The wrestling career of Triple H will go down in the history books among the most controversial and polarizing stories. You would, however, be foolish to argue with the fact that Triple H is extremely talented at putting together greatness in the squared circle. The controversy is due to his position in the wrestling industry and how he got there. Triple H has benefited from the political game in WWE. First, he buddied up with the influential backstage faction known as the Kliq by becoming friends with Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Sean Waltman. They wielded power backstage for a few years.
Triple H didn’t benefit as strongly as friends did in the Kliq. The polarizing reputation truly started with his real life romance with Stephanie McMahon. They were paired together as a couple on television and life started to imitated art. Triple H’s power started to rise in the WWE and many stories circulated of his reputation. Some wrestlers claim Triple H as a mentor that went above and beyond to help them reach success. Others view him as a piranha that sabotaged their careers. Both are correct. We’ll look at the history of the most controversial man in wrestling with the eight wrestlers mentored by Triple H and eight wrestlers buried by him.
15 Mentored: Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins entered WWE with a world of hype due to his past success in Ring of Honor. The talented young man possessed every athletic quality needed to thrive and knew how to get the crowd going in any favor he wanted once stepping inside a wrestling ring. Rollins however had to change some of the small fundamentals in his game. WWE made him stay in developmental for a few years. Rollins was allegedly unhappy with the lesser crowds and time going by in FCW.
14 Buried: Sting
The wrestling fan fantasy of Sting appearing in a WWE ring took longer than anyone expected. Sting finally agreed to work for WWE in 2014 and made his highly anticipated in-ring debut at WrestleMania 31 against Triple H. Fans wanted the match to be against The Undertaker but the match against Triple H was still considered a dream match. Surely, Sting would win the WrestleMania match as the legendary fact opposing the hated authority figure? Wrong.
13 Mentored: Sheamus
Sheamus has one of the most unique WWE careers of the past decade. The Irish star debuted on the main roster for the ECW brand and moved over to Raw with a massive push. Sheamus won the WWE Championship in just a couple of months in an absolutely shocking move by WWE. The talent wasn’t a question but he didn’t appear to have enough main roster experience to successfully hold down such a top spot in the company.
12 Buried: Kurt Angle
The WWE career of Kurt Angle is shorter than most realize due to just how much he achieved in his six years there. Angle competed with Triple H as the best-rounded performer in the company during his tenure with the company. Both men could pull off just about any role asked of them to absolute perfect. Sometimes two people being too alike can be a bad thing. Angle and Triple H butted heads on a few occasions.
11 Mentored: Sami Zayn
The new position of Triple H leading NXT and trying to find stars for the future of WWE has changed his perception in the wrestling community. Fans and talent have started to see a new side of him as the wrestling genius hoping to help new talent rather than bury them. Former WWE star Taz has said it shows that Triple H has changed his stance from viewing other wrestlers as competition to employees in it together with him.
10 Buried: Paul London and Brian Kendrick
Most of the burials by Triple H have been done subtly with winning the big match or complaining about them backstage. This instance saw him show no remorse with his shovel. Three heel wrestlers were attacking Triple H until the popular face tag team of Brian Kendrick and Paul London made their way to the ring to even the odds. They cleared the ring and looked to engage in celebration with Triple H. The Game made them look like fools by hitting both men with Pedigrees.
9 Mentored: Batista
Batista is one of the more underrated stories of a wrestler learning from the wrestling intelligence of Triple H. Evolution was meant to highlight Triple H as the top heel, Ric Flair as a respected veteran and Randy Orton as the future of the industry. All three were so successful in getting their presence across that WWE decided to add Batista to the mix. The Animal wasn’t as young as Orton and is in fact older than Triple H, but the company viewed him as the next big star.
8 Buried: CM Punk
There are times in wrestling when two people just loathe each other despite there being no rational reason for it. Triple H disliked CM Punk from day one and frequently insulted him to others backstage when Punk showed up to television to work dark matches. Things would only escalate with Punk rising to the top of WWE over the years. The public side of their war started with Punk naming Triple H among many others to blame for WWE being in bad shape during his legendary "Pipe Bomb" promo.
Everyone knows about Triple H’s commitment to NXT and trying to elevate the young stars that made it to the main roster. One name that gets lost in the shuffle is Bray Wyatt. You may not see him putting up the “too sweet” symbol in photographs with Triple H but he learned a lot from The Game. Wyatt’s career was on the verge of failing when he entered NXT following a flop on the main roster as Husky Harris.
7 Buried: Booker T
WrestleMania 19 revolved around many big name feuds but only one had a disappointing ending. Triple H was the dominant heel World Champion heading into the big show at Safeco Field against the fan favorite Booker T. The singles career of Booker was booming with louder responses with each week. WWE doubled down on the fan dynamic by having Triple H cut over the top heel promos that bordered on racism against Booker.
6 Mentored: Finn Balor
Finn Balor is arguably the biggest star in NXT history and that alone tells you how close he is to Triple H. WWE signed Balor after a hugely successful stint in New Japan but left him in NXT longer than anyone expected. The work of Balor always delivered the goods. The problem is he lacked some of the television awareness needed in WWE. Triple H tells the story about Balor looking lost when having to work to the cameras until it was taught to him.
5 Buried: Scott Steiner
One wrestling superstar that will tell you to your face that Triple H buried him and would use expletives doing so is Scott Steiner. WWE signed him as a singles star after his WCW contract expired. Steiner blossomed into a top star in the dying days of WCW before WWE purchased the company and monopolized the industry. By many accounts, Steiner didn’t like working in WWE but it was the only option to make big money performing on the big stage.
4 Mentored: Randy Orton
Randy Orton was one of the first stars to truly get the mentorship of Triple H given the storyline of Evolution. WWE put Orton with Triple H and Ric Flair in hopes he would learn from the two legends and fulfill his potential. Orton struggled immensely as a singles face on SmackDown and moved over to Raw to join Evolution. The move worked out perfectly with Orton instantly connecting. Once viewed as a goof, Orton started to show the signs of brilliance.
3 Buried: Rob Van Dam
The popularity of Rob Van Dam in his first year entering the WWE landscape showed massive potential for a top star. Fans gravitated towards RVD far more than any of the new talents coming over from ECW or WCW. Between his naturally cool demeanor and the astonishing things he could do in the ring, Van Dam captivated audiences on the big stage. It felt like perfect timing when RVD received a World Championship match against Triple H.
2 Mentored: Kevin Owens
WWE’s current top storyline features another dynamic formed from a real relationship. Triple H took the chance of signing Kevin Owens into NXT and it turned out being one of the best decisions in recent memory. Owens had a polarizing reaction to his look, in-ring style and personality. Triple H chose to embrace the unique star and he’s now the WWE Universal Champion. Many have criticized the way he won the title with Triple H’s help, but Owens views it as perfect.
1 Buried: Goldberg
The most blatant instance of Triple H’s ego getting in the way of business took place during his feud with Bill Goldberg. Both men held a dislike for the other due to a past war of words when Goldberg was in WCW during the Monday Night Wars. Triple H insulted Goldberg on national television on the WWE reality show Tough Enough claiming he had no passion for the wrestling business and didn’t deserve respect.
Naturally, they quickly worked together when Goldberg signed with WWE a couple of years after WCW was purchased. Triple H, conveniently, was the first one to pin Goldberg, ending his new undefeated streak after just a couple of months. Goldberg looked less credible taking a loss that early and would end up losing the feud to Triple H at the end of the storyline. WWE never marketed Goldberg well and he chose to leave the company after just a year. Goldberg has taken shots at Triple H blaming him for how things turned out.
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