Paul Michael Levesque was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, on July 27, 1969. He has a sister named Lynn. Levesque watched his first wrestling match, involving Chief Jay Strongbow, when he was five years old. He attended Nashua South High School, where he played baseball and basketball. Following his graduation in 1987, Levesque continued to enter bodybuilding competitions—having taken up bodybuilding at the age of 14 because he wanted to look like the professional wrestlers he saw on television—and won the 1988 Mr. Teenage New Hampshire competition at the age of 19. While working as a manager at a Gold's Gym in Nashua, he was introduced to world champion powerlifter Ted Arcidi, who was employed by WWE at the time. Eventually, after numerous attempts, Levesque persuaded Arcidi to introduce him to former wrestler Killer Kowalski, who ran a professional wrestling school in Malden, Massachusetts.