Slam Wrestling interview (12/14/04)
HHH, Flair rub off on rookies
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun

Triple H doesn't have the WWE championship anymore ... and his list of Evolution pals may soon get chopped in half. WWE boss Vince McMahon ruled that the title is vacant in lieu of a controversial RAW match where Edge tapped out just as he pinned Chris Benoit.

"Evolution was created for one reason -- to get a couple of new guys over," Triple H told the Sun. "We had a large part in hand-picking Randy Orton and Batista. We wanted to give them a rub off myself and Ric Flair. When the time was right, Orton jumped off on his own."

And Batista's time could come soon enough. He can't be happy after an "accidental" chair shot delivered by a maniacal Triple H in the closing seconds of last Monday's RAW.

But make no mistake about it, Triple H is much more than a sledgehammer swinging leviathan. Truth is he's not The Game or The Cerebral Assassin or Hunter Hearst Helmsley ... he's Paul Levesque, real-life husband of Stephanie McMahon, who happens to be the boss' daughter.

Triple H is a well-spoken ambassador for wrestling ... and now you can add movie star to his credit, with a role in Blade: Trinity.

He says his relationship with Vince McMahon's daughter makes him work even harder for everything he's got. And that's a lot.

"You can say it works to my advantage, but Vince is sometimes disinclined to listen to what I have to say," said Triple H. "He's very big on people paying their dues. I don't want anything I don't have to work for."

TNA's Kevin Nash saw the youngster's talent early.

"He did a dark match and Scott (Hall) said, 'he's going to be a star, put him with us,'" said Nash.

The Clique was born: Nash (as Diesel), Hall (as Razor Ramon), Sean Waltman (as X-Pac), Shawn Michaels and Triple H.

"We're still all very dear friends," said Nash. "I think with a few other guys like Bret Hart, The Undertaker and Steve Austin, we dug the wrestling business out of the graveyard."

For Triple H, stardom and titles came because of hard work ... and some time in pig slop with the Godwins.

"You try to enjoy the ride as much as the destination," said Triple H. "I had the raw potential, but if you can forgive the pun, I didn't have the game."

He values his friendship with Flair.

"Ric and I are very close friends," he said. "Forget the fact that I idolized him, it's been an awesome experience working alongside a guy I consider the greatest."

Triple H says WWE is building off its young stars.

"It's no different than any big business," said Triple H. "When a sports team loses franchise players it hurts attendance for awhile, then new guys come along and make you forget about (Mick) Foley, (Steve) Austin ... or Triple H."

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