Back in 1996 before he was “The Game,” Triple H was simply an American Blue Blood in a rivalry with a garbage man.
That garbage man, Duke “The Dumpster” Droese recently spoke to WrestleZone and opened up about the real-life frustration that led to the rivalry and what he was hoping to get out of feuding with an up-and-comer.
“It’s funny because that thing came about because I was frustrated and basically complained and I was just frustrated because they were killing me on TV. Basically what ended up happening is I went to Bruce Prichard at TV and they wanted me to do another job, incidentally, for a new guy that came in right after Triple H, a guy by the name of The Ringmaster. I refused to do the job. Of course, I sat down with Steve (Austin) and explained it to him and he fully understood and we became good friends after that. But funny thing, I refused to do a job for, like, one of the biggest stars the wrestling business has ever seen,” Droese jokes. “It was the moment when I felt like I needed to take a stand because my contract was up and they were just killing me. So, They pulled me aside, Vince pulled me aside in the hall, we had a little meeting and I was just basically frustrated and asked him what I needed to do to better myself there and said I was doing that. So they gave me the Triple H angle. I was frustrated being the blue-collar babyface and I had told Vince, I remember sitting in a meeting with Vince and Jim Ross saying I wanted to change my appearance and turn heel and just change things and maybe just become Duke Droese. Jim Ross took the opportunity to say, ‘well, why don’t we cut your hair and use it as part of this angle?’ That’s fine as long as you let me get some kind of revenge and I know I’m not going to beat em or cut his hair, but in the end, I got to come out looking, you know, like I got him back. Of course, they agreed to all that.”
Droese would say that even though he disliked the way the angle played out, Triple H was an absolute professional to work with and had no problem making Droese look good and never said no to taking a bump.
“I wasn’t happy about it, but of course, I had already resigned my new one year deal. And I remember Vince McMahon. I was talking to him on the phone at one point and he just said, ‘just show up with a smile on your face and do your job. So, you know, that was the beginning of the end. I was really pissed,’” he continued. “Working with Triple H was great. He was great. He was always willing to do anything. I mean, the Lord knows and I tell people this whole time, I’d beat the living hell out of him. I threw him all over the place and he went for everything. He didn’t care. He was happy to do it. Of course, he’s happy to do it because it makes him look like superman in the end when he wins. But he was willing to take any of the big lumps I gave him. He was great to work with. He was an excellent worker, but at that time, I was just really frustrated.”
You can listen to the full interview with Duke “The Dumpster” Droese in the WrestleZone podcast feed. We are available on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and more.
Transcription credit should go to Robert DeFelice for WrestleZone