The last we saw Triple H, he was being pinned by Roman Reigns in the main event at WrestleMania 32 in Dallas, Texas. Reigns has gone on to create a new catchphrase (“I’m not a bad guy. I’m not a good guy. I’m the guy.”) as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. But we’ve yet to see or hear from The Game over the course of the ensuing two weeks’ worth of RAW and SmackDown. The absences of Triple H and his wife, Stephanie McMahon, have further fueled speculation that The Authority angle has reached its conclusion on WWE programming.
From a storyline perspective, WWE can easily say Triple H and Stephanie are simply licking their wounds since relinquishing the championship to Reigns and are biding their time to make their return. Officials could also be waiting as they determine what route they go with Reigns as their champ. The babyface ship may have sailed for the time being, which could create the opportunity for Hunter to return as a good guy. But there’s also the chance they’re distancing the two so they can proceed with the Roman Empire against superstars of the roster who compete on a full-time basis.
Any way you slice it, Triple H has long removed himself from wrestling full-time. However, he’s already wrestled in more matches this year than he did in all of 2015. In fact, his lone match last year came, of course, at WrestleMania 31 when he defeated Sting. In 2016, however, Triple H has already competed in (and won) the Royal Rumble, beat Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the WWE Network special Roadblock, went one-on-one with Dolph Ziggler on RAW, and even participated in a house show tag team match alongside Sheamus against Reigns and Ambrose.
Clearly, the Cerebral Assassin has not lost a step, and physically he might be in the best shape of his life. So when will he hang up his wrestling boots for good and focus solely on his role as WWE executive? Recently, Triple H conducted an interview (prior to WrestleMania 32) with Muscle & Fitness, who asked him just that.
“I think about that. I don’t want to be doing this just to do it. In the past several years there have been opportunities that have presented themselves. It all depends on the year. If you ask me right now about next year, I’m not even thinking about next year. I’m thinking about WrestleMania, and on Monday, after WrestleMania is over, I’ll think about what’s next after that.”
During his feuds over the last three years with Daniel Bryan, The Shield, Sting, and Roman Reigns, Triple H has had to wear multiple hats, performing double-duty as both an on-screen performer and backstage executive. Arguably, only Vince McMahon himself has done a more admirable job than The Game while juggling both responsibilities. And Triple H admitted that doing both is not an easy task.
“Going from the locker room and the road to coming into the office and working with the executives, it’s a totally different mindset and culture. You have to learn how to switch hats quickly. Something I always marveled at when I would first come into the office was Vince’s ability to switch hats instantaneously. One minute he was looking at logo designs, the next minute he was making a decision about an international market, then 10 seconds later he was doing something creative that had to do with the show. And that’s what it takes because there’s so much flux… To be honest, if I weren’t on the show every week my life would be a whole lot easier. It takes up a lot of time.”
We shall see if Triple H returns anytime soon, and if so, how he’ll be portrayed moving forward.
[Image via WWE]