By 2013, Triple H had been in the WWE for almost 20 years. He’d risen from a low/mid-card player, to the sidekick of the WWF Champion, then became leader of one of the hottest factions of the Attitude Era, to the son-in-law of Vince McMahon, to the Man in WWE. However, by 2013, it was clear that Triple H’s salad days were behind him, as he moved into a more backstage role in the WWE, however, that didn’t mean he was done reminding people that he was still The Game.
In 2013, Brock Lesnar, the Beast Incarnate, would attempt to force Triple H into permanent retirement by forcing the Game to fight to prove that he could enforce his will as COO.
In 2014, the Game would involve himself in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture in an attempt to do what was ‘Best for Business’ and in doing so, would change the face of WWE forever.
In these years, Triple H would find himself turning his back on his rebellious roots in the name of keeping the business he loved going into the future, no matter what it cost.
Taming the Beast: Brock Lesnar – WrestleMania 29
This feud goes back to 2012 when Brock Lesnar returned from a nearly decade long absence from WWE and proceeded to destroy anything in his path and thinking he could do whatever he wanted. So, when Lesnar tried to demand changes to his existing contract and Triple H refused, things got ugly, leading to a match at SummerSlam, which Triple H lost in pretty convincing fashion, leading to speculation that he’d retired. Then Lesnar went too far and attacked Vince McMahon, which brought the Game back into the fight and a challenge was laid down for WrestleMania with an added wrinkle demanded by Lesnar: If Triple H lost, he WOULD retire.
Shawn Michaels, who suffered at Lesnar’s hands, is out first, to second his best friend in this career threatening match, something that Triple didn’t do for Michaels at WrestleMania 26. No shade, just pointing it out.
Lesnar and Paul Heyman are out next. Blah. HBK gets out of the ring, just in case Lesnar wants to break bones again.
Triple H is out last and I forgot that this was when he shaved off the long hair that had been a staple of his look for 20 some odd years at this point. Guess Vince wanted his COO son-in-law to look more professional. Also, Castle Greyskull is back in this entrance, but I will not insult Skeletor by comparing him to Lesnar. Maybe Lesnar is Hordac but there is no She-Ra…unless that’s HBK’s role.
Also, for whatever reason, the water type liquid Triple H smeared on himself is glowing.
Michael Cole brings up that two of the people Triple H is close to, Ric Flair and HBK, were both forced to retire at WrestleMania, in the exact same scenarios Triple H finds himself in.
Well, if you want to watch a brutal fight for whatever reason, this is definitely the match for you. These two beat the shit out of each other. If this was Triple H’s last go, he was taking Lesnar to hell with him.
As you can imagine, there was a lot of tomfoolery in this match, HBK was not going to let his BFF lose his career like HBK had done and stepped in a couple of times to buy Triple H time.
In the end, Triple H’s will to survive would prove stronger than the Beast. It would take a low blow, a NASTY chairshot to the arm and a ringpost, some well-timed intervention by Shawn Michaels, Triple H using Lesnar’s own move on him THREE times, a body-scissors DDT, the sledgehammer, and a Pedigree on steel steps, but Triple WOULD conquer the Beast and keep his career alive.
The Winner: Triple H by pinfall. The Game and the Heartbreak Kid would celebrate the saved career.
Comment: Lesnar being involved in a match I’m watching always makes me like the match less. However, in terms of a blood and guts fight, this was really good.
Trying to Stop the ‘Yes’ Movement: Daniel Bryan – WrestleMania XXX
As the milestone thirtieth anniversary of WrestleMania loomed, Triple H, once the leader of the rebellious DX, found himself towing the company line and enforcing his father-in-law, Vince McMahon’s belief in what ‘sold’ in professional wrestling, and Daniel Bryan, the WILDLY popular, extremely talented, underdog, did NOT fit that vision in any way. Vince McMahon’s well-known preference was for big, muscley guys in the mold of Hulk Hogan, and the 5’10”, average build, Bryan didn’t fit the mold. To be fair, Randy Orton didn’t really fit the mold perfectly either, but Orton had the benefit of being friends with Triple H, when they weren’t trying to destroy each other..
Even though Bryan was easily one of the most talented member of the roster, and definitely the most popular, Triple H and his stable of the McMahons and their chosen…hit men, known as The Authority, made it their mission to keep Daniel Bryan from becoming WWE World Heavyweight Champion, but the determined Bryan refused to go away. Enlisting his legions of fans, Bryan launched the ‘Yes Movement’ and created such a storm, that the Authority was forced to make a deal: Bryan would take on Triple H at WrestleMania. IF Bryan won, he would be included in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Randy Orton and the returning Batista.
Stephanie is in the ring to introduce Triple H. Triple H is in Skull King mode, but the King has some lovely attendants this year. Three masked ladies that the WWE Universe would get to know as Charlotte Flair, Alexa Bliss, and Sasha Banks, each of whom would have an enormous impact on the Women’s Evolution that Triple H and Stephanie were starting in NXT. Game Time.
Well, after all that, Daniel Bryan’s entrance was pretty…pedestrian. I mean, nothing was going to compete with a Triple H WrestleMania entrance, but Bryan didn’t seem to be trying either, but he had the whole crowd doing the ‘Yes’ chant, so he probably didn’t need anything else.
It took awhile for this match to get started. Triple H played the smug heel, but they let the crowd do the chant to their little hearts’ contents for a couple of minutes.
One thing that stood out to me in this match was the difference in how Triple H and Stephanie behaved towards each other in comparison to Triple H’s Fatal Four Way at WrestleMania 2000. In that WrestleMania, Stephanie was definitely the junior partner of the relationship, which made sense given her age at the time and lack of experience. Fourteen years later, she and Triple H are clearly equals and she’s more confident in asserting herself when the situation calls for it. Guess it’s a difference between a storyline relationship and an ACTUAL relationship.
This match was really good, but the whole storyline just didn’t do much for me. Maybe it was because Bryan has shown less appealing sides to himself since 2014, or maybe it was because Triple H and Stephanie were a little ham-fisted in their heelish boss personas, but I wasn’t that into the storyline, but the match was great.
In the end, Cinderfella would get to the big dance with a running knee to the gourd of the evil boss...or is that stepmother?
The Winner: Daniel Bryan by pinfall.
Comment: I’m not a Daniel Bryan fan, but this match was SO good.