Paul “Triple H” Levesque announced his retirement from the ring yesterday (Mar. 25) while providing the scary details about his 2021 heart failure scare to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.
An extended version of that interview followed the clip with that announcement. The full version on Stephen A’s World revealed more about Haitch’s condition, and his future at WWE.
Levesque said he’d never been diagnosed with cholesterol issues or high blood pressure. It was known that he had an enlarged heart, but that’s a common enough condition among people who train extensively that it has a name — “athlete’s heart”. No one ever spoke to him about taking medication or treating a heart condition.
Heart issues do run in his family, so there’s a genetic component. His father had triple bypass surgery at age 62, and his grandfather died of heart disease when he was 70. Levesque recently learned his great-grandfather died suddenly when he was only 52 years old.
He got sick after SummerSlam, and initially believed it to be COVID. The Game said he is fully vaccinated, and had previously tested positive for COVID but never developed symptoms. That turned out to be the viral pneumonia he discussed in the clip announcing his retirement. The procedures done to address the heart failure revealed there was a had a 99% blockage in his left anterior descending artery. While his body created a secondary pathway for blood flow, that also clogged as well. Had any clotting or further thickening of his arteries occurred, he’d have died.
With the defibrillator surgically implanted in his chest, he can’t ever wrestle again. The 14 time WWE World champ said he’s okay with that. There were plans for him to work WrestleMania 38 before his health issues, but those were an example of his being mostly retired except for the “right opportunity”. His in-ring career may be over, but Levesque has returned to work at WWE, where he’s the company’s executive vice president of global talent strategy and development:
“My foot’s not off the gas. I suppose in some manner I’ve got to step back a little bit. I’m still in recovery and my endurance is not exactly quite what it used to be before...
“I’m back. I’m at the office. I’m fully focused on recruiting and development of our talent and the future. Whether that’s building more Performance Centers, finding the next young stud that’s out there — male or female... It’s creating that future. That’s the biggest focus for me. And as we move forward from there, it’s making sure that WWE is a success for generations to come.”
As to why The Game chose to keep matters private for several months, he spoke about the experience being surreal, and not wanting to go public when there were still so many unknowns.
Check out the full interview with Stephen A. Smith, embedded above.