Why Triple H is called the cerebral assassin
By January 2000, Triple H had dubbed himself “The Game”, implying that he was on top of the wrestling world (as in not merely the “best in the game”, but that he was in fact “the game”) and was nicknamed “The Cerebral Assassin” by Jim Ross (“The Game” nickname was originally intended for Owen Hart, with Triple H adopting the nickname in honor of Owen).On the January 3 episode of Raw Is War, Triple H defeated Big Show to win his third WWF championship.
Triple H feuded with Mick Foley in early 2000. They both fought at the Royal Rumble in a Street Fight Match for the WWF Championship, which Triple H won after performing two Pedigrees on Foley. The feud ended at No Way Out in a Hell in a Cell, where Triple H retained the title and forced Foley to retire.Triple H pinned The Rock at WrestleMania 2000 to retain the title,but lost it at Backlash to The Rock, thus ending his reign at 118 days.He regained it three weeks later, in an Iron Man match at Judgment Day,only to lose it back to The Rock at King of the Ring. Triple H then entered a storyline with Chris Jericho, who upset Triple H by defeating him for the WWF Championship on the April 17 episode of Raw Is War before the title was returned to Triple H because of a fast count made by referee Earl Hebner, and Jericho’s reign is not being recognized.Their feud culminated in a Last Man Standing match at Fully Loaded which was won by Triple H.Afterwards, Triple H entered a feud with Kurt Angle, initially over the WWF Championship, but then as a love triangle between himself, Angle, and Stephanie.Both Triple H and Angle wrestled for the WWF Championship against The Rock at SummerSlam, but The Rock retained the title after Angle received a legit concussion during a botchedPedigree on a commentary table by Triple H.The feud culminated at Unforgiven, where Triple H defeated Angle with a Pedigree after a low blow from McMahon.
After a brief run as a face that saw him defeating Chris Benoit at No Mercy,Triple H reverted to his heel persona and restarted his feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin when it emerged that Triple H had paid off Rikishi to run down Austin at Survivor Series, causing him to take a year off.While in the storyline Triple H said he had done it in order to shield Austin from the WWF Championship and end his career, in reality Austin’s previous neck injuries started bothering him again, forcing him to have surgery. In November 2000, Triple H and Austin had a match at Survivor Series that ended when Triple H tried to trick Austin into coming into the parking lot to run him over again, only to have Austin lift his car up with a forklift and flip the car onto its roof 10 feet high.Triple H returned a few weeks later to attack Austin, and their feud continued into 2001 and ended in a Three Stages of Hell match in which Triple H defeated Austin.In 2001, Triple H also feuded with The Undertaker, who defeated him at WrestleMania X-Seven.The night after WrestleMania, Triple H interfered in a steel cage match between Austin (who had just won the WWF Championship) and The Rock where he joined forces with Austin and double teamed on The Rock,forming a tag team called The Two-Man Power Trip. Triple H then defeated Chris Jericho for his third Intercontinental Championship on the April 5 SmackDown!,and won it for a fourth time two weeks later by defeating Jeff Hardy.Triple H then became a world tag team champion by winning the WWF Tag Team Championship for the first time at Backlash when he and Austin defeated Kane and The Undertaker in a “Winner Take All” tag team match. As Triple H was still Intercontinental Champion, the win made him a double champion.
During the May 21, 2001 episode of Raw Is War, he suffered a legitimate and career-threatening injury.In the night’s main event, he and Austin were defending the WWF Tag Team Championship against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. At one point, Jericho had Austin trapped in the Walls of Jericho and Triple H ran in to break it up, but just as he did, he suffered a tear in his left quadriceps muscle,causing it to come completely off the bone.Despite his inability to place any weight on his leg, Triple H was able to complete the match.He even allowed Jericho to put him in the Walls of Jericho, a move that places considerable stress on the quadriceps. The tear required an operation, which was performed by orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews. This injury brought an abrupt end to the McMahon-Helmsley Era, as the rigorous rehabilitation process kept Triple H out of action for over eight months,completely missing The Invasion storyline.
In October 2002, Triple H would begin a controversial feud with Kane, leading to a match at No Mercy on October 20 in which both Kane’s Intercontinental Championship and Triple H’s World Heavyweight Championship were at stake. In the weeks preceding the match, Triple H claimed that, several years earlier, Kane had an unrequited relationship with a woman named Katie Vick.He went on to claim that, after Vick was killed in a car crash, Kane (the driver) raped her corpse. Triple H later threatened to show video footage of Kane committing the act in question; however, the footage that finally aired showed Triple H (dressed as Kane) simulating necrophilia with a mannequin in a casket;Kane’s tag team partner The Hurricane responded the following week by showing a video of Triple H (rather, someone wearing a Triple H series of masks) getting an enema. The angle was very unpopular with fans, and was de-emphasized before the title match. Triple H went on to defeat Kane at No Mercy, unifying the two titles.
Triple H eventually lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Shawn Michaels in the first Elimination Chamber match at Survivor Series.He defeated Van Dam to earn a title shot at Armageddon with Michaels as the special guest referee. He regained the title from Michaels in a Three Stages of Hell match at Armageddon.