WWF.com interview (8/19/01)
by Phil Speer

SAN JOSE, CA- Last time Triple H was backstage at a World Wrestling Federation live event, it was last month at Invasion. After that, his doctors advised him to stay in Birmingham, Ala.- where he's rehabilitating a torn quadriceps muscle in his left leg- because the constant travel time would slow his recovery. Because he's 100 percent focused on returning to the ring, the Game listened to his doctors.
But he made an exception for Summerslam, arguably the second biggest Federation Pay-Per-View of the year. Before the event got underway, Triple H granted an interview to WWF.com
Watching him walk around the backstage area, it's obvious that Triple H's physical condition is improving. And as you'll see, he's in great spirits. If the customary Triple H sarcastic wit ever left, it's back now.

WWF.com: What's the status of your injury?

Triple H: It's the same as it was before, but a month later. (grins sarcastically) It's coming along good. Its getting stronger every day. My strength training is coming along good. Most of my range of motion is back now to a point where they've stopped pushing so hard to get my range back, and they've started concentrating more on trying to build the strength back up, getting the muscle to come back and things like that. So, I'm hoping another four weeks from now, I can start to be able to move quick enough where I can start to jog lightly and start to increase my movement. Then in four to six weeks, I can run so that I can start to get back into doing stuff that I'm going to have to be doing when I get back in the ring. I'm not on crutches. I can put all my weight on it now. I'm out of the large brace. I'm just down to a small one. And quite frankly I really only wear this brace if I'm on unstable surfaces or when I work out. Most of the time I walk without a brace now. Here I wear it because there are cables and I don't trip on something and have to catch myself on my full bodyweight. And sympathy. People ask you more questions if you've got a brace on. Things like that. You're trying to get guys to feel bad for you. (grins sarcastically)

WWF.com: What about when you're sleeping?

Triple H: I don't wear it when I sleep.

WWF.com: Do you keep it wrapped or is it just bare knee?

Triple H: No, I sleep naked. All the way nude. Nothing. No skivvies. No nothing. Buck naked. (grins sarcastically)

WWF.com: What about your knee?

Triple H: Yeah, my knee's naked too. Everything's nude.

WWF.com: Are you still rehabbing in Birmingham?

Triple H: Yeah, I'm still living there, rehabbing seven days a week- 9:30 in the morning until 6 at night Monday through Friday, and half a day on Saturday and Sunday. It's very extensive. My basic daily routine, which doesn't vary, is rehab all day, eat, train, and go to bed. Oh, and I tan too. That's it. Rehab, eat, train, tan, sleep. Get up and do it again.

WWF.com: What brings you here tonight?

Triple H: Summerslam. Well, it's like if I would have stayed in Birmingham I would have had to pay to see the Pay-Per-View. This is a way for me to see it free, without having to pay or anything like that. Plus, they always have sweet catering. (grins sarcastically)

WWF.com: Are you going to start to come to events more often?

Triple H: Occassionally. It's too much when I go every week because with the two TVs, by the time I get back- travel day and all that stuff- I end up missing half the week. So, (I'll only come to) bigger events like Summerslam. As soon as I can do it all the time I'll be here all the time.

WWF.com: Are you going to be at RAW IS WAR in Sacramento?

Triple H: I'm going to be here (Monday) and then I'm going to catch a redeye back.

WWF.com: What do you think of the Federation shows lately?

Triple H: They've been great. All the guys are working hard. The storylines have been great. First and foremost in this, I'm a big fan, so I've been really enjoying the shows.

WWF.com: What did you think of The Rock's comeback?

Triple H: The biggest thing that amazed me about Rock's comeback was, I was watching to see when he got back in the ring. It's one thing to go out there and talk, or to cut a promo in the back, something like that. But the real proof is in the pudding. Rock got in the ring and looked like he never missed a day. I was pretty impressed with that because he's been gone for quite a while, and he got back in there and it looked like it was just another day for him. It looked like he had not missed a beat. So I gotta take my hat off to The Rock.

WWF.com: You've had a few career highlights at Summerslam. What do you remember about last year's Summerslam, when you battled in a Triple Threat Match with The Rock and Kurt Angle?

Triple H: I remember knocking Kurt out, and then Kurt coming back and screwing the whole thing up when I was about to win the belt.

WWF.com: You made your Federation Pay-Per-View debut at Summerslam. Remember that?

Triple H: Yeah, against Bob Holly (in 1995). He hit me so hard with a dropkick I can't remember any of it. Bob's pretty stiff you know. (grins sarcastically)

WWF.com: And then there was the 1998 Intercontinental Title Ladder Match with The Rock. Many people say that match helped you guys get to where you are today.

Triple H: Sure, I think both of us were on the cusp of going to the next level. It's funny. Rock and I- it has been documented in the magazines- have probably had some kind of feud every single year since he's been here. It started out when he got here- it was over the IC Title- and we battled for quite a few years over the IC Title. And then over the Federation Title. He and I have had every conceivable match that there is. I can't think of too many that we haven't had. We've had 'em all- two-out-of-three, ladders, cages, straps.

WWF.com: The last episode of Superstars was Sunday. There was a time when that show was the flagship program for the company. Do you remember watching it? Or performing on it?

Triple H: Of course I remember. I watched it as a kid. At the time, that was a big deal show. There was Raw, but that was probably the second biggest show. Being on Superstars was a big thing. We used to do the TV tapings a lot less- do the basic once-a-month TV tapings and you worked four or five times in a TV show. It was certainly a lot different. The pace was a whole lot different and the stress was a lot different. Business has gone to a whole new level now.

WWF.com: Does the schedule that the superstars are going through this month (two live Smackdown! events, etc.) remind you of what it used to be like?

Triple H: Yeah. Except it's different because guys have had a couple of days off in between. We used to do the 15-18 days and that was straight through. A show every day. Double shots (an afternoon and evening show in different cities) on the weekend. And then you'd go home for three or four and then you'd go right back for another 15- double shots on the weekend, every day. Now, it's so much more in-depth and there's so much more pressure and stress with the live TVs and all that stuff. It's a completely different environment. That was more work as far as number of days, but I think the schedule is just as tough on the guys now. The show is that much more important. It's live so there's a lot of pressure. People don't understand that we do it every week. But it's live TV. There's a lot of pressure; there's a lot of stress. There's a lot of thought that goes into the show. There's so much more, not only pressure from a mental standpoint, but pressure from a physical standpoint. Every day is a Pay-Per-View basically. It's live TV. That's your showcase. You've gotta show everything you've got. So you're going out there and giving it your all. Not that we didn't give it our all then, but then you might have a four-minute squash match on TV. Things were a lot different. Now the pressure's a lot higher. It's not that guys work less and things are easier. We might work less days, but the guys work a lot harder than those days, and it's still very hectic. There's no other business in the world that I can think of that works as hard or as long as we do.

WWF.com: You seem to have put back on some weight that you lost after your injury. Have you been able to start working out more intensely?

Triple H: I'm not weighing myself every day, but I'm still probably about 5-8 pounds of weight away from where I was when I got hurt, which will come back. I'm sitting in Birmingham eating and training. I got nothing else to do. So, it's good. I'll be in the best shape I can possibly be in by the time I come back.

WWF.com: I overheard you telling someone that you were recently watching some tapes of the Federation's developmental territories. Will you comment on that?

Triple H: The office will send me tapes of guys that we have under developmental contract. I'll watch the tapes and try to evaluate what I think of the guys and what I think they need to do to improve, or what I think they could work on to get better. Just things like that to help out. In this company, there's just so much going on all the time, it's hard for everybody to keep an eye on all of them- all these guys who have developmental contracts- to make sure that they keep improving. It's a difficult task, so I've just been helping out doing that little bit.

WWF.com: Is there anybody you saw that really impressed you?

Triple H: Yeah, there have been a few guys. I don't want to name names because I don't think it's fair to say who I've been looking at. But we've got some good prospects in some of our developmental areas that I think are going to be big stars down the line.

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