Triple H has called time on his 30 year in-ring wrestling career. The 52-year-old announced his retirement on ESPN’s First Take. His final match occurred at Super ShowDown in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on June 7, 2019 in a loss to perennial ally/rival, Randy Orton.
This feature looks back on the five greatest matches in ‘The Game’s’ long and storied career.
#5 Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy – No Mercy (October 5, 2008)
Triple H was the reigning WWE Champion in the Autumn of 2008 when he clashed with Jeff Hardy on the undercard of the company’s sterling No Mercy event.
‘The Game’ dominated the early going with his superior power, but would soon come undone by his younger foe’s speed. The bout gradually increased it’s pace before the pair continually countered each other’s moves.
The psychology was smart as the match called back to previous bouts the pair contested and built to a stunning crescendo. Hardy nailed Triple H with the Twist of Fate and Swanton Bomb but his lackadaisical cover allowed ‘The Cerebral Assassin’ to roll him over into a crucifix pin for a well earned victory.
One of the best non-gimmicked matches in WWE history and a demonstration that even in 2008, ‘The Game’ was still one of the promotion’s premier performers.
#4 Triple H vs. Cactus Jack – No Way Out (February 27, 2000)
Triple H and Cactus Jack had lit up Madison Square Garden with a brutal and bloody Streetfight one month earlier at the Royal Rumble.
To end their blood feud, the pair clashed again inside Hell in a Cell in the No Way Out top liner.
Building upon their ‘Rumble classic, the pair once again used chairs and barb wire and upped the ante by introducing fire into the mix. The action spilled to the top of the cell after Cactus used the steps to smash a hole in the mesh, allowing the combatants to escape the confines of the cell.
The finish came after ‘The Hardcore Legend’ blasted Triple H with a flaming 2×4, but ‘The Game’ subsequently backdropped his opponent through the cell roof. One pedigree later and ‘The Cerebral Assassin’ had retired Mick Foley (for four weeks anyway) and retained his WWF Championship.
A shade inferior to their ‘Rumble stunner but a terrific match nonetheless. One of the all time WWF classic bouts.
#3 Triple H vs. The Undertaker – WrestleMania XXVIII (April 1, 2012)
Triple H and The Undertaker were both famed for participating in Hell in a Cell matches. At WrestleMania XXVIII they competed against one another inside ‘Satan’s Structure.’
Billed as an ‘End of an Era’ match-up, this marked the third and final time, ‘The Game’ and ‘The Phenom’ clashed at WrestleMania.
Building on their previous bouts as well as The Undertaker’s prior matches with the special guest referee, Shawn Michaels, the match delivered in spades from a storytelling perspective, as well as a being a sterling in-ring spectacle.
After dominating ‘Taker for the majority of the bout, Triple H failed to keep ‘The Phenom’ down for a three count. Exhausted, ‘The King of Kings’ smashed ‘The Deadman’ with a sledgehammer but still could not keep ‘Taker down. The match culminated when The Undertaker battered ‘The Cerebral Assassin’ with multiple chair shots and two Tombstone Piledrivers.
One of the finest matches of the 2010’s, this bout had everything and is a highlight of both Triple H and The Undertaker’s long careers.
#2 Triple H vs. Chris Jericho – Fully Loaded (July 23, 2000)
Triple H and Chris Jericho had contested an exciting match on the April 17, 2000 Raw. In said bout, ‘Y2J’ apparently defeated ‘The Game’ for the WWF Championship. However, the decision was later reversed after referee, Earl Hebner acknowledged that he had delivered a fast count.
Their escalating tension reached boiling point in one of three headline attractions at the WWF’s Fully Loaded pay-per-view event. Fought under Last Man Standing rules, Triple H and Jericho contested a stunning match.
The psychology was sound as ‘The Game’ relentlessly targeted ‘Y2J’s ribs which sapped the energy from his opponent in this high octane battle. Triple H dominated the majority of the match-up, but Jericho timed his comebacks beautifully.
Both combatants bled heavily and used every weapon at their disposal towards the end of the match. The finish came when ‘The Cerebral Assassin’ suplexed Jericho through the announce table. An exhausted Triple H managed to beat the count at nine, before collapsing once more.
Another sterling effort in ‘The Game’s’ finest ever in-ring year in 2000. Triple H hoisted Jericho up to his level and made the fans believe ‘Y2J’ could be a future main-eventer.
Without question, the finest Last Man Standing contest in WWF history.
#1 Triple H vs. Cactus Jack – Royal Rumble (January 23, 2000)
Triple H’s greatest ever match was the one in which he established himself as bonafide main eventer. Already a three-time WWF Champion when he faced Mick Foley’s deranged alter ego, Cactus Jack at the Royal Rumble, there was still a question mark as to whether ‘The Game’ had what it took to permanently headline WWF events.
All naysayers were silenced as he atypically eschewed his traditional mat and technical wrestling work to brutalise Cactus Jack with barb wire, chairs, thumb tacks and anything else he could lay his hands on.
The result was an expertly paced, bloody, violent and stunningly exciting brawl which retains it’s power over two decades on.
Triple H pedigreed Cactus on a bed of thumbtacks to retain the WWF Title and establish himself as the premier performer in wrestling.
Without question the bout is the finest ‘The Game’ ever contested.
You can watch all of these matches and many more memorable Triple H moments exclusively on the WWE Network.