Triple H’s 2007 Injury Ruined A WrestleMania Main Event Match With John Cena

Hamish Woodward

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While he has had quite a few terrible injuries in his career, Triple H‘s 2007 injury suffered at New Year’s Revolution 2007 has to be his worst.

During a match against Randy Orton and Edge, Triple H completely blew his quad, ripping it off the bone and causing him excruciating pain – so much that he named it his worst injury ever. However, this did not put an end to the match, and The Game fought valiantly alongside his partner, Shawn Michaels.

This injury put an end to some big plans for Triple H. WWE had planned for him to beat John Cena at WrestleMania 23 that year, in a rematch from a year prior. This would have seen him walk out of Detroit as the WWE Champion, adding an extra reign to his already-impressive 14 World Championship runs in the WWE.

Triple H Injured His Quad In 2007

At New Year’s Revolution 2007, Triple H tore his right quadriceps in one of the worst injuries to happen in a WWE ring. This came in the midst of his reunion run with Shawn Michaels, as D-Generation X began to run roughshod over the WWE tag team division on Monday Night Raw.

This led to a feud with Rated-RKO, who were a team comprised of Edge and Randy Orton, who were both knocking on the door of the main event scene after multiple failed world championship runs between them. Rated-RKO vs D-Generation X battled for the World Tag Team Championships at the event, although disaster soon struck.

Champion Rated-RKO retained their titles in that match, but nobody really cared about the result. The real talking point was the severe injury suffered by Triple H, who walked out of the match (barely) with a torn quad that cost him 8 months of his career during, arguably, the peak of his powers as a wrestler and a character (although his run before his 2001 injury can also boast that).

During the match, Triple H hit his “AA Spinebuster” on Randy Orton in the middle of the ring. While The Game would usually pop straight up into his signature pose, signally to hit his Pedigree finishing move, this time he stayed down, laying on the still body of Randy Orton. He rolled over onto his back, grabbing at his knee as his felt an intense pain in his leg.

The match ended in a no-contest after that, when Shawn Michaels attacked the referee. He then grabbed chairs to attacked Rated-RKO with, and as if a miracle occurred, Triple H continued to fight despite his injury. This culminated in his hitting a pedigree onto Edge on the announce table, despite his quad detaching from the bone in his right leg.

“The worst injury I’ve received was a torn right quad.” Triple H said, during his recovery, “Basically, I detached the muscle in front of my leg from the bone of my knee. Honestly, it felt like my kneecap just blew to the other side of my leg, which wasn’t my kneecap moving, but my quad ripping off and sliding over to the side.”

While many fans were still hoping to see The Game at WrestleMania 23, there would be no such luck. Triple H spent eight months of of action, rehabbing from the worst injury of his career (at least, up until the cardiac event that almost killed him in 2021).

Shawn Michaels Called The Match On The Fly After The Injury

The match plan was originally going to see Rated-RKO pin DX to retain their titles, prolonging the feud. It would have likely lead to a bigger, more brutal match at the Royal Rumble later that month, but the finish had to be changed on the fly by Shawn Michaels.

The referee for the match, Marty Elias, informed both teams that Triple H was hurt. The Game indicted that he was hurt, but Shawn Michaels took charge of the match instead. The Heart Break Kid reportedly told the other wrestlers in the match to “smozz”, which in this instance meant to attack the referee to have the match thrown out. He attacked Elias and proceed in an impromptu beat down that led to Triple H’s iconic table Pedigree on Edge.

Triple H backstage after tearing his quad at New Year’s Revolution 2007.

“I then went to Shawn and told him what was wrong and Shawn said tell Hunter to “powder”. Edge then tagged in and covered Triple H for a two count.” Former WWE referee Marty Elias said, “Shawn then called an audible and said “smozz.” I then relayed that to Edge and Randy who went with it. Shawn then told me “take a bump” and proceeded to clock me and bump me out of the ring, and I was down “selling” (which is a lost art nowadays).”

“There was tons of chaos going on around me as I could hear and see everything as I “peeked” up and watched on the TitanTron. DX brutalized Rated RKO and left them down and bloody! By the way, that whole beat-down of Rated RKO was called on the fly, and executed by the best talent in the business! That is a prime example of working at a different level and being prepared for anything!”

His Injury Meant He Missed WrestleMania 23, and a Match With WWE Champion John Cena

With his injury keeping him out of the ring for eight months, Triple H had to sit on the sidelines as WWE put on an incredible show in Detroit for WrestleMania 23. 74,000 fans (allegedly) filled up Ford Field that, seeing the likes of Undertaker vs Batista, Chris Benoit vs MVP and Kane vs Great Khali in some huge WWE matches.

The main event of the show saw two of WWE’s biggest stars clash over the WWE Championship. The 2007 Royal Rumble runner-up Shawn Michaels earned himself a title shot at John Cena at WrestleMania. The pair were deep into a heated feud which amusingly saw them hold the World Tag Team Championships together – the same titles Triple H had tried to win alongside HBK before he was cruelly injured.

However, Triple H was supposed to be in that spot, instead of Shawn Michaels. The plan was for a rematch from last year’s main event, where John Cena forced The Game to tap out to his STF (then called the STFU). Reports indicated that Triple H was set to win that match, with John Cena taking the belt back a month later at Backlash 2007.

Triple H returned to the WWE at Summerslam 2007, in a much-hyped return match against Booker T. Vignettes and video packages were played weekly in the run-up to the event, with the hype comparative to his return from injury at the 2002 Royal Rumble event.

Triple H Was Trying To Bury John Cena Before His Injury

One of the most interesting wrestling conspiracy theories surrounding Triple H was his treatment toward John Cena at this time. The Champ was deep into his run as the WWE Champion, and was quickly establishing himself as the biggest star in the entire wrestling business.

While Triple H happily lost to Cena at WrestleMania 22, the plan was always for The Game to take his win back the following year. With back-to-back WrestleMania main event matches planned (much to the anger of Batista and The Undertaker) for Cena vs Triple H, it seemed obvious that the pair would trade wins before a final match one year later (which ended up also involving Randy Orton).

It was clear in the year running up to WrestleMania 23 that Triple H was doing his best to put down John Cena and build himself up. He repeatedly got into Vince McMahon’s ear, convincing him to put DX’s (Triple H and Shawn Michaels) matches against The McMahons in the main event of shows, instead of big matches like John Cena vs Edge.

This all went well for Triple H, who helped build himself into a bigger star in the process, and looked certain to win the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. Sadly, an injury at New Year’s Revolution 2007 saw Triple H injure his quad, causing him to miss WrestleMania 23 completely.

Click here to read more about the greatest wrestling conspiracy theories in WWE history.

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