In 1999 WWE Attitude was in full swing. The wrestling business was experiencing high ratings and worldwide attention. Degeneration X was a driving force behind that attitude. Led by Shawn Michaels, there was nothing that was considered off-limits. Hunter Hearst Helmsley was Michaels partner in crime. Once an egotistical, self-absorbed aristocrat, Hunter began to adopt a more controversial side. DX caused havoc all over the locker room until Wrestlemania 15, which at the time was Shawn Michaels’s last match. On this day, Triple H wins the WWF Championship for the first time.
With Michaels now taking time off, Triple H, as he was now known, took control of the DX army. Along with Chyna, Xpac, and the New Age Outlaws issued in a new era of degenerate behavior. Over time Triple H grew tired of pandering to the WWE fans. He and Chyna turned their backs on DX and joined The Corporation led by Mr. McMahon. Triple H was becoming more ruthless and vindictive as the weeks went by.
I Am The Game
In an interview with Jim Ross, he explained how he was tired of sitting on the sidelines. He referred to the infamous curtain call at MSG where he and Michaels gave Scott hall and Kevin Nash a public goodbye. The reason this was so controversial was that night Michaels fought Diesel, aka Nash, and Triple H challenged Razor Ramon, aka Hall. It was unheard of for rivalries to pull back the curtain.
Behind the scenes, all four were thick as thieves. Vince Mcmahon was not happy with the group. Hall and Nash were gone, and at the time, Michaels was untouchable. That left Hunter to pay his dues. He said McMahon made him wallow around in filth in a pigpen. He also said that the WWE postponed his KOTR win because of the curtain call. Arguably all this was a fact. He made it perfectly clear his goal was to win the WWF Championship.
“This is about me getting what I want out of this business, and that is becoming the WWF Champion. I don’t need the Kliq anymore; I don’t need DX anymore. You talk about being students of the game. I am the Game.”
Road to SummerSlam 99
Finally, The Game received a number one contenders match against The Rock. Once again, he aligned himself with DX. Thanks to Billy Gunn, Triple H won that match. Stone Cold Steve Austin was the current WWF Champion. Triple H and the Rattlesnake had many classic encounters in the past. This rivalry was about to escalate. It would be Triple H vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin at Summer Slam 99. If that wasn’t enough, Jesse “The Body” Ventura was added as a special guest referee. Unfortunately, the road to SummerSlam would not be as smooth as Triple H wanted.
By that time, Shawn Michaels returned to the WWF as Commissioner. Triple H was his best friend, but Hunter was not the same person as a few years ago. Triple H did not play well with authority. Austin was mysteriously attacked, HBK blamed Triple H. As a result, he made a match with The Undertaker vs. Triple H vs. Chyna. The winner would be the number one contender. Needless to say, HBK was not Hunter’s best ally at this time. To make matters worse, Austin returned later in the night, helping Chyna get the win. Chyna, Triple H’s bodyguard, was now the number one contender.
Triple H challenges Chyna for the #1 Contendership
Triple H then challenged Chyna for the number one contender spot but lost due to interference from Mankind. Later Mankind challenged Chyna and won due to interference from Triple H. Another match between Triple H vs. Mankind was booked to determine who the number one contender to Steve Austin’s title once and for all. Shane McMahon and HBK were named special guest referees. At the ending of the match, Triple H and Mankind covered each other. Due to the controversy, a Triple Threat WWF Championship match was made at SummerSlam. Stone Cold Steve Austin would defend the WWF Title against both Mankind and The Game.
On August 22nd, 1999, the Summerslam Main Event blew the roof off the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Triple H came within an inch of walking away with the WWF title. However, that night, it was not to be. Mankind actually won the match and took home the WWF Championship.
Triple H wins the WWF Championship for the First Time.
The Game received a rematch the next night on August 23rd, 1999, RAW is War. This time Shane McMahon was assigned as a second referee. This was the moment HHH wanted since he stepped foot in the ring. It was The Game vs. Mankind, one on one for the WWF Championship. Mick Foley was obviously hurting from the triple threat match. Triple H ruthlessly attacked Mankind’s knee. The same knee that Hunter decimated earlier in the year, putting Mankind on the shelf. No doubt about it, The Game was bringing his A-Game to the new champion.
At one point in the match, both superstars were clotheslined over the top rope to the floor. Chyna distracted the referee as Shane McMahon hit Mankind with a steel chair. However, Mankind was still on his feet. Triple H hit Mankind across the head with another chair. For good measure, he also laid out The Rock, who was doing color commentary. Shane knocked out the other referee and rolled Mankind in the ring. Triple H hit Mankind with a vicious pedigree. Shane MacMahon counted to three. HHH was the new WWF Champion. This was the first of fourteen World Championship reigns by the Cerebral Assassin. It was Triple H’s time. It was time for everyone in the WWF to play the Game.
On this day, Triple H wins the WWF Championship for the First Time.