This April is officially the 25th anniversary of when Triple H joined the WWE with his first match airing on April 30, 1995. In honor of The Game’s successful WWE in the ring along with his work behind the scenes, WWE is planning on having a celebration for Triple H this Friday on Smackdown. Hunter sat down with Corey Graves on the After the Bell Podcast that was released today, and admitted he wasn’t excited about the idea of an anniversary show at first.
“One of the writers from SmackDown calls me up and he goes, ‘Hey, so, Sunday, are you going to be able to make it to the show for your 25th anniversary show?’ I’m like, ‘Wait, what?’ He was like, ‘The 25th anniversary show, we’re doing this big show for you.’ I’m like, ‘No, we’re not. You’re kidding me, right?”
This year’s WrestleMania was like no other before it, with it taking place over two days without a single fan in attendance. Triple H admitted that he was a fan of having WrestleMania held over two days.
“This is my opinion but it was much more enjoyable than the eight-hour extravaganza. I think at some point that [two nights] is probably what it should be. It’s just become so big that it’s almost like, when you think about it, in a way, it started out as a concert that ended up being a festival.”
“And it’s this week-long thing. When you think about it in that manner now, Thursday would have been Hall of Fame. Friday was SmackDown. Saturday was going to be TakeOver. Sunday would’ve been WrestleMania. Monday would’ve been Raw. It’s a week-long festival, and I think that big main stage attraction needs to be those two nights and it be this weekend of events. And I do think that’s probably a change that out of chaos comes the genius, and maybe that is the genius of it. And I know there’s been people saying that for a period of time, but that’s a major shift and that doesn’t come easy.”
— WWE (@WWE) April 23, 2020
Triple H went on to explain what role he had at WrestleMania this year, stating that Vince McMahon had him focus on the “Boneyard Match” between The Undertaker and AJ Styles.
“A lot of things were taking place at the same time. So when we got done shooting NXT television, I then went to events and was like, I feel like if there’s something that I can take and run with it? That would probably be the most helpful. Because everybody’s gonna be running in different directions and ‘what do you think needs the most for me to look at’? I guess it’s a way of saying it and Vince [McMahon] was like ‘the boneyard match.’”
“It’s a funny thing that I saw a lot of people afterwards saying like, ‘Taker could go forever in these kinds of format because of the physicality, there’s no physicality.’ I’m like, dude, AJ was flying around on the dirt on the hard ground with rocks and they were beating the tar out of each other, and it was a long shoot.”
Triple H went on to explain that Vince McMahon wasn’t even sure what a “Boneyard Match” was.
“I was like ‘okay great so what is the boneyard match?’ He’s [Vince] like, ‘I don’t know.’ He was like ‘a graveyard, it’s in a graveyard’ and I said ‘okay.’ As we go I said ‘what do you want it to be?’ and he’s like, ‘I don’t know, just make it good.’”
“I then went to Vince and was like, you know I pitched him the concept and the idea and he’s like ‘I love that, that sounds awesome.’ Then I said ‘well problem is right now I have one camera’ he’s like ‘you can’t do it with one camera!?’ And I’m like ‘I KNOW. So I said I have a solution on it, but I don’t know that anybody else is going to be in favor of this and my solution was to use the digital team from NXT, Jeremy Borash and a team of digital shooters that we use there. A different format,” Triple H said. “I said, look we can shoot it with them and we can do it cinematic style and I could bring a bunch of cameras and I can shoot all at once. I’ll shoot it like a film. I’ll shoot it in a different format. And you know, I believe we can create something special with this, and I don’t know I think most everybody else was against it. Vince was like, ‘well, I don’t see we have much choice. So that’s what we’re going to do.'”
Triple H said he was very proud of the Boneyard Match.
“I was proud of it. I was proud of the team that shot it. One because when I told them you guys are going to shoot The Undertaker match for WrestleMania, there was a lot of puckering going on, let’s just say. It’s the Undertaker and it’s WrestleMania. They were really excited about the opportunity, but that’s a lot of pressure. Then you get all that stuff and you see everything that you have on camera, but then it comes down to the edit.”
“Once it went back to the TV studio, there’s a couple of guys that just made magic out of it. We went through it with them like you would a movie and here’s what we’re looking for. And then they took it and just created magic with it and scored it and did everything they needed to do with it. Top to bottom team effort. First and foremost Taker and AJ and Gallow and Anderson, spectacular performances, but from the team that built that set which was like literally a little grass yard.”
Triple H also said that it made him so happy that the Boneyard Match helped to reinvigorate The Undertaker as well:
“Literally when we were shooting into the graveyard, if it was light out, there’s a house right there, but luckily the guy that owned this place over here was his house and he had all lights off so you couldn’t see it on the other side of the darkness. There’s actually one shot in there where there’s a car that keeps going by. I’m like, ‘if this guy drive by one more time, I’m going to run out there to like smash his car window or something to get him out of here.’ It was the same guy. I think he’s trying to see what we were doing and kept driving by, but yeah, I was proud of it and happy for those guys. I really felt like for Taker, at this point in his career, a guy that I don’t have more respect for anybody that I do for him in the business, and for him to be at this point and be where he’s at. You’ll see when the special comes out, all the things he goes through, but for him to have that moment and be able to put out that that gets universally, you know kind of acclaimed, and I was thrilled for him and for AJ, but especially for him because it sort of felt like yeah, that’s my badass Undertaker right there. It kind of reinvigorated him in a way and I was really happy for that.”
The Boneyard Match wasn’t the only match that had a unique presentation at WrestleMania 36, with the “Firefly Funhouse Match” being something completely different as well. Triple H admits that he wasn’t sure what he thought of the Funhouse match when he first saw it.
“Honestly, when it was over, I was like, ‘Did I like that or did I hate that? I’m not a hundred percent sure, but it went by quickly and I was entertained by it. I wasn’t sure where they were going with everything, but I really think I liked that.’”
— WWE After The Bell (@AfterTheBellWWE) April 20, 2020
Matt’s Musings: The “Boneyard Match” was one of the high spots of the entire WrestleMania weekend. Great job to Triple H and everybody who was involved in creating something special.