Raw Magazine (2 & 3/98)
"The So-Called Greenwich Snob Image was Bull@#$%..."
Vic Venom conducts an interview with the REAL Triple H!
Credit: Triple H Unleashed

Venom: Tell us a little about your family background.

Hunter: Hunter Hearst-Helmsley's background is just like everyone else's. I have two parents, what a shock! I have no brothers. I have one sister who is married and I have a nephew named Peter. But, you know, Vic Venom, I really don't see what this has at all to do with the professional wrestling career of Hunter Hearst-Helmsley...with my alliance in the most elite group in professional wrestling - D-Generation X. None of this has to do with anything prevalent to my career.

Venom: That's all fine and well, and there's no question about who you are today. You've made that perfectly clear. But your fans, the fans of D-Generation X, want to know who you used to be. They want to know where Hunter Hearst-Helmsley really came from.

Hunter: As far as my upbringing and being the Greenwich Snob or the American Blueblood goes...what you see today in Hunter Hearst-Helmsley is the real Triple H. What you used to see in Hunter Hearst-Helmsley was a larger-than-life version of what Vince McMahon thought someone from Greenwich - someone who is really from Greenwich and who really has the money to be from Greenwich - should be. Vince McMahon's interpretation of what he thought I should be was Thurston Howell III, and he tried to make me that in the way that I dressed going to the ring and in the way that the announcers presented me. I never went on television and told the World Wrestling Federation that I was a snob. I never told the Federation that I was Thurston Howell III or any other type of person. Vince McMahon created that image by having people like Jim Ross and all the other "stooges" that Vince has working for him in the office do what he wanted to get done on television and create the image he wanted to create for Hunter Hearst-Helmsley. And when you first come into the World Wrestling Federation, you do what you have to do to get by. But as time goes on you realize that when you're as talented as I am, Vince needs me. Now I can do what I want to when I want to.

Venom: So, what you're telling us is that the money and the women were all bull@#$%?

Hunter: No, that's not what I'm telling you. I'm not telling you the money, the women and the lifestyle were not there. What I am telling you is that the image of a guy holding his nose in the air, walking around with his hand behind his back and wearing a tuxedo jacket to the ring was bull@#$%. The man who wrestled in the ring and who was beating guys every day of the week and climbing the ladder in the Federation is not bull@#$%. That's the reality of what Hunter Hearst-Helmsley was. The larger-than-life image, the so-called Greenwich Snob image, was bull@#$%. But everything else was all me. The money, the women, the cars, the lifestyle was Hunter Hearst-Helmsley. The thing people don't understand is that my money doesn't make me better than everybody else - I make me better than everybody else. The athlete and the person that I am makes me better than everyone else.

Venom: But the arrogance and the confidence have to come from somewhere. What kind of a kid were you growing up? How were you molded as a youngster? Where did that arrogance and that confidence come from?

Hunter: The arrogance and the confidence stemmed from always being the best at what I did. When I was young, I have to give credit to my parents. I was raised in a society that had a lot of money, and certain pressures were always put on people in those positions. But I was allowed to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it and if you think that makes me spoiled or a snob, I really don't give a @#$%! I am better than everyone else because from day one I was given the opportunity to do whatever I wanted to do as long as I did it better than everyone else, and that's what I always did.

Venom: With that attitude, I get the feeling you weren't a very popular kid in high school. Can you tell us about those high school years?

Hunter: Popular kid in high school? Who's always the most popular kid in high school? The best athletes and the kids with the most money. Don't get me wrong, Vic, I was the most popular kid there was. Maybe behind my back they said I wasn't the nicest person or said I was a piece of crap. But to my face, they never did. And trust me, no one ever said it to my face. And if they did, it was the last thing they said.

Venom: What about the transition from high school to professional wrestling - from graduation to the point when you got yourself into the wrestling business? And why?

Hunter: Let's get this straight - I was always a big wrestling fan. Wrestling was a big part of my life growing up and I was always attracted to it.

Venom: Who were some of the wrestlers you admired?

Hunter: Ric Flair was definitely the greatest influence on me - as an athlete and maybe in life as far as someone outside of my family that I didn't know being an influence on me. I looked at Ric Flair as the greatest wrestler in this business at the time. I looked at Ric Flair as probably the greatest personality in this business at the time. He had a lifestyle and a demeanor about him that I enjoy. We had a lot of the same qualities. Maybe that's why I admired him.

Venom: So, you're basically saying that early in life you were attracted to this business and you realized that it might be something you wanted to do with your life?

Hunter: Sure. In what other business could I run around shooting my hands and mouth off-telling people what I thought, telling people what they were going to do, using my athletic ability, beating people up, running rampant. I mean...women, cars, money, fame, glory...that all comes with the wrestling business, and that attracted me for sure.

Venom: How did you get started in the business? After high school graduation, where did you go?

Hunter: After high school, I kind of floated around for a while - running businesses with my family, dabbling in school and things like that. Graphic arts was an interest of mine because I had some artistic ability as well. I ran some business for my family, but inside my head I always had that burning desire to be a professional wrestler. I could see that it was kind of something prewritten for me to do. And I could always see that it was in the back of my mind and in the back of my heart burning for me to do it. At that time I was also bodybuilding. I fell in love with bodybuilding when I was 14 and started lifting weights avidly. I didn't find it necessary to play a lot of sports in high school because of bodybuilding. I didn't have time to run around on a football field and wear a bunch of shoulder pads and have a bunch of other guys on my team let me down. What I did have time to do was go into the gym and use my personal effort to build my body. And it was something that I really clung to. And at the same time I knew in the back of my mind that bodybuilding and weight training would help me later on in professional wrestling.

Venom: Is that when you sought out the knowledge and training of Walter "Killer" Kowalski?

Hunter: I sure did. If you want to be the best, you go to the best. And anybody who was watching wrestling in that era and is reading this magazine knows who the best was at that time. It was Killer Kowalski. That man is responsible for more children's nightmares than probably anyone ever. When it came to violence, and it came to mayhem and all that stuff that went along with it, Kowalski was the man, but he was also a technician in the ring. He was an excellent wrestler, an excellent technician and he had that edge. I think he was one of the most dominant figures in professional wrestling for his time. And certainly I went to the best. He had all the experience and knowledge that I wanted. Walter gave me all the training and the ability to break the pro ranks.

Venom: When you stepped from fan into wrestler, you stepped between the ropes and you were on your way. At that point you were learning the inside of the business and how it works. Were there any disappointments or letdowns that you found after all those years as a fan? Was it everything you thought it would be and more?

Hunter: No, I think it was everything I thought it would be. I think that the reality of the business for some people is a lot different from what they think they perceive on television. They think they perceive a business of a bunch of guys in tights running around, you know, performing stunts and- not getting hurt, and that it's easy and all fun and games. I never had that perception. I'm not as stupid as most people out there. I can watch television and see that it's not a game, an act or show. I can see that, and from the day I stepped into the ring with Walter to learn how to be a professional wrestler...from my training I expected everything that came at me. So, the business to me is what I expected it to be. It wasn't a letdown. If anything, it was everything I hoped it would be.

Venom: One of your first claims to fame in the wrestling business on a national level was in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). I believe you portrayed Terra Ryzing and Jean Paul Levesque. Tell us about your experiences in WCW.

Hunter: First, let me backstep to how I got to WCW. The World Wrestling Federation's Pat Patterson had come to a house show to see me wrestle. The Federation was interested in me, and Pat Patterson was interested in me coming to the Federation. But I knew from being in the ring and everything else that the World Wrestling Federation was the big show. That was the "big time". That's where you wanted to be, and that's where everybody's goal was. It was the big lights and marquee place. I wasn't ready for it. I was one year as a professional in the business - wrestling throughout New England and in that area and in Canada. I was not ready from the standpoint of "you don't go out of high school baseball and play for the Red Sox or the Yankees." Very few guys did that type of thing. It's very difficult to make that jump and be a top-notch player. I knew that I wasn't ready to make the jump from independent wrestling for Walter Kowalski to the World Wrestling Federation and being right in the middle of the fire. At that time, I contacted WCW. They saw me wrestle. They offered me a deal, and I took it because I knew that there I could settle into something for at least a year and learn the television trade, learn what it was like to be a wrestler - not just in the arena, but in the television studio at a television event...to learn the inside of the business from a television standpoint. I went to WCW and stayed there for a year. Basically, I have nothing bad to say about my experience with WCW other than that they have no idea how to give talent opportunity and how to give talent a chance. They had no idea what to do with me. They would just put me on television with preliminary guys and I'd beat them up every week. They had no idea how to move me up the ladder, so basically I wallowed along the same lines the entire year I was there. And the other problem that I had with WCW was their insistence on not letting young talent shine, by keeping guys like Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair...nothing against him because there again he was my idol, but because he was the greatest and should have retired when he was the greatest. Now it pains me to watch him wrestle on television. It's painful to watch Hulk Hogan bastardize an industry that I love, and I'm embarrassed to watch him wrestle on television. I watched Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage and Ric Flair, and if somebody else is in the room while I am watching them now I think, "God, I hope that they don't think this is what I do," because it embarrasses me. But WCW insisted on keeping those people in the top spots while wrestlers with talent and ability who were the future of professional wrestling if given the opportunity to rise to meet the challenge wallowed. They are still doing the same thing today - still featuring the guys way past their prime while young stars wallow in opening card matches and middle card matches with no chance of moving up.

Venom: How did you finally get that big break in the World Wrestling Federation?

Hunter: When the contract with WCW was offered to me, they wanted me to sign a two-year deal and I refused. I wanted to sign a one-year deal because I figured one year would be enough time for me to spend there, and if it wasn't I could always renew. As my contract with WCW started to come to a close, they were getting ready to team me with Steve Regal for a tag team situation. I felt that I was ready to make the move to the big time. I felt that I had seen what a lot of the top guys had and I felt that I had it, too. I contacted the World Wrestling Federation. I met with McMahon and told him that if given the opportunity I would take it. And hopefully I would become a big star for him and for myself.

Venom: What were your feelings when you finally did arrive at the big show? What went through your mind? Were you ready for it and was it everything that you expected?

Hunter: You know, you look at it and think you can never be prepared enough. You think you're ready and on the other hand you think, "Oh, my God, this is bigger than anything I imagined it to be." Going from WCW at that time to the World Wrestling Federation was like stepping from the Shriner circus to Barnum and Bailey. I mean, the production level, the arena capacity, the pay-per-view technology, the television and everything we did was on such a big level, and it was a little bit intimidating at first. One thing Hunter Hearst-Helmsley has never had a problem with is confidence in my own ability and I don't think I ever had a problem with my own confidence when I came into the Federation. I was given a character that was sort of a larger-than-life version of myself. I made the best of my ability, and I figured the character would take care of itself. Now, I've stepped out of that and what you see is the true me.

Venom: Hunter, you did make the best of it, and you certainly were on a roll in the World Wrestling Federation. Prior to the 1996 King of the Ring, however, there was an incident in Madison Square Garden which changed the course that you were on and perhaps slowed you down or was like a bump in the road that took a year to overcome. Can you explain that to us?

Hunter: Sure. Let's step back to one of the biggest insider things in this business - the Kliq. The Kliq was five guys...four guys when I was brought into it. It was Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, Shawn Michaels and then me.

Venom: Let me go back because I think this is interesting. The wrestling world knows the Kliq, have no doubt about it. It was at one point the world's most well-known force in professional wrestling. How did you become the fifth member?

Hunter: Well, I think that when you look at the business of professional wrestling, there are certain guys with certain levels of talent, charisma and everything. When you look at the wrestling business today, most of the five guys - or all of the five guys, with the exception of Sean Waltman who has a broken neck right now - are on top of this business. I think that what drew us together was not only a love for this business but the same beliefs, the same values, the same interests, and we be-came friends. We didn't call ourselves "the Kliq". We were five guys who called each other friends outside of this business because we had a belief in ourselves, our ability, and we all felt the same way about this business. The reason the five of us were together was because we would make the five-hour car rides together in a van and talk business from the time we started the car until the time we shut the car off. Some of the most intriguing things that have happened in this business in those years were ideas that started from a spark from the Klio or ideas that came directly from the Kliq. But it's a business of jealousy, of everybody looking out for themselves and always having a problem with everybody else in the business. What they saw was five guys who were around each other all the time, didn't back stab each other and stood up for each other. They feared that.

Venom: You talk about jealousy, and I understand where you're coming from. But, did the promoter understand what the Kliq was bringing to the table? Were the problems with the "boys" and not with the office?

Hunter: Oh yeah. I believe you're partly right. I believe Vince McMahon knew what the Kliq brought to the table, but the boys...I believe some of them knew and some of them didn't, but I believe most of them despised it. But I believe also some of the people in the office despised it. Some of our biggest backstabbers, some of the biggest people against us were people directly in Vince McMahon's ear. They were people in that office, and they were just waiting for a bullet to shoot us. You know, we didn't name ourselves "the Kliq". Lex Luger named us the Kliq, because he was one of the most jealous and that name stuck. We were called the Kliq from then on. But, I know that Vince McMahon knew what we brought to the table because he told us.

Venom: From what did the jealousy stem?

Hunter: Success. Better ideas. You know, what people don't understand is that a lot of guys in this business go to the buildings, do their jobs and they leave and never think twice about it. They're professional wrestlers for the few minutes a day that they are at that building or in that ring. I believe that to a lot of the guys it becomes a job to them. They go in the ring, they do their job, they go home and think about everything else other than the wrestling business. They want to get away from it when they go home. For guys like Shawn Michaels, for guys like Hunter Hearst-Helmsley, guys who were in the Kliq...we are guys who obsess about this business 24 hours a day. I will call Shawn Michaels at 3 a.m. Shawn Michaels will call me at 4 a.m. because he was asleep and woke up and had an idea or a thought or anything. We talk about this business constantly. It's what we do. If I'm not in the ring, I'm thinking about the ring. If I'm not thinking about that, I'm thinking about how I can set something up for the next month or my next interview, or I'm watching matches and studying guys' techniques and their performances and all that stuff. I think that's what brought us all together... that obsession for this business to be great.

Venom: Okay. Now bring us to Madison Square Garden.

Hunter: We come to Madison Square Garden. Contract talks between Vince McMahon, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall had boiled down to Kevin and Scott choosing to leave to go to WCW for what I believe to be no more than a billionaire writing them gigantic checks. You know, it was a situation where WCW had no talent, and they needed to buy some. They came here and bought a couple of guys and I can't blame them. You know, they did it for themselves. Kevin Nash is a 38-year-old man with a wife and a child, and he has to decide what's right for them. His immediate decision in life was his family. The Turner company works very few days. They're a television company, not a wrestling company. They offer guys a lot of money to sit home basically and come in every now and then, make a television shot and that's it. And they chose to do that because it was financially the right thing for them to do at the time. Madison Square Garden was their last wrestling match with the Federation. In this business sometimes, professionally, in the ring you can be at war with somebody, and outside of the ring not necessarily at war with them. At the end of that show it ended up being Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash inside a steel cage. When the match ended, Scott Hall and I headed to the ring, stepped into the ring, and the four us got in that cage and said farewell to each other. Friends saying good-bye to each other, and wishing each other luck. And we said we were going to see each other down the road, but we're always going to be friends outside of this. That's all it was. It was a classy way for us to say good-bye to our buddies. And I believe Vince McMahon also felt that. But like I said, people in Vince McMahon's ear saw that as the opportunity to shoot me between the eyes. They got in Vince McMahon's ear and within two days, I was being brought in and told I should have been fired for violating business tradition. Violating what everybody in this business saw as some sort of religious thing - you just didn't cross that line and we crossed it. And we needed to be punished for it. And now, two of the guys were leaving and one of the guys was the Federation Champion and pretty much untouchable So, Hunter Hearst-Helmsley was at the bottom of the totem pole in the pecking order and I was given the abuse that everyone should have taken. I took it on myself, and I never said a word about it. But for one solid year, I was given punishment. I was held back, I was not given opportunity. The King of the Ring? Let's face it, at that time I should have won. If I had been entered into it, I would have won. Nothing against Steve Austin who did win it, but I was the favorite. And that was all taken away from me. Everything in my career that was on the upswing was taken away from me. My career was put on the back burner, and everything was done on television to humiliate me, to hold me down, to keep me back and not allow me to be what I was and that was one of the best wrestlers in the company at that time.

Venom: During that year, and during those circumstances, what kept Hunter from basically saying "@#$% this!" and walking away?

Hunter: What kept me from saying "@#$% this!" and walking away was that I still believe the World Wrestling Federation is the big show. I still believe that if you want to be a professional wrestler and take pride in your work as a professional wrestler and you want to excel at your craft, then the World Wrestling Federation is the only place to be. I could have said "Screw Vince McMahon" and dropped my contract or asked to get out of my contract and gone to WCW and been stuck fighting wrinkle sacks for hours, been in fights with Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan and still been held down and not given the opportunity to be the best that I could be. But why? The one thing that Vince McMahon always says is that if you have talent, the cream will always rise to the top. Well, it's the one thing I knew I had, and they couldn't hold me down forever. Sooner or later there would be a clearing, and when the clearing came, look out, because I was going through it and I was taking everything with me. And when that clearing came I did just that.

Venom: Speaking of the clearing, let's move on to the next subject. And I would say part of that clearing would be the so-called marriage to Chyna. It appears now that Chyna has become a part of Hunter Hearst-Helmsley. It is a package and perhaps one of the most successful male-female packages in the history of professional wrestling. What did Chyna coming to Hunter Hearst-Helmsley at that point in your career mean to you and overall what does Chyna mean to Hunter Hearst-Helmsley?

Hunter: Chyna brought to me in-the-ring security and something that I could always rely on. I had my hand in managers before with Curt Hennig and what good did he do me? Curt Hennig was supposed to be this great athlete, this great mind in the business, but he can't think for himself and he had to have his dad tell him what to do with his career. These are the type of people that are in this business and these are the type of people that I went through. For a short time, I brought in Curtis Hughes...to no avail. Curtis Hughes was useless. People had used him before in the past, but he was useless to me. I saw in Chyna something. I could bring into this business that was unique, different, but could still get the job done better than what I felt any man could do. When you bring someone in to watch your back and they end up getting involved in it too heavily, and from there it ended up being a big problem. They end up being involved in your fight. While Chyna is involved in my fight, she can never fight my fight. She is the perfect person to watch my back as far as ringside goes. But outside of the business and outside of the ring, Chyna brings to me when I am on the road something I need like discipline as far as eating goes. When you obsess about a business 24 hours a day, and you're at a television taping from 12 o'clock in the afternoon to one in the morning, and you're obsessing about that business the whole time you're there, you never think to eat. You don't think about all those things. She's as strong as I am, so from a physical standpoint of challenge in the gym it's great because I've got that workout. Chyna brings as many things to me outside of the ring as she does inside the ring, and it has all helped my career. And like you said, I think it's not only the most successful man and woman package in this business, but the most successful package of a manager/wrestler in this business.

Venom: Do you consider Chyna a permanent fixture in the life of Hunter Hearst-Helmsley?

Hunter: Sure. Sure I do.

Venom: It seems that with Chyna and your chemistry, things started to click. You started back up that ladder, regardless of their efforts to keep you down. Like you said, the cream rose to the top and soon we saw the birth of D-Generation X. Tell us how DX came about.

Hunter: About the same time I got that clearing I talked about where I could finally see daylight, Chyna came into my life. About that same time, Shawn Michaels realized the World Wrestling Federation had been using him like a puppet. The Federation had taken one of the most charismatic and controversial figures in professional wrestling and tried to make him a corporate puppet of the World Wrestling Federation, which is what Vince McMahon does. When he has a champion, that champion needs to go out and schmooze with executives and go out on television and kiss babies and make appearances and do all these things. That's what he did to Shawn Michaels. Then it finally dawned on Shawn.

Venom: Being as intelligent a man as you are, what you just mentioned is indeed the fact. But from a business point of view, can you understand that?

Hunter: Sure I could understand that. But I also understand that although Vince McMahon knows more about the business than anybody else probably ever in this business, he's not always right. Nobody is always right. And I think that when you try to take what is successful and change it to something else, it sometimes doesn't work. What he tried to do with Shawn Michaels was the same thing he did with Diesel. He tried to change what was successful. The things that made them successful he tried to mold into something else.

Venom: Why do you think that was?

Hunter: He did it because he thought that's what was best for him, for the Federation and for business. I believe everything that Vince McMahon does is what he thinks is best for the business, because let's face it, Vince McMahon is the World Wrestling Federation. But at the same time, it doesn't mean he's right. We told him he was wrong, and he disagreed. Shawn Michaels and I remained friends outside the business, although Vince McMahon also tried to put that on hold. Shawn and I weren't allowed to ride in cars together. We weren't allowed to go to the same restaurants, and we were told not to change in the same locker room. Shawn Michaels and I were kept apart from each other, but outside of that - when we were home - we still talked.

Venom: You spoke a little bit about the Kliq, and you talked about the heat from boys with the Kliq. When Vince McMahon told you not to dress in the same locker room, could he possibly have been telling you to do that for your own good?

Hunter: Sure he was. I think he did it for two reasons. I think the perception in the locker room had become that the Kliq had so much power that we did whatever we wanted, even from a behind-the-scenes standpoint. I think that when we did that thing at Madison Square Garden-which got blown out of proportion, and nobody understood - Vince McMahon felt like he needed to put me in my place, and he needed to put Shawn Michaels in his place to show that we were not bigger than the Federation and we were not bigger than Vince McMahon. He needed to take back the power he felt he had lost supposedly to the Kliq in the eyes of the boys.

Venom: Do you honestly believe that Vince McMahon felt that he had to take that power back and he had to show who was the boss, or do you think others made him think that?

Hunter: I believe that Vince McMahon believed it after others told him he had to believe it. But I think there is a difference sometimes between what Vince McMahon feels in his heart and what Vince McMahon feels in his head. I don't believe in his heart he felt that, but I think in his head he was convinced of that.

Venom: So get me to DX.

Hunter: About the time that Shawn Michaels was off with his knee injury. Sometimes it's a lot easier to look back in retrospect at what has happened when you step away. It's like a stipple painting. You look at a stipple painting up close, it's just a bunch of dots. But if you look at a stipple painting from far away, it's magnificent picture. Sometimes our wrestling careers are like that, too. You look at it from up close it just looks like a day-to-day thing and you don't notice what's happening, but when you step back and look at it you say, "Oh, my God, what was I thinking?" I think when Shawn Michaels stepped back and looked, he said "Oh, my God, what am I doing?" and then he talked to me. And I said, "You know what, I'm tired of doing what I'm doing." And basically, we decided that we were going to do what we wanted to do from now on. And that was the beginning of what eventually became DX. But when Shawn Michaels and I decided that we were going to eat together when we wanted to eat together and talk when we wanted to talk together, or if Shawn wanted me to go to the ring with him to watch his back for him, and if I felt like having Shawn come with me to an interview session then I would. We began to do that and we realized an association like that was very powerful. When you have factors like we were involved together, it becomes a very strong force in this business. We realized we were onto something big. When we did, we were called degenerates. We just went with it.

Venom: A lot of critics say the whole reason behind the birth of D-Generation X is the NWO, and there are those out there who say DX is a blatant rip-off of the NWO. What would you say to those people?

Hunter: If I was a blatant rip-off of the NWO, then I would have to be about 50. The thing that people don't understand is that the NWO was a blatant rip-off of the Kliq. The NWO was Kevin Nash's and Scott Hall's idea, and it was a blatant rip-off of what we had already done. I read an interview Vince McMahon did on AOL, and he said to compare DX to the NWO is like comparing thoroughbreds to horse meat. I think that's true of anybody who compares the NWO to DX. Please tell me you're not comparing the skills of us to Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ric Flair - dinosaurs in this business, guys who should have retired long ago. If you're going to compare them to Shawn Michaels, I don't even want to have a discussion with you about it. If you're going to compare me to those same people, there's no discussion. We cannot compare what we have. You know, people have criticized the NWO for being a bunch of old men, a bunch of 40-year-old men trying to act like a bunch of kids. But, we're the real deal. We're the young guys and we're just being ourselves. We're not out there pretending to be anybody. I'm not out there pretending to be Hollywood Hulk Hogan or to be a near 50-year-old man trying to use language that kids use today and screwing it up and embarrassing myself on television. I'm not trying to go out there with another 50-year-old man and expose the business in a rotten cage match which everybody who watched should have gotten their money back. We are the young lions of this business. We are the lifeblood of this business. Shawn Michaels and myself are both in the prime of our careers, doing what we want to do every single day and nobody can tell us differently. No one can stop us. No doubt about it, there is a war for talent in this business, and nobody can tell us that we cannot do what we want to do now because we make the rules.

Venom: As we speak, it is all starting to click and it is all starting to happen for D-Generation X. If you can look to the future a year from now, do you have any idea how big DX is going to be? Or are you and Shawn Michaels just riding the wave right now?

Hunter: We are riding a wave that has started out in the middle of the ocean and is just forming. But trust me, by the time this wave reaches the shore, it's going to be a tidal wave. D-Generation X is going to be the biggest thing this business has ever seen. People want to talk about us being the NWO or whatever. The NWO has peaked. You've seen as much from the NWO as you are going to see. You've seen the best that those athletes are going to give you. You've seen the most creative things they're going to give you. D-Generation X is at its birth, its conception. We are just beginning and we haven't even scratched the surface. You know, what you see today, although people might think it's good, but a year from now they're going to look back and say, "Man, that was nothing!"

Venom: The athletic ability or the creative intelligence? You're one of the few individuals in this business, along with Shawn, who have both tools. But, what tool in this business do you think is more important? If you could only have one of those traits to succeed, which one would you pick?

Hunter: I'd pick the knowledge. I'd pick it only because I think it's better from a business standpoint to know. When you know you don't have to be the top guy, but you can have things that help everything else in this business. Sooner or later, athletic ability fades, but having that knowledge can keep you fresh or can keep you in there. Athletes like Ric Flair should have retired athletically. Mentally, maybe he shouldn't have. Because mentally maybe he can still get the job done. I don't know. But from the knowledge standpoint, there's much more longevity. But really, it doesn't concern me because I have both and I don't care.

Venom: How do you feel about Bret Hart?

Hunter: Bret Hart is a great technician and he was a great athlete at one time. I think he became very comfortable with where he was and he stopped progressing, stopped thinking, stopped giving. When I think of Bret Hart, a word that comes to my mind is "selfish" because Bret Hart had everything.Everything that was brought to Bret Hart which made him what he is he was not willing to give back to the business. He was not even willing to share with the guys within his own family. Owen Hart, from an athletic standpoint, is a much more gifted athlete than Bret Hart. But Bret Hart was given his opportunity first, and 1 believe he held Owen back. I believe the same with Jim Neidhart. Jim Neidhart was an athlete who held the Hart Foundation together. He was the foundation of the Hart Foundation. He was the one with the charisma. He was the one who could talk, who had the experience in the ring and the one who got the job done. Bret was the straight man, so to speak. The Anvil carried him for a long time, and I don't believe that was given back to "the Anvil" by Bret Hart. I believe Bret Hart is a selfish man and is another that I foresee being another Hogan or another Ric Flair in the future. A guy who refuses to admit that his time is over.

Venom: How many more years do you have left on your Federation contract?

Hunter: I have two years left on my contract.

Venom: Hypothetically, for the next two years, Vince McMahon puts absolute trust in the creativeness of Shawn Michaels and Hunter Hearst-Helmsley and let's you do with DX whatever it is you feel is right for D-Generation X. He lets you call the shots, he lets you ride this wave and do it your way. Two years from now when that contract is up, the Turner television company comes to Hunter Hearst-Helmsley - who is now the hottest commodity in professional wrestling - and offers Hunter Hearst-Helmsley a helluva lot more money than Vince McMahon would ever be able to. What does Hunter Hearst-Helmsley do?

Hunter: Until a situation like that really arises, you could never truly tell what you would do. But if it was offered to me today, I would stay where I was happy. If I was happy in the Federation, if I was happy with what I was doing and where my career was going and was happy with what happened in the past and felt that I was treated fairly, honestly and I was happy with all aspects. You know, money is a great thing, but money can't get you everything. And I think when that time comes, money can't get you Hunter Hearst-Helmsley.

Venom: At this point in your career, would you say that you are at the happiest point of your career?

Hunter: I believe so. If you watch that television each week, I'm having more fun than I've ever had in this business. Every week we go on television - it's a new challenge and I have a blast doing it. And we're right in the thick of things. It's exciting and it's where I want to be. I still believe that the World Wrestling Federation is where you go to wrestle. And what I want to do is be a wrestler.

Venom: Are there any regrets over your life or career? If you could change one thing, what would it be?

Hunter: You know, it's a weird thing to say...sometimes when you hear people say this you think they're the luckiest people in the world, but I think I wouldn't change much. When I look at where I am today, I'm extremely happy with where I am personally, professionally and all those things that come with it. I really don't think I would change much. I really haven't had anything in my life that has been a major downfall to me. Everything happens for a reason. People always say to me, "Oh, I bet you wish you didn't do what you did in Madison Square Garden." But you know what, I'd still do the same damn thing. If Madison Square Garden never happened, I wouldn't be where I am today. Shawn Michaels and I wouldn't have formed DX and this whole thing wouldn't have happened. You know, to go back and say I would have changed that would have meant changing my entire life from that day on. I'm extremely happy with where I am now.

Venom: When Hunter Hearst-Helmsley reaches the NWO age and all is said and done, and if you take Chyna and Shawn Michaels away, and you're just standing there as Hunter Hearst-Helmsley by yourself, what is the most important thing that you would want people to remember about you?

Hunter: That I was one of the greatest wrestlers of all time to step in that ring. That I was a professional outside of the ring and inside of the ring and remember me as that. I don't want to be remembered as the guy who stays in the ring 10 years too many. I don't want to be remembered as the guy who when the time came for him to give back to the business said, "Sorry, I can't do that, I'm too big of a legend." I don't want to be the guy who says, "I can't give back what you have given me over the years." I want to be the guy who everybody said was one of the best athletes in the ring, one of the most exciting guys in the ring and one of the most professional businessmen in and outside of the ring. That's how I want to be remembered.

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