Defying popular assumptions, the most important power couple in WWE today may not be Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, but rather the one created by HHH and Stephanie’s father, Vince McMahon. While the WWE Universe patriarchy was by no means HHH’s first boss, Vince likely has held that position over power over his stepson longer than any other authority figure. Despite the implication that could bring to a typical relationship, the McMahon family is anything except typical, and having the bond of boss and employee may have only served to empower their friendship as relative-in-laws.
The typical cliché stands that the father of the bride will forever hate the son-in-law, and though Vince and HHH have had their differences, nothing could be further from the case. Depending on who one believes, HHH might love Vince more than he even loves his wife (or perhaps he just loves the power Vince could bring him more). That’s probably a pretty cynical way to look at it, yet it would also be cynical to pretend whatever affection the two claim exists between them was just one of their kayfabe schemes.
Rumors have increasingly painted Triple H as the man most likely to take over WWE should Vince ever step down, and the significance of that isn’t lost on us. The two obviously have a close friendship that goes way deeper than the fact HHH married Vince’s daughter. In a manner of speaking, it might be the other way around, anyway, in that HHH may have initially been attracted to Steph because of who her father was. Keep reading to learn 15 things you never knew about Vince McMahon’s relationship with Triple H.
15. HHH Met Vince Well Before He Met Stephanie
After a lackluster year in WCW, Triple H made his way to the WWE Universe in 1995. It was around this time he also met his future father-in-law, and he was instantly impressed with Vince’s work ethic. Triple H fast admired his new boss as he witness McMahon perform hundreds of duties at once while also giving his employees the opportunity to become superstars, and that admiration most certainly persists now that the two work together in close quarters. In a sense predicting how close they would become, Triple H was initially promoted as a “Connecticut blueblood,” not too far from the life he would live once accepted into the McMahon clan. Granted, it wasn’t that far from the gimmick Hunter used in WCW, so that might be a bit of a stretch. It was clear the two had a connection from the start, though, or in the very least Triple H felt a strong connection to his new boss, and was dead set on doing whatever it took to impress him.
14. Vince Wanted HHH To Help Out With Business From The Beginning
Two of the defining qualities of Triple H’s career have been his incredible desire for power and his ambition to set forth the means to achieve it. By his own admission, it was almost immediately upon his signing with WWE in 1995 that he started absorbing all the information about the business he could, getting as close to Vince as possible in the process. Triple H was constantly impressed by how many different jobs Vince McMahon was able to do at once, in his own words “clicking” with the boss over his curiosity. Before he even started dating Stephanie, Vince was suggesting Triple H take a more active role backstage. It says a lot about what Vince sees and has always seen in his son-in-law that he would allow him any sort of power backstage, let alone offer it to him freely. Rumors have long indicated it is Triple H and not Stephanie who Vince is most likely to will his company to should he retire, and stories like this make that look like a strong possibility.
13. HHH Said He Loved Vince Before His Wife
The rest of the world will never understand private jokes between couples, and this kind of feels like one, but it also feels possible enough it can’t be ignored. During an interview with Huffington Post, Stephanie McMahon very flippantly stated Triple H “always says that he loved [Vince] first,” meaning before he fell in love with Stephanie. Considering everything we also know about Triple H’s admiration of Vince starting immediately, it’s possible he would go so far as to say he loved Vince before he even met Stephanie. The way his life and career have gone since then, there’s really no doubt this is more than just a family joke, with HHH’s affection for Vince evident in everything they do. All of that said, it really isn’t particularly strange for a wrestler to say they love Vince, especially if they happen to be working for him and heavily promoted at the time. The only thing weird about it is that Triple H apparently prefers Vince to his own wife, even to this day.
12. Vince Beat HHH For The WWE Championship
For one of the most decorated WWE Champions in history, Triple H’s first reign with the belt wasn’t particularly special. He defeated Mankind for the gold the night after SummerSlam 1999, and went on to lose it to the boss himself barely three weeks later on an episode of SmackDown. Vince received unlikely aide from “Stone Cold” Steve Austin en route to winning the title that represents wrestling greatness in his company, which he in turn went on to vacate it on the following Raw. The short WWE Championship of Vince McMahon is one of the more controversial in company history, owing entirely to his own ego and making his wrestlers and titles look weak in the process. Considering Vince’s status, its not like Triple H or anyone else would have had any choice in the matter, but one might expect he’d have some bitterness over the matter, like people who disliked losing to Jeff Jarrett in TNA or Vince Russo in WCW. Instead, they grew ever closer because of it, and the title change might have been one of the most deceptively meaningful in history.
11. Vince Gave HHH Permission To Date Steph, Then Took It Away
While the main purpose of this list is the relationship between Vince McMahon and Triple H, the latter’s marriage to the former’s daughter is such an integral part of said relationship it needs special attention. Now that the marriage has stood the test of time by providing Vince with three grandchildren, there’s little Triple H could do to completely ruin their relationship. When Triple H first became interested in Stephanie, however, there was serious potential for him to seriously enrage his boss even by asking her out. Interesting, Stephanie has later said Vince was pretty quick to give the couple his blessing. Even more interestingly, she also claims he took it away once he realized how serious it was getting. Both Triple H and Stephanie viewed Vince taking his blessing away as a test, and they apparently passed by being tenacious enough to keep seeing each other behind his back. It goes without saying that they had his blessing once again by the time they got married in 2003.
10. Vince Wanted HHH To Do The Katie Vick Story
It’s pretty close to unanimous that the worst angle of Triple H’s career was his 2002 feud with Kane, wherein he pantomimed having sex with a coffin while wearing in a Kane mask. The purpose of the disgusting act was to accuse Kane of necrophilia, which was already in addition to an accusation he was a murderer. His poor mannequin victim was named Katie Vick in honor the victim of a car accident Kane may or may not have been complicit in causing, as though that justified any of it. Who could possibly think any of this was a good idea? Apparently, there was at least one person who thought it was hilarious, and wouldn’t you know it, he was the only person whose opinion mattered: Vince McMahon himself. There have been plenty of moments throughout WWE history when fans were forced to come to terms with the fact Mr. McMahon has a peculiar and bizarre sense of humor, and the Katie Vick storyline has got to be the pinnacle of his absolute worst impulses. On the other hand, he did have one idea that was even worse…
9. Vince’s Disgusting Idea For His First Grandchild
Stephanie McMahon welcomed her first daughter to the world in 2006, and although she wasn’t appearing on WWE television much at the time, her father felt it still needed to become a major part of his programming. It would be one thing if he simply wanted to serve his ego by making his granddaughter the youngest Women’s Champion ever or something like that, but he went the grossest way possible with it, wanting to run a “Who’s the Father” angle based around Stephanie’s father. If you think that sounds more exploitative than gross, wait until you hear who Vin Man wanted the daddy to be: yep, that’s right, there was only one McMahon for the job. Or maybe two, because when Stephanie instantly shot down the idea of father-daughter incest, Vince suggested maybe Shane could do it, only for the Billion Dollar Princess to reject that one outright, as well. Outside of turning down the ideas, Stephanie has never really explained how she felt about the whole scenario, nor has Triple H. One can only assume it strained their respectively relationships. Then again, knowing the McMahon’s, they probably just worked it out in the ring.
8. They Wrestled The Worst Feud Of 2006
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter largely consists of the opinions of one man, and yet it still has become the most trust journal in professional wrestling due to who that person is. Dave Meltzer founded WON in the early ‘80s and still operates it mostly by himself to this day, though he has opened up the voting on his year end awards to his readers. Those readers agreed en masse that in 2006, the absolute worst feud in wrestling was Vince and Shane McMahon versus D-Generation X, Triple H and Shawn Michaels. While there was nothing as abhorrent as incestuous cuckolding, the feud was still offensive to fans for dragging down four of the biggest and most important names in WWE history with a childish, sophomoric, and worst of all, meaningless comedy feud. It didn’t matter who won or lost unless you liked the jokes, and no one liked the jokes, so it didn’t matter at all. More than anything else, it was the feud against the McMahons that definitively proved DX would never be as innovative or entertaining as they once were.
7. HHH Reunited Vince With Bruno Sammartino
Long before Austin versus McMahon, the top star in WWE history was feuding the boss during the legendary battles between Vince, Sr. and Bruno Sammartino. These encounters didn’t take in the ring, rather inside the courtroom, where Bruno sued McMahon on multiple occasions over a number of financial issues. When Vince, Jr. took control from his father, he and Bruno briefly made up, only for Bruno to quickly find the wrestling world had changed to the point he no longer wanted to be a part of it. Sammartino and McMahon publicly and legitimately feuded for decades, appearing in debates on shows like Donahue, Larry King Live, and Geraldo, castigating Vince for his involvement in the steroid scandal and for generally treating his employees poorly. He also repeatedly turned down offers to join the WWE Hall of Fame, until Triple H started bugging him about it in 2013. Feeling Triple H was genuine in ways the McMahons had never been, Bruno accepted the offer, soon meeting with Vince for the first time in decades and having an amicable conversation.
6. HHH Once Gave Vince A Prehistoric Gift
Gift-giving occasions must be hell for everyone in the McMahon family. What do you give the certified billionaire who has it all? He has more than enough houses, vehicles, and sports entertainment enterprises than the regular human would know what to do with, and even he doesn’t seem like he can handle it all at times. Cutting through the nonsense that is sentimental value and personal importance, or maybe finding the most uniquely perfect way to cater those concepts to Vince McMahon, Triple H found the answer in 2006. While filming a scene in The Chaperone, some of the props he saw on set caught his eye, and he later decided to buy it for his father-in-law. The item in question? The fossilized remains of a Tyrannosaurus rex’s skull. Triple H immediately thought of Vince when he saw the giant bones, and McMahon later agreed, saying they represented his “voracious appetite for life.” Proving he wasn’t kidding around, Vince has kept the skull in his office since it was given to him, even naming the dinosaur Stan T. Rex.
5. The Truth Became Kayfabe After Randy Orton Attacked Vince
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon technically started their relationship on television, and they were married onscreen the moment it began. Their marriage transformed from a sham to a power couple in kayfabe before they even started dating for real, so by the time the relationship had turned into a reality, fans found out pretty much right away. Despite this, it was always implied that the relationship between Triple H and Vince was especially hostile, due in no small part to HHH corrupting Vince’s daughter. The company also spent several years pretending Stephanie and Triple H had divorced, acting like HHH and Vince had no real relationship at this time. That all changed and the truth was finally accepted on television when Randy Orton started attacking the McMahon family, punting both Stephanie and Vince on back to back episodes of Raw. Triple H admitted the attacks were especially personal to him as Stephanie’s husband and a loving member of the entire McMahon family, and they’ve pretty much remained close allies on screen ever since.
4. They (Used To) Love Working Out Together
As is likely the case with literally countless friendships in the sports entertainment world, one of Triple H and Vince McMahon’s fondest shared pastimes has always been working out together. The gym is one of the places wrestlers visit the most, and a workout buddy can fast become a best friend if they’re both desperate to improve the size of their arms. Part of what makes Vince and Triple H so close is that they could spend long hours together in the office, and then head to the gym together to close out the night. More recently, however, Triple H has apparently decided Vince’s workout habits are getting too out of control for him, and he isn’t alone. In addition to Triple H, both Stephanie and Linda McMahon have recently commented they can’t hit the gym with Vince anymore, because his drive to perform on a competitive level is too much for them. Time will tell whether or not this damages their relationship, although it isn’t the first sign there may be trouble in paradise.
3. They Have Plenty Of Disagreements
Few business partnerships see all involved parties agreeing on 100% of the decisions, and Vince McMahon and Triple H certainly fit into the industry trend on this regard. Their longstanding personal relationship notwithstanding, the two men are also responsible for running a wrestling company together, and there have been a few major shows in recent memory where major conflicts arose between what the two wanted to present to fans. Two points of contention in particular have been the women’s revolution and the handling of NXT call ups, both of which Triple H wants to be handled with more respect than Vince has been willing to give thus far. With more and more NXT callups making their way to the WWE main event, some of them women, it’s pretty clear that Triple H is winning that particular battle. On the other hand, when the two clashed over the finish of SummerSlam 2016, Vince McMahon won out and his monster Brock Lesnar defeated Triple H’s friend Randy Orton in very definitive fashion. The real takeaway from the story is that they’ve continued working together without incident outside of these few disagreements, meaning they’ll likely keep doing so no matter what minor quibbles arise between them.
2. HHH Took Over For Vince As Kayfabe COO In 2013
In the modern era of WWE, there are so many authority figures it can be almost impossible to follow who has what power. Vince is still the CEO in real life and kayfabe, or so it seems, as the Board of Directors apparently removed him from power in 2013, placing Triple H in charge as the Chief Operating Officer. Triple H ruled over the company with Stephanie as The Authority for the next three years or so, taking Vince’s place as the onscreen big bad and predicting the potential for them doing so behind the scenes, as well. Vince later returned to power through unclear means to join them as the top villains/powers that be, complicating things even further and bringing to question who really holds the power in WWE. McMahon later placed his children Steph and Shane in charge of their respective Raw and SmackDown brands, Triple H only making seldom appearances when he deems necessary. Confusing as it all has become, the initial moment when Triple H removed Vince from power was still one of the most symbolic in Monday Night Raw history, whether or not it makes any sense in retrospect.
1. Vince Keeps Giving HHH More Power
The older Vince McMahon gets, the louder talk gets about him stepping away from WWE once and for all and leaving some combination of his children and Triple H in charge of the company. The trend will obviously only continue to exponentially increase as time goes on, and there may be no limit to how much power Vince gives his son-in-law in the near future. Triple H often likes to cite the true fact he won his first WWE Championship before he ever dated Stephanie, and as our list outlined, he also started heading backstage well before that point ever happened, as well. It would require a certain mixture of ego and delusion for Triple H to believe Stephanie still plays no role in his rise to power as he climbs the corporate ladder almost to the top. Then again, the closer one is to the situation the more it seems that might be the truth after all.