WWE Superstar and EVP of Global Talent Strategy & Development Triple H appeared on Corey Graves’ After The Bell podcast this week. The ‘Cerebral Assassin’ would discuss a plethora of topics from his illustrious 25 year career. This included any regrets that he felt he had, including the curtain call incident that occurred in 1996. The Kliq, comprising of Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Shawn Michaels and Triple H all embraced at the end of a WWE (WWF) live event in Madison Square Garden in front of the crowd. This was due to the fact that Nash and Hall were leaving the WWF to head to their rivals WCW, and the group wanted to say goodbye in front of the audience.
This was a huge issue for the company at the time, as the reality and showbiz natures of professional wrestling back then were still kept relatively separate on screen. Someone had to be punished for the ‘incident’; Hall and Nash were leaving, so they couldn’t be and Shawn Michaels was WWF Champion. The fall guy would end up being Triple H, who was slated to win the King of The Ring in 1996, but this was changed and Stone Cold Steve Austin would win instead. This ushered in the Austin 3:16 promo and flickered the flames of the Attitude Era.
“There were moments in time, like everybody, where you think ‘I can’t believe they passed me by for this!?’ Triple H began on the podcast. ‘That should have been me, and that should have been me.’ Later, when you look back? With hindsight being much clearer you can see like ‘I’m glad that didn’t happen.’ You know there was moments in time where like…the whole curtain call thing happened.”
Triple H would then elaborate further, discussing the Austin moment. “I was scheduled to win the King of the Ring (in 1996) and then Austin wins the King of the Ring. THANK GOD that all happened cause of Austin 3:16. Not that that wouldn’t have happened anyway, but I look back at that time. In the moment? I wasn’t ready for that opportunity. I wasn’t ready for that by a long shot, you know? Things happen for a reason. They make you grow, they make you change, they expose the things that you believe that you’re good at. What you’re not good at and you think that you need to change over time.”
The Game would finish by discussing his match against The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania 12. “Sometimes people will bring up the Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania. Like that’s embarrassing to me? Like are you kidding me!? A wrestler like The Ultimate Warrior and his return at WrestleMania 12? Yeah the experience wasn’t what I would have wanted backstage, but it was a big moment in my career.”
WWE have previously claimed on-screen that Triple H was the ‘architect’ of the Attitude Era. Whilst this is almost laughable as The Rock and Steve Austin were far more influential, if Triple H hadn’t taken part in the Curtain Call it wouldn’t have meant Austin won the KOTR. Just something to think about.