After reading Bret Hart's recent comments on Triple H being "not so great" in the ring I thought I would do a column as it's always been something of an interesting topic to me. How great is Triple H? How will his legacy be looked upon? Is he in Ric Flair's league? How about Shawn Michaels? So many questions.
Whats interesting to me about Hunter is that on some given nights he can be great, but when you really look back at the history of pro wrestling, where does Triple H fit in? We all know he came to prominence during the "attitude era" and became a rising star as the leader of DX but even then he wasn't even in HBK's league. Hunter had a good match The Rock at Summerslam 1998 but it was definitely no Razor/Michaels ladder match. Triple H was a solid mid-carder at that point, nothing about him however rung "legend" yet.
At the turn of the millennium we saw the turn of Triple H, from snobby blue blood to cool degenerate to full blown badass. Stone Cold was out with an injury, The Rock was making movies and it was Hunters time to shine, and shine he did. I would actually have to argue that this particular era was my favorite of Triple H's, he had the WWE title and he seemed hungrier than ever. I also like the fact that he hadn't become a full blown body builder at this point, he put on some very good matches and he resembled Ric Flair to me more so than ever. Triple H eventually tore his quad during a very good match pitting him and the newly returned Stone Cold vs Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. To his credit Triple H unbelievably finished the match in what had to be excruciating pain.
Triple H came back with U2'S Beautiful Day blasting in the speakers on a 2002 edition of Raw in January, where he would return to The Royal Rumble and win. By this point in time Triple H was more than just an average wrestler, he had cemented a pretty decent legacy for himself in the WWE. Triple H ended up winning the WWE title at WrestleMania 18 from Chris Jericho, in what some have described as the worst main event in WrestleMania history. Ouch. This is where Triple H's legacy seems to get hit, if he was really that great would he of been able to pull off a more memorable and exciting match? The match had to compete with The Rock and Hulk Hogan that night but even so it was a sub-par match at best.
We eventually saw the brand extension era come into play shortly after, where Triple H would win the heavyweight titled and carry it for pretty much most of year and the WWE saw a deep plummet in TV ratings. I remember this era being a particularly boring time in the WWE, Triple H was more muscled up from his previous runs and too me he was slow and boring in the ring. Triple H often gets compared with Ric Flair but nothing about this run seemed to coincide with what "The Nature Boy" could do in the ring.
So that leaves us with the main question, where does Triple H's legacy fall in the WWE? In my personal opinion Triple H is right above guys like The Ultimate Warrior and Batista but still under guys like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, not even in the same league as a Stone Cold or The Rock. Triple H had a look and some decent microphone skills and he was able to get the job done when it counted. But he rarely went past "greatness" status in the WWE. What do you think? Leave comments thanks for reading!!