Best Two - Triple H
A new week, a new best two series! This week, I am kicking things off with "The Game" Triple H. Controversy aside, the man has been a part of some classic matches, and the question is - which two matches have been his best?
Triple H vs The Rock, Summerslam 1998 Ladder Match
This match had terrific build-up. The leader of DX vs the leader of the Nation of Domination in an IC Title Ladder Match at a Summerslam at Madison Square Garden. Mind you, MSG was where HHH's friend Shawn Michaels had torn the house down with Razor Ramon at Wrestlemania 10 in an IC Title Ladder Match.
The crowd was SO hot for this match. Rock was booed mercilessly, accept when he hit the People's Elbow on HHH on the ladder. H's eventually won, but had to drop the belt thanks to a knee injury. Shocker.
Triple H vs Steve Austin, No Way Out 2001
The Three Stages of Hell match. This match effectively ended the HHH / Austin feud. The match went 40 minutes, and ended in a Steel Cage with both men exhausted. After the final blow, Triple H fell on top of Austin, pinning him for the victory. It was a classic feud match, and it's a shame it was used at a No Way Out instead of a major event like Wrestlemania or Summerslam.
As always, the question is - what TWO Triple H matches make your list?
I'll go with the Three Stages of Hell. Excellent 40-minute match with close falls and great intensity throughout. The crowd was into the match and this was a Wrestlemania or Summerslam match. Even though HHH fell on Austin, they both performed extremely well and it was the epitome of what the Attitude Era was all about.
John Cena vs Triple H- Wrestlemania
I like this match for a couple reasons. Overall, it was a pretty good match, I know a lot of people did not like it too much, but I did. I wasn't even a Cena fan at the time, but now looking back, I think it was a huge match. No match has ever made Cena seem more important than this match. He was ablt to beat Triple H and become a bonifide Main Eventer. For Triple H, this match showed me one thing. He was still able to put on a hell of a show. He was also still willing to put people over at Wrestlemania, especially a young kid like John Cena, who he saw as the future.
There are many great Triple H matches, where both men got their asses kicked for 20+ minutes. A great example and one of my favorite of his matches was in 2000.
Fully Loaded (2000)- Triple H vs Chris Jericho
I might get flak for this one, but whatever, I loved it. Triple H beat Chris Jericho to a pulp in the Last Man Standing match, which was the best match of the night. This is also one of my favorite Chris Jericho matches where we saw some great spots, especially Jericho getting planted through the announce table. After this match, Austin was getting ready to come back, and it launched into a great feud between the two.
1) Triple H vs Shawn Michaels, SummerSlam 2002 The build-up to this match was phenomenal, with the teasing of a DX reunion only to have Trips pedigree Shawn instead. Putting Shawn through a car window. The fact that this was HBKs first match in over 4 years. This was the start of a major heel turn for HHH, who had been a top face ever since returning from his quad tear to win the Royal Rumble earlier in the year. Oh, and let's not forget that they put on a helluva match too.
2) HHH vs Cactus Jack, No Way Out 2000, Hell In A Cell These two told an amazing story in the ring for this match. Trips did an excellent job making Foley, who by this point had very little left to give, look like he was still the Cactus Jack of five years earlier.
As much of a critic as I am of the game, it's hard to deny that the man has had some absolutely fantastic matches. Now, the quality of his matches over the last few eyars is certainly in question, as I personally feel he is about 6 to 7 years removed from his prime and his truly great matches. The man has had great matches with Jericho, and Cactus Jack, an hour long match that I watched the entire way through with the Rock. You name them, chances are Triple H has had a great match with them, but there are two that stand out to me.
2002: vs. Shawn Michaels (Unsanctioned Street Fight, Summerslam 2002). The build up for this was amazing. The summer of 2002 turned into a nasty feud, with Triple H returning to his strong suit of being a nasty heel. The returning Shawn Michaels, was the clear under dog going into this match. The big question marks of this match, could Shawn Michaels look good in this match, and could Triple H protect him in this match. There was so much uneasiness and tension going into this match from a smark and mark point of view. What happened, they delivered arguably the best match in the history of Summerslam. These two battled from pillar to post, bringing out chairs and ladders and anything that could be brought into the match. Shawn Michaels prevailed in the end, but Triple H stood tall as he smashed his sledgehammer into Michaels back. Truley great stuff.
2001: vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (3 Stages of Hell, No Way Out). For me, it's a coin toss on which of these matches are his best, and arguably, the best of the decade. For me, these two matches are in the top five for match of the decade, and this match was easily the match of the year for 2001. This match should have been the main event of Wrestlemania 17, but instead the WWF went into the boring and safe vs. The Rock option. It's a true shame, because this match was Austins best, and miles better then the travesty which occured in the main event of Wrestlemania 17. Triple H and Austin battle for nearly 45 minutes, with Austin winning the regular wrestling match, but triple H coming back and winning in a street fight, and possibly the greatest finish ever to a match with the win inside of the Steel Cage. This match right here, is the definition of Five Star.
I have to go with...
HHH vs. HBK in HIAC
It was 47 minutes of all out brutality even for a cell match. It had everything and more a Hiac fan like myself could want. there were tables, ladders, finishers and a cell. HHH's streak in Hiac was in jeopardy as HBK who he was at time feuding challenged him to HIAC. The match itself was fastpaced and action packed. What amazed me about it though was it is one of my favorite Hiac's and they never even left the cell!
HHH vs. "The Animal" Batista
Critic tham both as much as you want. Batista showed he could put on a show. It had barbed wire chairs, chains, and The great equalizer HHH's hammer. Batista use every weaponm HHH pulled out against him he counterd a top dive by lifting the hammer so it hit HHH right in the chin he sparyed blood out of his mouth, and right when You thought HHH was going to lose He grabbed the hammer as he was lifted up for a Batista Bomb and Batista go the Batista Bomb off. It was the best finish in a batista match.
Trips' 2 Best Matches:
6 Man Elimination Chamber - World Heavyweight Championship: Summerslam 2003
I am probably going to get some red rep for this, but I could care less. This match is my favorite of all time, and Trips' performance is essential to its quality. He does NOTHING. That's right....NOTHING during the entire match except hide out in his pod, get superkicked in the pod, get totally dominated by Goldberg, only to use the sledgehammer on Goldberg to pick up the win in classic heel fashion. I mean, Goldberg STEAMROLLED through the rest of the competition (including a sickening spear on Jericho through plexiglass)...having him TOTALLY built up to pick up a freaking energetic and massive win for the title. Then, Trips, with his sledgehammer, sucks ALL of the positive energy out of the building and turns it into absolute heat on himself. Classic, classic, classic. That's why Trips is in contention (if not the front-runner) for best heel of all-time.
Triple H v. Cactus Jack - Street Fight - WWF Championship: Royal Rumble 2000
This match sometimes gets overlooked by the circus-like Hell in a Cell match at No Way Out, but this is another classic heel display by Triple H. The majority of the match just consists of him completely obliterating Foley, using chairs, a barbed wire 2x4, and the best of all...handcuffs. The handcuffs really bring out the sadistic nature that Triple H's character was trying to display at the time...showing absolutely no mercy to a highly crowd-favored and sympathetic Cactus Jack. Then after Foley broke free from the cuffs, back-body-dropping Cactus onto thumbtacks, and unsuccessfully pinning Foley after a normal Pedigree, Triple H goes to another level of sick when he Pedigrees Cactus onto the thumbtacks. I remember watching that and legitimately cringing. It just makes you think, "Wow. Triple H is nothing a but a sick *&(%^&&^!!!"
ZOMG!!! The elimination Chamber??? Nah Ricky, I have to actually agree that it was a very clever way of getting a lot of heel heat and instantly making Goldberg the top face in the company because of the screw job.
My top two matches however both involve a distinct lack of rules and have both been mentioned before.
For my view, I think HHH is a master of No DQ matches, because he takes some pretty scary shots and always manages to make the other guy look good.
His match with Cactus Jack was always destined for greatness. All you have to do is look at the debut of Cactus Jack in a similar environment and you know these two work very well together because that was a rather awesome match. Factor in an environment both men work well in and you're pretty much set. The move had some scary pops, and as Ricky has said, it made you think HHH was a sick, sick dude. Perfect for the role he was playing and set up HIAC nicely.
Number 2 - The Unsanctioned match. A match that brought out the best in both men, proving HHH could get HBK to perform in an environment he wasn't used to and look damn good doing it. The bitterness portrayed in the run-up between two friends and former allies lent itself to a charged match which was pretty brutal for both men. He may have lost, but he got one of the best performances from HBK and himself in the process and did nothing to lose his heel status with the ending
Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels - Summerslam 2002
I absolutely loved the build-up to this match. It had Shawn Michaels returning after 4 years to face probably my favourite wrestler at the time, Triple H, in an unsanctioned match. The only time I was just as excited to watch a match from this decade was when Michaels faced Angle at Wrestlemania 21. When the match took place it sure as hell delivered. It became an instant classic, and one of the best matches in Summerslam history. This match told such a great story. I also loved the way it was layed out, which was different to most street fights. It wasn't the typical "I hit you with a weapon, you kick out at 2, you hit me with a weapon, I kick out at 2, and so on and so on" type of match. This match was very logical and had great psychology. The build-up to the finish, and the finish itself was perfect, and fit in perfectly with the story of the match.
For me, this was the end of Triple H's prime. Up to this point he was a complete badass, character-wise, and his in-ring performance was consistently good. Ever since then, only on very rare occasions has he had quality matches at the level of the ones he had in the early 00's. Which leads me to my next match:
Triple H vs. John Cena - Wrestlemania 22
When I first watched this match I didn't care for it. I was no longer much of a Triple H fan, and I didn't yet realise the greatness that is John Cena. It's only now that I realise, when watching this match again, how good this match really was. I feel that this match is arguably the best Wrestlemania main event since Austin/Rock at X-7. In Wrestlemania history, only several times has there been a true feeling that the main event is being contested between the two absolute top wrestlers in the company. Hogan/Andre definitely had that feeling. So did Hogan/Savage and Hogan/Warrior. Hart/Michaels also had that feeling, as did Michaels/Austin and Rock/Austin. HHH/Cena also belongs in this notorious list. The crowd was so into this match, which made for a great atmosphere and big-match feeling. This match told very good story, and even though Cena won the title a year prior, it was this match that truly started the Cena era, and it was this match when people with any intelligence actually started to realise that Cena actually could wrestle.
HHH vs Austin 2001 ,NWO ,3 stages of hell match.
This match was amazing. As i said in the WWE section for the 3 stages of hell matches thread, i loved it . Obivously the best 3 stages of hell match ever. HHH and Austin were having a good feud. Good way to finish it off the feud and even better with a great match. It was one of those anyone could win matches were you didn't know who was going to win until the last second. For both men to put on a great show for 40 minutes is just amazing.
HHH vs HBK vs Benoit 2004, Wrestlemania, Triple threat match for the WHC.
This one of the best matches ever at Wrestlemania. It had a great feel because benoit finally made it to the big one in a main event after winning the Rumble. The HBK and HHH feud didn't get old and it just brang more to this match instead of it being HHH vs HBK. It went on for 20+ minutes ( didn't get boring at all) and had great moments in the match. In the end Benoit won. But overall they all won.
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