What If Triple H Won The 1996 King Of The Ring?
The 1996 King of the Ring is remembered as the beginning of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's meteoric rise in the wrestling business. While he was always a great worker in his early career, performing as "Stunning" Steve Austin in WCW, his career in the WWF didn't exactly start out well.
The Rattlesnake was originally the Ringmaster, but a great performance in the KOTR tournament and an iconic "Austin 3:16" promo solidified him as a future top star in the company. It was one of the most iconic moments in WWE history...but it wasn't the original plan. In fact, the company's resident blue blood, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, was supposed to win the tournament as part of a huge push.
Plans changed, however, as Triple H was punished for the infamous 'Curtain Call' incident in Madison Square Garden. With Hall and Nash leaving the company to join WCW, and Shawn Michaels sitting atop the company as their champion and poster boy, the punishment fell on Helmsley and Helmsley alone. The King of the Ring push was given to Steve Austin, and the rest was history.
Triple H didn't have a terrible career afterward, though. Clearly, he ended up doing pretty well for himself, forming two successful stables in Degeneration-X and Evolution, along with capturing the World Title fourteen times. However, one has to wonder what would've happened had Triple H not been punished for the Curtain Call.
Though he's incredibly successful, both inside and outside of the ring, it's an interesting topic to tackle. This article will look at the possible changes we could have seen had Triple H won the 1996 King of the Ring.
#5 Degeneration-X might not have happened
Degeneration-X ended up being the thing that got Triple H over with the WWE audience. Though he missed the KOTR train, a raunchy, unapologetic, and downright disrespectful angle like DX was exactly what he needed. Teaming with the Heartbreak Kid and the 9th Wonder of the World brought Triple H to the top of the company. He was featured in some of the most successful skits and segments in pro-wrestling history and was given a chance to show charisma that wouldn't have made sense in the old blue blood gimmick.
However, D-X only came together because both Triple H and Shawn Michaels felt upset and disregarded. Triple H was tired of being pushed around and thrown into nothing feuds. Though he won the Intercontinental Championship in October 1996, most of his year was full of embarrassing losses and it was clear that creative didn't have anything going for him.
With a push coming off of a KOTR win, Triple H wouldn't have had any reason to bring D-X together with Shawn Michaels. Instead, Triple H would've been pushed to the top of the card, much like Steve Austin was, possibly getting that submission match at WrestleMania 13 with Bret Hart.