The name Triple-H is synonymous with sports entertainment. On top of being one of the most memorable talents in the history of the WWE—especially its much-loved Attitude Era—Triple-H has continued to guide the company as an executive, providing creative and strategic oversight. Much of the future of the WWE, and sports entertainment as a whole, rides on Triple-H’s broad shoulders, though fans still probably love him best for his in-ring talent, still on display at least once a year at WrestleMania. After falling to the Undertaker at back-to-back Manias, this year Triple-H will take on one of the most feared men in the WWE, Brock Lesnar, in a no-holds barred match with a grave stipulation: If Brock wins, Triple-H must retire!
“Daddy, who’s gonna push you down tonight?”
This isn’t a question the average father expects to hear from his 2-year-old daughter before heading off to work, but this daddy isn’t average. He’s 6'4" and weighs 255 pounds, and when he gets pushed, he pushes back. In fact, you’d consider yourself lucky if all he did was push. It’s more likely that he’d give you a facebreaker knee smash, falling neckbreaker, spinning spinebuster or, if he really wants to finish you off, his signature Pedigree move: a double-underhook facebuster. Have you figured out who Daddy is yet?
We’ll forgive you if you haven’t. After all, Daddy does run counter to his other pseudonyms. Monikers such as The Game, The Cerebral Assassin and The King of Kings don’t exactly conjure up paternal thoughts, but since we last spoke with Triple H for his M&F cover story in May 2004, there have been some big changes in the life of Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
The biggest, of course, is that he has become a father to two girls. “My old- est daughter is 2 and she’s just getting to the age where she [recognizes] me in the ring,” Triple H says. “She has been to some live events and has seen me backstage with the guys. When we’re about to head out for a match, I just tell her that Daddy and his friends are going out to play.”
By “play,” he means slam the hell out of each other in front of a packed arena of 15,000 screaming fans. When it’s over, however, they really are still friends.
“My wife [Stephanie McMahon, daughter of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon] grew up around this business and was really close to many of the wrestlers,” he says. “It’s cool to see our daughter have the same relationship. One minute she’s meeting [WWE Superstar] Hornswoggle and the next she’s playing patty-cake with [WWE Superstar] The Big Show.”