Paul Michael Levesque, better known to WWE fans as Triple H, began his career with the promotion in 1995. Back then, it was known as WWF and faced stiff competition from World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). While many wrestling stars jumped from promotion to promotion, Triple H hitched his wagon to Vince McMahon early and never left. He even married McMahon’s daughter! This is everything you need to know about Triple H from his humble beginnings to rise to world stardom!
Triple H Started Body Building As A Teenager
Paul Levesque began his transformation into Triple H at a young age. He was just 14-years-old when he began body-building so he could look less like a skinny teenager and more like his wrestling heroes.
Levesque’s dedication and hard work paid off for the first time in 1988, when he was awarded the title of Teenage Mr. New Hampshire. He was 19-years-old at the time, and could already see his future laid out in front of him.
A Hall-Of-Famer Gave Him His First Big Break
Before joining the World Wrestling Federation, Triple H needed to be trained and learn the tricks of the trade. Lucky for him, Hall of Famer Killer Kowalski was more than willing to take the young man under his wing.
Kowalski said Triple H was a natural, and once he was happy with the budding star’s training, he introduced him to the International Wrestling Federation. From there, Triple H would be able to work his up through the sports various promotions until landing with WWF (now WWE).
His Name Wasn’t Always Triple H
It’s not uncommon for professional wrestlers to use different names and gimmicks until they settle on the one that works best. When Paul Levesque started out, his trainer suggested his call himself The Terrorizer.
To his credit, Levesque felt like he should have a full name. By the time he made his debut, the man that would become Triple H was known as Terra Ryzing. Levesque carried the name with him throughout the start of his career, including his year-long stint with WCW.
He Turned Down A Multi-Year Deal From WCW
When Terra Ryzing joined WCW, he turned down an initial multi-year offer and bet on himself. In an interview, he revealed, “it was like for $50,000, but at that time you paid all your own expenses, and I was on the road a lot. So I was losing a lot of money wrestling.
“…I said, ‘Look, here’s how I look at it, let me wrestle for you for a year. At the end of the year, you’re either going to know I’m worth a lot more than $52,000, or I ain’t worth keeping.’”
The Self Bet Paid Off With A $250,000 Offer
During his year with WCW, Terra Ryzing changed his moniker to Jean-Paul Levesque and found success. By the time his one year bet on himself was over, Levesque was offered a $250,000 deal from the promotion.
By that time, however, it was too later. Vince McMahon had already taken notice of Levesque and the outlook for WCW was not bright. As Levesque recalled, “Things were such a mess there. Even Nitro hadn’t started yet but you could see the mess coming… anybody that had been up here, was like, ‘Dude, get out of here. Go up there, Vince will make you a star.'”
Randy Savage Wanted To End His Career
At the same time that Levesque was preparing to leave WCW, Macho Man Randy Savage was joining the promotion. He was reportedly so livid that the young star turned down $250,000 to join WWF that he wanted to end his career in a 30-second match.
Wrestling legend Ric Flair remembers, “Savage and I had the worst argument of all time. When you like someone’s talent, you just don’t squash a guy going out the door. I don’t think you do that to a guy.”
WWE Wanted Him To Go By Reginald DuPont Helmsley
When he signed with the WWE, the promotion wanted him to change his gimmick from a Frenchmen to a Connecticut Blueblood. They even proposed giving him the name Reginald DuPont Helmsley.
Levesque felt that the name wasn’t catchy enough and suggested he go with Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Vince McMahon agreed, and Helmsley became a star. He quickly rose to prominence in the promotion and became entangled in feuds with several other wrestlers.
He Came Into His Own With Degeneration X
In 1997, Helmsley joined forces with Shawn Michaels, Chyna, and Rick Rude to form Degeneration X. The team made waves for the NSFW behavior and their use of the catchphrase, “suck it.”
It was also during this time that Helmsley dropped his Connecticut Blueblood persona, shortened his name to Triple H, and began wearing leather jackets. The new team caught the ire of the Hart Foundation, and one of WWE’s greatest feuds was born.
He Fell In Love With Stephanie McMahon On Accident
Even though Triple H today is linked with Stephanie McMahon, when he originally fell in love with her it was a total accident. At the time, he was living with fellow wrestler Chyna and the WWE began a storyline where he married Stephanie.
Turns the out fake marriage led to real feelings and Triple H left Chyna for his new lady love. The power couple has been married since 2003 and H’s influence has been felt throughout the promotion since.
He Asked For The Undertaker’s Blessing
Before Triple H allowed his relationship with Stephanie McMahon to become official, he looked for the blessing from one of the promotion’s most respected figures — The Undertaker. He made the decision after realizing that other wrestlers believed the relationship was unprofessional.
With The Undertaker’s approval, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were allowed to be a happy couple. And while this might not have settled everyone down in the WWE, it at least gave the pair the comfort they needed to be happy.
He Was The Second Grand Slam Champion Ever
During his time with WWE, Triple H won the Intercontinental Title, the World Championship, and the Tag Team Championship. This feat earned made him the second Grand Slam Champion in WWE history.
The first-ever Grand Slam Champion was his close friend Shawn Michaels. Since then, the rules for winning the title have changed, allowing a much wider array of superstars the chance to etch their names in World Wrestling Entertainment history.
Fans Voted Him Their Most-Hated Wrestler Five Times
Every year the publication Pro Wrestling Illustrated asks fans to vote for who their most hated wrestler is. In his prime, Triple H won the fan vote five times. He was also listed by the magazine as the Most Hated Wrestler of the Decade from 2000-2009.
Of course, the magazine also named him as the Wrestler of the Decade for those same years. WWE fans tend to love the heels of the promotion, and Triple H was one of the greatest ever.
He Hated The Rock
Today it’s impossible to think about who the greatest WWE wrestlers of all-time are without including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. When he was just starting out in the promotion, though, Triple H wanted to see him kicked to the curb.
Bret Hart believed that Triple H saw The Rock as having “can’t miss potential” and felt threatened that he would take his place in main event spots. As you’ll find out, The Rock wasn’t the only superstar Triple H had it out for.
He’s Bounced Back From Multiple Injuries
Triple H has had multiple brushes with career-ending injuries throughout his WWE tenure. On a 2001 episode of Raw in the middle of a match he tore his left quadriceps, separating it from the bone completely. Despite the pain, he finished the match.
One year later in a Survivor Series Match, he suffered a throat injury, again finished his match, and was back in the ring a week later. Finally, in 2007, he tore his right quadriceps in a match against Randy Orton. After recovering, he continued his in-ring career.
He Won His First Title In 1999
Triple H first signed with WWE in 1995. While he managed to find fame and success right away, he was held back from reaching the pinnacle of the sport. It wasn’t until 1999 that all of Triple H’s hard work finally paid off and he won his first title.
Since winning that first title, he has filled his shelf with awards. Most prominently, he has been crowned the World Heavyweight Champion 14 times.
He’s Only Won 51 Percent Of His Matches
For all the fame Triple H has achieved, you might be surprised to find out that he’s only won 51.15 percent of his career matches. Across all promotions, he has competed in 829 matches.
Of those 829 matches, Triple H has won 424 of them, lost 333 of them, and came up tied in 72 of them. Despite this, he remains today one of the WWE’s most popular wrestlers of all-time.
His Net Worth Is $40 Million
Since becoming one of the most powerful men in wrestling, Triple H has amassed an impressive estimated net worth of $40 million. Not only is he currently the COO and Executive Vice President of Talents and Live Events for the WWE, but he is also still a performer.
In 2018, it was reported that his salary with the WWE was worth $3.2 million a year. His house is estimated to be worth $3 million and his private jet adds on another $9 million.
He Wanted John Cena Fired
Just like with The Rock, when John Cena entered the WWE arena, Triple H wanted nothing more than to have him fired. Cena, who has gone on to win 15 World Championships, says:
“Back in 2003, 2002, when I was just wearing boots and tights and I was supposed to be the ruthless aggression young good guy, nobody in the company liked me. I know Vince McMahon won’t admit this, but he wanted me fired, Triple H wanted me fired, everybody hated me. They just wouldn’t give me a forum to showcase my talents. I’ve always been able to connect with the audience if given the ability to speak.”
Triple H Doesn’t Always Agree With Vince McMahon
The relationship between Vince McMahon and Triple H may appear happy on television, but behind the scenes, it has reportedly had its ups and downs. Most notably, they have fought over who would win certain matches as well as how physical those fights would be.
At the end of the day, Vince McMahon has final say over whatever happens in the ring, but that clearly hasn’t stopped Triple H from having his voice heard. It helps to be married to the boss’ daughter in these situations!
He Doesn’t Drink Alcohol
The world of professional wrestling is one where it can be easy to get caught up in a lifestyle full of partying. To avoid falling victim to any kind of addiction, Triple H is known as what’s called a “teetotaler.”
Teetotalism is defined as pledging your life to be free from alcohol. The movement was started in England in the 19th century by Joseph Livesey. In 1883, Livesey founded the Preston Temperance Society.