Vince McMahon has been the most important man in professional wrestling for several decades, and we’ve recently covered his ability to both make and break any career in the industry. As Vince rapidly approaches old age, wrestling fans are increasingly speculating on who might take over for the WWE Chairman when or if he retires, and most signs are pointing towards his daughter Stephanie and her husband Triple H. Triple H and Stephanie wed in 2003, and The Game’s profile behind the scenes has been steadily rising since the two began dating a few years before then.
With increased power comes increased responsibility, and Triple H is proving he now has the power to make and break careers just like his legendary father-in-law. Half of the people on this list still have careers in one form or another, but at least according to the internet, Triple H has done everything in his power to stifle their ability to succeed in the business. Some cases are more direct or blatantly truer than others, but read on to learn why some people feel Triple H destroyed the careers of the following 10 wrestlers.
10. Bret Hart
We’ve all heard Vince Screwed Bret and Bret Screwed Bret, but Triple H screwed Bret? The Montreal Screwjob remains perhaps the most infamous and shocking date in professional wrestling history, still being discussed and theorized about nearly two decades after it happened. Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels, and a still somewhat mysterious few others successfully conspired to double-cross Bret Hart and award Michaels the WWE World Championship. Quite a few books and documentaries on the subject can give you the full story, but relevant to this article is the question of whose idea exactly the Screwjob was.
Most people point to Vince McMahon or Jerry Brisco as the obvious masterminds, but Shawn Michaels has claimed the idea came from none other than Triple H. Unfortunately, HBK’s history of lying and political maneuvering makes it hard to take his words entirely at face value. Triple H’s comments on the matter after the fact have added some weight to the idea, as he always comes off as a 100% company man completely backing the decision to take the title off Bret by any means necessary, whether or not it was specifically his idea.
9. Paul London
In all fairness, Paul London ruined his own career, but he did so by complaining about Triple H. The issue between the two did at least begin in the ring, and it was Triple H’s confusing whims that lead to years of animosity from London. London was a popular cruiserweight who rapidly rose up the ranks in WWE in 2007 as part of a popular tag team with Brian Kendrick. The tag team was on the verge of entering the main event when they helped Triple H escape a beat down from Umaga one night on Raw. After the save, Triple H squashed them both with Pedigrees for absolutely no reason.
Many fans cite this incident as Triple H blatantly destroying two potentially popular threats before they even had a chance to truly stand with him in the main event. While London’s supporters can point to this moment, there were actually a variety of things The Game did to upset London to the point he’s openly stated he will never again work for WWE. Whether the real problems happened onscreen or backstage, though, Triple H very directly ended Paul London’s chances of succeeding in the wrestling world.
8. Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam is a multi-time world champion in WWE, ECW, and TNA, but most people feel RVD could’ve been a significantly bigger star and a world champion several years before he became one if not for Triple H’s intervention on his career in 2003. Included in Paul London’s previously mentioned complaints about Triple H were stories of how Hunter was extremely jealous and condescending towards RVD.
According to London, RVD was naturally charismatic in real life, and as fans know, he was naturally gifted in the ring. Both of these were traits Triple H may have viewed himself as having, but reality tended to disagree with him on a few too many occasions. Since Rob had what Triple H actually wanted, Hunter would childishly mock Van Dam during staff meetings and disrespect him around other wrestlers. Worse in the eyes of many fans, during Triple H’s World Heavyweight title reign in 2003, he repeatedly squashed the far more popular RVD and did whatever he could to make him look weak in comparison to the almighty Game. Of course, RVD wasn’t the first or only victim of the Reign of Terror…
7. Booker T
A few months before the situation with Rob Van Dam, Triple H went through a similar scenario with Booker T. Unfortunately, in this case The Game also made certain comments that made the whole ordeal feel particularly disgusting to a lot of people. The two engaged in a feud for Triple H’s World Heavyweight title culminating at WrestleMania 19. Like RVD, Booker was naturally cool and charismatic, and fans were connecting with him on a much more emotional level than they ever did with Triple H. Unlike RVD, Booker is also a black man in an industry that has regularly been accused of racism, so a major title win on the biggest show in the business could have been huge in far more ways than one.
Unfortunately, Triple H felt “people like Booker” didn’t deserve to be champions. At that point in history, the only four black people to hold singles titles in WWE were The Rock, Ahmed Johnson, Jazz, and Jacqueline (hey, maybe she does deserve to go in the Hall of Fame). Apologists claim Triple H meant people from WCW, or maybe…poor people? Those apologists must forget in that same promo, HHH singled out Booker’s “nappy hair” and use of the word “sucka.” Whether racist or just stupid, the fact this feud culminated in Triple H dominating Booker and pinning him clean in the ring left an incredibly sour taste in people’s mouths. Jerry Lawler’s definitely racist commentary at ringside, focused on how funny he thought it was that Booker has been to prison, really didn’t help matters. Though Triple H didn’t completely ruin Booker’s career, it would take three years and a major character overhaul before he was ready to be in the main event again.
6. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar is a monster. He’s an unstoppable force impervious to the idea of having his career ruined by any mere mortal. Regardless, Triple H sure did try his best to make everyone think he was the REAL Beast, and Lesnar was just another imitator. When Brock returned to WWE in 2012, he was no longer The Next Big Thing. He was the thing bigger than the business. Brock had gone out into the “real” fighting world and proven himself as an absolute killer, and no wrestler could really compare to his accomplishments. Naturally, his second major feud after returning featured him losing to Triple H at WrestleMania.
Brock started the feud strong by “breaking” Triple H’s arm, but by having him lose the big one to his boss after he already lost a pretty big one to John Cena, a great deal of his aura and mystique were taken away from him before he even wrestled a handful of matches. Brock eventually became an even bigger monster than before by breaking the Undertaker’s WrestleMania undefeated streak, but it took him more than two full years after his return to truly impact WWE thanks to Triple H stalling him.
5. Nicole Bass
Nicole Bass was a bodybuilder who briefly found herself in the world of professional wrestling in the late 1990s. She debuted in ECW as part of Justin Credible’s menagerie of weirdos, then joined WWE in 1999 as Sable’s bodyguard. She only lasted a few months in the company, but her imposing figure made a memorable and unforgettable impact on virtually anyone who saw her. Despite this, she hasn’t been involved in wrestling since then, primarily due to the way she left the company.
In 2003, Bass sued WWE for sexual harassment. She alleged longtime WWE jobber The Brooklyn Brawler sexually assaulted her. A variety of WWE wrestlers and employees were called to testify at the ensuring trial, and Triple H was considered a key witness due to his status in the company. He denied everything Bass and her co-claimants alleged, and then simply damaged Nicole’s character, saying she was uncoordinated and ruined matches whenever she was involved in them. We don’t know anything about the harassment, but Hunter kind of did have a point on that one. Bass wasn’t alone in her claims, though…
4. Ryan Shamrock
It was Nicole Bass who initiated the lawsuit, but Alicia Webb a.k.a. Ryan Shamrock testified alongside her, so Triple H made sure to blackball her from the industry as well. Webb debuted in WWE as the sister of Ken Shamrock, and later had onscreen relationships with Billy Gunn and Val Venis while all three men feuded over the Intercontinental title. After playing manipulator to all three men, Shamrock joined Jacqueline and Terri in PMS before leaving for WCW in 1999. She didn’t last long in WCW, nor did she stay long in TNA, where she briefly appeared in 2002.
Although her career extended briefly beyond her time in WWE, it was her time there that defined how the rest of her career would go. During the trial related to Nicole Bass’s sexual harassment claims, Shamrock claimed Triple H knowingly walked in on her when she was using the bathroom. The Game denied the accusation. Webb might have a very slight hope of forgiveness one day, considering she later dated Triple H’s friend X-Pac. Then again, so did another woman who Triple H doesn’t really like talking about…
Triple H may have ruined the careers of the other people on the list, but Chyna has a pretty strong argument for Triple H entirely ruining her life. Of course, her decisions after Triple H hurt her were ultimately far more damaging than anything he could have done, but the downward spiral of Joanie Laurer began when Triple H cheated on her with Stephanie McMahon. HHH and Chyna had been dating onscreen and in real life for several years when HHH began his relationship with McMahon. All three disagree on the exact timeline on whether or not Triple H officially broke up with Chyna before he began dating McMahon, but the events were extremely close if not overlapping.
By all accounts, Chyna was heartbroken and devastated to witness the relationship, which is pretty understandable whether she was actually cheated on during the onset or not. It would be hard for anyone coming out of a long term relationship to watch their former lover make out with their boss on television two or three times per week. While Triple H’s role in the company increased, Chyna’s gradually decreased, and she left WWE in 2001. Fans have called for an induction to the Hall of Fame or at the very least some acknowledgement of her achievements on television, but Triple H is steadfast in his refusal to do so, citing her second career in the adult film industry.
Maxine is currently one of the main stars of Lucha Underground where she appears as Catrina, so count her as proof positive Triple H hasn’t quite “ruined the careers” of everyone on this list. It’s extremely unlikely we’ll ever be seeing her in WWE, though, thanks to the terms which lead to her leaving the company in 2012. It’s been covered a few times now, and to repeat, Maxine alleges she came up with the gimmick and angle that eventually introduced Aksana to SmackDown. According to Maxine, Aksana was given the gimmick instead of the woman who created it because Triple H discovered her and was a big fan.
Maxine could have overlooked the gimmick infringement and continued her career, but it’s understandable why if true it’s true, she wouldn’t really want to keep sharing her ideas with Triple H much longer. Ideas have been stolen in wrestling before, but for the boss to steal from a low-level talent desperately attempting to claw their way to success is particularly low and selfish. It would make sense for a powerful politician to steal from someone on the bottom, since it’s harder for those people to defend themselves. Of course, Triple H has no problem stealing from people on top, either…
1. CM Punk
Since CM Punk left WWE in 2014, he has spent a great deal of his interview time explaining his many problems with WWE and Triple H in particular, at length describing how Triple H ruined the state of professional wrestling for him. Punk was an extremely successful wrestler during his time in the company, winning the WWE World Championship on several occasions and breaking the modern longevity record with the title, but he felt he could have been an even bigger star without the intervention and meddling of Triple H.
Punk openly and constantly boasted that he was The Best In The World, and he typically had no problem proving it every time he stepped in the ring or picked up a microphone. Like a few others on this list, people believe Triple H was jealous of Punk’s natural abilities, not to mention his creative wrestling mind. According to Punk, he and Vince McMahon devised the angle that introduced the Shield, but nowadays Triple H takes most of the credit for everything the group has done.
Not only did Hunter steal Punk’s idea, but also in 2011 the Voice of the Voiceless was unquestionably the hottest property in wrestling after his infamous “Pipe Bomb” promo, and Triple H knew this. The Game first siphoned all of Punk’s attention for himself, before destroying Punk’s credibility in a pointless feud with a middle-aged, nearly immobile Kevin Nash. Punk recovered and even excelled, spending a few more years creatively struggling with the boss, but ultimately his disdain for Triple H was one of the main factors in his decision to retire from wrestling in 2014.