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Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque Announces Retirement From In-Ring Competition

After surviving a life-threatening health scare in 2021, WWE legend Paul “Triple H” Levesque has officially confirmed that he’s retired from in-ring competition.

The 52-year-old Levesque made the announcement during an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith. It’s the first time Levesque has opened up about his health since WWE announced in September that he had undergone a successful procedure following a “cardiac event.”

“As far as in-ring, which I get a lot, I’m done,” Levesque told Smith. “I will never wrestle again. First of all, I have a defibrillator in my chest, which, probably not a good idea for me to get zapped on live TV."

Levesque hasn’t wrestled since 2019. He works as an executive for WWE, serving as the company’s executive vice president of global talent strategy and development.
The cardiac event that Levesque suffered was caused by a genetic heart issue.

Levesque told Smith that the health scare started with him having viral pneumonia. Things got increasingly worse over the next couple of days, and Levesque went to get checked after his wife Stephanie McMahon saw that Levesque was coughing up blood. 

Levesque had fluid both in his lungs and around his heart. Tests on Levesque’s heart showed that his ejection fraction (a measurement of the percentage of blood leaving your heart each time it contracts) was at 30% when it should have been at 55% or 60%. When he got taken to the emergency room, Levesque’s ejection fraction had gone down to 22%.

“I was in heart failure, bad,” Levesque said. “By the next morning as they were sending me in to get an MRI done and about to go in for a heart [catheter], my ejection fraction was down to 12. I was nosediving and sort of at the one-yard line of where you need to be—or where you don’t want to be, really—for your family and your future.”

Levesque got emotional when talking about his three young daughters. He said there were times when he didn’t know if he would be able to wake up when doctors were putting him to sleep to have work done. 

“There’s moments in there when they’re putting you out for stuff and you think, ‘Is this it?’ ‘Do you wake up from this?’ That’s tough to swallow,” Levesque said. “It makes you think differently about life. It doesn’t make you any less driven for the things that you do, but it certainly makes you appreciate the things that you have more. Your friends, your family.”

A portion of Levesque’s interview with Smith aired on First Take on Friday morning. The full interview will be featured on Friday’s episode of Stephen A’s World on ESPN+.

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