Triple H is how old? Triple H turns 47 today. Where did the time go? Wasn't he just crotch-chopping Bret Hart and wearing bikini thongs while dressed as Santa Claus?
Yes, we all grow up, even Triple H, the second-most powerful man in sports entertainment.
As we embark on a new era in the WWE, with a brand split, Finn Balor getting a push and the new Universal Championship, let's look at ways Triple H has changed sports entertainment. "Trips" changed the business more times than The Big Show has turned from babyface to heel and back, but let's look at a few ways here:
Triple H Married The Boss's Daughter
Where would Triple H be right now if he didn't hitch his wagon to Shawn Michaels and then Stephanie McMahon. It is highly possible that he would be exactly where he is now, but not likely. Marrying Stephanie was a brilliant master stroke. It's not like Triple H wasn't talented enough to become the heir apparent to the company on his own. But getting inside the family certainly was a necessary insurance policy. Triple H, not Vince McMahon's son Shane, is in line to run the company with his wife when Vince steps down. Jim Ross always called Triple H "The Cerebral Assassin" and now we know why. Most of the rest of the guys are playing Little League while Triple H is in the Big Leagues. Expect to see Triple H FOREVER and FOREVER, as long as the WWE is with us.
Triple H Saved Shawn Michaels
Remember Shawn Michaels? The guy who in the 1990s was the greatest professional wrestler in the world and then became addicted to pain killers, ruined his career, hurt his back and then drifted off into obscurity? No, you don't remember that because that's not what happened. Instead, Michaels returned in 2002 to wrestle his best friend Triple H in a classic match. Triple H saved Shawn Michaels, whether it was in the ring at Summerslam 2002, giving him a safe "dance partner" that night so that Michaels could return with confidence, or it was backstage when Hunter did his best to keep MIchaels out of trouble while on the road.
Hunter was always Michaels' rock. The guy who looked out for him and did his best to keep him out of trouble. Every delinquent needs someone like that in their lives. Michaels knew that Triple H would not put up with his addictions, and it was Triple H who encouraged Michaels to come back, and kept him on the straight and narrow.
Michaels deserves credit too. He return from his four-year-layoff an even better wrestler than before, and a God-fearing, old-fashioned American. He's probably out hunting elk right now.
Triple H Saved The WWE
In the late 1990s, the WWE was getting creamed by WCW in the Monday Night Wars. Like every WWE star had left for WCW. From Hulk Hogan to "Mean" Gene Okerlund. WCW was selling out arenas all over the world and college men and women were making professional wrestling cool in a way that had never happened before. At that time, everyone you knew was a wrestling fan and the nWo was the hottest angle in WCW.
So what did Triple H do? Did he pack his backs and leave for Atlanta? No. He started a war. Triple H led a team of WWE wrestlers, members of his "D-Generation X" group, to attack WCW in Norfolk, Virginia. He drove a tank into the arena where WCW was performing, in what of the greatest television wrestling angles ever. Triple H was starting the "war" for real. With X-Pac, Chyna, The Road Dogg and Billy Gunn at his side, they actually tried to invade a WCW live show. Of course those WCW goobers wouldn't let Triple H and his faction into the building, so we never actually saw D-Generation X get into the building.
It didn't matter. Triple H showed the world that he was not only tough, but that he was funny and legit. He would go into enemy territory to help his company survive. And it worked. WCW folded in 2001.
Triple H Gave Us NXT
NXT is the hottest promotion in wrestling. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Enzo and Big Cass, Charlotte, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Big E, Rusev, are just some of the guys and gals who jumped from NXT to the WWE.
Who is there now? Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakumara and Bayley, among others.
NXT feels like the old days of ECW, but less raunchy and more professional. It feels like the old days of WCW Saturday night at 3:05 on Superstation TBS, but better wrestling and greater live crowds. NXT is AWESOME.
The small, but smart crowd is part of the show. They are 100 percent supportive of the show, which inspires the wrestlers, both good guys and bad guys to perform at their highest level. NXT is the breeding ground for the next generation's biggest stars, but the truth is that the show is already the stage for the sport's biggest stars.
Every Wednesday night, NXT on the WWE Network is revolutionizing professional wrestling. A generation of wrestling fans grew up on the wrestling wars in the 1990s, led by Triple H. A whole new generation of wrestling fans is growing up on NXT this decade.
Triple H's influence stretches multiple generations. And he's only 47 years old, really, really young for the business world. Now, if he could just get Shinksuke Nakamura to the main roster, we'd all sing "Happy Birthday" a lot louder.