I really wonder about WWE sometimes. For a company that prides itself on giving the fans what they want, they have a terrible tendency to instead tell the fans what they want, whether it be the relentless push of Roman Reigns or this email from WWE Network that ended up in my inbox the other day.
Of all the reasons to re-watch old Wrestlemanias on the Network, why on earth would somebody want to relive Triple H’s entrances when, despite WWE describing them as “epic”, they blatantly suck?
It wasn’t always this way. Hunter Hearst Helmsley entered his first Wrestlemania in style, bringing along Sable, who quickly stole away the announcers’ attention.
See if you can guess what Kevin Dunn was trying to emphasize with this camera angle.
Triple H entered the next three Manias to pieces by such artists as Beethoven and Chris Warren & the DX Band.
Triple H’s entrances hit their first snag at Wrestlemania 17 when Motorhead performed his theme song, only for Lemmy to forget all the words.
An even bigger disaster occurred at the following year’s Wrestlemania, when Drowning Pool was scheduled to perform Triple H’s theme… and did.
The Game’s Wrestlemania entrance arguably peaked at Mania 21, when Motorhead once again played him to the ring, this time getting more of the lyrics right.
Then things went south faster than 3/5ths of the Clique in 1996.
Triple H’s match the following year at Mania 22 was built on the premise that Helmsley, a no-nonsense old-school guy, was going to take the title away from the young and irritating hip-hop aficionado, John Cena, and finally reclaim his throne.
Whoever designed Trips’s entrance ignored the part about him being a no-nonsense old-school guy and ran with the part about the throne. The result: the first entrance to make this writer laugh out loud since The X-Factor debuted that Uncle Kracker song as their theme music (#3 on that list was John Cena’s Chicago gangster entrance a few minutes later).
We were presented with this fine CGI screensaver…
…followed by a funhouse prop and some B-movie footage.
Can we just focus on that skeleton? Look at this little guy!
For the first time, we heard Triple H’s new theme by Motorhead, “The King of Kings”, inspired by Triple H’s blasphemous nickname for himself. How did he get that moniker? Well, it all began back in 1998, when Ken Shamrock, Owen Hart, and Triple H, all former King of the Ring tournament winners, battled in a Triple Threat Match for the title of “King of Kings”.
Ken Shamrock won that match by pinning Triple H. So…
…Yeah, I don’t know either, dude.
The king’s throne ascended from the pits of hell… then stopped… then shook… then jerked up and down a few more times. Apparently, this throne was rigged up by Eddie Guerrero’s mechanic.
It was probably about this time when it dawned on the fur-clad Triple H that this grand entrance may have been… I don’t know, stupid or something.
And what was that in the Cerebral Barbarian’s hand? Was that a water bottle? Couldn’t Conan get a chalice or a human skull to drink out of?
At least Triple H got a neat hat out of the whole deal, even if it did make him look like an A-HHHole.
It’s worth noting that this was Hunter’s last Wrestlemania entrance as a heel for eight years.
Just a month later, the self-styled King of Kings re-formed DX, serving as Shawn Michaels’s tag team partner, God.
That’s how I remember it happening, anyhow.
But the important thing was that, as a babyface, Triple H’s entrances would be significantly less self-aggrandizing.
For instance, at Mania 25, Triple H simply stood in front of a mirror and shattered it with a sledgehammer (which, due to pre-match stipulations, would cost him his title were he to use it in the match).
At Wrestlemania 27, Triple H left most of the stupid stuff to the extras, who marched in behind a wall of shields like a certain faction was supposed to do a year and a half later. I seem to recall Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” playing during this entrance, but WWE Network says no, so what do I know?
Behind the shields, Triple H appeared dressed as his own Skull King logo. Is there any persona more iconic in wrestling than the Skull King?
Judging by the number of Skull King masks that you see fans wearing in the crowd at WWE events, I’d have to say, emphatically, yes!
The best part of this entrance was the fifteen seconds or so when the lights were off and some stagehand presumably ran over to Triple H to take all that bulls**t off him and hand him his water bottle.
Wrestlemania 28 saw the debut of the Skull King entrance tunnel, which shot out smoke like Vader’s old mastodon helmet.
For Wrestlemania 29, Triple H brought back Sable, who sported this eye-catching little number, complete with lights! Almost as good as her famous hand-print bikini, if I say so myself.
On closer inspection, it was the Skull King entrance tunnel again, only this time, it shot its dry ice right at Triple H.
A very cold and flame-retardant Game went on to defeat Brock Lesnar.
Now an megalomaniacal heel, Triple H pulled out all the stops at Mania 30, trotting out both the giant Vader helmet and the Eddie Guerrero Memorial Low Rider throne. This time, Stephanie McMahon acted as Hunter’s personal Smithers, presenting to the WWE Universe their new god… Mister Burns!
I mean, Triple H!
Armored in gold and surrounded by his royal NXT servant girls, Hunter basked in the glow of his own greatness in an entrance that verged on self-parody.
My only nit-pick is that, although the King of Kings had the forethought this time around not to carry a plastic water bottle with him on the throne, he didn’t drink from the chalice Alexa Bliss carried. Why forge a chalice if you’re not even going to use it?
For Wrestlemania 31, Triple H’s entrance was a tie-in with the upcoming Terminator film that sponsored the event.
After some lengthy Wiseau-like establishing shots of San Francisco, the city appeared to get blown away by a nuclear blast.
Viewers were taken back to Levi’s Stadium, where a grainy camera panned around the venue in search of Triple H’s opponent. For an artificial intelligence that took over the Earth, Skynet sure didn’t look too bright trying to track down Sting. Try looking in the f**king ring!
In a great missed opportunity, Robocop would not make the save for Sting in this match.
Triple H emerged wearing his Skull King mask, which now sported a monocle, as well as some robot arms for good measure.
A cut-away to Arnold Schwarzenegger and his glowing eyes allowed Trips to ditch the metal skeleton in exchange for some
T-1000 T-800 skulls that the masked stage hands could be seen carrying earlier in the entrance.
“Wrestlemania is brought to you by Terminator Genisys”, said Cole. You don’t say?
All in all, Triple H’s Terminator entrance lasted over five minutes, or longer – no joke – than the average women’s match at Wrestlemania up to that point.
Most recently, Triple H arrived in style to his main event match with Roman Reigns.
First, a video package aired showing exactly what would happen if the Flukeman from the X-Files were forced to wear a necktie.
Next, a face wearing a Skull King mask stared at the viewer, but underneath the mask was not Triple H, but… you guessed it:
Grammy- and Academy Award-winning superstar Cher!
Or, Stephanie McMahon!
The Queen of Kings screamed herself hoarse berating the audience, declaring that the common people are nothing more than sheep who blindly follow rulers like herself and Triple H. I’d say there was no way Triple H was walking out victorious after that kind of unreal, clear-cut villainy, but remember Mania 19 vs. Booker T?
Stephanie proclaimed that there was only one man who could be the undisputed champion at Wrestlemania, a point undermined by the fourteen faceless nobodies lining up beneath her, all wearing the exact same belt as Triple H.
The world’s largest skeleton crew all stood perfectly still, except for the one on the left, furthest from the camera, who just had to stand out and Paul-London this moment.
For the record, the dudes in skulls were NXT guys like Dash & Dawson, one of whom is pictured here (I can’t remember which):
At last, it was the real champion’s time to enter…
…turning out, ironically, to be the only one in the entire segment with the good sense not wear a stupid skull mask.
This Sunday, Triple H faces Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania 33. Will the COO try to top the extravagant entrances of his past? All I can say is, if WWE really wants to put this match over as “non-sanctioned” and unauthorized, they probably shouldn’t invest five figures into an entrance for a match that officially isn’t even taking place.
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