HHH: Inside the Game
by, 10-19-2013 at 08:45 AM (4014 Views)
The Attitude Era. Often defined as the introduction of sex, violence and unexpected plot twists in the world of professional wrestling. It is in the Attitude Era that one of the most influential figures in professional wrestling history had his greatest success as a performer and laid the groundwork for what would become today’s WWE. We are talking about none other than The Game; HHH.
To truly understand the story of HHH, or Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and how he became who he is today we have to look back on not only what he accomplished in the ring as a performer for so many years, but also the relationships he forged while doing it. Sure we all know the stories of the Kliq and then DX. HHH and his real life friends (Fellow wrestlers Shawn Michaels, Scott hall, Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman) were able to place themselves at the forefront of the wrestling world in its most successful era. Behind the scenes HHH was said to be the glue of the group. Level headed, smart and well spoken, he paid his dues in the ring while learning how to make things happen behind the scenes. It was during this same time that he began the most important relationship of all; his dating and subsequent marriage to the boss’ daughter. The Cerebral Assassin had fallen in love.
The Game had his setbacks as a wrestler. The was the infamous Madison Square Garden incident where he, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) and Diesel (Kevin Nash) met in the ring and hugged it out before the latter two departed for WCW. Someone had to take the fall for this group breaking “kayfabe” and in this case the Assassin took the bullet. Looking back on this defining moment of HHH’s career it is most likely the first piece of the puzzle leading to his current role as Executive Vice President of Talent and Live Events. (He appears in character on WWE television programming as acting Chief Operating Officer.) As punishment during this time he was subjected to matches in hog pens filled with mud and various other debacles not fitting of his talent as a performer. Had he not endured and even prospered through the hard time we may not know the same man we see today. However, once this period of pain was over, HHH helped form DX and was catapulted into much more worthy and intriguing storylines. One of which led to the eventual marriage of none other than Vince McMahon’s (Owner of WWE) daughter, Stephanie. In this case drama mirrored reality and Paul Levesque (The Game’s real name) fell in love with the younger McMahon, married her and they now have three beautiful children together.
Looking at the unforeseen twist of Hunter marrying Vince’s daughter in real life people often tend to think he is a manipulative, greedy person who was only trying to get ahead for himself. Let’s break it down at this point and really look at the bigger picture. Vince is known to be hyper-controlling as the WWE majority owner. He has his fingers on the pulse of every aspect of the business. Knowing this, one can conclude he would have a similar approach in life. Certainly he never thought his own daughter would grow up and marry one of the 300 pound monsters he so proudly presented as barbarians ready to tear each limb from limb each week on RAW, right? Only the Cerebral Assassin could prove that theory wrong. Think about it; who else would have the guts to look in the eyes of THE MAN in this business and say “Boss, I’d like to marry your daughter.” We can only imagine the look Vince gave him, the knot in his stomach, but Vince said yes. That alone says more about the man HHH is both personally and professionally than anything else he has done or ever will do in his career.
Vince had a long and storied falling out with the legend and longest reigning WWF/WWE champion of all time Bruno Sammartino. It was only HHH’s ability to garner respect from all generations of performers and his love of the sport’s rich history that brought the two stubborn men together after over 30 years of bickering. He’s also brought back many past WWE greats to play integral parts in current storylines. This has been done to make the current roster more relevant and to give the young group a boost from the Attitude Era to the PG Era the WWE is currently in. Rob Van Damm, Mick Foley, Paul Heyman, JBL, Booker T, Goldust just to name a few.
Balancing an on screen role and an executive role is difficult. The Game does it and makes it look easy. I am sure there are many, many storylines we don’t realize he has touched creatively backstage, but sometimes you can almost feel it. While the WWE has decided for financial reasons to remain a PG rated product, you can often spot the thumbprint of HHH if you look close enough each week on RAW and Smackdown. Whether it’s a few carefully placed words during a promo, a chair shot, kendo stick, table, ladder or just a good ol’ mudhole stompin’; the Attitude Era that The Game flourished in is surely gone but not forgotten. Just check out the crowd reaction of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan these days. ECW! ECW! ECW! Anyone?
I could go on in volumes as to how HHH has helped shape and define the WWE for over twenty years. He has done more than we could ever mention here. But, if you take away one thing from this I hope that it is a greater respect for what he has accomplished. Personally, I was never a big fan. I often felt he had some great matches with people that made the match great with their performance more than he did with his. It is certainly a hall of fame career in the ring though no doubt. But we weren’t really talking about that here were we? This is the story of Paul Levesque’s Game and how he played it.