This past Monday, The Game, The Cerebral Assassin, The King of Kings… Triple H turned 46. For the past 15 years, Triple H has been a constant, inescapable part of WWE. Between dominating the main-event scene, engaging in big name showdowns with The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, or lording over WWE as part of the Authority, Triple H has been impossible to ignore. But what about his early career? Before he was a WWE Champion? That part of his life tends to be less examined.
Here are a few things you might not know about the life of The Game before he ascended to his throne…
1) Triple H owes his career to a one-week free gym membership. Triple H was born Paul Michael Levesque on July 27, 1969 in the New England town of Nashua, N.H. Unlike most other guys who would go onto big success in the world of pro wrestling, Levesque had no passion for sports as a kid. He wasn’t on the football or wrestling team, and he proudly proclaims he has no interest in organized sports to this day. Hey, I’m with you, man, but I don’t make a living shouting about what a manly badass I am.
Triple H before his nose fully grew in.
Levesque’s background was strictly in bodybuilding, which he fell into more or less by accident. Triple H was a fair-weather wrestling fan and, as a tall, 170-pound beanpole, admired the physiques on guys like Bruno Sammartino and Billy Graham, but he didn’t consider getting into bodybuilding until he was given a one-week free pass while passing by a local gym. A 14-year-old Levesque decided to take advantage of his free pass and soon found himself addicted to pumping iron. By the time he was 18, the beanpole had become a jacked 270 pounds and was winning local bodybuilding competitions, including Teen Mr. New Hampshire. So, yeah, if you think WWE’s obsession with bodies is going to end once Triple H takes over, well, keep dreaming.
2) The original World’s Strongest Man ushered him into the wrestling business. So, how did Levesque transition from gym rat to mat rat? Well, he was introduced to the business side of pro wrestling by The World’s Strongest Man. No, not Mark Henry. We’re talking about the ’80s version, Ted Arcidi.
“The Living Rob Liefeld drawing,” Ted Arcidi.
Arcidi was the first man to ever bench press more than 700 pounds in competition, which, for the record, is around 100 pounds more than Mark Henry has ever benched. Arcidi had a brief stint in the WWF in the mid-’80s, after which he kicked around Stampede Wrestling and other indies for a while. Arcidi began working out in Levesque’s gym in the early ’90s, and it was through him that Levesque was introduced to his trainer and mentor, the infamous Killer Kowalski. Game on.
3) Triple H trained with Chyna and Perry Saturn. Killer Kowalski has trained a lot of guys (and girls), and Levesque wasn’t the only one from his class destined for stardom. The man who became Triple H trained alongside Chyna and Perry Saturn. Triple H and Chyna obviously had a long, tumultuous relationship, but Saturn wouldn’t run into Triple H professionally until nearly a decade later when the Radicalz jumped to the WWF. Apparently, being old classmates didn’t count for much because, upon arriving in the WWF, Saturn promptly fell in love with a mop, then was canned after only two years with the company.