Triple H has had one hell of a career. A fourteen-time World Heavyweight Champion who has enjoyed a position near the top of the industry for years on end, he may be a controversial figure from time to time but he deserves respect. Although some fools may attempt to belittle his career, claiming that his success was given to him due to being married to the boss’ daughter, the fact of the matter is that he was already on the rise years prior. Taking part in legendary feuds with the likes of Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Steve Austin and of course The Rock, he has provided wrestling fans with several years of entertainment. As a result of the sacrifices he has made, the hard work he has put in, and how great he has been time and time again, we would like to see him go out on a high. We’d much prefer him to have an emotional match that leaves us all satisfied, like Ric Flair’s last WWE bout, then go out with a whimper, like the aforementioned Mick Foley. To that end, we’ve put together a list of the fifteen people we’d most like to see him grapple with at the end of his career.
This list isn’t a fantasy one in the traditional respect so we only considered people who seem to be physically capable of taking part in a WWE match. As a result, men like Mick Foley, Edge, or Daniel Bryan won’t be found here, as the company would clearly never allow those matches to take place. Additionally, we’re not talking about people in their prime, thus if we wanted to include someone like Harley Race, we’d have to be crazy enough to be arguing HHH should wrestle the current version of him. That aside, we didn’t limit ourselves to the WWE main roster which means that everyone in NXT is up for grabs but we did choose to leave out people who are employed by other companies.
15 Shinsuke Nakamura
Shinsuke Nakamura, in our opinions, the WWE has never seen anybody like him in their entire history. One of the most charismatic men to ever step into the squared circle, he isn’t all bluster and anger, instead opting to employ a more off the wall character that brings to mind a rock star. While much of the internet absolutely adores him and his unique and imaginative character, we’d be deceiving ourselves if we didn’t admit that some fans may have no idea how to take him. One of the best options we can think of to tell fans that despite his over the top persona he is an a*s kicker is forcing his will upon someone they’ve seen defeat some of the business’ biggest stars.
14 Shawn Michaels
If we love seeing Trips and The Rock in the ring, then we absolutely adore when he stands across from Shawn Michaels. The man who had a huge hand in helping Hunter create the mystique that turned him into a star, these two started D-Generation X together and drove down the roads together for years on end. Of course, the fact that HBK has been retired for several years is a pretty major stumbling block but that hasn’t stopped him from getting into the ring with Triple H in the past. Remember, when HBK returned to the ring after his first retirement, the man who beat him to a pulp before laying down for him is none other than the King of Kings. The fact that these two are best friends in real life may be why they are so good in the ring together as mortal enemies and why we will always love seeing them go at it again and again.
13 Austin Aries
A former independent standout that was finally given a shot at plying his trade in the WWE under Triple H’s reign, he is one of the most natural villains going in the industry today. Able to sincerely carry himself like he believes himself to be god’s gift to wrestling, he practically oozes ego from his every pore. While we have loved HHH’s heel character over the years and he also seems like a natural in the role, the fact that he will be taking on a leadership role in the company makes a hero run a natural fit. After all, fans seem to enjoy raining love down on him whenever he appears prior to an NXT event and it seems like those types of appearances will soon become his bread and butter. If he is, therefore, looking for an egotistical bastard to battle as he walks off into the horizon, Austin fits that bill to the tee.
12 Samoa Joe
In the minds of many fans, Samoa Joe has been among the very best wrestlers in the world for several years. Despite that popularity, it wasn’t until Hunter got put in charge of hiring that he made his way to the WWE as one of the main stars of NXT. Proving that he belongs in the biggest wrestling company in the world ever since his run as a hated heel has been incredible. That combination of the real-life appreciation for the huge opportunity and the ability to be loved or hated in equal measure makes him a fantastic potential final opponent for Trips no matter his alignment at the time.
11 Kofi Kingston
Kofi Kingston serves as the anchor of the current Tag Team Champions, The New Day and today some people may be under the impression that he has finally found his perfect role. In our opinions, they are wrong. While he, and his cohorts, receive huge reactions during almost every one of their appearances, we here at therichest.com have never been able to forget his all too brief run at the top of the card. He proved that he could hold his own feuding against a star the caliber of Randy Orton, and it remains a disappointment that he has never sniffed a meaningful main event run since. How great would it be if he got the opportunity to take Triple H out of the company once and for all? We can just imagine how easily such a feat could be parlayed into a series of matches against other former champions.
10 Dean Ambrose
There was a time after The Shield initially made their debut on the main roster, where most fans thought that Dean had the most potential after their inevitable implosion. However, when they eventually did turn on one another, he spent several months seeming like the lost soul of the former trio, losing matches and feuds against other people who hovered right under the main event. Given the nickname The Lunatic Fringe, he began to do some pretty cartoonish and “crazy” things like spraying Seth Rollins with condiments and paint in groan-worthy segments.
Recently given a run with the WWE Championship, he still feels like an afterthought only a week or two after dropping the belt to AJ Styles. It seems to us like he needs to be refreshed and we would love to see him become villainous and decimate Triple H in a match to the point that he is forced to retire from the ring in storylines. He would instantly be taken extremely seriously by fans after taking out a legendary wrestler, plus it would have the side effect of ensuring that Vince and HHH would want to see him as a star lest it reflect poorly on the heir apparent.
9 Chris Jericho
The final part-timer on this list, Jericho isn’t nearly as big of an international star as The Rock and HBK, but of men who aren’t there all the time we think he is the best option. First off, there is the fact that when he works for the company on television he is all in, appearing at house shows as well as pay-per-views. That makes a huge difference as it gives the company the ability to fully capitalise on the momentum he should receive after retiring The Game. Still, we have to be honest; we put Chris so high on this list simply because we would love to see him brag about the accomplishment for years on end. The match would be awesome but it is Y2J’s magnificent mic skills that earned him his place here and if you envision him and Kevin Owens celebrating the win together, you should know why.
8 Bray Wyatt
Do you remember how ridiculously cool the first vignettes that introduced The Wyatt Family to the main roster was? We do because they haven’t been able to live up to them ever since. With a leader who has lost pretty much every major feud he has ever been embroiled in, and has a fondness for giving entirely unintelligible promos that sound vaguely cool but are empty, our eyes roll at them far too often.
How then, does that make him a good wrestler to potentially show Triple H the door? If Bray followed that path that we’ve become so familiar with, looking and talking spooky, in a feud with Hunter and got him to agree to a retirement stipulation, nobody would take it seriously. Then, if he actually pulled out the win, Hunter meant it and retired and Bray began to carry himself in an all new manner, it would be like hitting reset and if followed up well, he could finally live up to his potential.
7 Finn Bálor
The fact that Finn was the man that NXT was built around, and he then won the WWE Universal Championship in his first opportunity, should make it clear he is being groomed for big things. An international star with a following that reaches far past the typical boundaries of the WWE, if the trend his career was going down continues it may just be the key to bringing back some lapsed fans.
However, we wouldn’t advocate doing the same thing again, handing him the belt with little to no build-up, so instead we’d love to see him spend a few months having incredible matches. After fans are firmly planted behind him and have begun to actually understand the extra element the Demon King adds to his persona (please, please, please wrestle in a much more aggressive manner while in the paint), taking out the leader of The Authority once and for all will be his best accolade yet.
6 Bobby Roode
How glorious would it be to see Bobby standing over a destroyed Triple H with just his foot on his chest as a ref slaps his hand on the mat three times signifying the end of his career? We kind of feel like giving you, the reader, that picture in your mind should be enough to argue he should be this high on the list but we love talking about Bobby too much to stop there. The man with the best theme in all of wrestling, we are all for any storyline that would see him be promoted to the main roster and while he could wrestle a soup can and entertain us, he deserves more. After all, he is glorious. So, being tapped to wrestle Hunter in his final match seems like a perfect fit for one of the hottest acts in wrestling.
When we were first introduced to Rusev in NXT we thought we’d come across the latest in a long line of men who went down cheap heat avenue because they don’t have the skills to get over alone. While we would be liars if we tried to pretend his allegiance to countries like Russia and Bulgaria didn’t have a huge hand in him becoming the hottest villain in the company, he has the skills to pay the bills. Completely committing to his villainous role, he smack talks fans, wrestlers and pretty much everyone online and never shows any cracks in his façade while in public. Imagine if he took the gusto he currently invests into his mid-card role today and put it towards being the man to end careers and the hopes of fans. Need we say more?
4 Seth Rollins
A wrestler who found his first major success as part of a popular stable before turning on them and becoming the chosen wrestler of the McMahon family who ends matches with the pedigree. You may have noticed that description applies in equal measure to both Triple H and Seth Rollins, and that is because Seth seems to be the second coming of Triple H. The mentor and his former protégée, it seems to be destined that these two will come to blows in the ring, considering it feels like it has been building for months. We would just love it if something more tangible than bragging rights or more McMahon family drama was on the line and a student taking out his master is always a great story.
3 The Rock
Two men whose careers are forever linked in the minds of wrestling fans everywhere, it certainly makes a whole lot of sense for these two behemoths go out together. A match that they seemed to be building to at the latest WrestleMania, before it became clear that The Rock’s movie schedule and previous injuries made it impossible, both men and the WWE seem to be on board. Keeping in mind the innumerable amount of times they’ve wrestled each other in the past, and how legendary some of those bouts are, we’d certainly enjoy seeing them grapple one last time. The only issue, the person who takes Triple H out once for all will receive a lot of bragging rights and The Rock doesn’t need much more to boast about.
2 AJ Styles
For those of us who’ve followed AJ’s career since his time in WCW, ROH, TNA, or even New Japan, it is pretty clear that he is at an all-time career high. The current WWE World Champion, it is pretty amazing to think of him in the role and even more to realize that the current version of him fits it perfectly. Winning the first chapter of his ongoing feud with John Cena, even forcing him to leave briefly in storylines, we hope he definitively comes out on top.
If that takes place, taking on Hunter for the title next in a match that also sees his career on the line would be epic. Most would likely assume that the match is another opportunity for a WWE star to prove that those who made their name elsewhere are inferior. When AJ then comes out the winner, it would mark a true change in the way the WWE takes advantage of people who’ve honed their skills around the world before reaching their apex in the WWE.
1 Kevin Owens
Ever since Stone Cold Steve Austin became one of the biggest stars in wrestling history by taking on his boss Vince McMahon, everyone has been trying to recreate that magic. Fixated on using villainous authority figures and having their biggest good guys rail against them, it has become a tired trope largely because there hasn’t been a character rebellious enough to fit the role. Enter into the equation, Kevin Owens.
Come along with us as we envision a world in which Kevin Owens takes his current character and instead of belittling heroes, turns his wit against Triple H. Handed the Universal Championship from him, if Kevin resented the idea that he believed he needed the help and decides to beat up the man who helped him, it would give us someone to cheer. Coming out on top would then cement him in the top spot and give the impression that fans' new favourite was someone to believe in. It may not light the business on fire but casting a dude who looks like a regular beer swinging bastard in a familiar role has a chance to do so for the first time in years, in our opinion.