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On this date in WWF history: Benched for eight months due to injury, Triple H finally returns

On the May 21, 2001, edition of World Wrestling Federation's (WWF) Monday Night RAW, Triple H planted his leg awkwardly and tore the quadriceps muscle in his left ham-hock. The devastating injury occurred during a tag team match featuring Trips and Steve Austin taking on Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit for the tag team titles.

Somehow, "The Game" managed to finish the match with half a leg.

Said Helmsley, in a follow-up interview with the WWF website:

"I'm a young guy. I'm 31 years old. I'm not even near my peak in this business yet. This is not a big deal. It's a bump in the road. I'll be back in a few months and in the grand scheme of things this is not a big deal."

Emphasis mine.

No, Trips hadn't peaked, as we can clearly see in hindsight, but at the time it was a major setback. But you know what they say about absence and the heart.

After the jump, watch Triple H make his triumphant return on the January 7, 2002, edition of RAW to one of the more impressive pops in the history of pro wrestling.

The injury:

The return:

Triple H would go on to win the 2002 Royal Rumble and take the Undisputed Championship from Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania 18.

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