Paul “Triple H” Levesque broke his silence Friday on what was categorized as a “cardiac event” last September, but turned out to be a health scare more serious than initially conveyed.

Triple H joined Stephen A. Smith for his ESPN+ show Stephen A.’s World and a preview of the interview aired on First Take Friday morning. During the segment, Triple H teared up as he described his near death experience to Smith, explaining that it began with viral pneumonia.

The hall-of-fame wrestler said his wife, Stephanie McMahon, noticed he was coughing up blood and when he went for more tests, they revealed fluid around his heart, causing life-threatening cardiac issues.

“Basically the way your heart pumps out 55-65% of your ejection fraction is a good number. I was at 30,” he told Smith. “And I got a quick text message saying, ‘Don’t take time. Pack a bag real quick, head to the emergency room. I’ll fill you in on the way.’”

“I was nose-diving, and sort of at the one-yard line of where you don’t want to be for your family and your future,” Triple H continued.

“We have three young girls — 15, 13, 11. Suddenly I come home, I’m a little bit sick, and their dad, who’s strong always, suddenly is in the hospital. And I don’t know if they understood the consequences of it but there’s moments when there when they’re putting you out for stuff and you think ‘Is this it?’ Do you wake up from this?” he asked, beginning to tear up. “That’s tough to swallow, and it makes you think differently.”

Smith had his own near-death experience earlier this year during a bout with COVID, where the ESPN star spent time in the hospital and was told by doctors that he might not have survived without being vaccinated.

“I’m sure, as you’ve come out of your COVID scare — it makes you feel differently about life,” Triple H said to Smith. “It doesn’t make you any less driven for the things that you do, but it certainly makes you appreciate what you have more.”

As far as his future with wrestling, the 52-year-old Triple H announced his career in the ring is over following the health scare.

“As far as in-ring, which I get a lot, I’m done,” he said. “I will never wrestle again. First of all, I have a defibrillator in my chest, and it’s not a good idea for me to get zapped on live TV.”

Although he’ll never wrestle again, Triple H will remain very involved with the media organization, continuing to hold the title of WWE’s EVP, Global Talent Strategy & Development.


About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to