had him become Vince's Dragon in the end, though the latter only happened at the very end. Even his most recent run has him being Vince's Dragon, though he's more of a Dragon-in-Chief so far as Vince only made one appearance since HHH's heel turn, making Vince more of a Bigger Bad.
Of course, as mentioned above, they wound up being Vince's Co-Dragons (along with Shane McMahon) in their initial run following Vince's Face-Heel Turn, and are currently playing the role to Vince sans Shane. Though Vince is more of a Bigger Bad whose only made one appearance since their Face Heel Turns, at least for now.
He plays this trope pretty damn straight. When he's heel, his hair is cleaner and pulled into a ponytail, making him look much more blond; when he's face, his hair is loose and unkempt, making his hair look darker.
And during his heel runs in the early 2000s, he actually did dye his hair a much lighter golden blond than is his natural color.
The walkout isn't the first time that the WWE locker room threaten to boycott him.
Also, the 2012 confrontation between the returningUndertaker and Triple H was a direct call-back to their 2011 confrontation with the roles reversed. The first time, everybody knew through the vignettes that the Undertaker was coming to RAW on 2 21 11, and before he could say much of anything (Not that he's much of a talker, anyways...) Triple H's music hit. In 2012, Trips - who had already been announced for RAW - was poised to fire John Laurinaitis and then Undertaker's music hit in exactly the same fashion. Also, both times, the two offered challenges by using their trademark gestures.
After turning heel in 2013 after SummerSlam , he told us that Randy Orton, the new champion, was the diamond that had squeezed out of coal, something he referenced in his promo when he debuted Evolution, in which Batista and Orton was the future and the coal that would be transformed in to a diamond.
His heel character typically comes off as this. As a heel HHH cuts his hair to a shorter length (though it's still quite long) and keeps it pulled back in a ponytail, shaves, wears suits and frequently manipulates the system through politics, dirty tricks and outright bribery. Contrast this to his face persona who wears leather jackets, t-shirts and jeans, lets his hair grow wild and sports a beard.
Many fans accuse him of being this in Real Life ever since he married the boss' daughter.
Inverted in his on-screen role as Chief Operating Officer. Wears suits, is a good guy. Until...
Took to this trope fully during the Summer 2013 storyline against Daniel Bryan, openly screwing him over for the sake of "business." He's gone on to use The Shield as enforcers who attack anybody speaks out against him and threatened to even fire anybody who disagrees with his increasingly corrupt actions. Went so far as to firing Cody Rhodes after he lost to Randy Orton on the September 2nd, 2013 episode of RAW.
Creator Couple: With Stephanie McMahon. Both work behind-the-scenes in WWE.
He was also Light Is Not Good during most of his 2002-2006 heel run (going clean-shaven and famously wearing lily-white trunks and boots at WrestleMania XX, while playing a dastardly heel).
Demoted to Extra: For the most part Triple H is semi-retired, mainly due to his backstage duties piling up in preparation for when he finally does take over the company.
This occurred to him in 1996. He was a part of the infamous kayfabe-breaking Madison Square Garden "curtain call" (where Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Trips, and Shawn Michaels hugged each other in the middle of the ring following a match); since Hall and Nash were heading off to WCW, and Michaels was the WWF World Heavyweight Champion at the time, Trips had to take the fall. His main event push was delayed for quite a while as punishment.
Interesting side note: it's believed that Triple H was planned to win the 1996 King of the Ring tournament, and after the "curtain call", "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was booked to win the tournament as part of Trips' punishment, and it's that victory over Jake "the Snake" Roberts that gave us the Austin3:16 phenomenon.
In 2001, running forward to hit Chris Jericho with a forearm to the back of the head, Triple H ripped the quadricep muscle right off his kneecap in one of the most cringe-inducing sports injuries ever caught on film. You can actually see the muscle come loose under the skin of his thigh and he immediately falls out of the ring in agony. Somehow he managed to get back up and finish his role in the match.
And did it again in 2007 in a tag-team match with Shawn Michaels against Edge and Randy Orton. Tore his other quad and managed to finish the match, even Pedigreeing Edge through the announcer's table.
To Vince McMahon after Vince's Face-Heel Turn at Wrestlemania 16. Was also Co-Dragons with Stone Cold Steve Austin to Vince in 2001, until Triple H got injured. He seems to be becoming this in Real Life as well, as Vince recently made him his Senior Advisor.
Number Two: He's currently kayfabe COO, making him this to Vince(who of course is the owner, chairman, and CEO of WWE in Real Life and kayfabe), as well as the future heir to Vince's throne. They've only had a couple of interactions though.
He's The Dragon to Vince once more, though he's so far been a Dragon-in-Chief with Vince being more of a Bigger Bad who hasn't appeared much, and they haven't interacted much since HHH's heel turn oddly enough.
Invoked by Triple H (who's almost always been a rebellious character) during an attack on The Undertaker in 2001. Triple H first got the jump on Taker as he was sitting on his motorcycle, which resulted in the bike itself pinning Undertaker to the ground. Triple H then set up a chair, backwards, on top of Undertaker's neck. Then, to top it all off, he leaned over the backrest of the chair and talked tons of shit to the Deadman (which may count as Badass and Awesome But Practical, since sitting backwards in the chair kept Undertaker from possibly throwing punches, since the backrest was in his way).
The last remark by Undertaker made Triple H hesitate (almost in a "Is this fucker THAT crazy?" kind of way), giving Kane time to run in and scare Triple H off before he cracked Undertaker's skull.
Epic Fail: His insistence that his WWE Undisputed Championship match against Chris Jericho going after the far more anticipated Hulk Hogan vs The Rock match at Wrestlemania X8. Interest was so low that people, absolutely drained by the preceding "dream match", actually started leaving during the match. After winning the Championship, he lost it immediately to the now revitalized Hogan at the next Pay Per View. It took years for him to admit he was in the wrong.
Evil Mentor: In Evolution, he was one to Randy Orton (echoing their Real Life relationship) and Batista. On the flipside, he had his own in Ric Flair.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: While he may be no-nonsense authority figure, Triple H cares about his family to the point anyone thinking about harming or even smack talking about them will result in a beat-down.
Lampshaded during the Slammy Awards 2013 episode of RAW, when Randy Orton received a Pedigree for inadvertently bumping into Stephanie while in the middle of an in-ring brawl during the Title Ascension Ceremony.
John Cena: Well, it looks like He-Man (Triple H) and Skeletor (Edge) have some unfinished business...
Expy: His earliest WWF appearances had him acting almost exactly like Steven Regal (fitting since he was supposed to tag with Regal in WCW). The main difference was in WCW his character was a Foreign Wrestling Heel from France whereas in WWF he was a Take That against old money families in Connecticut.
Some critics call him "HGH" due to how overly muscular he has seemingly become, which was the result of his rumored steroid use. Also the fact that the quad tears he keeps having are rarely seen outside of heavy steroid use.
In character he's a powerful and devious competitor, out of character he's a body builder and by all accounts a very smart man. One of his official nicknames is "The Cerebral Assassin."
His real life role as VP of Talent and Live Events has been oft-lauded by industry insiders as having a progressive and vested point of view when it comes to younger talent.
Genre Savvy: All the time. Especially the time he gave an entire lesson/Lampshade Hanging to Shelton Benjamin on how to properly cut a promo and how the heel has to wait until the face has their back to the ramp before they jump him.
Glass Cannon: He can't really take hits anymore, but he insists on trying.
Go Through Me: On the June 3, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw, Triple H was determined to wrestle Curtis Axel, despite the fact that Triple H was barely in the condition to do so (having collapsed at ringside two weeks before). Backstage, Triple H defiantly told Vince "I'm wrestling Curtis Axel." Vince told him otherwise. Triple H's response: "Who's gonna stop me?" Vince took a step towards Triple H, and Stephanie stepped between Vince and Triple H.
From 2003 to 2005 he was accompanied most of the time by Evolution, a clique of three snobbish Superstars (Ric Flair, Batista, and Randy Orton, to be precise) who interfered in Hunter's matches, bullied face Superstars, and were known as much for their custom-made suits, Rolex watches, private jets, and sexual escapades as for their wrestling skills.
The idea for Evolution came from the Four Horsemen, a similarly-themed clique led by Flair in NWA and then WCW in the 1980s and '90s.
He left WCW in early 1995 because he didn't want to team with Regal in an elitist, blueblood snob gimmick. He debuted in WWE as "Hunter Hearst Helmsley"- an elitist, blueblood snob gimmick.
His vendetta against Daniel Bryan is because Bryan insulted his wife and family, feeling it's a personal attack on them. Which would be all fine and good... if his family didn't start the entire thing by repeatedly insulting him and treating it as if Its Nothing Personal.
Not to mention claiming that every action he takes is "what's best for business"...how good would it have been for business if he had fired every Superstar and Diva for getting involved in Bryan getting beat down by the Shield?
Or getting pissed over having the Escalade he gave Randy Orton "tagged" by Bryan, when he did just that and more to Vince McMahon's jet and limousine as part of DX?
He got to the top through hard work but how he maintained his position may be attributed to executive meddling. After all, his wrestling resume was pretty damn good before he got involved with Stephanie, which is what some consider the ultimate executive meddling; a grand slam champion (meaning he held 5 different titles) in addition to being an 8x WWE Champion. Being a King of the Ring and Royal Rumble winner is just icing on the cake at that point.
Because his on-screen debut with short hair fell was during the 2012 Slammy Awards, he noted that at the 1997 Slammies he had won Best Hair.
Informed Attribute: Was explicitly called a great technical wrestler ad nauseum in the '90s and '00s, despite being a brawler first and foremost, and uses far more strikes than he's ever used submissions. His one attempt at a real submission hold was a disastrous experiment with the ancient "Inverted Indian Deathlock". It was generally an attempt to push him as a "smart wrestler" (as smart guys are usually technical masterminds as well), which he really did better by cheating and manipulating others anyways.
Insane Troll Logic: Claims responsibility for breaking "The Streak." Not because he actually beat the Undertaker, but because he was able to walk out of the arena on his own power and 'Taker wasn't.
Tempting Fate: And after his Hell In A Cell rematch the following year, he was so badly beaten both 'Taker and Shawn Michaels had to carry him out of the arena together.
He was in a string of beer commercials a few years ago. For the most part, he's a teetotaler in real life.
The episode he guest-starred in on The Drew Carey Show had Triple H, going under the ring name "the Disciplinarian", becoming a sponsor of Buzz Beer and after over-indulging in Vegas, he ends up telling kids to never drink as the beer was the one thing that could kick his ass.
He has a reputation for using bigger draws to make himself look better or taking credit for their popularity. DeGeneration X's bigger draws were Shawn Michaels and Chyna while the New Age Outlaws were getting over without the rest, the Two Man Power Trip gave him more focus even though he was with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, the Corporate Ministry was Undertaker and Chyna again, most recently WWE's summer of Punk remake became the Autumn of Triple H. It was even used for a story line when his Evolution partners got sick of everything being about Triple H, even though he really wasn't doing anything to prove his particular importance.
A reputation which is perhaps unfair considering that, contrary to popular smark belief, he's a bigger draw than almost all of his opponents, as well as associates like Shawn Michaels and Chyna.
Joker Immunity: Being Vince McMahon's son-in-law gave him this. The only way this will be revoked is if he has a rather nasty divorce from Stephanie. He still has to wait for the ultimate immunity his father-in-law has though.
Karma Houdini: Has a history behind the scenes of blaming other people when some bad angle involving him flops.
Large Ham: Hilarious. Give the man a live microphone and 20 minutes of free airtime, and you're guaranteed to be entertained.
Mean Character, Nice Actor: Despite being one of the most controversial figures in professional wrestling, both on camera and behind the scenes, Triple H is actually friendly with the fans and is a noted mentor to many wrestlers, including Batista and Randy Orton.
He was blamed for the infamous Katie Vick angle; that was created by Kevin Dunn, with approval by Vince McMahon.
Dennis Randazzo, author of Ring of Hell, accuses Triple H turning Austin into his lackey during the latter's 2001 Face-Heel Turn, despite that fact that Austin held the WWF Title and Triple H held the Intercontinental Title, and thus, Austin was positioned as the more important member of the Two-Man Power Trip.
Haitch also gets this for the event just below, for bringing up Alundra Blayze throwing the WWF Women's title in the trash on Nitro. What involvement he had in arranging the screwjob himself varies from person to person but it was Shawn who actually came up with the idea.
On theInternet, he's actually hated/blamed by fans for the Screwjob more than either Vince McMahon or Shawn Michaels, due to his backstage influence with Vince and the fact that he's the one who suggested the possibility that Bret would pull an Alundra Blayze and trash the WWF belt upon going to WCW.note He would confirm that on Shawn Michaels' Heartbreak & Triumph DVD and book.
Odd Friendship: The Kliq. While Michaels, Hall, Nash, and Waltman were established wrestlers at a near-equal level, Triple H was a newbie who didn't party. Now, things have changed, and it's still hard to believe that the massively successful HHH and one of the best wrestlers ever in Shawn Michaels are friends with the troubled X-Pac and Scott Hall, whose jump to WCW was a major turning point in their careers.
Oh Crap: His epic reaction shot to being informed he'd be facing not Mankind, but Cactus Jack in the 2000 Royal Rumble. CMOA for Mick Foley, but Hunter's reaction just makes it.
He started out as a huge fan of the 80s-era NWA, then became a WCW jobber, and then moved to the WWF, where he became one of the top stars. Now he's the COO of the company in kayfabe (although he's a "Senior Advisor" to Vince McMahon, helping run shows, and heading up Talent Development in real life).
He's also been a huge fan of Motörhead ever since he was a kid, and when WWE brought up the idea to use the band for his new theme without knowing that, of course Triple H jumped at the chance. Since then, he and the band have been pretty tight, with Motorhead performing his theme live at a couple of Wrestlemanias and Triple H even growing out a Lemmy-style mustache/chop combination as an homage.
Amazingly enough, most backstage accounts seems to imply Trips is this whenever he's not trying to put himself in the spotlight.
His current role as Chief Operating Officer seems to have him shaping up as one of these, giving certain heels their comeuppance, including letting Zack Ryder squash Michael Cole on live television, bringing back Jim Ross, and letting John Morrison get his hands on R-Truth.
Semi-Retired Badass: Triple H doesn't work nearly a full ring schedule anymore as he's in his 40s and growing used to his backstage role, but he can still throw a good beatdown or pound a guy to a pulp with a sledgehammer when the time calls for it.
Done to finally end the Evolution stable when he attacked Ric Flair with a sledgehammer after a victorious tag team effort against Carlito and Chris Masters. Evoked the trope the following week on Raw when he said Flair was too old and too mediocre and was damaging his own legacy so he, "...took Ric out behind the barn and shot him."
The reason why he challenged The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 27 - he wanted to end The Streak as well as believing that Taker was way past his prime.
The following year, Taker's pride in refusing to accept a Pyrrhic Victory would lead Taker to persistently demand he try this again - persistently, because a little more time in his new position caused Triple H to see business and nostalgia as more important than another fight.
Sleeves Are for Wimps: As a heel in the early-to-mid 2000s, he would always wear the typical striped referee shirt, with the sleeves cut off, when he was assigned to officiate a match.
Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Especially during his 2003 and 2011 runs. Has progressively pulled this on the CM Punk story. Watch any promos promoting the upcoming match and how he's turned Punk from being an Anti-Hero rebel who spoke what everybody felt into a straw man complainer and turned the storyline into defending his wife's honor.
His original incarnation as a stuck-up blueblood was because Vince McMahon recently purchased a new home in the posh Stamford, Connecticut, and his neighbors didn't take too kindly to the kind of "low-brow" entertainment the WWF put on.
Hunter has also said numerous times in interviews that Goldberg is a terrible wrestler.
Too many times to count in DeGeneration X, though of particular note is the time he asked Chris Masters what he could write a book about - "how to lose 30 pounds in a week?".
His DX look, jeans and t-shirt with ruffled hair, earns him more fangirl love than his McMahon-Helmsley Sharp-Dressed Man, though it could just be the Shawn Michaels-related Ho Yay, and not being a heel.
Tyrant Takes the Helm: First in 2000 when he married Stephanie and controlled Raw, then again in 2013 when he screwed Daniel Bryan out of the WWE Championship title and. He claims what he's doing is "Best for business"...
Verbal Tic: His infamous ending of many sentences with "uh", especially when getting dramatic. "I am... the GAME-uh!"
Mocked a couple times by The Rock during their feuds.
Villain Protagonist: Oh yeah. He's a heel and he's been the center of attention for 14 years and counting.
Villain Song: "King of Kings" - he's used it almost exclusively during his recent heel authority figure run.
Shawn Michaels. Anyone else mocks Shawn's receding hairline and new religion, they're headed for a beatdown.
A perfect example is his Hall of Fame induction speech for Shawn. Height, fashion sense, receding hairline, all are legit targets - and then you get down to the end, where he talks about how close he and Shawn are.
"You know, the only reason Shawn asked me to do this tonight is to force me to say something nice about him."
Vocal Evolution or Vocal Decay: It's one or the other, when he first started, his voice was kind of high and nasal. As time as gone on, it's bottomed out and gotten more growly.
As about fifteen years have passed, this could be purely coincidental (read: age), but it's likely that some of this has to do with his Character Development from his snooty Connecticut blueblood gimmick to the Rated M for Manly, sledgehammer-wielding brawler that he's been for the majority of his career.
Warrior Prince: Plays this pretty straight in regards to the WWE itself.
See Demoted to Extra above. One can only imagine what could have happened if HHH had won the '96 King of the Ring instead of Austin - no Attitude Era, no competition against WCW and the nWo...
Had he not been injured in 2001, Triple H would have turned face and challenge a heel Austin for the WWF Championship throughout the summer. Which would mean that the InVasion angle would at least have been interesting to watch.
Was supposed to be a tag team with Steven Regal in WCW, but he jumped to WWF when his contract with WCW expired. Even when WWF showed interest, they also wanted Regal, but Regal had a lucrative multi-year deal.
Had Kevin Nash not been on the blood-medication Plavix he would have been medically approved to wrestle during the Nash/CM Punk story-line that had been set up, which would have led to John Laurinaitis trying to take over the company by firing Vince and then coming after Triple H as he would be the next in line to lead the company. The Triple H/Kevin Nash angle that resulted would not have happened until farther down the line when Nash either joined Laurinaitis or not at all if Nash had joined Triple H. Article about it here.
Shawn Michaels stands out more than anyone else. Even after reforming DX, the two would still come to blows but still walk out as friends.
The Undertaker as well. He actually stated that the reason he wanted to face The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 27 is because they are the last two prominent wrestlers from the Pre-Attitude Era days and he felt the need to put on one more era-defining match before they both retire.
Chris Benoit. So much respect Hunter had for him, that he tapped out clean to the Crossface on three separate occasions within a year at a time when the IWC was vocal in thinking that Triple H was only looking out for himself.
Wrestling Psychology: Even his detractors will (usually) admit he's got quite the grip on this and can really use the crowd to build his matches.
Yank the Dog's Chain: The man has had to fight accusations of being a Creator's Pet and a Spotlight-Stealing Squad for years. When he began to work behind the scenes, smarks began to love him for defying WWE's apparent "Big Guys and Eye-Candy" policy by having his first major decisions be hiring lucha star Sin Cara (formerly Mistico) and Brawn HildaKharma (formerly Amazing/Awesome Kong). Unfortunately, both of those acquisitions have kinda blown up in his face, as Sin Cara missed a lot of time between a Wellness Violation and injury, as well as being a patron saint of botching.note As of December 2, 2013, Luis Urive, the man behind the Sin Cara mask, has reportedly left the WWE. The Sin Cara character is currently being played by Hunico. Kharma ln the meantime was put out of action for nearly a year due to a suprise pregnancy, she would go on to lose her baby and was eventually released by the company.