Fought backstage at a WWE show, the turning point in their relationship - 5 things you didn't know about Triple H and Shawn Michaels' friendship
WWE EVP Triple H and VP of Talent Development Shawn Michaels have worked together many times on-screen. In the 1990s, the two, alongside Chyna, created D-Generation X. They also had a historic rivalry in the 2000s.
Meanwhile, The Game and The Heartbreak Kid also have a close bond in real life. Although their friendship is well-known to the WWE Universe, there are a few lesser-known facts about their relationship that fans may not know.
Here are five things you did not know about Triple H and Shawn Michaels' friendship.
#5. Triple H and Shawn Michaels' awkward first meeting
Nearly seven years after Shawn Michaels joined WWE in 1988, Triple H signed with the company. Although they later became best friends, the two superstars' first meeting was not that friendly.
During DX's Biography episode, The Game recalled his first meeting with The Heartbreak Kid:
"There is a bit of discrepancy on Shawn and I's first meeting, and I'll stick to my version because Shawn was... had issues at the time. I remember distinctly because Shawn is a fashion assassin. Shawn came in wearing no shirt, bandanas all over, and cowboy boots with his jeans tucked into the pants, like that was his street clothes. And it's like he completly walked in front of me and just started talking to Kevin Nash. Kevin said 'hey, have you met Paul yet?' and he shook my hand and he said 'anyway Kev, see you later," and he walked away, right?"
Michaels, Triple H, and Kevin Nash later became part of the group the WWE Universe knows as The Kliq, alongside Scott Hall and Sean Waltman (fka X-Pac).
#4. It was not easy for Triple H to be Shawn Michaels' friend in the 1990s
During the 1990s, Shawn Michaels had an attitude problem, as many of his co-workers recalled, including The Undertaker and Triple H. The Heartbreak Kid was cocky, arrogant, and full of himself. Hence, many WWE Superstars at the time were not fond of him.
During DX's Biography episode, The Game admitted that it was not always easy being Michaels' friend:
"It wasn't always easy being Shawn's friend. He was the little guy with the chip on his shoulder. (...) Shawn was doing things nobody else was and working at a level from an in-ring performer standpoint, but wasn't getting the accolade of it and was just... he was angry and bitter about it. Drugs and alcohol didn't help that," Triple H explained.
In 1996, Michaels also got Triple H into trouble. The two took part in what is now known as the Curtain Call incident, in which they broke character to join in a group hug in the middle of the ring with their friends Hall and Nash, who were about to leave for WCW.
In an interview with Off The Record in 2002, Triple H disclosed how things went down that night.
"Shawn Michaels had asked Vince about doing something earlier and Vince had said ok. It got out of control once we got out there. It was gonna be a stand from far away and point at each other type thing, which I was just told we were gonna do. I was never told, you know, Shawn came to me and said we're gonna do this thing, you know, and it got out of control out there," he said. (6:04 - 6:30)
Since Nash and Hall left WWE and Michaels was then the World Champion, Triple H was the only one punished for the incident.
Although the company initially planned to push The Game to win the 1996 King of the Ring Tournament, McMahon scrapped these plans. Instead, Stone Cold Steve Austin won the tournament, which marked the birth of the legendary Austin 3:16 gimmick.
#3. Kevin Nash and Scott Hall's departure was a turning point in Triple H and Shawn Michaels' friendship
Although they were already friends, Shawn Michaels and Triple H's bond became more solid after Kevin Nash and Scott Hall departed WWE. Backstage, the two superstars became a united front.
During DX's Biography episode, The Heartbreak Kid stated that he and The Game just had each other at the time. Hence, he became more dependent on Triple H.
"After Kevin and Scott left, we just had each other. That bond which was already strong instantly made stronger. And I think Hunter really began to understand how much more dependent on him I was going to become," Michaels said.
Michaels and Triple H's real-life close friendship later made it to WWE television as the two created D-Generation X alongside Chyna in 1997.
#2. Triple H and Shawn Michaels had a big fight backstage during a WWE show
In 1998, Shawn Michaels sustained a back injury that forced him to retire from in-ring action. The Heartbreak Kid then took time off from WWE, during which he continued his drug use.
During Michaels' time away from WWE, he and Triple H grew apart. On DX's Biography episode, The Game disclosed that he and The Heartbreak Kid then had a real fight in front of the whole locker room when a wasted Michaels attended a WWE show:
"After he takes his time off, just intermittent in and out of Shawn, but he's still a mess. We were nowhere near as close as we were before. There comes a moment where it's getting worse and worse and it's the night that Vince buys WCW. We all go into an office to watch this go down. Just as it about to happen, in walks Shawn, who is just a mess, it's just embarssing. Everybody else goes to Vince, 'embarrasing, he shouldn't be here.' Shawn comes out of that conversation and in front of everybody in that locker room, we went at it," Triple H said.
After the incident, Triple H and Shawn Michaels stopped talking for about a year.
#1. Shawn Michaels cried on the phone to revive Triple H's friendship
Though Shawn Michaels continued his drug use for several years, an incident at home finally made him decide to stop. The Heartbreak Kid also decided to revive his friendship with Triple H.
On DX's Biography episode, Michaels' wife Rebecca disclosed how things finally turned around for her husband:
"We'd been married for a couple years. Our son was at the age where he was walking around, more aware of things, and Shawn had fallen asleep on the couch, Soma-induced sleep. Our son was just climbing all over him and saying 'daddy is asleep,'" she said.
The Heartbreak Kid continued his wife's story in the same episode, revealing that he realized that night for the first time that his son had become more aware and would take him as an example. Hence, he decided to quit using drugs. He also called his former best friend, Triple H, to apologize and revive their friendship:
"That's the first night it ever hit me that like 'he can see it now' and the only thing that ran through my head was 'he's going to figure out how to become a man by watching you.' I woke up the next day, that was the day that I don't know, I remember saying to my wife like 'I'm done.' She said, 'what do you mean?' I said, 'that's it, I'm done with the pills, I'm done with the drugs.' Ended up calling Hunter that day, blubbered and cried to him, and telling him that I was sorry, and that I'd do whatever I had to do to earn that friendship and trust back, and of course like he did, he said, 'you don't have to, it's done,'" Michaels explained.
Triple H and Michaels have been inseparable ever since. They shared the ring many times before The Heartbreak Kid retired again from in-ring action in 2010. Over the past few years, the two best friends have also worked together, leading WWE's third brand, NXT.