RETURN TO WWE AND FEUD WITH TRIPLE H
In 2002, Michaels returned to wrestling and was brought into the New World Order (nWo) by Kevin Nash as a new member of the group. After the nWo had disbanded, Triple H appeared to make amends with Michaels. This was solidified when Michaels pleaded Triple H to return to Raw. Later on, they came down to the ring sporting their DX music and attire. When the pair was about to perform their trademark “Suck It” taunt, Triple H turned on Michaels by giving him a Pedigree. Continuing the angle, a week later, Triple H attacked Michaels from behind in a parking lot and put his head through a car window, in storyline. In response, Michaels challenged Triple H to “a fight” (a non�sanctioned match) at SummerSlam, which Triple H accepted, laying the foundation for a rivalry that lasted for years. Michaels won at SummerSlam, but was attacked by Triple H with a sledgehammer after the match. At Survivor Series, Michaels won the World Heavyweight Championship from Triple H in the company’s first-ever Elimination Chamber match, where the ring is surrounded by a steel structure of chain and girders. Michaels’ reign as champion came to an end when he lost the championship to Triple H in a Three Stages of Hell match, a series of three matches in which wrestlers attempt to win the majority of matches, at Armageddon.
Michaels then began a rivalry with Chris Jericho, after Jericho claimed that he was the next Shawn Michaels. On January 13, 2003, after Jericho won a battle royal, a multi-competitor match type in which wrestlers are eliminated until one is left and declared the winner, to select his entry number for the Royal Rumble, choosing number two in order to start the match with Michaels, who had already been named number one. At the Royal Rumble, Jericho, with the help of Christian (William Reso), eliminated Michaels. Michaels defeated Jericho at WrestleMania XIX. After the match, Michaels offered his hand to Jericho, who instead of shaking it, hugged Michaels. At first it seemed like good sportsmanship by Jericho until he quickly kicked Michaels in the groin.
As a part of an ongoing feud with Triple H, the two competed alongside Chris Benoit in the main event match at WrestleMania XX for the World Heavyweight Championship. The former DX partners both came up short in the match, however, as Benoit had been scripted to win the championship. At Bad Blood in June, Michaels lost to Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match. Four months later, he lost a World Heavyweight championship match against Triple H, after Edge interfered at Taboo Tuesday, when the fans voted for him ahead of Edge and Chris Benoit to face Triple H one more time. Following this, Michaels was out of action for a few months with a legitimate torn meniscus.