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WWE WrestleMania Top 10 Performer Series: Triple H

HHH

In leading up to what is being billed as the biggest WrestleMania of all time, I thought it would be fun to go back and look at the 10 greatest performers in Mania history based on a point system. Over the past few weeks, we've gone from number 10 to the top spot which will be revealed later this week. Along the way, I’m also pointing out a few wrestlers who just missed making the list and why they didn’t.

To come up with the list, I created a points system and with the help of Chris "Mookie" Harrington, the top 10 point getters are the top 10 performers. The point system is 1 point for each of the following:

  • Appeared in a match
  • Won a match
  • Appeared in a title match (any title)
  • Won a title match (any title)
  • Appeared in a singles World title match (including WWF, WWE, World and WWE World Heavyweight titles)
  • Won a singles World title match
  • Appeared in a main event
  • Won a main event
  • Appeared in the best match on the show, according to Dave Meltzer’s star ratings
  • Appeared in a Match of the Year

If you’ve missed any of the previous weeks:

And now, the leader of NXT and the possible future creative lead of WWE...

HHH

2) Triple H (67 points)

For over 20 years, Paul Levesque has been in WWF/WWE and has worked his way from mid-card wrestler to an integral part of the WWE’s power structure. Yes, he married well, but “The Game” also delivered in the ring and whether or not he would’ve become part of the McMahon family, he was on his way to a Hall of Fame career nonetheless. Here’s a look back at his storied WrestleMania career.

He debuted as the "Connecticut Blue Blood" Hunter Hearst Helmsley in 1995 after a short run in WCW in which he competed as Tara Rizing and under essentially his real name with “Jean” added as a prefix to fit the gimmick of a French nobleman. In less than a year, he’d already made enough of an impression to make it on a WrestleMania card and he was the opponent of Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania XII. Helmsley suffered a quick loss in Anaheim to kick off his Mania career, one that he discussed in later years as bothering him. 

At WrestleMania 13, now accompanied by his then-girlfriend Chyna, Helmsley faced Goldust in a singles match. He scored the pinfall to earn his first WrestleMania win that night in Chicago. Later that year, he formed the famed stable DX with longtime friend Shawn Michaels and “won” the European title from his stablemate in a joke of a match on Monday Night Raw. At WrestleMania XIV, he had a successful title defence against Owen Hart. By this time, he’d morphed into the Triple H character as he continued his march toward the top of the card.

In 1999, Triple H was the leader of DX as they feuded with the Corporation. He faced Kane in a singles match, who was accompanied by Chyna and lost by DQ after Chyna turned on Kane. By the end of the night, both Triple H and Chyna would join the Corporation. Triple H ended up winning his first World title later that year and feuded with WWF owner Vince McMahon, eventually hooking up with his daughter Stephanie in a storyline that eventually became real life.

The family feud came to a head at WrestleMania 2000 in the main event with a McMahon in each corner. Triple H defended his World title in a 4 way main event against Mick Foley, The Rock, and The Big Show. He kept the title, pinning Rock. At WrestleMania X-7 in Houston, he lost to The Undertaker in the first of three Mania matches against “The Dead Man”.

Triple H missed most of the next year after a torn quad, but made his successful return at the Royal Rumble in 2002, winning the Rumble match to earn a title shot at Undisputed Champion Chris Jericho. In the main event of WrestleMania X-8 in Toronto, he won the title, pinning Jericho after a pedigree. This was his first Mania Match of the Night. The Undisputed title was broken up as part of the brand split later in the year, and Triple H was awarded the World title as the champion of RAW and defended the title against Booker T at WrestleMania XIX in Seattle in a midcard match.  After a pedigree, Triple H retained the title over the former WCW Champion.

It was back to the main event at WrestleMania XX in MSG. Triple H defended the World Champion in a triple threat match against Michaels and Chris Benoit. He submitted to Benoit’s Crippler Crossface to lose the title in another Match of the Night. Triple H would regain the World title by the following year and in the main event of WrestleMania 21 in LA, he would fall prey to a Batista Bomb by former Evolution stablemate Batista to lose the title.

In his third straight WrestleMania main event, Triple H went in as the challenger at WrestleMania 22 in Chicago. And in his third straight Mania loss, he submitted to John Cena’s STF in an unsuccessful WWE title challenge. That night, he became only the second wrestler to main event 3 consecutive WrestleManias with Hulk Hogan as the other. He missed the following year due to injury, but returned at WrestleMania XXIV in Orlando. In a triple threat match, he and John Cena challenged Randy Orton for his WWE Championship. Orton retained the title, pinning Cena.

HHH

Triple H and Orton would meet again in the main event of WrestleMania 25 in Houston. Trips had won the title during the year and defended against Orton. After hitting his challenger with a sledgehammer in the no-DQ match, he hit him with a Pedigree to score his first Mania win in six years. He would face Sheamus in a mid-card match the following year in Glendale, pinning the Celtic Warrior for his 2nd straight win.

In a no holds barred match at WrestleMania XXVII in Atlanta, Triple H faced Undertaker for the second time at a Mania. In his third WrestleMania Match of the Night, he was pinned by Undertaker. They would rematch the following year in a Hell in a Cell match in Miami with Michaels as special guest referee. In another Match of the Night, Undertaker pinned him after a tombstone to keep his streak alive.

Triple H put his career on the line at WrestleMania 29 in East Rutherford, NJ, against Brock Lesnar. He pedigreed “The Beast” on the ring steps to score the win in a match second from the top. In a great match that kicked off WrestleMania 30, Triple H faced Daniel Bryan in a match where Bryan would be inserted in the main event with a win. Bryan submitted him to earn his spot and eventually won the World title in one of the all-time great WrestleMania moments.

Last year in Santa Clara, Triple H faced WCW icon Sting in a singles match. In a match that saw both the nWo and DX get involved, Triple H pinned Sting. He would come back later to get involved in a memorable confrontation with The Rock and Ronda Rousey.

Finally, he is set to compete in another Mania main event this week as he defends the WWE World Heavyweight title against challenger Roman Reigns. 

Triple H was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame in 2005 and will be in the WWE Hall of Fame if and when he wants to be.

Triple H’s WrestleMania record:

  • 10-10 overall
  • 5-4 in title matches
  • 4-4 in World title matches
  • 2-3 in Main Events
  • 4 Matches of the Night

Honorable Mention: Batista (23 points)

Batista got started late in the game, but his brief WWE run was memorable and he’s gone on to a successful movie career post-wrestling. He’s forever intertwined with Triple H, having had his most memorable run as a part of the Evolution stable along with HHH, Ric Flair, and Randy Orton. His eventual split with Trips led to one of the most successful WrestleManias of all time. He left at the top of the game and when he returned for a brief run, he was inserted right into the main event, despite many fans vocally opposing it. Here’s his WrestleMania history:

  • WrestleMania XX – with Randy Orton and Ric Flair (as Evolution), beat the Rock and Sock Connection in a handicap match
  • WrestleMania 21 – beat Triple H to win the World title in the main event.
  • WrestleMania 23 -  lost his World title to The Undertaker in a singles match
  • WrestleMania XXIV – beat Umaga in a singles match
  • WrestleMania XXVI – lost his World title to John Cena in a singles match
  • WrestleMania 30 – in the main event, lost in a WWE World Championship match, also involving Champion Randy Orton, to Daniel Bryan in a triple threat match that was the Match of the Night

Batista was at one point rumoured to make an appearance at this year’s show, but that seems unlikely at this point. He is another no-brainer to one day become a WWE Hall of Famer and was never really a serious candidate for the Observer version. It’s likely that he’ll return at a future Mania should his schedule allow it.