Michaels took a four-year break from wrestling between 1998 and 2002 due to a serious back injury. Before his return match against Triple H at SummerSlam 2002, The Heartbreak Kid’s mother had a brief interaction with The Game backstage.
Speaking on WWE Network show Ruthless Aggression, Triple H almost broke down in tears while reminiscing about the promise he made to Michaels’ mother:
“You fast forward to getting to that day, Shawn walked off to say something to somebody, and there was his mom. I don’t recall her saying anything, but just the look. I grabbed her hand, looked her in the eye, and said, ‘I will let nothing happen to your boy. I promise you.’ She gave me a hug and was emotional and walked off,” he said.
Shawn Michaels defeated Triple H in a match lasting 27 minutes and 50 seconds. At the time, Michaels genuinely thought the SummerSlam encounter would be the final singles match of his career.
Triple H had no idea about Shawn Michaels’ in-ring abilities
Shawn Michaels is widely regarded as one of WWE’s top in-ring performers of all time. However, in 2002, nobody knew if he was capable of reproducing the kind of matches that pushed him to the main-event scene in the 1990s.
With Michaels’ family showing so much concern for his health, Triple H felt responsible for his opponent’s safety during their match:
“It was a moment there that made me realize like, ‘Holy s***.’ If they’re all that worried – I mean, I get it, it’s his mom, I get it, and all the other stuff – but if they’re all worried about him, what the f***, physically, how bad [is he]? I don’t know, is he bulls****ing me and it’s all broken and the first time I hit him he’s gonna shatter? I don’t know, I have no idea,” he said.
Three months after his return, Michaels won the World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series 2002 in the first Elimination Chamber match. According to Cagematch.net, he competed in 504 WWE matches after his 2002 return.
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