It was the booking of World Championship Wrestling that led to Triple H signing with the World Wrestling Federation, 25 years ago.
During a recent episode of ‘Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard,’ the former Brother Love revealed to co-host Conrad Thompson the process of hiring the future Cerebral Assassin back in 1995.
“It had actually started the year before that,” Prichard remembered. “Walter Kowalski, ‘Killer Kowalski,’ had told us about this guy that he had trained- Terra Ryzing. He was this champion for Walter’s independent promotion and Pat [Patterson] and I had gone out to one of Walter’s shows to take a look at him and we liked what we saw. We went to talk to him and he told us that he had given his word to WCW. They had offered him a contract and he said ‘I’m going to WCW.’ We said, ‘Okay, how long is your contract?’ He told us it was [for] a year. We said ‘When your contract’s up, please give us a call. We’ll be waiting for you and we would love to do business with you down the road.’”
‘Down the road’ ended up being roughly a year later and, despite forming a tag team with Lord Steven Regal that showed potential, the newly-dubbed Jean-Paul Levesque was already looking for a change of scenery.
Prichard continued, stating that “[his contract] came up and, at the time, we didn’t have anything for him and then we did and then we didn’t and he was actually ready to [re]sign with WCW, as legend goes, but then Eric [Bischoff] didn’t get him a contract and an opening came up on our end, where it was like ‘Hey, this guy is available.’ [So we asked him] ‘Are you still looking to come, because we’ve got an immediate spot where we can use you; we’ll plug you into some live events and get you going, but you wouldn’t start on TV for another few weeks. If you’d be interested.’ And timing’s everything. So, our timing was, we had something for him [here], WCW still hadn’t gotten him a contract and then, when they did, it was just too little, too late and he wanted the opportunity to come work for WWF and he had his year in WCW and didn’t feel like there was much there left for him. The rest, as they say, is history.”
That history led to 15 world championships and a legacy that will endure far past his last in-ring performance. Triple H would go on to marry the boss’s daughter and the ‘King of Kings’ will eventually, inevitably, inherit the kingdom that he believes is rightfully his. It’s funny to think about what could have been, had Eric Bischoff simply offered a new contract to Levesque in a timely-manner. It’s also funny to think about the fact that Triple H’s whole backstory came about because Bruce Prichard didn’t like people from Connecticut.
“He heard [the pitch] from J.J. [Dillon]," Prichard shared. “He heard it from J.J. and then met with Vince [McMahon]. We all met with him and then came up with the idea of an aristocrat from…I came up with Greenwich, because I was asked to name a place where you instantly dislike the people. I said ‘Oh, that’s Greenwich.’ So he was the aristocrat from Greenwich, Connecticut. It was a combination, but [the original meetings] happened with J.J. over the phone and then he met with Vince and then we started rolling on vignettes and getting him in the mix.”
To hear more about Triple H, as well as the buildup and execution of the 1995 Royal Rumble, check out the Something to Wrestle With Youtube page.
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By Nick Perkins