Wrestling fans know very well that accidents indeed do occur inside the squared circle. The chance for error is high, and most wrestlers would probably agree that getting out of the ring injury free is good night, and that’s aside from having a great match, or not. Now, imagine being a wrestler. Yeah! Now aside from imagining your WrestleMania main event victory, imagine yourself, jeopardizing your health in the ring, every single night, and as a wonderful, added bonus to the physical chaos, and brouhaha, you have one of your fellow wrestlers, intending on injuring you!
Yes! ON PURPOSE. And without you even knowing. Talk about a day at the office. I’m sure we have coworkers we don’t care for. Shoot! We might want to do the same our favorite wrestlers, and bash everyone in the office with chairs, hell yeah. On a performance level, however, and when you didn’t even see it coming? I’d be incline to punch my fellow wrestler right in the mouth if they ever tried pulling something like that on me, and oh yeah, the actual wrestlers, actually in these type of situations would do just that! Condensing the issue, just a little here, as messed up as all of that might be, it has happened several times before, and I’ll tell exactly you how they have! Here are 10 Wrestlers Who Intentionally Injured Their Opponent And 5 Freak Accidents.
15. On Purpose: JBL Pummelling The Blue Meanie
For those who may not know of this incident, it occurred at the 2005 ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view, when JBL took it upon himself to bust open the forehead of the Blue Meanie during a big brawl in the ring between WWE and ECW wrestlers. The Blue Meanie has had wrestling shoot interviews, explaining what JBL told him his reasons were for assaulting him. JBL’s reason for assaulting the Blue Meanie, you wonder? He heard that Blue Meanie called him a “bully” on an internet interview, a few years prior. You don’t say? Thankfully, the two have since made peace since the incident, but it was an incredibly petty reason for JBL to act so unprofessionally. Why on earth wasn’t JBL reprimanded?
14. On Purpose: Bubba Ray Dudley Injuring Rene Durpree And Slyvan Grenier
Bubba Ray Dudley himself explained on an interview with RF Video that he did smack Sylvan Grenier in the face backstage, after asking why he was so stiff with them. Bubba defended his treatment of the young tag team by saying “they just wouldn’t learn.” With that said, Rene Dupree on a radio shoot interview online, featured on YouTube, stated “I’ve had so many concussions from Bubba Ray Dudley, it’s not even funny.” Dupree also added that the concussion that ended Christopher Nowinski’s career was also due to Bubba Ray Dudley, but that’s another story. Bubba has never been one to play nice with newcomers in the business, but delivering such vicious blows to the head would likely be grounds for a termination today.
13. Freak Accident: Brock Lesnar Breaks Bob Holly’s Neck
A well-known injury that occurred on a taping of SmackDown! back in 2002, while “Hardcore” Holly was in a power-bomb position, held by Brock Lesnar. The two were beginning to lose balance, and as result, Lesnar would harshly drop Holly to the mat, breaking his neck. Bob Holly would address the injury on an interview with Kayfabe Commentaries, explaining that Lesnar was ill that day, making it difficult for him to wrestle at all. Some alleged that Holly purposely was sandbagging Lesnar, but those accusations seem to be false.
The WWE would use the injury to work an angle into Holly’s return over a year later, when he challenged Lesnar for the title at the 2004 Royal Rumble. Holly labels the incident an accident, and seems to hold no animosity towards Lesnar.
12. On Purpose? Ryback Injuring CM Punk
I think a lot of people know about this one, based on recent history. Although these are alleged accusations that CM Punk shared on Colt Cabana’s “Art of Wrestling” podcast, Punk and Ryback were in feuds, back to back years, in rather rigorous matches. “Hell in a Cell” twice, “TLC” matches, just “Table” matches. Ryback also threw CM Punk off of the stage on RAW back in 2013. Notwithstanding the rough-house style Ryback has portrayed on WWE television for his entire tenure, it may just be a case worth believing. Given the way Ryback tended to work, it’s possible Ryback wasn’t doing anything on purpose and was just really green, resulting in mistakes, much like Goldberg would leave many opponents worse for wear in his career.
11. On Purpose: Faarooq And Bradshaw Teach Public Enemy A Lesson
Bradshaw again? Surprise, surprise. However, this time, there may be a point of understanding on Bradshaw’s behalf, for back in 1999, on an episode of Sunday Night Heat, the Public Enemy had a tryout match with the then WWF, where The Acolytes stiffly beat the Public Enemy, all over ringside. Apparently some officials in the back were quietly thanking Faarooq and Bradshaw for teaching the tag team a lesson. JBL has gone on record in the past by explaining that the Public Enemy refused to follow with the planned finish of the match, to which Faarooq obliged to force their way into the scheduled finish, anyway. Ouch. Either way, the Public Enemy remained respectful after the match backstage, and were quietly released from the WWE.
10. Freak Accident: Edge Debuts, and Injures Jose Estrada
Back on June 22, 1998, on an episode of RAW, the WWE Hall of Famer would debut against Jose Estrada. The match lasted about less than a minute when Edge performed a somersault over the top rope, unfortunately, landing on Estrada’s head, breaking his neck. The referee would count to 10, ending the match, for officials to treat Estrada for his injuries.
In an interview with slam.canoe a while back, Edge explained that he was told backstage not to stress over the accident: “It was one of those things where..man…you feel horrible but at the same time, it’s really no one’s fault. When I got back everyone stressed that. They said…Get over this because it wasn’t your fault. That made me feel a lot better. It’s just one of those moves and one of those risks we take nowadays.”
9. On Purpose: Matt Bourne Stiff Shotting Jim Duggan
At an indie wrestling show back in 2010, Matt Bourne, formerly known as the original “Doink the Clown” in the WWE, had an altercation with Duggan IN THE MIDDLE OF A MATCH. A video of the match has surfaced on YouTube, were you can see Bourne giving Jim Duggan stiff shots, and grinding his leg into the head of Jim Duggan. Unfortunately for Bourne, Duggan was unfazed, stood up, and challenged him to a fight.
Although Duggan was technically uninjured, going into a match where your opponent takes it upon themselves, and intend on hurting you, that’s enough to make the claim against Bourne’s behalf.
8. On Purpose: Antonio Inoki Shows No Mercy To The Great Antonio
Although Inoki did not have these intentions entering the match, he sure did by the end of it! Back on December 8, 1977, almost 40 years to the day, Antonio Inoki had a match with the Great Antonio for New Japan Pro Wrestling, in which Antonio refused to work with Inoki, delivering stiff shots to Inoki in the midst of their match. In response, Inoki repeatedly hit Antonio with legitimate palm strikes, and kicks to the head that left Antonio a bloody mess in the ring. Again, Inoki may not have initially intended to hurt Antonio, but after a large amount of lost patience, and the physical threats against him, he sure made it a point to leave Antonio face down in his blood. Yikes.
7. Freak Accident – Seth Rollins Ends Sting’s Career
The most recent entry on this list, as known by most current wrestling fans, the injury occurred when Rollins delivered his signature “buckle-bomb” power-bomb into the corner, causing Sting a neck injury that would ultimately, force Sting into retirement.
During Sting’s 2016 WWE Hall of Fame speech, he would address the incident, telling the audience a story of Seth Rollins running towards Sting’s ambulance that night, and out of concern, and excitement, quickly telling Sting that he dressed up as Sting for Halloween, right before being rushed to medical treatment. A positive light on the unfortunate injury. Rollins has since gotten a reputation of being an unsafe worker, as he broke Cena’s nose that same year, and Finn Balor injured his shoulder while taking the buckle-bomb as well at SummerSlam 2016.
6. On Purpose: Bruiser Brody Gets Lex Luger To Abandon Their Match
As the story goes, Brody was unhappy with the quick push, and treatment of the young Lex Luger as he entered the business. Apparently, Luger had a bit of an attitude problem that needed “adjustment.” Get it? Because that was the name of Luger’s finisher first, suck it, Cena. Nonetheless, in January 1987, on a NWA Florida event, Brody decided to not work with Luger, but rather punish him with stiff shots all match long. Luger was apparently beaten to a point where he also refused to work, had the bell called, and climbed out of the cage immediately to avoid further injury. The match is posted on YouTube!
5. On Purpose – Ganging Up On Daniel Puder
Yes, exactly as it reads. Daniel Puder, the 2004 WWE Tough Enough winner received major heat in the WWE during a Tough Enough competition. The rules were to mat wrestle your opponent, in this case Kurt Angle, who had to legitimately mat wrestle each of the contestants. Puder decided he would impress the judges by placing a key-hold on Angle, creating a lot of anger, and confusion amongst the situation. As punishment for this act, Puder came out #3 in the 2005 Royal Rumble match and was met with waves, and waves of stiff chops from the likes of Chris Benoit, Hardcore Holly, of course, and WWE Hall of Famer, Eddie Guerrero. Puder was beaten to a pulp, then released from the WWE that year, never seen on WWE television again thereafter.
4. Freak Accident – Droz Gets Paralyzed
Perhaps the saddest of entries on this list. The injury occurred on a taping of SmackDown! back in 1999, where D’Lo Brown was performing a maneuver on Droz when he slipped due to a wet substance in the ring. Brown would claim in interviews following, that a fan apparently threw a cup into the ring causing the spill, and resulting in Brown slipping, and dropping Droz incorrectly, causing him paralysis. The injury was never shown on television, obviously, and Droz was left paralyzed from the neck down.
On a slight glimmer of light, it has been reported online that Droz now has movement of his arms. For his part, Droz has always handled the situation with class, saying he holds no ill will whatsoever to D’Lo.
3. On Purpose – John Cena Injuring Michael Tarver
This is another case of allegations that may, or not be the case. For certain, Michael Tarver was injured with a broken arm following a segment on RAW back in 2010 where John Cena stiffly beat down the former Nexus member with a chair and steel steps. Tarver was soon taken off television, and released from the WWE. Tarver took to Twitter, as well as an eventual interview on the “Unplugged” podcast on snsradionetwork.com to address the injury, and issue, claiming that John Cena purposely broke his arm, and when Tarver approached him about the situation, Cena, apparently, laughed at him, and walked away. This one may remain a mystery, granted Tarver was released following the injury. Was he stirring up a rumor that the face of the WWE injured him? Or was he released because the face of the WWE injured him? Hmm?
2. On Purpose – New Jack Injuring (And Stabbing) An “Independent Wrestler”
Yeah—this happened. New Jack himself has addressed this incident on an interview featured on YouTube. As the story goes, back in 2004, New Jack was in the ring, with someone who apparently was not wrestler, and had zero experience in the ring. New Jack spoke to the guy, and decided they would work something out in the ring. Once they were in the ring, the guy punched New Jack in the eye, according to New Jack, which resulted in New Jack pulling out a blade from his ring gear, and stabbing the guy 9 times. When addressing the incident, New Jack would state “Yeah I would do it again—Should he have died? Yeah!” And to think that stiff shots for rookie wrestlers in the business was harsh.
1. Freak Accident – Owen Hart Breaks Steve Austin’s Neck
One, if not the most infamous wrestling injury of all time. It was SummerSlam 1997 when Owen Hart delivered a modified tombstone piledriver to Austin, landing on his butt, opposed to his knees. The move caused Owen to drop Austin directly on his head, causing spinal stenosis, which eventually, led to an early retirement for perhaps the greatest and most popular wrestler of all time.
Luckily, we had several more, not to mention, peak years with the “Texas Rattlesnake.” However, Austin said that as soon as the injury occurred, he knew he was wrestling on borrowed time, and had to adjust his style to more of the brawling type you saw later on, as he couldn’t afford to take any unnecessary bumps around his neck and head area.
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