Wrestling is scripted. Many of the WWE Universe are already aware of this and openly accept it, but the one thing that can’t be controlled or prevented is injuries. Sadly, the number of bumps and the impact of certain moves over time end up affecting many wrestlers after a few years wrestling full-time and this then causes many stars to be pushed out of their dream career at an early age.
Wrestling is hard work when a wrestler is doing it full-time at the highest level over a number of years, and this could be why WWE have lost so many stars to retirement over the past few years. Wrestling has changed and many fans now want to see indy-style bumps all the time. As well as being forced to retire early, there are a number of stars who have come forward and stated that their career has finally caught up with them and they are now too ill to be able to wrestle or even work a normal job anymore.
It’s a sad state of affairs for a number of WWE legends, but this is sadly the outcome that many stars are already aware of when they begin their wrestling careers.
15. Perry Saturn
Former ECW and WWE Legend Perry Saturn has pleaded for fans help over the past few years after he has reached a point in his life where he doesn’t know who to turn to. Saturn was once one of the most colourful stars in wrestling, but when he was shot in the neck and back in 2004 when he was helping to stop an assault, it seems to have begun a huge downfall in his life.
Saturn became addicted to illegal substances following the attack and found it hard to turn his life back around. Recently he revealed that he was struggling with a Traumatic Brain Injury that was stopping him from being able to continue with day-to-day activities. The injury comes from his 14-year wrestling career where he took a number of bumps to the head. Luckily it seems that many fans have stepped up and managed to help him out of his current predicament.
14. Ric Flair
It was reported just a few weeks ago that 16-time World Champion Ric Flair had been put into a medically induced coma after he was forced to have emergency surgery to remove an obstructive piece of his bowel. Flair already has a heart condition called alcoholic cardiomyopathy that came about due to many years of alcohol abuse, but now it seems that his most recent health scare has caused kidney failure.
Flair may be out of the woods now after being discharged from hospital earlier this week, but it seems that he will constantly be needing dialysis now as well as regular hospital treatment. Flair has become known as a star that regularly returns to WWE over the past few years, but it seems that this time Flair is finally done with the company.
Big Van Vader was an easily recognizable presence in wrestling in the 1990s and many fans of wrestling during that era recall Vader’s matches being some of their best memories, but it seems that the big guy hasn’t had a good time with his health recently.
Despite doctors telling Vader that he didn’t have long to live last year, he still continued to wrestle and actually passed out during a match in Japan earlier this year. Vader has had problems with his heart that have been well publicized and there have been a number of doctors who have differing opinions on his current healthy state. That being said, many reports now suggest that this could have been the last time that Vader can wrestle, since it’s a risk to allow him to perform in his current situation.
The face of WCW made his debut in WWE at Survivor Series back in 2014 when he cost The Authority the match against Team John Cena. This later led to a lengthy feud with Triple H, before the duo had their first match at WrestleMania 31.
Sting’s second match at Night of Champions later that year against Seth Rollins would sadly become his last as a turnbuckle power-bomb injured his neck and forced him onto the sidelines. Sting headlined the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016 and announced that the injury had forced him into retirement because he needed surgery. The Icon did try to hold off on the surgery so that he could finally face The Undertaker, but it seems that their dream match was never meant to be.
11. Nigel McGuinness
Nigel McGuinness became known to the WWE Universe as part of the UK Championship Tournament earlier this year when he picked up the commentary duties. He has since been added to the NXT broadcast team alongside Percy Watson and Mauro Ranallo.
McGuiness once had a successful career in Ring of Honor and TNA as Desmond Wolfe, but sadly for McGuinness, he was forced to retire from the business that he loves back in 2012 when it was revealed that he had contracted Hepatitis B. This diagnosis cost him his chance to wrestle for WWE since he failed a physical based on this and was later also released from his TNA contract. McGuinness has luckily been able to lend his talents to commentary work instead, which he is becoming well-known in Wrestling circles for. It is thought that he has since been able to fight the virus.
10. Corey Graves
Corey Graves was once part of WWE’s NXT brand and won the Tag Team Championships with current WWE star Neville. Corey was a popular talent on WWE’s developmental brand until he suffered his first concussion at the hands of Neville.
After Graves was then cleared to compete after his first concussion, he sadly went on to suffer his second successive head injury not long after. This was enough to see “The Saviour of Misbehaviour” retire from wrestling for good. WWE obviously felt that they owed Corey something and gave him a seat at the commentary table on NXT. He has since gone on to become the best colour commentator that WWE has on its main roster, so it seems that he has managed to make the best of a bad situation.
9. Daniel Bryan
The General Manager of SmackDown Live has been forced into his current position by WWE because the company refused to clear the former World Champion to wrestle in the ring.
Daniel suffered from a number of injuries between his Championship win in 2014 and his retirement from in-ring competition in 2016. It was thought that Bryan was suffering from the same injury that saw Edge hang up his wrestling boots back in 2011, and one bad bump could leave the popular star paralysed. Bryan and his wife Brie Bella have recently welcomed their first child and it seems highly unlikely that Bryan would risk himself at any other company now knowing that he has another person relying on him. It was heartbreaking for Bryan to give up his dream last year, but at least WWE has found a way for him to still be part of the business.
Edge is a former 11-time World Champion in WWE who was struck down at the height of his career when he was diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis. Edge has just competed at WrestleMania 27 and retained his World Championship before he was forced to relinquish it due to the condition finally being confirmed.
Edge has made appearances for WWE since and has been able to begin a career in acting instead with a main role in the TV series Haven as well as a guest starring role in The Flash. Edge is no longer able to live life the way he did before, and is unable to physically compete in a wrestling ring any more thanks to this condition. Edge has made a life for himself outside of WWE since his retirement, which makes him much luckier than many other stars on this list.
Christian is a star that falls into the category where he was forced into retirement from wrestling because his injuries finally began to pile up against him. Christian was a huge star in WWE alongside Edge in the late 1990s as the duo became well-known for their involvement in some of WWE’s riskiest matches of that time.
Christian was released from his WWE contract back in 2016 after not being used on WWE TV for a number of months. It was reported that Christian had suffered too many concussions and these were causing real problems for the former World Champion, so much so that it is thought that Christian’s career inside the squared circle is now over. It is highly unlikely that he will be returning to WWE in the future.
6. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold Steve Austin was one of the biggest stars of WWE’s Attitude Era, his character is legendary and the Texas Rattlesnake’s war with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon will always be legendary, but all good things must come to an end and in 2003 Austin finally decided to walk away from WWE.
While Austin had a memorable career, he also had one plagued with injuries. In 1997 in a match against Owen Hart, Austin took a pile-driver that could have cost him his career as he didn’t land it correctly. Austin then struggled with his knees in the years that followed before the injuries became too much for him. The WWE Universe has begged for Austin to return to WWE a number of times, but sadly in his current position Austin will never be cleared for in-ring competition.
5. Dean Malenko
Former WCW star and current WWE producer Dean Malenko has been through the wringer in recent years, since it was reported that he suffered a heart attack back in 2010. Despite this, Malenko was still back at work a few months later, seemingly not seeing the heart attack as a warning to slow down.
Malenko was later sent home from WWE’s European Tour in 2013 when he complained of chest pains before he was forced to miss last year’s WrestleMania weekend when it was reported that he was being forced to undergo surgery. It seems that Malenko isn’t in the greatest position when it comes to his health right now, and perhaps the constant chest pains could be telling him that he needs to change a few things about his current lifestyle.
4. Mick Foley
Feeling tired after surgery, but I'm told it was a very successful operation. Thanks for all the well-wishes! ? pic.twitter.com/iCtMNXoWT4
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) September 11, 2017
Mick Foley was most recently seen on WWE TV as the General Manager of Monday Night Raw alongside commissioner Stephanie McMahon. Mick Foley was a popular decision for the job on WWE’s Flagship show, but he was forced to step aside following WrestleMania this year when it was revealed that Foley needed hip surgery and was in constant pain so he couldn’t keep up with the travelling schedule.
Foley was known to take a lot of risks when he was much younger and was part of some of the most shocking moments in WWE history, including when he fell through Hell in a Cell. It seems that these bumps have finally caught up with The Hardcore Legend and he underwent hip Surgery back in April and has a pretty nasty scar to show for it. Foley’s career as a wrestler was over long before this, but this seems to have made it a certainty.
Former WWE Tag Team Champion Tugboat, who was also known as Typhoon, was recently reported to have been hospitalised earlier this year after suffering from a nasty infection.
His wife updated the WWE Universe through Facebook stating that Fred was still quite weak and sick, but it seems that God is good and there is power in prayer since he was becoming stronger. The 60-year-old had quite the career and became one of the iconic faces in WWE during his time, but it seems that ever since he retired from wrestling back in 2001 he has stayed away from the business and hasn’t been given an opportunity to return. Tugboat’s health seems to have improved over the past few months but it’s highly unlikely that he will ever wrestle again.
2. Harley Race
Harley Race is a former seven-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion and was most recently forced to recover from two broken legs after he suffered a fall at his home in Missouri.
At 74-years-old, it is obvious that Race’s wrestling days are now behind him, but he still seemingly manages to conduct himself like a Champion and has become the role model for many wrestlers who are now also seen as legends in the business. Race was admitted to a nursing home earlier this year because he needed assistance getting back on his feet after breaking his legs, even though there have been rumours that Race’s health was deteriorating. It seems that he is still in good shape and the man who overcame polio as a child was obviously never going to go down easily.
1. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
WWE Hall of Famer Jake “The Snake” Roberts has battled a number of problems in recent years and was shockingly able to make a dramatic one-off appearance as part of WWE old School Raw back in 2014.
In February 2014 it was reported that Roberts was suffering from cancer, something that he underwent surgery for and was cleared of in July that year. On a flight to Las Vegas in August of that year, Roberts became unconscious and unresponsive which forced doctors to put the former WWE star into an induced coma in order to allow his body to recover from pneumonia, after he contracted flu a few weeks before. Doctors also found an abnormality in Jake’s brain which could have come from the bumps he took in his lengthy wrestling career.
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