Written By: Mark Armstrong
Running Time: 359 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Clear Vision Ltd/Silver Vision
Released: May 19 2008
By 2008, three-disc DVDs covering the entire career of a top name had become the norm, so when it was announced that Triple H would be receiving the profile treatment, there laid the potential for an outstanding release, considering the number of great matches he has had.
As it turned out, though, The King Of Kings would be a two-disc compilation with only eleven bouts, and in an early example of WWE trying to avoid repeating content, several key matches were omitted. This means that whilst this DVD is an entertaining release, it doesn’t come close to achieving its potential.
Accompanied by pre-match comments from HHH, King Of Kings (I can’t use the DVD acronym in this case) opens with his official WWF debut as the blueblood Hunter Hearst Helmsley, defeating John Crystal in a squash from a 1995 episode of Raw. In terms of the significance of particular matches on H’s career, this starts promisingly enough with his first Intercontinental Title win over Marc Mero (Raw, 1996), his 1997 King Of The Ring triumph over Mankind and his WrestleMania XIV battle with Owen Hart for the European Title, all of which are enjoyable to watch and which allowed HHH to take another step up the proverbial ladder.
Speaking of ladders, though, his famous IC Title Ladder scrap with The Rock (SummerSlam 1998) is not here, which is bizarre as that bout was arguably the first true sign of his main event potential, nor is the rest of his initial DX tenure covered. Instead, we jump to him capturing his first WWF Title over Mankind from a 1999 episode of Raw (there’s an interesting back-story to that if you believe the rumours, namely, the title went from Steve Austin to Mankind at SummerSlam to HHH the next night because Austin allegedly refused to directly lose to Hunter; either that or Austin’s knee injury necessitated those events or that special ref Jesse Ventura had to endorse a babyface winner, so make up your own mind). Then, it’s HHH vs. Austin from No Mercy 1999 in an underrated brawl (the outcome may dispel one of the aforementioned theories), and a superb HHH vs. Cactus Jack Hell In A Cell war from No Way Out 2000 (although their previous Street Fight at Royal Rumble 2000 was arguably more pivotal to H’s career and thus should have been here too).
Many HHH fans regard 2000-2001 as the peak of his career, so it’s a questionable decision that we get no further matches from that era. Instead, we see HHH win the 2002 Royal Rumble (but not the resultant WrestleMania X8 title win over Chris Jericho, which speaks volumes about the quality of that match) before we get a chapter from the epic HHH-Shawn Michaels rivalry. Strangely, their least memorable match is the one featured here; whilst their Three Stages Of Hell battle from Armageddon 2002 isn’t as bad as some would have you believe, it’s definitely the weakest PPV encounter of their series.
I mentioned 2000-2001 as being HHH’s artistic peak, but 2003 arguably marked his career low, with virtually no memorable matches besides a year-closing scrap with Shawn. Perhaps realising this, WWE chose to jump a whopping 2 1/2 years ahead (skipping the entire Evolution run) to Vengeance 2005 and a fantastic Hell In A Cell war with Batista (arguably The Animal’s best ever match). Since HHH and Randy Orton have fought so often, it’s ironic that he’s the only Evolution member who isn’t featured here, as we next see H battle Ric Flair at Survivor Series 2005 in a compelling yet unnecessarily violent Last Man Standing match (the amount of blood that Flair loses here is ludicrous). Finally, we get a forgotten gem as HHH takes on John Cena and Edge at Backlash 2006, which sees H spill a ton of blood himself towards the finish.
No, the DX comeback isn’t covered, and the release date means that there are no bouts from 2008, which would be a great year in the ring for The Game. The DVD is rounded off by some bonus segments, including a rare indie bout from 1992 (HHH, then competing as Terra Ryzing, and Jim Ross commentate on this one as he faces Flying Tony Roy; by the way, what a ring name that is) and a Hog Pen bout with Henry Godwinn from In Your House 5 (Hunter suffers a nasty cut to his back at the end of this one).
Triple H is amongst the divisive wrestlers you will find, with some admiring his all-around talents and others expressing disgust at his (alleged) political manoeuvrings. Regardless of your opinion, though, nobody can deny that this had the potential to be fantastic, and the end product is only adequate. HHH does add insight with honest comments (he notes how he once told John Cena that everything he did in the ring looked terrible), and it includes the first acknowledgement of Chris Benoit on a WWE product after his 2007 tragedy. But on the whole, this is a case of “What might have been”, because it only covers some of his greatest or most important matches, and leaves out many more suitable choices. Why a third disc wasn’t added which would have partially resolved this issue is unknown.
Fans of Triple H will enjoy The King Of Kings, but it is an incomplete profile of HHH’s career.
Overall Rating: 6.5/10 – Okay