Triple H is a legend within WWE. Also known as Paul Michael Levesque, the organization’s chief content officer has enjoyed a historic rise to wrestling icon, and a pretty incredible transformation as well.
While he has had several nicknames over the years, his title ‘The King of Kings’ perhaps sums him up best. After dueling The Rock and usurping The Undertaker, his WWE career is one of the biggest stories in the sport.
He is also one of the oldest fighters in the company. The 54-year-old began his professional career with WCW in February 1994, and this month marks the 30th anniversary of his debut match.
The 54-year-old would debut under the name ‘Terror Risin’, before later modifying that name to ‘Terra Ryzing’. And he certainly was on the verge of stardom.
Levesque would come out to the ring for his first televised match showing off his shredded physique and sensational long blonde locks that extended below his shoulders, a very different look compared to the haircut and beard he sports today.
Triple H has undergone quite a transformation since debuting in WCW in 1994.
She would later change her name to ‘Terra Ryzing’ after being offered a contract on the circuit.
Under the name ‘Terror Rising’, he would play the villain in his first match, defeating Keith Cole and impressing WCW boss Eric Bischoff, who would give him his first contract.
WWE Vice President of Global Talent Development and former wrestler William Regal spoke about the moment he met Triple H in 1993, stating, “He came and did a tryout match.” A big, body-building guy with terrible footwork. But you could tell he was going to be special right away.”
Triple H was subsequently renamed ‘Reginald DuPont Helmsley’, a gimmick that saw him adopt the persona of a French-Canadian snob who couldn’t speak English.
He would make his WWF debut in August 1995 at SummerSlam, wearing a tailcoat while walking with a cane in an attempt to emphasize his extreme snobbery.
Later, Levesque would adopt the character of ‘Reginald DuPont Helmsley’.
He was designed as a snobbish French-Canadian villain, who wore a tail suit and carried a cane.
But Triple H would later change his name to ‘Hunter Hearst Helmsley’.
Despite that, he chose to change his name to ‘Hunter Hearst Helmsley’ after Levesque wanted to play with the letters ‘HHH’.
In his WWF debut, Helmsley fully embodied the role, folding his black coat to reveal that he was wearing a white collared shirt with a black tie underneath. After claiming victory, Buck Zumhofe bowed to the crowd that jeered and jeered him.
His formative years in the organization showed that he was a star in the making, and Triple H joined Shawn Michaels, Chyna and X-Pac as part of D-Generation X. It was here that he ditched the snob. person and in his place he puts on a leather jacket and a pair of blue jeans, calling himself ‘The Game’.
One of the group’s most notable promos would see them invade WCW Raw in 1998 dressed in military uniform while riding in a military jeep equipped with a long-barreled gun.
After becoming one of the organization’s breakout stars, he abandoned the Helmsley character and joined D-Generation X.
Leaving behind the tailcoat and the cane, he would start wearing jeans and leather jackets.
He would become one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, winning nine WWE championships and five world heavyweight titles.
Over the next few years, Triple H would assert himself at the top of the business and it was here that he would begin his bitter feud with The Rock, one of WWE’s biggest storylines that was born from real animosity that extended beyond the ropes. .
The pair would famously meet in a ladder match in 1998, where ‘The Game’ would defeat ‘The People’s Champion’ at SummerSlam to claim his second Intercontinental Championship.
Their rivalry would continue over the next few years, with the pair reuniting at WrestleMania 2000, where Levesque bested The Rock to retain his WWF Championship, having taken the title from The Big Show earlier that year.
Despite that, the pair would trade the title over the next few months, with Triple H losing his belt for the first time in a rematch with The Rock at Backlash.
Having previously held the title for 118 days, he would regain it from his foe in an Iron Man match at Judgment Day, before returning it to The Rock at King Of The Ring later that year.
Levesque would enjoy rivalries with the likes of Mick Foley, Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho, before forming a group with Ric Flare, Dave Bautista and Randy Orton, known as Evolution.
Orton, then 24 years old, would become the youngest WWE champion in history, defeating Chris Benoit at SummerSlam.
Triple H would assert himself at the top of the business and it was here that he would ignite his bitter feud with The Rock.
He would also face many other big names throughout his career, including The Undertaker.
That victory generated some animosity from his Evolution teammates, who eventually expelled him from their group.
A rivalry between Orton and Triple H would later ensue, with Levesque claiming his World Heavyweight Championship at Unforgiven in 2004.
During his esteemed career, Triple H would win countless titles, including nine WWE Championships and five World Heavyweight titles.
Despite several injuries, including a career-threatening one in 2001, he would return to enjoy several reigns as WWE Champion, most notably beating Orton again in 2008 to win his twelfth title.
He would go on to be named WWE COO in 2011 and it was around that time that he made one of the biggest transformations of his career: shaving off his golden locks.
It was speculated at the time that this was done to fit his new authoritarian image within the business, but Levesque subsequently shed light on the reason for his haircut, stating that it was more for efficiency.
‘To be honest, the hair actually didn’t have much to do with the corporate position but with her.
‘For years when I was struggling and wore my hair down all the time?
‘I passed through airports every time I let my hair down, didn’t it matter?
“Right in that (corporate) environment I wore my hair up all the time.” he said to WHEB-FM’s ‘The Morning Buzz’ facing WrestleMania XXIX.
Triple H also fronted a group with Dave Bautista, Randy Orton and Ric Flare, called Evolution.
Triple H would go on to shave his golden locks later in his career instead of sporting a haircut.
He would reduce his time in the ring after being named director of operations in 2011.
In 2021, he was forced to retire after suffering heart failure, and announced his retirement by leaving his boots in the ring at WrestleMania 38 in 2022.
Today, he works as WWE’s director of content, and was appointed to the position in 2022.
“It has to be so painful that for the last year and a half I’ve been dying to cut it off.” It just started to become the bane of my existence, my hair every day, and I never wore it; I just couldn’t wait for the moment when I could finally get rid of it.
His wrestling career would continue before being forced to retire after suffering heart failure in 2021. Levesque would eventually return to the ring at WrestleMania 38 in 2022, leaving his boots in the ring to signify his retirement.
But that wasn’t the end of his role in the organization. After a historic and sensational career, establishing himself as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, the WWE Hall of Famer would be named WWE Chief Content Officer in 2022.
Triple H is now regularly seen sporting a much smarter corporate look, sporting a suit and tie, a far cry from the long blonde hair and leather attire he was known for throughout his career.