WWE.com interview (11/18/02)
Triple H on throat and possible arm injuries
by Phil Speer

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. Ė Nov. 18, 2002

The euphoria backstage last night after Survivor Series over what was perceived to be a solid pay-per-view was immediately dampened when word spread that Triple H was injured. The tiny trainerís room was filled to capacity with Superstars and staff, as well as a camera crew (filming perhaps for Confidential or a future ďDonít Try This at HomeĒ public service announcement), as The Game was fitted with an oxygen mask and placed on a stretcher. The word making the rounds backstage was that the injury was serious, but it was unclear at that point just how serious. You could hear a pin drop in the Madison Square Garden hallway as Triple H was carted toward an ambulance and taken to a hospital. At that point, it seemed that there was no way that Triple H would be at RAW tonight. But at almost exactly 8 p.m., just a few hours after checking out of the hospital, he appeared. Ever the consummate professional, he was dressed in a suit. With an extremely hoarse voice, The Game spent some time discussing his condition with WWE.com

WWE.com: How are you doing?

Triple H: Iíve had better days. Basically, after the show last night I went to the hospital and got out at about 4 p.m. today. They wanted to keep me an extra night, but I didnít want to stay. When Rob Van Dam hit me with the Frog Splash off the top of the cage, his knee went across my throat. It caused swelling on the inside of my throat, which closed my airway down. I donít know the percentage, but they said your throatís normally at two, and it was at less than one. I had 10,000 different tests done. They needed to keep me overnight because they were afraid that if it swelled anymore, my airway would close off, and before I would be able to tell anybody, I wouldnít be able to breathe and I could die. While they were making sure that didnít happen, they were also trying to find out whether or not I had torn my trachea, which, if I did, I couldnít drink or swallow. I basically sat bloody in the hospital in my gear until about 11 or noon today. I was still in my gear; I was still covered in blood with confetti on my back.

WWE.com: Whatís your throat feel like right now?

Triple H: It just feels like the worst sore throat of all time. When I swallow, it feels like somethingís stuck in my throat almost.

WWE.com: When RVD hit you with the Frog Splash, you knew something was wrong right away Ö

Triple H: When Rob landed on the Frog Splash, his leg landed across my neck. I had taken a hard shot to the Adamís apple. It shut my airway down. (Referee) Earl Hebner was asking me if I was OK. I could hear him asking me, but I couldnít answer him because I couldnít get a breath to do it with. At that point, for a minute there, it was pretty scary because I didnít know if he had completely crushed my throat. I couldnít say anything. What was I going to do? I didnít know how much damage it had done. However long went by, which it seems like was forever, I slowly started to take a little air in, and I slowly started to come back a little bit. It was still very painful, and I was still trying to get air. I couldnít really get a word out. The first bump that I took after that -- I donít even know what it was -- the same exact thing happen. As soon as I landed, my throat swelled back up, I couldnít breathe again.

WWE.com: You didnít think, ďI need to get pinned and get out of hereĒ?

Triple H: I donít know. For me, I just never think about stopping. When I tore my quad, people asked me why I didnít just stop. I never really thought about it. I knew what I had to do. I was just waiting to do it.

WWE.com: How hard was it to finish the match?

Triple H: It was tough. It was just the difficulty of being able to do stuff when you canít breathe. And every time I would take a solid bump Ė like when I took the chokeslam from Kane Ė it really cut my wind off again. I remember that as he was picking me up for the Tombstone, I had yet to get my breath back. I still felt like I couldnít breathe as he was putting me on his shoulders for the Tombstone. You just get through it; you donít even think about it.

WWE.com: So whatís the diagnosis with your throat? Thereís nothing broken?

Triple H: Just trauma. Itís swelled all in between my esophagus and my trachea. It just constricted my airway and constricted my throat. The airway thing has backed off, and now itís just more of a constriction of my throat when I swallow. I saw pictures of it today. I had this test done about six times today Ė (sarcastically) very pleasant. They stick a camera down your nose and through your throat, and they can look at it. One side of the area just above my voice box is all swollen and purple.

WWE.com: Youíre still going on the tour of India?

Triple H: Probably Iíll still leave tomorrow to go to India. I wonít be able to wrestle. Itís just going to depend on the company Ė whether or not theyíll send me. As of right now, Iím going. Iím advertised on the card and I would like to be there. I donít like to be advertised on something and not show up. I just feel like if you make a commitment to be somewhere, youíre there. And yeah, itís halfway around the world, but there are people who want to see WWE just as much as anybody else does. Itís part of what we do.

WWE.com: Whatís the prognosis in terms of when you can back in the ring and wrestle?

Triple H: They told me not to wrestle for at least 10 days. Itís mostly just until the swelling goes down. Once the swelling goes down, I have to see. Theyíll take more pictures inside to make sure there wasnít any damage. But as of right now, they think itís not structural damage, itís just swollen tissue. And unfortunately, when your throat swells, you canít breathe.

WWE.com: I overheard somebody saying that the doctors told you that you were very, very lucky Ė that it could have been a lot worse.

Triple H: This sounds extreme, but the doctor explained to me that if somebody dropped even a 10 or 20 pound weight on you from a few feet in the air and it hit you on the throat, it could crush your windpipe and kill you instantly. For me, the doctor said it was a lot of things. Rob tried to protect me as best he could. I rolled with the shot. My neckís very thick from training it. All of those things protected me, and a bit of luck too. It could have been a lot worse, and thatís why they kept me last night and wouldnít let me leave the hospital, because they werenít sure how bad it was, and if it did swell more, it could have still killed me. Which sounds weird to say; I feel funny even saying that. But I guess the truth is, when your breathing goes, youíre done. If you canít breathe, thatís it.

WWE.com: Do you think RVD is going to get ďheatĒ for what happened? Are you mad at him?

Triple H: No. This is a tough business. And there are certain moves in the business that are high-risk moves. When we do them, we take high risk, thatís why theyíre called high-risk moves. Every time that you do one, the odds go up that somethingís going to happen. And this time, something happened. The time was right, and there it was. This has nothing to do with Rob. I feel completely safe in the ring with Rob every time Iím in there with him. It was just one of those things; it wasnít his fault, it wasnít my fault. It just happened. In this business, thereís a fraction of an inch between safe and not safe, and we were on the wrong side of the fraction.

WWE.com: I see you got a bunch of cuts on your forehead. Besides your throat, how are you feeling physically after that match?

Triple H: The biggest things right now are my throat and my arm. I didnít get (my arm) checked because I thought Iíd be in the hospital longer. But Iím not sure yet that I havenít broken my arm.

WWE.com: How did that happen?

Triple H: I have no idea. I was in a f***ing 10-ton steel cage. It could have been anything. Once the throat happened, I was so intent on trying to not get hit in the throat. Like when Shawn dropped the elbow off the top of the cage on me, I was just trying to protect my throat. He could have landed on anything else. I donít know. At that point, I wasnít really aware of it. But my right arm hurts to the point where itís hard for me to put a shirt on. So Iím not sure that I havenít broken my wrist.

WWE.com: I also heard that you were dehydrated last night.

Triple H: One of the reasons I was in the hospital so long is that they needed to do one test where they needed to shoot me with some dye so they could see the veins in my throat. They couldnít shoot me with the dye because the dye affects your kidneys. And when they did a blood test, my kidney enzymes were high because I was dehydrated from the match. Weíd wrestled for an hour, which we do every night, but you have to put fluids back in your body. And what happened was, as soon as I came (backstage after the match) and they knew I had a throat injury, they wouldnít allow me to drink. Because if I had torn my throat, any liquid or food that I would put in there could seep out of my throat and cause a massive infection. So I didnít have anything to drink until 11 this morning. When they did the test and realized that I was dehydrated and my enzymes were up, they put me on IV. Well, I was already on an IV, but they started me on a saline solution to try to boost my fluids. But it takes a long time to get a couple of bags of IV into your system.

WWE.com: Do you have any idea or recollection of how the match went?

Triple H: I remember all of it, other than the parts where I was rolling around unable to breathe. It seemed like it went very well to me. I was excited with the response that we got at the end, and I think we did what we wanted to do.

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