About 10 years ago, Triple H was in the midst of one of the longest reigns in modern WWE/F history. After beating Shawn Michaels in December 2002, Hunter would hold the World Heavyweight Championship for the next 280 days. It’s still tied for the fifth longest reign of the past twenty years, only surpassed by CM Punk, John Cena (twice) and Batista (by two days).
What makes this reign even more remarkable is that before Michaels’s short 28 day reign at the top, Triple H had another 76 day stop as the champion. Thus, with only a four week break, Hunter Hearst Helmsley had been champion for 356 days. Meaning of course, the same hulking ex-member of D-Generation X was soaking up nearly a quarter of a two hour television show each and every week for almost a year. It was impressive. It was unstoppable.
It was absolutely interminable.
Though he had been back in action for almost a year and a half following a completely torn quadriceps muscle, it seemed obvious to everyone that was watching that Triple H wasn’t the same wrestler he was before the injury. His mobility, athleticism and quickness were noticeably affected, which was only compounded by an even more noticeable 20 to 30 pounds of muscle Hunter had put on while rehabbing his injury. Looking like the Ultimate Warrior but moving like Paul Heyman wasn’t helping his ring work, as his matches had fallen far from his 2000-2001 peak when it seemed like there wasn’t a wrestler out there that Triple H couldn’t drag to a five star opus. They were slow, plodding affairs that were nearly as excruciating and formulaic as the last slow-motion feud he was in. The equation seemed the same every month: big, strong wrestler X would challenge Hunter, verbally spar for weeks and ultimately get crushed in a match akin to two monster trucks running into one another for 25 minutes. It’s perversely entertaining at first, but after five minutes, you’ll need a cotton candy. Or a valium. Or both. … Read more...