WWE Champion Triple H def. Randy Orton

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November 23, 2008

HOUSTON -- For months, the venomous Randy Orton tore through the life of Triple H, brutally attacking and injuring his father-in-law, brother-in-law and even his wife. At the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania, The Legend Killer had an opportunity to take away yet another thing his rival held dear: The WWE Championship. Yet despite Orton's sadistic mind games, Triple H persevered, defeating his opponent to avenge his family and keep his coveted championship gold resting securely around his waist.

The match began with not one bang, but two, as Triple H and Orton both hit their patented maneuvers (the Pedigree and RKO respectively) within moments of the contest's start. The Game dominated the early match, prompting The Legend Killer to move the fight outside of the ring. Keenly aware of the stipulation that would have the WWE Championship change hands on a disqualification or count-out, Orton hoped to leave his opponent battered and broken outside the ring as the referee counted to 10. But Triple H was running on pure fury, repeatedly coming back from the third-generation Superstar's underhanded tactics.

With his options running out, Orton took out the referee, giving himself a few unsupervised moments to retrieve a sledgehammer from underneath the ring. But as he started to climb back in, Triple H served the venomous Superstar some of his own medicine, delivering a vicious punt and retrieving the sledgehammer for himself. While the ring official was still incapacitated, the WWE Champion clobbered Orton, setting him up a game-winning Pedigree and three-count.

Randy Orton's Road to WrestleMania began in earnest at the 2009 Royal Rumble, where with the help of The Legacy he eliminated Triple H to earn a spot at WWE's greatest spectacle. The Legend Killer's phenomenal win came at a time when the third-generation Superstar was already up to his eyes in trouble for punting Mr. McMahon in the head less than a week earlier. Orton's ensuing rivalry with the WWE Chairman's progeny quickly escalated to the point of no return, when in one night of utter brutality, Orton both punted Shane and RKO'd Stephanie, drawing her husband, a livid Triple H out to the ring to her aid.

Though he had already incapacitated three beloved members of The Game's family, Orton still had his eye on his rival's WWE Title, and subsequently announced that he would be challenging Triple H for it at the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania. Escalating into realms rarely seen in WWE, their conflict saw The Game smash his way through Orton's St. Louis home, prompting the third-generation Superstar to once again attack his rival's wife, but this time following it up with a demented kiss, which the handcuffed WWE Champion had no choice but to watch in rage-filled horror.

With his defeat of Randy Orton, Triple H achieved much more than simply retaining the WWE Title. For months, The Legend Killer and The Legacy had run roughshod over WWE's royal family, promising that a win at the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania would begin a new era. But with a punt, a sledgehammer and a thunderous Pedigree Triple H both avenged the McMahons and put an end to Orton's delusions of grandeur.

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