Paul Levesque made Mick Foley.
I’m rather certain that’s something everyone in the Internet Sports Entertainment Community can agree on these days. If not for those two matches in the early months of the year 2000, it’s possible that Mick Foley is simply remembered as another flash in the pan performer. Someone that obviously couldn’t hang with the big dogs and required jumping off things to be remembered. But, no, he worked with Paul. Paul made him, and other than a short stint with an outlaw group running out of the Nashville territory being his lone black mark, Mick Foley is now looked at as a legend. But there was a time when I didn’t think that was going to be possible.
Paul Levesque made Paul Wight.
Let’s face it. Paul Wight wasn’t exactly lighting the world on fired during his early run with the World Wrestling Federation. What type of name is “Paul Wight” anyway? He was a bonafide geek. He helped Steve Austin beat Mr. McMahon. He went through a phase where his gimmick was that no gimmicks were needed. And then on the Raw before WrestleMania 15 he lost to Stone Cold Steve Austin. Then at WrestleMania 15 he lost Mankind. Later on he joined the Corporate Ministry and was Undertaker’s tag team partner before Undertaker left for a while to become a biked. Cue Survivor Series 1999. Austin out. Big Show in. And on that night, Paul let Paul win the strap. Well, he held it for The Game until the first Raw of 2000. But still, Paul made Paul.
Paul Levesque made Dwayne Johnson.
Oh, I know how outraged you are just reading that. Yeah, I’m talking about you. Yeah, you. Those little DWAYNE fanboys who sing along with The Rock. The little fanboys that pop every time DWAYNE shows up to TV. FACT: Rocky Maivia won his first title in the World Wrestling Federation by pinning Hunter Hearst Helmsley. FACT: The Rock became a made man after that all time classic ladder match at SummerSlam 1998 with Triple H. FACT: Paul was Dwayne’s first major opponent after Dwayne’s post-Stone Cold face turn. And the WWF was never the same again. You need a great heel to make a good face. And “Triple H” Hunter Hearst Helmsley is assuredly the greatest of them all.
Triple H. Mick Foley. The Big Show. The Rock. Four men whose careers were so entwined that they had to meet in one match in one place. It had to happen at the show of shows. The 16th edition of the spectacle known as WrestleMania. Not a numbered show on this year. No, this was the beginning of a new millennium and WrestleMania 16 was christened “WrestleMania 2000”. The big selling point for the main event: there would be a Levesque in every corner.
“Oh, Fray. There was a McMahon in every corner.”
Shut your mouths. On that night, in the year 2000, the McMahon’s became Levesque’s.
This is my narrative. Deal with it.
This four way match was the first of many WrestleMania main events for Triple H. It was a classic match, nearly forty minutes of heart pounding, flesh beating action. To this day, it’s remembered for it’s length and for reuniting a father and a daughter. It’s also remembered for being the first WrestleMania in history where a “heel” walked in as champion and walked out still holding on to the championship. But that’s what Paul does. He makes history every time he steps into the ring. He’d lose his championship the next month, but really, that whole thing was a farce because Stone Cold showed up and his beer belly was quite the embarrassment for the World Wrestling Federation.
After finishing up with The Rock, Triple H later feuded with Kurt Angle in the year 2000. It really seemed like things were awfully ripe for a face turn. I remember really enjoying the program at the time. And then finally Stephanie just low-blowed Kurt Angle and Triple H moved on to Chris Benoit for a month before moving on to a lengthy program with Stone Cold. That was it. Imagine how different things might have been if Triple H turned that fall and worked against Stone Cold after WrestleMania 17.
But let’s not fantasy book because the end result of that scenario probably sees Paul Levesque headlining the Fairgrounds in Nashville for the outlaw promotion that ran shows in that territory.
Triple H was an evil, evil man. He took Stone Cold to hell through early 2001, and then he took on The Undertaker in THE premiere match at arguably the biggest WrestleMania of all time.
Yep. Big Mark stepped into Big Paul’s Yard.