WWE will celebrate 25 years of Triple H beginning on Friday's SmackDown. Starting as a snobbish blue blood, Triple H transformed into "The Game" and one of the most decorated superstars in WWE history both on-camera and behind the scenes.
In 2020, Triple H has a great relationship with Vince McMahon as his son-in-law and one of his top executives. But in 1995, Vince had no idea who he was about to hire.
"The very first time I met Vince was when I was still at WCW; my contract was coming to an end. I was trying to gauge interest. JJ Dillon was running talent relations and he brought in for a meeting with Vince. I remember coming into the meeting thinking, one; it's Vince McMahon, he has a larger than life presence and of course, it's the ultimate meeting you could take in the business, especially at that time, maybe even more so today. Going into the meeting, obviously, very nervous and expecting a great outcome. Getting in there and realizing 'this guy has no idea who I am.' I'm sure he was asked, knowing the situation now, to take a meeting with a talent and here's a kid that's new and up-and-coming, his contract is coming up, and let's see if you want to bring him in. I don't believe he was aware of me as a performer or my work, nor should he have been, at that time," said Triple H on The Bump.
Triple H went on to say that when he first got the phone call from JJ Dillon, he thought his mom was in trouble and that the initial phone calls to set up the meeting were all done by payphone.
"We had a cordial meeting and he asked me what my plans were, what I was thinking about doing, why I wanted to go to [WWE] as opposed to staying where I was. The biggest takeaway for me was just the larger than life impression of Vince McMahon. He has a presence," said Triple H. "When you're in a room with him, that presence carries over. I've seen it in meetings with the biggest heavy hitters in business, he's in a room, and he carries the room. It would be like a month later that he called me, was aware of what I was doing after I had performed at Starrcade against Alex Wright, it was at the end of my contract and he called and said, 'If you're still interested, I saw what you did against Alex Wright, we would like you to come here.'
"He was very clear, 'I'm not offering you a job, I'm offering you a spot.' WCW was giving guaranteed money contracts, but the work was sporadic, everything was a mess, they were gonna stop doing live events. It was guaranteed money though. Vince didn't guarantee money. He guaranteed the opportunity to make money. It wasn't about money for me, it was about getting in there with the best. I remember on the phone call, Vince said, 'You said you wanted to work with the best and work every night and you wanted an opportunity. I will give you an opportunity, I promise you'll work every night, and work with the best. I'm offering you a spot, not just a job. I think you have the potential to be something big.' Right then, I said yes," he recalled.
Triple H made his debut on an episode of Wrestling Challenge in April 1995. And the rest, as they say, is history.
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