Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wrestlemania: Triple H

He's ready... (WWE)
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter

On April 1, at Wrestlemania 28, Triple H will make history. For the third time he will battle The Undertaker at the biggest show of the year. This is a match up of the last of two legends from a previous era. Looking over Triple H’s Wrestlemania history, it’s an interesting rise to the top.

Not a good start
Triple H made his Wrestlemania debut in a less than stellar outing. The Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California was the setting for Wrestlemania 12. Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were set to main event in a 60-minute Iron Man match. One other notable event-taking place at the show was the return of the Ultimate Warrior. The Warrior’s sacrificial lamb was the Connecticut blue blood, Hunter Hearst Helmsley. In less time than it takes to write this sentence, The Warrior picked up the victory and HHH had a Wrestlemania debut that while not the outcome he wanted still is one for the history books.

Wrestlemania 13 saw a more competitive match and better outcome for Trips. Having a new bodyguard in the form of Chyna who had debuted a month earlier at the In Your House pay per view, Triple H was set to battle Goldust. With Chyna in Triple H’s corner and Marlena in Goldust’s corner, the two battled back and forth until Chyna intimidating Marlena distracted Goldust. As Goldust was trying to protect Marlena, Triple H attacked Goldie from behind leading to a Pedigree and the 1, 2, 3.

Wrestlemania 14
Wrestlemania 14 saw the Attitude Era taking form and the snobby aristocrat Hunter Hearst Helmsley had transformed into Triple H, one half of D-Generation X. While his DX buddy Shawn Michaels was defending the WWF title against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Triple H was finishing up a feud with Owen Hart. The stipulation to the match was Chyna would be handcuffed to WWF Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter. Even with one hand figuratively tied behind her back, Chyna was able to interfere in the match helping Triple H beat Owen back down to mid-card status.

Before getting a shot at ending the Undertaker’s streak, Triple H first had to go through the Dead Man’s brother, Kane at Wrestlemania 15. The only thing I remember about this match is the swerve, non-swerve of Chyna going to hit Triple H with a chair only to turn around and hit Kane allowing Triple H to get another tainted victory.

After three mid-card matches Triple H walked into Wrestlemania 2000 as the WWF Champion. This was the 4-way title match with a McMahon in every corner. Triple H defended the title against, The Rock, Mick Foley and the Big Show. For the first time in Wrestlemania’s 16-year history, a heel walked out as champion as Triple H successfully defended his title.

In a match, WWE has tried to ignore over the last year, Triple H got his first shot against the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 17. This was a war of attrition as the two battled all around the floor of the arena and even up on scaffolding used for lights. I have to admit I wasn’t sure Undertaker would remain undefeated after his match. Silly me, you never bet against the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. After a long, hard fought contest, Undertaker hit the tombstone and ended Triple H’s three Mania winning streak.

Undisputed champ
One of the worst title match build-ups happened at Wrestlemania 18. Chris Jericho was the first undisputed WWF Champion having combined the WWF and WCW titles a few months earlier. Instead of being the center of attention, Chris played third banana to the dysfunctional relationship between challenger Triple H and his wife Stephanie McMahon. Jericho’s championship reign ended with a whimper as Triple H walked out of Toronto with the WWF title once again.

If you thought the build up to his match with Jericho was bad, the lead up to Triple H vs. Booker T. at Wrestlemania 19 was bad for all the wrong reasons. For some reason, WWE brain trusts decided to play up Booker T’s arrest from his teenage days and have Triple H say Booker wasn’t good enough to be champion. Not in a, you don’t have the talent, sense but in a thinly veiled racist, black people can’t be champions sense. The way the match was built up, it made sense for Booker T. to prove Triple H wrong and win the title. After all, Booker is a 5-time WCW champion. Instead, Triple H retained the title and Booker took a few steps backwards.

Trips passes the torch 
Whatever ill will Triple H had garnered with the internet fans the previous two Wrestlemanias, all was almost forgiven at Wrestlemania 20 when he tapped out to the Crippler Crossface giving Chris Benoit his first World title.

After Wrestlemania 20, Triple H fell into a mode of passing the torch. Wrestlemania 21 saw Triple H lose the World title to Batista. Wrestlemania 22 saw Triple H the Barbarian fail to capture the WWE title from John Cena and Wrestlemania 24 saw Randy Orton retain the title after punting Triple H in the head and stealing the pin on John Cena.

Triple H would get his revenge at Wrestlemania 25 when he would successfully defend the WWE title against Randy Orton in one of the dullest main event matches in Wrestlemania history.

Wrestlemania 26 looked like Triple H would go back to his torch passing ways as he was matched up with Sheamus. In the end though, Sheamus fell victim to a Pedigree.

Trying to end the streak
After his good buddy Shawn Michaels failed to end the Undertaker’s streak twice, Triple H took up the challenge at Wrestlemania 27 to see if he could succeed where the “Heartbreak Kid” failed. Triple H failed as well. So this year we get a rematch inside Hell In The Cell. Will the streak hold up, or will Triple H prove he is the “Cerebral Assassin?”

Share your thoughts on the Game’s Wrestlemania history on our Facebook page.


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