Triple H is one of the most important figures in WWE history, from his epic in-ring career to his now-role as Head of Creative, but his 2002 return on Raw will always be his greatest moment.
The Game had suffered a devastating quadriceps tear in May of the previous year and was sorely missed as WWE stumbled through the Invasion angle and beyond. There had been huge hype for his return (similar to Cody Rhodes this year) with several promo packages featuring U2’s “Beautiful Day” building up his comeback on the January 7th episode of Raw.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and that was certainly the case here, as the crowd reaction instantly made Triple H a beloved babyface despite being a vicious heel prior to his injury.
Take a look below at his return in full (shared on Twitter by @2000s_WWE)
Triple H returning after tearing his quad is one of the LOUDEST pops of all time! pic.twitter.com/gkZlAZtPqF
— 2000's WWE (@2000s_WWE) April 18, 2023
It is undoubtedly one of the greatest crowd reactions in WWE history, which is rubberstamped by JR saying it was as loud as any sustained reaction he had heard in Madison Square Garden. The location being MSG, commonly referred to as The Mecca, made it all the more special.
While Triple H is sometimes derided for his apparent politicking and stroke backstage as a performer, there can be no question that few wrestlers were ever as popular as him, particularly in the early 2000s.