The Greenroom Online-3/13/04
Conducted by Jason M. Burns
Credit to Triple H Unleashed for this interview.

Triple H is one of the most recognizable personalities in the wrestling world. Born Paul Michael Levesque and known now as Hunter, he has spent the majority of his career being booed and hissed at by fans. He is the perfect bad guy... sneaky, conniving and always looking to lie, cheat, and steal his way to the top of the food chain. But in reality, the man is a gentle soul with a love for laughter. In the ring you would probably not trust him to watch your back, but in the real world he seems like the kind of guy that would take a bullet for his family and friends.

Hollywood has also come knocking at Hunter's door. In August he will appear on the silver screen as a card-carrying member of the undead in the final installment of the "Blade" series. He had fun playing a vampire and looks forward to sinking his teeth (no pun intended) into a new project set to start shooting later this spring called, "Jornada del Muerte".

JB: I noticed that in doing some research you looked up to Ric Flair growing up and now you're wrestling alongside of him. What is that like?

HHH: It's pretty cool. It's interesting that you look up to somebody in a particular way for their business stuff and then once we started working together, we became good friends too.

JB: Was it surreal being in the ring with him?

HHH: Sometimes. There have been periods of time where it's been amazing. Just working with him has been an incredible experience. I learn from him so much all of the time. You know, he's been in the business for so long, I wrestled him on TV a couple of times, but there was one where it was a really big deal and that was quite a thrill for me. There was a lot of hype behind it and it was made a big deal of and it was like the old Ric Flair against me. It was a really good match and it was kind of like stepping back in time and getting to wrestle him in his prime. So, it was a real trip and a lot of fun.

JB: And you're a New England boy, right?

HHH: Yes, I was born in New Hampshire.

JB: Please tell me you're a Sox fan?

HHH: Yeah. You know, the thing is that over the years I've just not had the time to really follow sports. I very rarely watch it, but if I had to pick a team it would be the Sox.

JB: Are you living your dream?

HHH: Yeah. It's funny for me because as a kid growing up I watched other sports, I played baseball and different things and I watched them and I was a fan, but the biggest thing I was a fan of was wrestling. That's what I watched and that's what I grew up with. When wrestling would come to town that's what my dad and I went and did. That was kind of our thing and we were real big into it. So, when I started getting into it and had the opportunity to be successful at it, it's like living a dream everyday. And even now, I've been in it quite awhile but even now I've getting opportunities to do stuff in Hollywood. I just got done filming "Blade: Trinity" and I'm going to do another film coming up this year. As exciting as that, I have very mixed emotions about it because when I go to make another film, I'll have to take a couple of months off. I have to be away from the business. We only get to do this for so long... physically. I hate to lose time.

JB: Speaking of the physical, you've had some serious injuries in the past. Having that time off and coming back... what is that like? What is that moment of having your first match back like?

HHH: God! One of the biggest moments of probably my life will always be after I tore my quad and I was out for almost ten months. To come back... and it was at Madison Square Garden and for us that's kind of the Mecca of wrestling. They had hyped my return for a couple of months to where they were playing music videos and things like that. When I left I was a heel. I was hated, but it was one of those things that during that period of time where I was gone, people realized that as much as they hated me, they liked having me around too. When you've been gone that long at anything, I think there is a part of your mind that thinks, "Oh, will they remember... will they even care. What if I walk out behind the curtain and you can hear crickets chirping." (Laughter) So, you're not really too sure, but that night, as soon as people started coming into the building they were chanting, "Triple H". Right before we went into the last commercial break they said, "Coming up next, Triple H" and the place just erupted and I remember thinking, "This should be good." (Laughter) The reaction that I got when I walked out just blew my mind and it's something that I'll never forget. I had said in an interview right after that that if I had spent all that time and all of that effort for that one moment at Madison Square Garden... it would have been worth it. Just for that moment.

JB: And the quad injury should have been career ending, right?

HHH: For ten months I lived in Birmingham, Alabama, I never left the rehab facility. I rehabbed seven days a week. I would start at nine in the morning and went to six at night. I was determined to come back. I had a career ending injury. I tore the entire... what's called your inner medias muscle. It's the biggest muscle in your body and it's underneath your entire thigh. So basically, my entire thigh rolled up into my hip. I knew how bad it was and I knew it could be career threatening, but I never really let it sink into me and I just went full forward and did it.

JB: So were those ten months some of the toughest time you've had to go through mentally?

HHH: Yeah. I was on the road day in and day out. I was working, wrestling and being active to having the surgery and if I wanted to move in bed, I had to have someone come and help me. I was so drugged up. (Laughter) Basically my left leg... I had to teach to do everything again. So, it was hard. There have been people who have been through a whole lot worse than that, so I don't mean to overdramatize it, but it was a long road and just like anybody that has to go through something like that, there are periods of time when you sit in your room looking down at your shriveled noodle of a leg thinking, "I can't do this." But, that doesn't last long and you get your ass up and you go to rehab. (Laughter)

JB: You've spent most of your career playing the heel, right?

HHH: Yeah. (Laughter) I had a brief run as a good guy and I just couldn't do it. (Laughter) It's not that I don't like that role; I'm just more comfortable in the other role. I'm more comfortable being the antagonist that stirs up the crap and gets under people's skin and being the guy that gets bounced around by the good guy. I feel better about making people cheer the other guy. It's a role that I enjoy more.

JB: Well, it seems to me that in the 80s it was the era of the hero and the 90s and today is more of a time for the heel to shine. HHH: Yeah. And it's an odd thing too because one of the hardest things to do in the business is if you're a bad guy, you have to be careful. There's a point where you can be bad to the point where people start to like it. Vice versa... you could be a good guy and if you're too good, they're going to hate you. I think you see that everywhere. The anti-hero is almost the hero. One of the biggest good guys we've had in the business in the last ten years has been Stone Cold Steve Austin. Basically he drinks beer, gives people the finger, beats up his boss and rebels against authority.

JB: Yeah. And then you'd have someone like the Rock who would rip the fans apart, but they loved him for it.

HHH: Yeah. The Rock would trash mouth people and refer to himself in the third perdon. He was basically an arrogant prick, but people loved the character. I went the other way with it and tried to be the sneaky, manipulative guy and luckily that was something that people didn't like and still don't. That's worked out good. Not that it's worked out bad for the Rock. (Laughter)

JB: When I was growing up and watching wrestling, all of the bad guys had managers. How come you don't see that anymore?

HHH: Everything I think is cyclical in this business and it's kind of like anything where you see a trend and then all of a sudden it kind of goes away. It became almost cliche to the business... the bad guy manager type thing. I think in this era it became the owners and general managers. They became the non-wrestling antagonists as opposed to the managers.

JB: How much do you get to involve yourself in the creative side of things?

HHH: Here's the thing... Vince is very open to the guys being involved in the creative as much as they can. What I mean by that is, it's not like you go in and say, "Hey, I want to be Intercontinental Champion." It's more along the lines of... the writers or Vince will call the talent and say, "What do you think of this? Do you have any ideas about that?" The talent has a lot of input because the talent knows their character best. The guys are allowed to have as much or as little input as they want and then their input is utilized by the writers and by Vince as much or as little as he feels.

JB: Do you think there were any decisions made for your character that perhaps were better left at the drawing board?

HHH: (Laughter) We did this angle a year ago with Kane where he had this girlfriend that was dead or something. I can't remember the exact details of the storylines, but anybody that watched it will remember it. (Laughter) I was messing with Kane and Vince wanted us to do this thing where I play a video. It was supposed to be this girl that he (Kane) was romantically involved with that he killed in a car accident and I was trying to say that he killed her on purpose and that he was like a necrophiliac or something like that. (Laughter) It sounds even sillier as I'm telling you. So, we shot the vignette of me recreating Kane having sex with this dead person using a dummy and it was one of those things that we argued with Vince about. "This has to be done humorous, otherwise it's going to be so bizarre that people are just going to shit all over it." And Vince was adamant about doing it in a particular way. (Laughter) He even tried to get us to shut up and stop bugging him by saying, "Listen, we'll do one my way and then after we shoot that one, we'll shoot one your way." As soon as he said it to me I looked at my watch and thought, "We'll never shoot one my way." We didn't have the time. (Laughter) So we shot it his way and it was brutal. (Laughter) It was just one of thsoe things where we got more crap for doing it and more people bitched about it. It was one of those things that nobody understood and it was just completely out there. We just all looked at each other and we were like, "Well, that was rotten. Let's move on." (Laughter) It may be one of those things that I look back on as not my proudest moment in the business. (Laughter)

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