Seriously y’all, I know I say this about a lot of guys, but Triple H is the greatest professional wrestler of all time. Yes, just last week I said it was Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, and before that I was kind of really into Cesaro, but I’ve finally come around to the truth: Triple H really is the King of Kings.
What’s that you say? You’d like to read a list of eight reasons why Triple H is the greatest professional wrestler of all time? Well, you sir, happen to be in luck…
YOU’RE GETTING WORKED, BRO
One of the biggest knocks on Triple H these days is the idea that he’s holding down Daniel Bryan, putting his friends in advantageous positions and generally using his power as a high-ranked WWE official in an unscrupulous manner. To all of this I say, “GOOD,” and also add in a hearty “YOU’RE GETTING WORKED, BRO!”
Triple H is a heel authority figure involved in a storyline about a really popular wrestler being kept down by the man, so the fact that people are upset about Triple H “burying” Daniel Bryan means, you guessed it, that the whole thing is working exactly like it’s supposed to.
Hey, you like NXT, right? It’s short, to-the-point, has a bunch of wacky gimmicks, lets you watch the future stars of Raw and SmackDown, and has given you rad wrestlers like The Shield, The Wyatt Family and Big E Langston. Go ahead and direct your “thank yous” to Mr. Helmsley.
Since taking a more managerial role in WWE, one of Triple H’s priorities has been finding and developing the next generation of WWE talent, and by all accounts, he’s done a pretty stellar job, leading to a more stacked main roster than we’ve seen in years. Hell, even Sin Cara has magically put on weight, gotten a tattoo and stopped blowing spots.
HE HUNG AROUND
Stone Cold is doing the best podcast pretty much ever, The Rock is flexing and starring in movies, HBK is tracking and killing every living creature on Earth as his bloodthirsty hunter god intended, Mick Foley is a comedian, Chris Jericho is picking up where 1988 Iron Maiden left off and to the best of my understanding, The Hitman is the most dominant warlord in the nightmarish apocalyptic landscape that is western Canada (not totally sure on that one).
Aside from the Undertaker, who wrestles, on average, 1.6 matches/year, Triple H is the only top-level Attitude Era star who’s still performing with the company. Given the type of punishment these guys receive on a nightly basis, it’s a huge achievement to be the last one standing, and really speaks to Trips’ longevity and adaptability.
FRIENDS WITH LEMMY
As much as I love a lot of it, let’s be honest with one another, shall we? Most wrestling entrance themes are lousy and age terribly. Triple H bucks that trend by having had not one, not two, but three unique songs from speed metal pioneers Motörhead. They are, of course, The Game, Line in the Sand and the best of them all, King of Kings.
How did the former Connecticut Blueblood get so many custom Motörhead songs? Oh, well, it’s because he just so happens to be pals with the bands iconic lead singer and bassist, Lemmy Kilmister. How good of friends are they? So good that Lemmy even let Triple H borrow his signature friendly mutton-chops look.
TOUGH AS A TWO DOLLAR STEAK
Triple H is not just, in Good Ol’ JR’s words, as tough as a two dollar steak, he’s tougher than leather, as tough as nails and a slew of other down home cliches your grandfather used to say about your grandmother.
I could have probably filed this in as a subsection of HE HUNG AROUND, but I don’t really know this CMS that well, and besides: The dude tore his left quadricep muscle completely off the bone, but still had Chris Jericho lock him into the Walls of Jericho. He’s had other gnarly injuries too, but he always comes back as good as ever, usually with a totally bitchin video package of him training.
PUTS GUYS OVER
Here’s another one of people’s big knocks on Triple H — The idea that he doesn’t ever put anyone over and that he’s more inclined to “bury” someone than shine them up all pretty. First off, a loss doesn’t equal a burial, with many losses engineered to have the loser come out looking – if not as good as the winner – better than they looked before. Second off, how about back-to-back losses to the Undertaker at WrestleMania?
That’s not enough for you? How about tapping out to John Cena at WrestleMania 22, instantly making the Commander of the Chain Gang a tip-top-level talent? And even though he beat guys like Randy Orton and Sheamus at WrestleMania, both of them remain top-tier guys in their own right, benefiting greatly from their programs with The Game. Does Triple H put over everyone? No, and he shouldn’t, because if he lost to everyone, the losses would stop meaning anything, and after all, the dude’s a top-level talent. If you’re not getting that by now, go get yourself a glass of water, then come back and start this list again.
Triple H has the neatest gimmick pretty much hands down. He’s not just the asskicker who wears a leather jacket AND a denim vest (two distinct layers of badassery), but he also intermittently does a Conan (barbarian not late night) thing, lugs around a sledgehammer presumably to murder his opponents with, and on top of all of that, plasters Latin all over his t-shirts.
Wrestling t-shirts, like wrestling entrance themes, usually stink – they’re a blend of early 90s graphic design and cast-off Affliction-style tribal work. But add a badass phrase in Latin and I’m completely sold. At one point, one of his shirts translated to “Let them hate so long as they fear,” which is a quote from Caligula. Caligula, dog, CALIGULA. If you don’t get why that’s amazing, go read a book, then give yourself a wedgy for being both stupid and a newly-minted book-reading nerd.
HE CAN WORK
I left this for last because it’s the most important. For all the accusations of nepotism and political opportunism, there’s only one thing you really need to know about Triple H: Dude can work a match.
Triple H is an amazing worker, able to sell well enough to get any crowd behind him, and vicious enough to get his heat at absolutely all costs. His matches are like a wrestling history lesson, as he picks some of the best parts of ring greats like Ric Flair, Harley Race and Killer Kowalski. Most telling however, are the opinions of his peers, all of whom rank Triple H amongst some of the finest workers they’ve ever stepped in the ring with.
Don’t believe me about Triple H being the greatest? Well, first off, you’re wrong. Second off, just wait until next week…I’m kind of getting really into Jimmy Valiant right now.
Aubrey Sitterson is the host of the World’s Smartest Rasslin Talk Show, STRAIGHT SHOOT. Follow him on Twitter.