Triple H narrowly avoided early retirement at the hands of Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, but if The Game thought his trouble with Lesnar would end at The Grandest Stage of Them All, he had another thing coming.
Having split two notoriously high-impact battles at SummerSlam and WrestleMania, The King of Kings and “The Beast Incarnate” will settle the score once and for all at Extreme Rules, and the rubber match will be held in the most inhospitable of environments: the steel cage. The addition of steel to this already perilous rivalry was the brainchild of Lesnar’s camp, as outlined in a challenge to Triple H on April 15.
In goading The King of Kings to accept The Anomaly’s challenge to a third fight, Lesnar associate Paul Heyman appealed to Triple H’s sense of pride, noting that The Game’s WrestleMania win merely brought him even with Lesnar. Heyman then focused on the WWE COO’s courage, acknowledging that steel cage matches offer neither protection nor mercy for the Superstars who compete within — even if they’ve already been incapacitated.
Despite the dire implications, Triple H readily agreed to the terms of the match in a confrontation with Heyman on the April 22 edition of Raw. He additionally fired a salvo Lesnar’s way by Pedigreeing his envoy, Heyman, moments after accepting the challenge.
Although The Game’s in-ring career will not formally be on the line as it was during his No Holds Barred brawl with Lesnar at WrestleMania, there is little reason to believe Triple H will approach the fight as though it’s anything less than career-threatening. As Heyman himself explained, inside the unforgiving steel cage, “a career can end in a nanosecond.”
Among the most base and wicked structures in WWE, the tried-and-true classic steel cage is perhaps the only venue with the gravitas necessary to host such a deeply personal tiebreaker. Even though it may lack the fanfare of more modernized match formats, any longtime ring observer knows that the dangerous steel cage offers plenty of opportunity for combatants to brutalize one another.
How will the result of their most recent bout — the absurdly physical No Holds Barred Match— affect both Superstars’ preparation for May 19? Will the fact Triple H won that encounter give him a psychological edge, or will it only make The Anomaly more focused and driven heading into Extreme Rules? Furthermore, Lesnar hasn’t competed in a Steel Cage Match in years, but his famous sabbatical from the squared circle gave way to a different kind of caged combat in the form of mixed martial arts. Will Lesnar’s Octagon experience represent a strength or weakness inside the realm of WWE?
If their last two bouts were any indication, Triple H vs. Lesnar III will be a hellish encounter for its participants and an unadulterated spectacle for the WWE Universe. With the bonus ingredient of a steel cage, only time will tell just how much more extreme this riveting rivalry can grow.