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Modern Triple H is the best Triple H

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Like the fine French wines we imagine Hunter Hurst Helmsley sampled as a Connecticut Blue Blood 20 years ago, the Cerebral Assassin only gets better with age. Forget Evolution Triple H or the COO Triple H. Heck, forget Degeneration X Triple H. The Triple H character has never been better than what we have right now on the road to Survivor Series.

The King of Kings clearly took a lesson from Chris Jericho on the value of surprises in 2017. Just when we “knew” the main event of Survivor Series,  Triple H returned and shocked everyone. His surprise entrance as Raw’s “fifth man” changes everything. Imagine where this story goes in a  ring that now includes Shane McMahon, Triple H and Kurt Angle.

Does Jason Jordan show up and lose his mind? Do we build toward the expected Triple H vs. Kurt Angle match at Wrestlemania? What happens when Triple H locks up with his brother-in-law? Triple H versus AJ Styles? Yes, please. Does one of Triple H’s NXT star projects like Bobby Roode or Nakamura pin him on a pay per view? Who dethrones the King of Kings?

What makes Triple H better now? He fits no wrestling paradigm. He is not a face or a heel or a play-to-the-crowd creature like his greatest moments as a D-X or Evolution leader. He is simply Triple H. The same guy that appears on NXT and independent shows and gives the next generation a chance is not afraid to smash Jason Jordan’s face into a mat or declare war on Sting and Seth Rollins.

Did we mention how physically amazing he looks? Joe DeFranco is a legend. Triple H looks better at 48 than he ever did in his 20s or 30s.

Don’t get us wrong. We love Evolution, and Degeneration X deserves its own spot in the WWE Hall of Fame. But at its essence, both stables came down to easier ways to get over – spit in the face of authority, demean women, cheat and flaunt. Modern Triple H does none of those things (except the occasional smashing of his wife through a table).

Triple H saves it for when it matters, but still uses most matches to build young talent. For every nostalgia match with Sting, Triple H is there to put over his own NXT creations like Seth Rollins or Roman Reigns and independent darlings like Daniel Bryan. Triple H’s Roadblock match with Dean Ambrose is arguably the best story the “lunatic fringe” told in his main-roster career.

In an era where reality and storyline blend like lamb and tuna fish (or like spaghetti and meatball if you’re more comfortable with that analogy), Triple H’s best work comes in what we do not see between 8 and 11 p.m., on Monday nights. No sports entertainment executive empowers women and embraces new ideas. Who do we see as a harbinger of everything from the women’s revolution in NXT to the Mae Young Classic to the massive absorption of independent talent?

Triple H exhibited an open-mindedness with his promotion of talent that does not conform to the traditional stereotypes of what it means to be a “WWE superstar.” With his drive in NXT and the growth of the women’s division, he recognized the clear talent and merely granted the space to break through and become the stars they deserve to be. With his ability to mend fences with legends like Bruno Sammartino and the fact that Triple H comes off as every bit of a wrestling fan as any FRS Slam reader, Triple H is the best in the world at what he does right now.

We should enjoy the ride while we can.

Sam Hellman spends his work hours as a college football and basketball writer with 247Sports on the CBS Sports network. A product of the Attitude Era, Hellman has been a life-long follower of professional wrestling and is proud to put his thoughts to print on the FRS Slam platform.

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