Growing up as a wrestling fan I remember the day I watched as a man dressed in what appeared to be fox hunting garb approach the ring on Monday Night Raw – his name was Hunter Hearst Helmsley but you probably know him as Triple H.
At the time I thought little of it – many a man has passed through the hallowed halls of the Vince McMahon-owned spectacle with little in the way of an impact (Mean Street Posse anyone?).
But then came the rebrand, in much the same way that the 1-2-3 Kid evolved into “X Pac” so Hunter Hearst Helmsley was rechristened “Triple H” and the rest, as they say, is history.
After winning the World Heavyweight Championship an incredible 13 times, the 44-year-old heads into this year four-way main event as a 16/1 outsider to regain his once-cherished WWE title and with good reason too.
With Triple H well and truly under the thumb of wife – and daughter of Vince – Stephanie McMahon, the guy once known as “The Game” has stepped back from the ring of late, instead opting to act as the foil to current fan favourite and fellow Wrestlemania opponent Daniel Bryan.
The bearded wildman has captured the imagination of audiences with his trademark “Yes” catchphrase, which he repeats ad nauseam and, at 1/8, is the overwhelming favourite to take home a long-awaited title.
Batista and Randy Orton can be backed at 6/1 and 20/1 respectively, but with both playing bit-part roles in the ongoing feud between Bryan and Triple H, this looks a two horse race if ever we saw one.
And while some have pointed to The Game’s current semi-retired status as evidence of Bryan’s imminent victory, it’s a foolish punter who totally discounts a man once referred to as The King of Kings.
Triple H may be a little softer now but let’s not forget that this is the man who held the belt 13 times and who upset the odds and fans alike to beat Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Kane, The Undertaker and The Rock over the years.
This is a character who “drugged” and “married” Stephanie McMahon, who encouraged Rikishi to run Stone Cold over on a cold Monday Night Raw and who time and time again loves upsetting the odds and the fans for the sake of entertainment.
And don’t think that because he’s been out of regular wrestling that he can’t – Shawn Michaels made a return in the 2002 Survivor Series after victory in the first-ever elimination chamber match, while the likes of Hulk Hogan and RicFlair have also won titles in semi-retirement.
Triple H may have resembled a man off on a jolly hunt all those years ago, but now he’s just a wrestler very much in the hunt for another title.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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