Triple H and Randy Orton have had several matches against one another over the course of their illustrious careers. More times than not, however, they have exhibited a decided lack of chemistry with one another. Their matches at Unforgiven 2004, Royal Rumble 2005, Great American Bash 2008 and WrestleMania 25 have been considered disappointments at best, despite above-average build and storyline support behind most of them.
The exception to the rule would come in October of 2007.
Six days before the No Mercy pay-per-view, John Cena suffered a torn pectoral muscle. The near-catastrophic injury forced the creative team to come up with a replacement for the company's top star and deliver a show worth the hard-earned money fans would be expected to pay.
The best replacement for one future Hall of Famer, it turned out, was another.
Enter Triple H.
No Mercy kicked off with Vince McMahon presenting Randy Orton with the WWE Championship. Triple H would interrupt the celebration and goad McMahon into sanctioning a title match between he and Orton to start the show.
The match was made and Triple H rolled Orton up to win the title. In the first half-hour of the show, the WWE title had changed hands twice!
Enraged over his real-life son-in-law's victory, McMahon informed the new champion that his scheduled match against Umaga would go on as planned, and now, it would be for the WWE title.
Triple H withstood the onslaught of the savage Samoan Superstar and ended his threat to the title with a Pedigree.
His ribs throbbing with pain, exhausted following two pay-per-view title matches against two quality opponents, Triple H was approached by McMahon, who again ordered him to defend his title. He would once again face Orton, this time in a Last Man Standing match.
The match proved to be the best ever between the two and one of the best title bouts ever held in the month of October.
Triple H and Orton took advantage of the lack of disqualifications and count-out, crafting an outstanding drama-filled match that played on Triple H's exhaustion and injured ribs and made Orton look like a vicious, heartless competitor.
Orton would defeat The Game and regain the WWE Championship in a physical, violent main event.
The Legend Killer was heavily favored to leave No Mercy with the title, even before the Cena injury, so his win in the main event did nothing to alter the future of the promotion.
Triple H, on the hand, should be commended for his performance on the show. He wrestled three very different matches against two very different opponents and delivered in every one of them. Though he appeared in three matches and in one promo segment, he never felt stale and that is the ultimate testament to a performer.