Triple H was playing a long con for most of 2016 to set up an eventual full-time (albeit only 2-3 months long) return to WWE television. The Game dropped the WWE World Heavyweight Championship he had captured by winning the Royal Rumble match last January to Roman Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania 32. But rather than seek immediate retribution of any kind, Triple H vanished for four and a half months before showing up on RAW again.
Triple H, of course, made a surprise appearance during the flagship show’s main event on August 29. He cost Reigns and Seth Rollins the newly-created WWE Universal Championship in favor of Kevin Owens in one of the more memorable moments of the year.
While Owens embarked on his title reign that is still ongoing, Triple H disappeared yet again from the public eye, save for an internet-only cameo following the Clash of Champions pay-per-view to pick up his wife, Stephanie McMahon. It wouldn’t be until this past Saturday’s NXT pay-per-view and the RAW after the Royal Rumble that Hunter would appear on TV to advance the storyline.
Triple H finally showed his face after being called out for months by his former protégé, Seth Rollins. At the Takeover event, Rollins rushed the ring and grabbed the microphone in a work-shoot portrayal that prompted The Game to come through the curtain, only for him to summon his security guards to escort The Architect from the arena. Subsequently, Rollins was banned from the Alamodome the following night and did not show up at all at the Royal Rumble.
It wasn’t until the following night on RAW that the fireworks were truly set off on their proposed WrestleMania program. However, after Triple H delivered a fiery promo disparaging Rollins, Seth rushed the ring only to be ambushed by a debuting Samoa Joe. The intent of the attack was to set up a match between Joe and Rollins for Fastlane, followed by the ultimate payoff where Rollins would finally get his hands on Triple H at WrestleMania.
Lo and behold, Rollins was legitimately injured during the attack and an MCL tear will keep him sidelined for six to eight weeks. The setback prompted top WWE officials to hold a creative meeting on Wednesday to discuss their options leading into their biggest event of the year. If Rollins is on the shelf for the full eight weeks, his return date would hover right around WrestleMania and the first weekend in April.
It’s still unclear whether the company would trot him out to RAW each week (if he’s even able to travel) to drive the storyline from a promo perspective, have Triple H carry the entire program himself, or scrap the match from the card completely and wait until SummerSlam for the final payoff. Remember, if the timeline is on the most severe end of the spectrum, this would be the second year in a row that a proposed match between Triple H and Seth Rollins would be scrapped from the card.
There had been initial discussions about the idea of scrapping it and pulling Triple H off the card completely, but according to a new report, The Game is not in favor of that move at all. Because WrestleMania is in Orlando this year, Triple H wants to wrestle on the show because of NXT’s association to the town and Camping World Stadium’s proximity to the Performance Center. A proposed segment with Conor McGregor also looks like a long shot at this point.
If Rollins is ruled out, there was an idea pitched by someone on the creative team for Triple H to face the man that injured Rollins, Samoa Joe. There was also a thought to swiftly switch Joe to the SmackDown brand to enter into a program with John Cena, but Cena appears to be spoken for at WrestleMania despite the lack of enthusiasm around his match.
The WWE felt burned by injuries during last WrestleMania season and are hoping history doesn’t repeat itself. It looks like Triple H will be on the card no matter what, as it’s just a matter of what type of plan they come up with that will satisfy him and the creative process.
[Featured Image by WWE]