So, when I started this series, I posed a question: Does the title ‘Mr. WrestleMania’ belong to Shawn Michaels or does it really belong to Triple H? That question caused quite a stir with fans of HBK, who were outraged that HBK’s place would be questioned in favor of someone they viewed as either burying talent, not putting on good matches, or losing all the time at WrestleMania. That is a load of BS on all levels.
First of all, after sitting through three WrestleMania rewatches in four years, I think I’ve seen enough to say that a case can be made for multiple Mr. WrestleManias: Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and the Undertaker. All three men have records of stepping up at WrestleMania and putting on matches, and telling stories that stick with fans. However, only Shawn Michaels and Undertaker get any credit for their WrestleMania matches, while Triple H is written off and that is unacceptable.
In terms of longevity at WrestleMania, Triple H has this down. In his 25 year long career, he only missed TWO WrestleManias, one of them due to injury. Shawn Michaels missed several WrestleManias due to injury, though the veracity of one of those has been called into question in recent years. Undertaker has missed three, which isn’t catastrophic, but Triple H narrowly beats him out on this.
As far as the win/loss record, let me set the record straight: Shawn Michaels, Mr. WrestleMania, only won 6 matches out of 17, and that includes his time in the Rockers. Meaning he only won 35% of his WrestleMania matches. As a singles competitor, he competed in 14 matches and won only 5, which means his win/loss record stays the same, believe it or not. Triple H has competed in 23 WrestleManias and has won 10 of those matches, meaning he’s won 76% of those matches. Undertaker competed in 27 WrestleManias and won 25 of them, which puts his record at 92%. Of course, HBK missed five WrestleManias due to injury, which could have made those numbers a little better, but we’ll never know.
As far as burying people, if you ACTUALLY look at who Triple H competed against at WrestleMania, and where their careers went; with the exception of two people: Goldust, and Owen Hart, you will see a list of WWE/World Heavyweight/Universal Champions, Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers. Except for Razor Ramon, Bret Hart, Ric Flair, and the Undertaker, I don’t think anyone really remembers HBK’s opponents at WrestleMania, and, except for the later years of the Streak, the same could be said for the Undertaker.
The people Triple H beat weren’t BURIED, wrestling goes through cycles, just like entertainment everywhere, people aren’t going to be pushed all the time. It could be argued that losing to Triple H did more for the careers of his opponents than it did for him. It is true that in later years, the storylines to get a Triple H match on the WrestleMania card got a little rough, it can still be argued that Triple H was a draw and was needed to shore up cards, especially in 2016 when so much of the roster was out with injuries. However, the same could be said for Undertaker and Michaels towards the end of their runs.
So why hasn’t Triple H’s record gotten the same acclaim as Shawn Michaels or the Undertaker’s? Well, in Shawn Michaels’ case, it’s mostly nostalgia. You might not remember whether Michaels won or not, but he definitely put on a hell of a show, and that made you forget that he lost more than he won.
As far as the Undertaker goes, that record speaks for itself. I’ve covered the Undertaker’s WrestleMania career at length for another site and I can say that Taker had a lot of matches that weren’t great in some way or other, most of which cannot be laid SOLELY on him, but what people actually remember was that Taker won and kept winning for over two decades.
What has hurt Triple H’s WrestleMania record in the eyes of many is that, other than his WrestleMania entrances, he was never the flashy performer that HBK was or had the legendary streak of wins that Undertaker had for so many years. Triple H was a solid, scientific, wrestler who could tell good stories in the ring, and in the world of nostalgia, that doesn’t always get you very far.
Also, it has to be said that Triple H’s marriage to Stephanie McMahon has caused a lot of fans to discount his accomplishments. It’s too easy to claim that he got the pushes he did because he was married into the McMahon family. However, that thinking ignores the fact that Triple H was a rising star and a favorite of Vince’s before the initial McMahon-Helmsley storyline ever started, and Triple H continued to be pushed after he and Stephanie were forced to break up for real because Vince got uncomfortable with their relationship. Plus, the marriage didn’t keep Triple H in the championship conversation. He would not get pushed for awhile, same as everyone else.
So, in conclusion, I think that if Triple H does not outright deserve to be acknowledged as a Mr. WrestleMania, his record certainly deserves more respect that it has gotten. No, he wasn’t as flashy as Shawn Michaels or had the win/loss record of Undertaker, but Triple H consistently put on good or great matches with a lot of different opponents, and made a lot of stars, that deserves as much credit as any other rating scale in the wrestling fan community.