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Triple H Reviews


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All credit to NEWM and ShortOrderCook.


ShortOrderCook's Royal Rumble Reviews thread was bloody great, wasn't it? For those contributing and for those reading. I certainly had fun, and the idea behind the thread has franchise potential, I'd say.


So anyway, Bret Hart recently said that Triple H has 'never had a great match'. Here's Nicko's thread about it. Whatever you might think of Bret, it's not hard to disagree with him on this. As far as I'm concerned, Triple H has had loads of great matches.


Such as:


Royal Rumble 2000 vs. Cactus Jack

2000 matches vs. The Rock

Summerslam 2002 vs. Shawn Michaels

2004 matches vs. Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit

2005 matches vs. Batista

WrestleMania 27 vs. Undertaker

WrestleMania 28 vs. Undertaker


and so on and so forth. Different people will have different favourites.


And I thought that a thread reviewing some of The Game's best matches could go down well.


If you would like to take part, and review your favourite Triple H match, please post in this thread and name the match you would like to review, along with a picture from that match.


First come, first served - once it's gone, it's gone, and I'll do a list in the opening post as a reminder of who's got what. Then you watch your match, write your review, and post it. As soon as you can, please!


If the reviews are half as good as in the Rumble thread, we'll be on to a winner.


The only difference is that, with these being individual matches, I think they need a rating. So at the end of the review, please rate out of 10 using the following image:






So, hopefully this'll catch on. I'll try and get a review of my own up tomorrow, and I'm picking this match:



SummerSlam 2002, Unsanctioned Match vs. Shawn Michaels





Carbomb - Summerslam 2010 vs. Legacy

fye - Royal Rumble 2000 vs. Cactus Jack

Gus Mears - vs. Shelton Benjamin, RAW, 2004

HarmonicGenerator - SummerSlam 2002 vs. Shawn Michaels

Jackpot - TLC 2009 vs. Jerishow

kamicazze - Fully Loaded 2000 vs. Chris Jericho

King Pitcos - vs. Cade and Murdoch, RAW, 2007

LariatTom - No Mercy 2008 vs. Jeff Hardy

Shane O' Mac Version 2 - Vengeance 2005 vs. Batista

ShortOrderCook - WrestleMania XXVII vs. Undertaker

Slick Dick Nick - No Way Out 2001 vs. Stone Cold

Statto - WrestleMania XVIII vs. Undertaker

TheBigBoot - Taboo Tuesday 2005 vs. Ric Flair

Tombstone 101 - WrestleMania X-8 vs. Chris Jericho

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Nice thread, but wouldn't it work just as well if people just posted their reviews straight out, rather than posting to say they're going to do it, then going away to do it? It's not like any two reviews will be the same.


This is true, but it'd be nice to have a greater variety of matches rather than everyone posting different slants on the same few (not saying that'd happen but obviously some matches will have a great deal more popularity than others). Thought it'd encourage a bit of wider-ranging thinking, rather than going for the obvious choices like I've done, sort of thing.

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Go on then. I'd like Triple H vs Undertaker, WrestleMania 27 please.




P.S- Not full credit to ShortOrderCook. Much credit to NEWM, it was mostly his baby, but he already had one on the way so he asked me to adopt it.


P.P.S- Get TheBigBoot involved in this please.


P.P.P.S- I love you.

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OK, let's have a go - I'm calling the End of an Era HIAC match from last year's Mania vs. Taker. I'll do my level best to do it justice.


Edit: SOC, have you said Wrestlemania 27 when you mean Wrestlemania 28? Because on realising I'd forgotten to add my picture, I noticed the picture you've used has Shawn in it... If you do, I'll graciously step aside.

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Statto - SOC specified WrestleMania 27, so don't worry. Hell In A Cell is all yours.



But now...











This match is one of my absolute all-time favourites, though I haven't watched it for a fair few years now. It, combined with the 1997 Hell In A Cell match (which I only saw in full for the first time on Shawn Michaels' From The Vault DVD, which I bought on the strength of this match), turned me into a huge HBK fan, which I have remained ever since (dodgy D-X stuff in the mid 2000s aside). It was a match I bought into totally. I believed all the hype. I was completely suckered in during. And I was devastated by the aftermath (in more than one sense, actually, but more on that later).


The match is mainly the Shawn Michaels Show, and deservedly so. But I don't think it would have been half as memorable, or a fraction as great, without Triple H being in there with him. It's definitely a great Triple H match too.


Build-up wise, I don't remember a lot. Something about Shawn's head being smashed into a car window, or something. (I imagine that part of the real reason for it coming about was the disaster of WWE's nWo, plus Stone Cold abandoning RAW, a few months beforehand, and they needed another star). What I do remember was the following, and in the context of the match, this is what we needed to know:


- Shawn Michaels has not had a match in over four years.

- This is because he has a BROKEN BACK.

- If he bumps even slightly incorrectly even once in this match, very, VERY bad things could happen to him.

- Nobody knows if he's still got it, or if he'll walk out afterwards.

- Triple H is merciless.

- Triple H is a bastard.

- Triple H is actively looking to destroy Michaels.

- Even Eric Bischoff has reservations about what could happen, and he makes it a 'non-sanctioned' match.


Like I said, I completely bought into the match for these reasons. I was worried for Shawn.


The hype hit fully just before the match, when they played THIS VIDEO.


"The doctors say I'll be 100% by, say... Summerslam?"




And the song that went along with it suited the whole angle perfectly:


"I will fight 'til there's nothing left, 'til my legs are gone, you won't forget me, 'cause I will fight 'til my final breath, just to see you fall, I'll make you fear me..."



And then, it was time...




Shawn makes his entrance with confetti, pyro, the lot. He's got some spangly chaps on, but underneath are jeans. You know what that means? BUSINESS. He also has a vest on.


"I swear, I pray this is not a mistake," JR says about HBK's comeback. He got a HUGE reaction. But wait... it's time... TO PLAY THE GAME.




There's a veneer of confidence on Michaels' face, but I don't know how, because Triple H is deadly fucking serious. His expression doesn't change the entire way down to the ring. This match was made by a combination of Michaels' revelatory athleticism, and Triple H's facial expressions. He's definitely one of the best at that. You know exactly what's going through his mind, but never in an over-the-top way.


The bell rings, they go straight at it into brawling, HHH throws HBK through the middle rope, but he lands on his feet, straight back in, spear, more brawling. The crowd are going nuts throughout the whole match, actually.


HHH knocks Michaels down, and I wince, but he's back up! Leapfrogs Triple H, throws him over the top rope, body press! He hit a body press! Fucking hell, he HAS still got it! Trips, between receiving right hands to the face, is selling a perfect expression of shock at the fact Michaels doesn't look like he's missed a beat.


HBK pursues Triple H around the ring, but when he goes for a bin lid from the collection of weapons they always used to have under the ring, he gives HHH time to recover, and receives a crowd barrier to the gut for his trouble. We get our first pause to take in what we've just seen - loads of HHH's big matches are paced really well like this, giving you the occasional breather before the next stretch.


Bin lid to Trips' face, and Michaels skins the cat! He hits HHH with the bin itself, then up to the top with an axe handle!


This early stage is effectively Shawn showing that he's still at the top of his game. You can't tell whether he's already at 100% ring shape or whether this is partly Triple H selling everything like death to make Shawn an instant threat, but it's obvious that this match wouldn't be working as well with any other opponent.


Shawn signals Sweet Chin Music! Triple H ducks, and hits this




FUCK! Fucking hell, a fucking backbreaker! Triple H, you BASTARD! This runs through my mind again and again as Shawn screams in pain - it's his turn to sell like hell. It may seem a little like over-selling when you watch the match now, after this one-match comeback lasted nearly eight years, but at the time, I was utterly convinced. STAY AWAY FROM HIS BACK TRIPLE H YOU BASTARD.


Everyone's working together to make this one move as deadly as possible. "I don't think even Shawn Michaels knows how much punishment his back can take," says JR. JR is great in matches like this. Referee Earl Hebner pleads with HHH to lay off for a minute. Production give us replays of it. And Triple H goes and does it again! The BASTARD!


"HBK" chant as HHH gains the upper hand, whipping Michaels back-first into the turnbuckle with extreme force. Now it's his turn to project confidence, while JR keeps emphasising the whole broken back thing as well as HHH's dangerousness.


Elbows to the back, and Michaels howls in pain. CHAIR to the back (bastard!) and the crowd gasps. It's masterful not just from Michaels, but Triple H as well. And Hebner to be honest, pleading "no! No!" with HHH before he DDTs Michaels onto the chair.


HBK is busted open, and Trips continues to demonstrate his bastardness by whipping him - across the back, of course - with Shawn's own belt.




Then the sledgehammer comes out.




We don't see him do that face (and he doesn't have a beard in this match), but the crowd lets out a collective "oh FUCK" regardless. But no! Michaels has got to his feet and is fighting back! It's cut off by, of all things, an Abdominal Stretch. But don't worry!




Because of the whole back situation, it's one of the most dramatic Abdominal Stretches you're likely to see in the 21st century. I have no idea at this point if Shawn's ever going to wrestle again. Not if HHH gets his way.


"He's an executioner... with a PhD!" cries JR. I think I know what he means?


But Triple H hadn't reckoned on this man!




Hebner stands up to Trips and repeatedly shouts "KNOCK IT OFF!" Using admirable restraint, Triple H doesn't punch Earl in the face... but the ref's outburst has bought Shawn some time. He climbs the top rope




but HHH knocks Hebner into the ropes, leading to Michaels falling forward and being caught in a kind of reverse Tree Of Woe. HHH smacks him in the arse with the chair (I know it was meant to be the back, but it was an unfortunate camera angle and he clearly caught him on the bum) and then... no, no, no...




Oh, you BASTARD! Backbreaker through the chair! He covers, 1, 2, HBK kicks out! He covers again, kick out! He covers AGAIN, kick out! NOW Triple H is angry. Sidewalk Slam on the chair (bastard!), cover, kick out, "fast count him, Earl, get it over with," begs JR, cover, kick out! Shawn Michaels WILL NOT DIE.




Sorry. Anyway, a few more pin attempts and HHH loses his cool. He's frustrated, he paces the ring swearing to himself, provoking the crowd into a big "HBK" chant. Now I think of it, this match is almost like a model or a prototype for both these guys' matches with Undertaker at the last few WrestleManias. They share a lot of the same hallmarks: high drama, big breaks in the action to heighten that drama, lots of facial work, severe beatdowns and miraculous kickouts... there are definitely parallels, which is really interesting. It isn't perfected yet, but there's obvious elements of that style to be found here.


Michaels counters a Pedigree attempt with a Low Blow, and more "HBK" chants follow. Sweet Chair Music to the face! Triple H is busted open too, now, and I'll pause to add that I loved the SummerSlam logo around this time:




Obviously that's not 2002's, but you get the idea. Reminds me of the school holidays and, well, summertime.


Back to the match, though, and HBK's on the attack! Forearm! KIP UP! AND THE CROWD JUMPS UP TO THEIR FEET! This is amazing, I remember being astonished, willing Shawn on to keep going and win. Chairshot! Triple H makes Michaels' every move look like a killer. On the outside, we get our first unprotected head shot with the bin lid, and now Michaels is whipping HHH with the belt! It looks like Triple H is in agony now, and I guess this is why Leather Strap matches happen, they're massively entertaining if you sell the strap right.


Jerry Lawler makes the point that at the start of the match, he just wanted HBK to survive, but now, he wants him to win - I agree! Another bin lid shot sends Triple H tumbling over an announce table as still-scrawny-and-bearded Michael Cole scarpers (I presume he was announcing the SmackDown matches that night. Hey, there were some cracking matches on Summerslam 2002. Rock-Brock, Edge-Guerrero, Angle-Mysterio, and then you had Jericho-Flair, Benoit-RVD and Undertaker-Test... great card.)


For some reason, Shawn removes Hugo Savinovich's boot and hits Triple H with it. "An eye for an eye and a heel for a heel," notes JR.


And then Shawn finds A LADDER. He signals his secret desire to one day perform in BritWres by asking the crowd, "shall I?" before clobbering Triple H with it a few times. Slingshot into the ladder, HHH has the crimson mask. "Pin him, pin him, PIN HIM!" urges JR, but HHH kicks out. He hasn't got a move in in about five minutes by this point. Shawn brings the ladder into the ring... or tries to, because HHH cuts him off with a baseball slide.


Back on the outside, Triple H rests for a second in a position like this




only with more blood pouring down his face and no top on, but then, rolling back into the ring, HBK hits a superplex! Kick out! HBK picks up a bit more momentum, but one knee to the face later and Triple H is back on top. He takes too long bringing the ring steps in, and Michaels is able to drop-toehold him into them. He clotheslines Triple H over the top, and goes for a table. At this point it's impossible to know who's winning. Michaels deserves to win, but this might be his last match, his back might not be able to take another one (in addition to this, the announcers claim that Michaels has claimed this will be his last match anyway, a story adapted and perpetutated on WWE.com for months afterwards, with Shawn claiming he'd probably only be able to do one match every few months. Then of course by 2003 he was wrestling almost every week, which pleased everybody because he was bloody brilliant).


Triple H is laid out on the table, Shawn goes up to the top rope, plays to the crowd, signalling "I'm crazy for what I'm about to do" (with which Lawler agrees), and then he does this:




AMAZING. The crowd goes wild - and we watching at home got a perfect camera angle for the live shot and a superb slow motion replay. I reiterate, amazing.


Back in the ring, Shawn grabs the ladder. Signals to everyone that he loves them, and...




BOOM! Elbow off the ladder!


He's fired up! He's tuning up the band! He's in a frenzy! SWEET! CHIN! NO!




Triple H reverses! Pedi - NO! ROLL UP! 1! 2! 3! HE DID IT!!!!!!!!


"Hoo hoo hooooooo!" screams King. JR is similarly excited. The crowd are jumping up and down and cheering with considerable volume. "In 25 years I've never seen so much courage, so much will to win," adds JR. "What about that?! What about that?!" says Lawler in disbelief. Hebner raises HBK's hand...







I can't find any clips of it, I can't even find a .gif (nor can I make one, I tried), but Triple H, that BASTARD, just hit HBK IN THE BACK WITH A SLEDGEHAMMER. BASTARD!


He taunts Michaels, who's on his knees




He raises the sledgehammer... no, no, he can't use the actual hammer bit, he can't, they NEVER let him do that, they - NO!!!!!!!!


This is what I always remember about the match. Triple H swings the sledgehammer down, and the actual hammer bit connects with HBK's back. He full-on hit him with the sledgehammer right in the back. Bastard, bastard, bastard. HBK is done. Trips lived up to his promise, HBK is dead. HHH walks up the ramp with the sickest, smuggest smile on his face.


I was in disbelief at the time. What a match. What an ending. How could he have done that?! BASTARD!


Watching the match back now, it's still bloody great, and it retains a place in my favourites for the connection I had with it at the time. It holds up pretty well, and I'd undoubtedly consider it one of the best matches of the early 2000s. But in terms of the high-emotional-stakes, high-drama big-time feel, I actually think both men have bettered their efforts here more recently - both men with Undertaker, but also Michaels with Ric Flair particularly.


I'm giving the match itself eight Miserable Bret Harts:




But when coupled with the fantastic pre-match video, and the absolute surprise and devastation of the post-match, it easily gets the full ten Brets. 10/10!




In conclusion, sorry Bret, while the story of the match was all about Shawn Michaels, this has to be considered a great Triple H match. He played the bastard so well, and Shawn's story here couldn't have been told without him. It wasn't all about the Game, but he was invaluable and irreplaceable here. The ending made me desperate to see Shawn gain his revenge, but their 2 out of 3 falls match at Armageddon that year, while brutal, didn't really live up to this one all that match. Their Hell in a Cell match in 2004(?) was also a bit of a disappointment. But I can still safely say they've had at least one absolute classic singles match. GAME OVER.



Right, who's going next?

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Brilliant review, and I share the sentiment that it was this match (although I saw it as it was broadcast) that converted me as to HBK's greatness.


One thing: the build-up to the storyline was that Bischoff had dissolved the nWo, and so told Michaels that, from now on, he was going to be Triple H's manager. Michaels objected, saying to Bischoff he had no problems being Trips' manager, but he did have a problem with Bischoff telling him what to do. HBK then effectively told Easy E to fuck off and walked to the back.


Trips visits HBK in his locker-room, asking him if he's OK, etc. Then he says something like: "What about this?" and shows HBK something in a plastic bag. Michaels laughs, says "Are you sure, man?" to which Trips says "Yes, I'll see you out there".


Next time we see them (well, just before), the crowd is sent wild by DX's music hitting, with all the old-style videos and pyros, and the guys come out, doing their DX shtick. They get in the ring, Michaels cuts a promo on how they're back, passes the mike to Trips, who then does the whole "Let's get ready to suck IIIIIIIIT", both guys raise their hands above their heads for the crotch-chop -


Then Trips gut-kicks Michaels, Pedigrees him and walks out. The next week, he explains that he did it because he was fed up of Michaels trying to take the spotlight again and feed his ego, especially as he's not a wrestler any more.


That's pretty much how it started. He also referenced it during his feud with Nash, saying something along the lines of "Don't listen to HBK, both our careers took off when we got away from him".

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