His real name is Paul Levesque but the world knows him as Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Take a look at the career of the “Connecticut Blue Blood” turned “Degenerate Bad Boy.”
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (HHH)
Real Name: Paul Levesque
Stats: 6′ 5″ 280 lbs.
Helmsley got his career start being trained by Killer Kowalski in the Northeast. He was the top of his 1992 class and held the IWF title (the group run by Kowalski’s training camp). He wrestled under the name Terra Ryzin’ and entered the WCW in January of 1994. His time in WCW however was a wash. First off, the WCW graphics crew could never spell his name right, literally chaning it every week. Ryzin was only seen beating jobbers at Worldwide tapings in Florida. He used the Indian Death Lock as his finisher. Ryzin’s’ only big match was vs. TV champion Larry Zbyzsko in May of 1994. It was a good match, but the veteran pulled it out in the end. Around that time, WCW finally gave up with the Terra Ryzin’ name, and he was re-christened as Jean-Paul Levesque, a French-Canadian aristocrat/bully. (Tony Schiavone’s explanation of the name change has to be one of the lamest in history: “he was a bully as a kid, so he can call himself whatever he wants to.”) Levesque’s quality of competition did not change however. He still wrestled jobbers, but mostly on WCW Saturday Night from Center Stage this time. He made his PPV debut at Starrcade ’94 wrestlling an impessive match vs. Alex Wright before dropping to the high-flyer. Rumors were flying that fellow aristocrat Lord Steven Regal would take Levesque under his wing. Or they might form a tag team. But JPL’s contract expired, and he bolted to the WWF.
He made his debut as Hunter Hearst Helmsley in May 1995 in an almost identical gimmick as Regal. The only diffence being that Helmsley had a beautiful woman by his side all the time (a la Ric Flair). The TV crew even called him the “American Blueblood from Grenich, CT” Helmsley looked impressive in his first few months in the WWF. He developed a new move called “The Pedigree” which is truly awesome to watch. It is a horrizontal double-underhook piledriver. He beat mid-carders and jobbers at house shows and TV tapings. He didn’t have his first feud until Fall 1995 vs. Henry O. Godwinn. Of corse, this was the simple hog farmer vs. the rich snob. In a great match at the December 1995 In Your House, HHH upset the Hogman in his own type of match, the Arkansas Hog Pen bout with Hillbilly Jim as guest referee. HHH suffered though with a bloody back from cuts on the hog pen fence. HHH next feud was vs. Duke Droese. At the Royal Rumble Free-For-All, HHH apparently beat The Dumpster in a match for the rights for the #30 spot in the Rumble. But, Gorilla Monsoon overturned the decision because of HHH use of brass knux. HHH had to be the first in the Ring, but lasted a long time, making an impressive showing. Two nights later at the Superstars TV taping in San Jose, Helmsley attacked Droese in his match vs. Steve Rizzono, and gave him a Pedigree on a trash can lid. He proceeded to cut Droese’s hair. This ignited a feud for the next two months at house shows and at the February IYH. Their feud was well-contested, including a few cage matches. Each won about evenly.
Next up for HHH was to be the bait vs. the Ultimate Warrior in his return match at WrestleMania. UW never sold HHH Pedigree’s and won in less than two minutes. HHH blamed the loss on his valet of the night, Sable. In comes Marc Merro, making his debut. He comes to the honor of Sable (his real life wife) and a new feud is born. This lasted for about two months with each interferRing in each others matches. This led to a battle at the April IYH which “The Wildman” came out victorious. He got the upper hand in most of the house show re-matches. Then came the infamous Madison Square Garden kayfafe incident. HHH was part of an elite WWF group known as the “clique” with Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Razor Ramon and 1-2-3 Kid. On May 19, 1996, HHH defeated Ramon in his last WWF match. Michaels defeated Diesel in his last match as well. As part of their send off, all the clique (minus the Kid) celebrated in the Ring, clearly breaking kayfabe (the practice of keeping the inner workings of wrestling a secret). Vince McMahon was angry. He couldn’t punish Michaels (his status as the champ) or Ramon and Diesel (they were gone). So, it was HHH that took the fall. He has jobbed merclessly the last month and a half (the worst being to Jake Roberts). HHH supposed push this summer has been delayed. There are rumors, however, that Mr. Perfect will manage HHH. Maybe when he breaks out of his purgatory and out of the doghouse with McMahon.
by David Taub
David Taub Los Altos, CA [email protected]