“I have the luxury of being able to be patient because I have a machine behind me. I know where I want to go, and I can patiently wait to get there. Look at the Cruiserweights. We did the Cruiserweight Classic, and then put in on Raw, and then we did the 205 show. We’re figuring out, with the resources allocated to that, the best possible way for it to work. It’s not working that way now, but will it get there? Absolutely, it just takes time.”
This is Triple H’s take on the future. Love him or hate him, Hunter is a brilliant mind behind the scenes and due to his work with NXT, many fans are excited about the future, particularly when he takes over the main rosters.
In the last couple of years, Hunter has taken a prominent role behind the scenes. That has led to closer relationships with both talent from the past and present. In this article, we highlight some of the most emotional backstage photos from the recent years. We include non-televised shots from his involvement behind the scenes during Raw, NXT and various PPV events. These photos show the lighter side of Triple H. Enjoy the article folks and like always, be sure to share it with a friend. Here are the most emotional photos recently taken of Triple H off-camera. Let’s begin!
Nash waving Triple H over and Hunter entering the car with the boys completely changed everything for The Game. The crew developed a reputation and became known behind the scenes as The Kliq. Hunter won't ever forget his first night with the group, it was a rough one to say the least;
"Long story short, we carried (1-2-3) Kid (Waltman) out, Shawn can barely carry him with me," Triple H recalled. "Kevin drags Scott out, because we're trying to get out of there before the cops come and we're trying to avoid the rush of the guys who are coming out with us. I'm slapping the crap out of Kid in the parking lot because I can't feel his heartbeat and we all end up in the emergency room. And this is my first night (hanging out with the Kliq)!"
Despite the roller coaster ride Hunter has had with his buddies, he’s kept them close to his heart till this very day. During Raw 25, the group reunited. Just before the show, WWE 24 cameras caught an emotional moment of the friends sharing a warm and emotional embrace. For fans of the Kliq and DX members, it just doesn’t get any better.
It is no secret, Triple H was ecstatic to sign Ronda Rousey on a full-time deal. He recalls the process claiming it all took place organically over time;
“It’s one of those things that happened organically. She came and did the Ice Bucket Challenge with Steph (McMahon) when we were in LA, and even then she kind of floated it out how much she loved WWE. We had not been in contact other than a little text here and there. She called to ask about coming to the Performance Center and be with a few of her friends for a Bachelorette party. We had a discussion about it. It really started to come up that this is something she was not just throwing out there, it was something that she really wanted to do. She was dead serious about it.”
Clearly, getting Ronda into the WWE was all Triple H’s doing. Rousey even discussed dealing with Hunter most of the time and barely talking to Vince. You saw just how much her debut meant to Hunter following her Rumble cameo. Triple H was the first one to greet her behind the curtain before anyone else. She’s going to be special and a lot of that has to do with Hunter’s faith in her.
Back when NXT first got started, Sami Zayn was Triple H’s golden pony. Now that’s easy to forget given the fact that Zayn isn’t the same prestigious upper card babyface, however at one point, he was the savior of NXT leading the way. It all led to an emotional moment featuring The Game and Sami backstage following his NXT Title win. The two shared an emotional moment, the photo is one of the greatest behind-the-scenes NXT photos of all-time.
Zayn has expressed his positivity in working with Triple H early on. He also recalls a particular instance when Hunter was overjoyed with his match against Cesaro;
“Triple H was watching that match and I know for a fact that he pulled Cesaro aside afterward and he also said, 'That’s the guy I wanna see on Monday nights. That’s the guy. That was awesome. I want more of that.' They were way more aware of what his capabilities were after that, which is great. I think it did quite a bit for him, I hope it did a lot for him. It certainly did a lot for me.”
Lots of fans, including Triple H himself, are hoping that Sami can recapture that magic at some point. Had Triple H been in charge of the main roster, it is very possible that Zayn would be in the main event scene these days.
According to the rumors, Angle and Triple H had a troubled relationship behind the scenes. Although that’s debatable, Angle clearly left things off on the wrong foot with his former boss, Vince McMahon. After more than a decade, it was Triple H who got into contact with Kurt. They spoke about Angle returning and entering the Hall of Fame. Kurt recalls the process;
"It was Triple H about a month a half ago. We talked the year prior and he said he was going to do something with me and to just give him some time and when they will come up with it [and] they will give me a call. When I did get the call, I was thinking I was getting a call to wrestle, but they presented the Hall of Fame to me. I was elated and I know I don’t have much time left for wrestling and I am transitioning, so it was okay. I was all right doing it, but I did bring up the fact that am I going to be able to wrestle again and basically, I was shot down and told let’s get you to the Hall of Fame and we will talk after that.”
Fittingly, Angle would return to the ring and he even appeared as a foe of Triple H’s at WrestleMania. However, in terms of most emotional moments, it doesn’t get better than the off-camera moments of Angle reuniting with both Triple H and Vince McMahon.
This isn’t the only photo on the list that features emotions running high between The Undertaker and Triple H. The Game has a soft spot for The Deadman and that was on full display behind the scenes at WrestleMania 31. It was the year after Taker’s shocking loss to Brock Lesnar. This time around, things ended on a brighter note with Undertaker defeating Bray Wyatt.
The post-match featured emotions running high between the two sides as Taker embraced his wife and daughter. As you can see in the background, Triple H was clearly emotional about the encounter.
Triple H has nothing but the utmost respect for Taker. When asked about Undertaker’s future return, Hunter said Taker has earned the right to call his own shots;
"If there's one person who has earned the right to call the shot the way they want it to be called, it's The Undertaker. I think this will all depend on him and I think it should all depend on him. At this point it should be about what he wants to do and what he feels comfortable doing. When he's in a position like he is right now, where he feels great, he wants to be out there and show the Undertaker to the world. But it really comes down to what he wants to do, as it should.”
Okay, this might not be the most emotional photo on the list, however that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that Hunter has nothing but respect for the Big Dog. That clearly shows in this photo as Reigns was placed near the head of the table during the Saudi Arabia dinner.
Most of the time, Hunter agrees with the WWE fanbase on certain issues, however when it comes to Roman, his opinion varies compared to most.
He had nothing but praise when discussing Roman’s contributions to the business;
"I think he is one of the best that the WWE have right now. Roman is in a unique position because the fanbase tends to believe that he is this chosen one that the WWE wants in this position so they choose not to accept that position. But the truth is, and some people will listen to this and want to argue against it, but honestly most of the people who argue against it aren't qualified to make that argument. I am. Roman is one of the most skilled performers bar none in the WWE right now and that is on every level.”
It seems obvious, like his father-in-law, Hunter believes in the Big Dog.
Prior to his WWE return, things weren’t so good between Triple H and Goldberg. Here’s what Bill had to say about the relationship before he would return;
“I think there’s great disdain for me because I wasn’t one of their boys because I didn’t want to play their game because I felt like I was part of the team and all I needed to do was come in and play my part and I didn’t have to fraternize and just play that game. I came from the NFL. I wanted to treat this as a business and I’m going to come in, do my thing and leave. I didn’t take things personally until they brought it to a personal level. I think that was cheesy and I think it's carnish. It's like being a carny. I just chose not to deal with it because life’s too short. I don’t want to have to look over my shoulder for my boss. That’s ridiculous.”
Yup, things were pretty bad. Though it all changed during his return; Goldberg restored his relationships with both Vince and Hunter. It even led to the emotional moment of Triple H and Goldberg hugging off camera just prior to Bill’s final WWE match against Brock Lesnar at last year’s WrestleMania.
One of Hunter’s brightest gems from NXT has to be Sasha Banks. She’s arguably the greatest heel to ever come out of the developmental brand. Without a doubt, had Triple H been in charge of the main roster, we’d see a different Sasha on-screen.
Nonetheless, she has still enjoyed lots of success and that includes a trailblazing match against Charlotte. The bout was the first ever female Hell in the Cell match to close out a show. Hunter was glowing speaking about what the two females had done;
“I was trying to tell them coming back that they had just made history. That they had just changed the business again, and that they needed to be proud of themselves and put your critiques of yourself aside until tomorrow. Today, revel in the moment and enjoy what you have accomplished. There will always be other matches and with competitors like Banks and Charlotte leading the way, the limits on female competition in the WWE are becoming smaller and smaller.”
The photo above is from Sasha’s championship victory. Seeing her development since day one, Hunter was clearly emotional seeing her climb to the top of the mountain.
Despite her title reigns being so short, she’s still only 26. Most fans can agree, the best is yet to come.
Triple H has always had a soft spot for Seth Rollins. His championship victory at WrestleMania 31 proved that. Seth walked out of the event as the WWE Champion. Emotions ran high behind the scenes as they did off-camera, Hunter was the first to greet Rollins.
Of course, an injury derailed his momentum and run with the title. However, when he returned, Hunter went out of his way to put Seth over on the biggest stage of them all at WrestleMania 33 in Orlando. Hunter discussed the match against Seth and how much it meant to him personally;
"To stand in the ring with a guy as talented as Seth Rollins is, who's kind of the current and the future of WWE in many ways, it's hard to describe how that feels. For me knowing that I was there as he was coming into the WWE, seeing his development in the Shield, being there for a lot of it and seeing him come all the way to where he is now, it's very gratifying in a lot of ways."
Hunter has an eye for talent and surely, he’s not too shocked that Rollins has become the most over WWE Superstar in the entire company and arguably, the most talented as well.
There was nobody happier than Triple H when it was announced that the women would be taking part in the first ever all female Royal Rumble. Of course, Hunter has been the biggest influence on evolving the role of females in the wrestling business. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that he got his way during the match with his NXT protégée Asuka winning it all and Ronda Rousey making her debut following the match.
Just before the match, the women got teary-eyed. Hunter delivered a great speech talking about what an important moment it was in history.
As for future matches involving females, Hunter is hoping to include them at the next Saudi Arabia event;
"While, right now, women are not competing in the event, we have had discussions about that and we believe and hope that, in the next few years they will be. There is a significant cultural shift in Saudi Arabia. The country is in the middle of a shift in how it is dealing with that – the position is changing, and rights are changing, as are the way women are handled and treated in society. We think that's a great thing and we're excited to be at the forefront of that change."
Connor The Crush Michalek became one of the most inspirational stories in all of the WWE off-camera. Both Stephanie and Triple H used his story as a source of inspiration. We got to see lots of touching moments; who can forget Connor pinning Triple H in the middle of the ring or hugging Daniel Bryan following the emotional WM XXX victory?
Sadly, Connor didn’t make it. Triple H posted an emotional video tribute to his Twitter account. His comments were also quite touching;
“Connor, thank you for reminding me what life is about.....I could never repay you”
Both Triple H and Stephanie would start the Connor charity fund. WWE.com posted about the charity and the impact it will have;
“WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon and WWE Executive Vice President of Talent, Creative and Live Events, Paul “Triple H” Levesque have announced the formation of “Connor’s Cure,” a charity that they have personally funded through Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation named in honor of Pittsburgh native Connor Michalek. Connor passed away at age 8 earlier this year from Medulloblastoma, a rare tumor that affects the brain and spinal cord. Donations to Connor’s Cure will provide funds for paediatric brain and spinal cancer research, and medical care for children and their families.”
Things might be great between these two best friends nowadays, however at one point, HBK admits that they went through a falling out. Had it not been for Kevin Nash, Michaels may not have reached out;
“Basically, he said, 'Look, you need to stop that stuff, and while we’re at it, you need to make amends with Triple H.' Triple H and I had not talked in a year. I had been in not-great-shape the last time I was in WWE. It had been a year since then. It was Nash saying, 'You owe him an apology,' the incident with my son and me waking up later that night and thinking this can’t continue. All of this happened the same night. And all of it started the next day. I called Kevin back first, saying, 'You’re right, and give me Triple H’s number; I’ve got to call him.' Then I called Triple H, asked him to forgive me, and both of us wept on the phone like a couple little girls. We re-kindled our friendship.”
As of 2002, the duo hit it off once again and these days, they’re the best of friends. Not a shock, HBK’s now working at the PC alongside Triple H. When it comes to having a soft spot, it doesn’t get much bigger than Hunter and how he feels about his best friend, Shawn Michaels.
It was an off-camera moment that made the headlines worldwide. The likes of ABC News carried the story as Triple H broke character in an emotional moment consoling a young fan. He recalls the details of what transpired and why he broke character during the match at ringside;
“As we were sitting ringside, the young man was behind me and he was chanting my name, over and over,” Paul “Triple H” Levesque told ABC News. “It was just me being in character. I said, with eye brows up, ‘Hey, stop messing with me. I'm trying to do my job over here. I broke out of character, and put my head to his and messed his hair up,” Levesque said. “I just said, ‘Hey, buddy, it’s OK. I’m just playing around.’”
The awesome moment didn’t end there, Hunter brought the kid backstage. It was all about putting a smile on his face according to Triple H. The boy’s father, Chad Deering spoke highly about the experience;
“For him to come out of character in front of all those people on live TV ... it’s a pretty bold statement, in reality, he’s pretty cool,” Deering said. “It’s a huge impression for an 8-year-old little boy that I can pretty much guarantee you he will never forget.”
Stephanie’s early WrestleMania memories were watching the event from the backstage area as a fan;
“Growing up I always went to matches at [Madison Square Garden], and I remember I would sit in the stands, and I would sit next to where the talent would come out, and André the Giant (André René Roussimoff) would walk by and he would squeeze my leg a little bit, because he couldn't break character, he's larger than life in every conceivable way, and he would be walking through and just give my leg a little squeeze and that's just a powerful memory for me every time. He was always my friend.”
Perhaps not even Stephanie herself could have predicted that she would one day take part in the show as an actual talent.
She got to share an emotional moment alongside her husband as the two teamed up together for the first time ever at WrestleMania. One can imagine the emotions between these two just prior to the match behind the curtain.
It’s a moment they’ll never forget. A total bonus: the bout stole the show on the night and although most raved about Ronda Rousey, Stephanie also shocked lots of fans looking flawless in the match.
Triple H has a soft spot for lots of wrestlers that come out of the NXT developmental program. One of them, is Finn Balor who enjoyed a lengthy run with the championship. Hunter expected big things for Balor on the main roster and when he won the Universal Title, it seemed like it was becoming a reality.
In a gutwrenching move, Balor was forced to relinquish the title a day later due to injury. Hunter was so distraught about the situation that he was nearly brought to tears at the Gorilla position during the segment.
Hunter also has a soft spot for Balor due to his personality and sense of humor in real-life. The Game recalls a funny story featuring Finn;
"Finn has a very large sense of humor and thought it would be quite entertaining to jump out of the bus and of course just get under the sign and take a photo. He immediately sent the photo to me with a tag at the bottom that said, 'Hope you don't mind if I tweet this out.' He's having fun. People take stuff too seriously. He's having a great time and people fire back and whatever. It's creative and it's fun, good spirited and it is what it is. If people blow up over it or think whatever they want, that's their business."
Triple H has a major soft spot for his employees down in NXT. Not only is he a mentor for them but for some, he’s also a father figure. We caught a glimpse of that during the Mae Young Classic as Hunter went over to console Bianca Belair following her second round defeat to Kairi Sane.
Despite her emotions, Hunter embraced the talent, it was a deep moment between the two. A great part about Hunter’s leadership skills is the constant faith he has in his talent.
Because of that, Hunter even feels that NXT has the possibility to become a global brand one day;
"Those are our goals over time. Whether that would be in the Middle East, or India, or South America or Latin America, it all comes down to timing, they all take time and partnerships. They take significant business dealings. It is all in the process. Would I love for NXT to be this global, international brand in all the markets that I mentioned? Absolutely! It is all going to take time."
For now, he’ll continue to lead the way with NXT. Due to his contributions with the brands, fans are excited to see what Triple H has in store for the main rosters once he takes over from his father-in-law.
We promised one more photo of The Undertaker and here it is. Most thought his WrestleMania 33 bout was the “last ride”, losing to Roman Reigns and leaving his gear in the ring. Triple H acted as such as well, embracing Taker. They shared an emotional hug followed by heart-felt words by Hunter. Of course, that wasn’t the end as Undertaker returned the following year defeating Cena in a short match. Most believe that he’s got one more left in the tank.
Hunter always speaks highly of The Deadman and that’s especially true when he discusses Undertaker’s longevity in the business;
“You talk about longevity and the ability to change and morph all those things, he is a measuring stick of all of that. That’s why 25 years later they want to see him maybe more now than ever. As a performer he is the measuring stick in a lot of ways, and as a human being as a performer in what we do, as a locker room leader. I respect him more than anybody.”
Those are some big time words by The Game. It shows just how much The Undertaker means not only to him but to the business as a whole.