The story of Triple H's WWE career is filled with thrilling moments of treachery.
Best friends, employees and partners were not safe. Triple H has gone from fan favorite to heel in a flash, trading a friendly grin for a glare as he holds a sledgehammer above a former ally.
Daniel Bryan, Ric Flair, X-Pac and Shawn Michaels have all been victims of Triple H's violent shifts in character. Which of those moments was the best of The Game's career?
How surprising was it? How much did the story turn resonate and how big and dramatic was the moment?
The answers to those questions determine the order of these heel turns, counting down to Triple H's most entertaining betrayal so far.
The surprise factor was high when Triple H turned on Flair, but he was mostly an honorary fan favorite at the time.
Triple H was a heel when he lost to Batista at Vengeance 2005. After returning from a four-month absence, The Game was cheered as if the time away had wiped away all of his sins.
His best friend, Flair had turned away from dark side in his absence, and when the two teamed on the Oct. 3, 2005 episode of Raw, Triple H played the face role. That wouldn't last.
Triple H pounded his fist into Flair's forehead, hit him with a sledgehammer and left him bloody and unmoving.
His explanation for his actions was as logical as it was cold.
He told WWE fans that he was sick of how mediocre Flair had become, that he was tired of holding him up and wanted to put Flair out of his misery.
The buildup to their cage match at Taboo Tuesday 2005 was great as was their Last Man Standing match at that year's Survivor Series. The turn that initiated all of this though, came too soon after being heel to rank higher than Triple H's other turns.
Joining The Corporation at its peak would be like a member of the Rebel Alliance from Star Wars joining forces with The Galactic Empire.
At WrestleMania XV, Triple H made that jump.
The group he headed, D-Generation X was in a feud with The Corporation, but during X-Pac's match against Shane McMahon, The Game changed sides. He knocked X-Pac out with a Pedigree and slid McMahon's hand over him for the win.
The New Age Outlaws rushed out to brawl with their new enemy.
This was a surprising turn of events because Triple H had been among The Corporation's biggest opposition. Just a few months earlier, Chyna turned on him to join that villainous stable. At WrestleMania XV, though, Chyna turned on Kane to reunite with Triple H.
It appeared that she was again a member of D-Generation X, but instead the two were together again as members of The Corporation.
As surprising as this was, the next two turns saw a more vicious side of Triple H emerge and there was an even more personal element to those than abandoning X-Pac.
At SummerSlam, Triple H officiated the WWE Championship match between Bryan and John Cena.
The story up to that point was that Vince McMahon disliked both champion and challenger. He said he wanted both men to lose, going as far as to say that his ideal scenario was for Cena and Bryan to spontaneously combust.
Many fans predicted that Bryan would win, only to have Randy Orton cash in his Money in the Bank contract on him, turning heel and becoming champion all in a single step.
WWE took that expected route with the surprise element of Triple H hitting Bryan with the Pedigree first. Triple H had been completely impartial up to that point and seemed to be on Bryan's side before the event, believing in him when no one else would.
That was all an elaborate deception.
Triple H turned on Bryan to prevent him from being the face of the WWE. The COO later claimed that he was doing what was best for business. As personal as things got with Bryan in the months after this moment, Triple H saw it all as a means to an ideal end.
The most chilling villains are the ones who think they are in the right, who have a clear moral code, no matter how distorted others view that code.
That's the kind of villain that was born that day. Triple H wasn't just sadistic and angry as he was in the past, he became a corporate monster.
The emotional high that Bryan's win delivered juxtaposed with the heartbreak that followed thanks to Triple H made for a moment that ranks as one of the best of The Game's long career.
Triple H abandoning his best friend surpasses even his latest heel turn.
As close as Michaels and Triple H were for all those years before this moment, seeing their split was a jaw-dropping moment. After years away from the ring because of a back injury, Michaels returned to Raw on July 22, 2002.
What looked to be a D-Generation X reunion turned into the genesis of one of the best feuds in WWE history.
Triple H later told fans that he thought Michaels was weak, that he was now "The Show Stopper," not Michaels. Some of Triple H's best work came after this heel turn, including his merciless treatment of Michaels.
The Game's most recent trip to the dark side was excellent entertainment, but it can't match D-Generation X imploding in terms of drama. The shock of the moment in 2002, of two longtime partners becoming enemies in an instant makes this the best heel turn in Triple H's career.
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