When we left Triple H in 1999, he had just reunited with his love, Chyna, and was about to begin his campaign to be The Man in WWF, tossing aside friendships and hurting anyone who got in his way. Towards the end of 1999, The Game found himself at odds with Vince McMahon, the owner of the WWF, a clash that ended up costing Triple H the WWF Championship he thought he deserved. 

In a bid to get his way, the Game unleashed a truly twisted plan, he drugged Vince’s daughter, Stephanie, and married her in a ceremony that could only have been staged by WWF because no one would’ve bought it in reality; then, just to show that he wasn’t a TOTAL prick, agreed to annul the marriage, in exchange for a title match. Vince agreed, but only if he and Triple H had a match. If Triple H won, he’d get the title match, if Vince won, the marriage would be annulled. 

Except, Triple H had an ace up his sleeve: Stephanie McMahon had secretly been a full participant in the plan and turned on her father at Armageddon 1999, to the shock of the wrestling world, launching the McMahon-Helmsley era and changing WWF, and their lives, forever.

Family Business: Rock, Big Show, and Mick Fole – WrestleMania 2000

As we roll into WrestleMania 2000, the Game and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley seemed to be on top of the world; they were WWF Champion and WWF Women’s Champion, respectively. They were running RAW and Smackdown, they had DX behind them and had seemed to conquer

However, after the Royal Rumble, there was a little issue over the winner. The Rock was declared the winner, but the Big Show claimed that Rock’s feet hit first, which the referees didn’t see. An equally shady finish at No Way Out involving Shane McMahon and arguing refs, the Big Show was declared the winner, which Rock, understandably, wasn’t happy about. That’s when things REALLY get screwy..er.

Since Shane had helped Big Show win the #1 Contendership, Vince responded by making the match a Triple Threat and backing the Rock, then Linda McMahon, who had gotten tired of all of this nonsense, returned and inserted Mick Foley, who had been forced into retirement by Triple H after a hellacious Hell in a Cell Match at No Way Out, thus making this the first Fatal Four Way for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania.

The Match

Mick Foley and Linda McMahon are the first out. Other than the Rock, Mick is the heavy fan favorite. It’s pretty implied that even if Mick were to win the WWF Championship that night, he wouldn’t be sticking around, which would make putting the title on him pretty pointless, except as a WrestleMania moment. Big Show and Shane are out next, not a lot of frills with their entrance except for the perfectly timed pyro spot. The Rock, along with Vince, comes out third. Rock is DEFINITELY the fan’s pick to win this match.

Triple H and Stephanie are the last to come out, both carrying their titles. Triple H was walking into this match at a heavy disadvantage. While he didn’t have to worry about losing his title due to a pinfall outright, he didn’t have the champion’s advantage and had three angry men, and their backers, nipping at his heels.

I know this WrestleMania, and this match, have not been treated kindly by reviewers and fans over the years, and I will say that this match does seem a little bloated, but there were a lot of interesting stories being told in this match: Triple H vs Mick Foley, Triple H vs Rock, Rock vs Big Show, Mick Foley’s last attempt to be WWF Champion at WrestleMania, and the conflict in the McMahon family.

If I’m being honest, the wrestling got a little boring after awhile because they clearly didn’t want anyone squashed out of the match, so Mick Foley was there for awhile, despite not being in great shape. I’m not sure why Big Show was taken out first, other than it being a sound strategy moment for the other three to get behind. However, the McMahon sideshow kept things from getting unbearably boring; namely the lame ass ‘fight’ Shane and Vince put on outside the ring. Seriously, when I can tell that they are actively trying to NOT injure each other, it’s bad. I will hand it to Stephanie for selling it as a big deal, but it was bad, funny, but bad.

So, after about twenty minutes, we get down to the match we’ve been waiting for: Triple H vs the Rock. They have battled over the Intercontinental Championship before, but I believe this is their first battle over the WWF Championship.

I really enjoyed the Rock/Triple H portion of this match. I kind of wish they’d done this from the start, but I have a feeling that the absences of Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Undertaker made this Fatal Four Way necessary.

If you’ve been following WWE for even a little while, you know that McMahons around means trouble and that no one in their right mind would trust a member of that family any further than they could throw them. That was proven again in this match. Despite backing the Rock in this match, Vince McMahon cost the Rock the match by hitting him, twice, with a steel chair, thus allowing Triple H to get the pinfall win.

The explanation became apparent once the smoke cleared: Vince wanted to reunite his family, and if that meant accepting Triple H and Stephanie’s marriage, so be it. Understandably, Rock didn’t give a flying monkey’s ass about Vince’s dubiously honorable intentions and the fists started flying. Stephanie, who had gone from shocked, to elated, to angry, confronted, and then SLAPPED, the Rock, which is a bad idea under any circumstances. Rock responded by Rock Bottoming and Peoples’ Elbowing Stephanie; though, to Dwayne Johnson’s credit, he didn’t take the elbow pad off.

Winner: Triple H after Vince hit the Rock with a steel chair twice

Comment: I liked most of this match, and understand why they set it up the way they had, but I wish we’d gotten to Triple H vs Rock sooner

Challenging The Streak Part 1: The Undertaker – WrestleMania X-7

In 2001, Triple H found himself out of the WWF Championship picture, and he wasn’t really happy about it. His feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin had cost him the WWF Championship match at the Royal Rumble, and while the Three Levels of Hell match had seemed to settle that feud, it didn’t bring him any closer to the WWF Championship, which was in the hands of long-time rival, the Rock. Frustrated, Triple H cut a promo, bragging that he’d beaten everyone that there was to beat.

Wrong decision.

Out comes the Undertaker, in his American Badass gear. Taker pointed out that Triple H had never beaten him and promised that if Triple H tried him, he’d make him famous, name in the long list of souls the Deadman had claimed in his, then, decade long WWF career.

Unimpressed, Triple H attacked Taker and promised to end his career if the Deadman challenged him. The two men exchanged blows, Triple H used Stephanie as a shield, having her put out a restraining order on Taker, to which Taker responded by having his brother, Kane, who was NOT under the restraining order, kidnap Stephanie and threatened to have Kane throw Stephanie from the top of a parking garage if he didn’t get a match with Triple H, which Commissioner William Regal agreed to. Triple H’s response was to trash Taker’s prize motorcycle, which is a BIG no-no.

The Match

Triple H is out first, sung to ring by Motorhead. The Game looks confident, but then, EVERYONE looks confident when they face the Undertaker…until the Undertaker comes out.

Taker comes out to his gong/Limp Bizkit. One thing that I’ve enjoyed about all the transitions the Undertaker has gone through, he kept the gong.

There’s not a whole lot to say about this match other than it was a damned good fight. It was SUPPOSED to be a straight fall match, but it pretty quickly devolved into a fight.

I’ll be honest, I liked this match, but having already watched it twice before for other series I’ve done about WrestleMania, I didn’t watch this match as actively as I probably should have. However, the match was a great match and set the stage for their future WrestleMania bouts that would come ten years later. Both men were in their prime and it could be argued that they could've had an amazing long-term feud if the Game hadn't gotten injured in the spring of 2001.

The end was pre-ordained, Undertaker hit Triple H with a Last Ride and a Tombstone to secure the continuation of his not-yet-vaunted Streak, and Triple H's name was added to the list. 

The Winner: The Undertaker by pinfall. His Streak stands at 9-0

Comment: Great match, I wish I could’ve been more into it, but that was my issue, not the match’s. 

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