Wrestling is hard. The business isn’t just taxing on the mental state of its performers, but physically debilitating at times. In many cases wrestlers are forced to work intense schedules performing five nights a week, every week of the year. When normal civilians get hurt we have a chance to recover, but not a wrestling star. With the kind of schedule that a WWE star has, it’s easy to understand how a simple sprained ankle can turn into a completely fractured foot, or in more severe cases (like for CM Punk), a small lump can turn into a full-on staph infection.
Not all wrestlers fall victim to the injury bug, as many have enjoyed long careers without many injuries. Some make efforts to wrestle in such a manner so that they can enjoy multiple decades long careers, and others are just plain lucky. In either case it’s hard to predict who and when injury will strike. Because of that, today we will be looking at history, and specifically profiling eight wrestlers who are never hurt and seven who are always injured.
As always feel free to leave us your opinions in the comments section, and let us know who we may have forgotten to add.
8. Always Healthy: The Miz
Despite starting off as a bit of a joke, The Miz has put together a nice career for himself in the world of professional wrestling. Over the past 10 years, Miz has held gold in the WWE 14 times, including an impressive 160 day reign as the WWE Champion. Even more remarkable than his track record, is the fact that Miz has never been injured in the WWE. Sure he’s had some teeth knocked out here or there, and has suffered from bruises, but overall the former WWE Champion has been in good health. His “safe” style of wrestling was brought to the forefront recently during a verbal spat between The Miz and Dainel Bryan on an episode of Talking Smack. During the confrontation Miz acknowledged his style, and attributed his long successful career to wrestling that way.
7. Always Hurt: Triple H
Though Triple H looks great for his age, the COO of the WWE has been hit with a number of gruesome injuries during his career. Before even becoming The Game, Hunter Hearst Helmsley destroyed his knee during a Ladder Match against The Rock for the Intercontinental Championship in 1998. The injury forced Trips to relinquish the title, and took time off to recover. The Game’s most iconic injury took place on a 2001 episode of RAW, where he tore his quadriceps muscle off of his bone. The injury was supposed to end his career, but only took eight months to recover from.
Triple H was the only main event level Attitude Era star who didn’t abandon the company during the 2000s, and thus put a bunch of extra pressure on his body, leading to many nagging injuries at the time. The former WWE Champion has since had to take time off in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2010 to recuperate from injuries.
7. Always Healthy: Kane
A consistent talking point among most WWE alumni, is that all of them loved working with Kane. Not only is Kane one of the safest wrestlers to work with in the ring, but the seven foot monster also makes sure that he takes care of himself. Maybe his safe style is what has led to Kane maintaining a 20 year career in the WWE, having played one character for most of that time. Luckily for Kane, his character didn’t have to take as many bumps as some of the other smaller main eventers on the card. Sure he’d eat a Stone Cold Stunner here, and a Rock Bottom there, but for the most part, Kane played the role of an unstoppable monster. I’m a bit surprised however that Kane’s right knee is still intact though, seeing how he has landed on it for about a million pedigrees over the years.
6. Always Hurt: Kevin Nash
So Kevin Nash is on this list because despite being 57 years old, the WWE Hall of Famer still books indie events. Nash has become somewhat of a legend in the internet wrestling community, with the former WWE Champion serving as the butt of many injury jokes. While it’s true that Nash did suffer from what seemed like endless injuries during his WWE return in 2002, the idea that he was always injured is exaggerated. What’s true however, is the fact that Nash blew out his biceps in 2002, missing two months of in-ring time.
During his first match back, Nash would eventually blow out his quadriceps, keeping him out of action for an additional nine months. Shortly after reemerging in the WWE, Nash again would have to take time off for neck surgery, solidifying his legacy as the most injury prone member of the nWo originals. Oh, and if Kevin Nash is reading this… try not to tear your quad before getting to the end of the article.
6. Always Healthy: Ric Flair
Even though over his career he has lost enough blood to fill a Red Cross Blood Bank, Ric Flair has miraculously never been seriously injured in the ring. It literally took a plane crash in 1975 to sideline Flair, and even then he was back in the ring within eight months. Throughout his nearly 50 year career, it’s crazy to think that The Nature Boy has never been really hurt, and even doctors have commented on it as a miracle. During a podcast Ric Flair said the following in regards to his health:
“I don’t have any health issues. Everybody else has hips and knees…They tested me for four hours. The doctors said ‘there’s something wrong with you, has to be,’ and I said ‘yeah, it’s called an hour Broadway every night brother.’ The guy looked at me and said that I was a medical miracle.”
5. Always Hurt: Randy Orton
It seems like Randy Orton was injured from the start, having missed a few months after his WWE debut due to a severe shoulder injury; this injury would go on to haunt Orton for the rest of his career. Less than two years after recovering from shoulder surgery, Orton re-aggravated his injury after a match with The Undertaker. In the interest of fairness we won’t count Orton’s 2008 motorcycle accident, where he broke his collarbone as part of this discussion, we will however jump right to his 2012 concussion. Shortly after his head injury, Orton suffered yet another shoulder injury at the hands of The Shield in December of 2012.
Almost as if the prior two years happened in reverse, Orton again hurt his shoulder, followed most recently by a concussion in 2016 at the hands of Brock Lesnar. Needless to say Orton isn’t exactly made of steel.
5. Always Healthy: Chris Jericho
If you were to ask Chris Jericho how he stays so spry in his older age, he would probably tell you to go to DDPyoga.com, and use the promo code “Jericho” for fast savings. Well maybe he only says that on his podcast, but really Jericho has had an amazingly lucky stretch without injury. The only time Jericho was ever actually hurt, was following his stint on season 12 of Dancing with the Stars, when he herniated a disc in his back. At the time, Jericho was taking a brief hiatus from wrestling, so he actually didn’t miss any television time due to the injury. If you want to be a real stickler, you could bring up the fact that Jericho broke his arm in 1994 while wrestling for Smokey Mountain Wrestling. While a broken bone is a serious injury, Jericho wrestled in a match the same night.
4. Always Hurt: Mark Henry
Being the World’s Strongest Man must take a toll on your body, because Mark Henry has been getting hurt since he was at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Ironically, his injury at the Olympics is the only reason that Henry even got into wrestling during the late 90s. If everything had panned out the way Henry wanted it to, he would have been a strongman for his entire career. Henry remained relatively healthy in the WWE until 2002, when he had to take time off to heal a knee injury he incurred while training for the Arnold Strongman Classic.
Henry had another good stretch of time without injury until he suffered a career threatening shoulder injury in 2012. It seems that Henry’s body began to fail him after the shoulder surgery, as the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion has missed more time than he has been on the road during the past four years.
4. Always Healthy: The Rock
The Rock is sort of like an injury sandwich, only suffering two notable injuries during his career in the WWE; one at the beginning, and another one at the end. After debuting as Rocky Mavia, the former WWE Champion suffered a knee injury during a match with Mankind. The Rock then literally went 16 years without obtaining another wrestling related injury, until his WrestleMania XXIX match against John Cena, during which he tore his abductors off of his pelvis.
Now you can make the argument that The Rock was a part timer during most of his WWE career. But in The Rock’s defense, being a top guy during the Attitude Era came with a much more intense and grueling schedule than WWE superstars have now. Luckily The Rock was able to find ways of entertaining the crowd without taking huge bumps every night.
3. Always Hurt: Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan has always been in a catch 22 for his career, as the now retired wrestler had to work in a style that he knew would destroy his health in the long run. By the time that Bryan was signed to the WWE main roster, the Washington native had already clocked a lot of miles on his body. After three years in the WWE, Bryan was finally granted a push capitalizing on the “Yes!” movement that was created that same year. Sadly just after the movement began, Bryan suffered a nerve injury that would plague him for the rest of his career as an active wrestler. Bryan’s compressed nerve caused him to go spurts without being able to feel either of his arms, and resulted in him relinquishing both the WWE Championship and Intercontinental Championship respectively within a two year period.
3. Always Healthy: Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy must have inherited some of Broken Matt Hardy’s magical powers, because despite all of his death defying antics, Hardy has never really been hurt. In fact, most times that Hardy was “hurt”, it was really just the WWE and TNA giving him some time to clean up his life. His exit from the WWE in 2009 was attributed to two herniated discs, but many believe that it was really due to multiple wellness policy violations. Regardless of the reasons for his departure from either company, the fact remains that his physical health has remained astonishingly good over the years.
Brother Nero’s luck finally ran out in 2015, when he found out that he had torn his posterior cruciate ligament; the somewhat minor injury came nearly 20 years after Hardy began his career.
2. Always Hurt: Rey Mysterio
Wrestling in the lucha style is bound to take a toll on a wrestler’s body. Rey Mysterio has recently fallen victim to the repercussions of being a luchador, a side effect from over 25 years of wrestling the style. Early in his career, Mysterio was always healthy but did tear his ACL twice during his stint in WCW. It wasn’t until his later years in WWE that the former World Heavyweight Champion’s body would begin to fail him completely. Fans may have noticed that in the late 2000s Mysterio stopped performing his signature West Coast Pop move, which was due to his decaying knees. Mysterio needed to have surgery on his knees on multiple occasions, taking a full year off in 2006-2007 and missing months at a time in the years after.
2. Always Healthy: Big Show
The World’s Largest Athlete is one of the few giants to not have his body turn on him during his wrestling career. Although standing more than seven feet tall and weighing in at over 500 pounds, Big Show’s body is in amazing shape. Being one of the few Attitude Era performers who is still active with the WWE, Big Show has showed remarkable durability over the past 15 years. Besides taking very few bumps, the former WWE Champion can credit his longevity to a very smart purchase in 2010. Six years ago Big Show purchased a customized tour bus to travel the road in, eliminating the need to sleep in hotel beds that were too small for the giant. Many WWE stars have traveled in their own bus since Show’s purchase, and it makes you wonder how many careers could have been elongated if they had thought of it first.
1. Always Hurt: Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle is tough, so tough in fact that he won a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics with a broken freakin’ neck; well to be exact Angle fractured his cervical vertebrae, and pulled four muscles in his neck. Though he remained relatively healthy during his run in WWE, Angle did require neck surgery in 2003 to repair nerve damage among other things. After jumping ship to TNA, the former World Champion would enjoy success for two years before suffering another neck injury in 2008. While training for the Olympics in 2012, Angle tore his MCL and needed six months of rehab before competing again. The Olympic Hero eventually tore his ACL in 2014, along with suffering from multiple nagging ailments before finishing out his contract with TNA in 2016.
1. Always Healthy: AJ Styles
I’m sure that I will be corrected in the comments if I am wrong here, but has AJ Styles ever really been injured? Like really injured and not part of a storyline? After searching for an instance of the former TNA Champion being sidelined for injuries, the only thing that I could find were reports of basic wear and tear. The fact that Styles has wrestled at such a high level for so many years, and hasn’t been injured is…wait for it… phenomenal.
There were many reports back in May of 2016 that Styles would need time off due to nagging injuries, but if he is injured then he has hidden it very well. Though he has slowed down in the ring a little to adjust to the WWE style, Styles credits his health to DDP Yoga.