Professional wrestling is a dangerous business and absolutely nobody will dispute that. Whether you’re just a fan or you’ve been involved in the industry in some shape or form, you’ll know by now that things can quite easily go wrong courtesy of many different factors.
Of course, it’s not always the fault of the wrestler in question and it isn’t always avoidable, but that doesn’t make the evidence any less painful to watch. Anybody who wants to seriously consider a career in this field needs to take a long, hard look at what we’re about to discuss because it could end up proving to be a gamechanger.
If you’ve just stumbled across this article and you don’t respect the guys and girls who do this on a daily basis, then perhaps that'll be something of an eye opener for you. Sure, botches can be fun to mock and joke about from time to time, but when things get this serious it’s time to re-evaluate whether it’s worth putting your body through this kind of torment.
15 A Paralyzing Running Powerbomb
The story of Darren Drozdov is one that has been well documented for many years now, and it’s one that doesn’t get any less hard to hear as time goes on. What was once a promising mid-card act has transitioned into a tragedy, with Droz having been paralysed for well over 15 years now. Do you still want to try and call wrestling fake?
The incident took place back in 1999 during an episode of SmackDown, when D'Lo Brown went for a running powerbomb on Droz and was unable to properly execute the move. It was immediately obvious that something was wrong, and as we fast forward to the present day Droz is a quadriplegic – but at least he’s still fighting, and that’s all you can really hope for.
14 Don't Tuck Your Chin For The Styles Clash
Everyone knows that the Styles Clash isn’t exactly the safest move in all of professional wrestling, which is probably one of the reasons why Vince McMahon has been hesitant to allow him to use it. There have been a few instances in which wrestlers in the WWE came close to disaster, but this example comes from AJ’s days in Japan.
Whilst it may seem instinctive to tuck your chin when taking the Styles Clash, that can often lead to some fairly horrific results – and it has. Former WWE superstar Yoshi Tatsu learned this a few years back when he broke his neck after taking the move poorly, and he wound up taking almost a year and a half to get back in the ring. To be honest, we can’t believe he’s even still walking.
13 Knee To The Face
If you were watching the WWE product back in 2015, then you’ll know that John Cena and Seth Rollins fought each other a lot: and we mean, a lot. They waged war over both the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and the United States Championship, swapping wins back and forth for months on end.
Arguably the most notable moment of their feud, though, came on an episode of Raw back in July 2015 when Rollins hit Cena with a knee to the face that legitimately broke his nose. It was one of the most gruesome injuries in recent years and proved once again that there’s such a fine line between success and failure when it comes to pinpoint accuracy in this business.
Super Cena is more than just a nickname, clearly.
12 Sit-Out Pile Driver
Seeing the word piledriver in the title may lead you to believe that The Undertaker or Jerry Lawler will be appearing in this entry, but you’d be oh so wrong. In fact, when you consider the source, it’s baffling to believe that this move was even brought out given that the match was contested between Owen Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The two battled one another at SummerSlam 1997 for the Intercontinental Championship, and for whatever reason Hart decided to pull a sit-out piledriver out of the bag. Austin suffered temporary paralysis and had things gone even slightly worse, the Texas Rattlesnake we all know and love may not have been able to create the legacy that we all know him for to this day.
11 A Hellacious Chokeslam
You simply have to be prepared for everything when you step inside the squared circle – that is, unless your name is Mick Foley. We all remember the match back at King of the Ring 1998 when The Undertaker launched Mankind off the top of the Hell in a Cell structure to create one of the most iconic images in wrestling history.
But we aren’t here to talk about that. Instead, we’re here to talk about the chokeslam through the top of the cell which came extremely close to writing off Foley altogether. The fall gave him a horrendous concussion and caused one of his teeth to become wedged in his nostril, which likely led to the company reinforcing the structure in the years that followed.
10 The Rope Hit
Boy oh boy, this one is nasty. In the weeks following WrestleMania 32 fans were buzzing with excitement after Enzo & Cass finally received their long-awaited call-up to the main roster. It was a great moment given their rising popularity, but in just their first pay per view match as a part of the Raw roster, things went terribly wrong.
Simon Gotch sent Enzo Amore into the ropes in what seemed to be a routine move, when suddenly Amore’s head ricocheted off of the bottom rope and smashed into the canvas. It looked bad for a while with Enzo being completely out cold, but thankfully he managed to bounce back fairly quickly and is currently ruling the Cruiserweight division in the present day.
9 Table-Breaking Moonsault
Even Mr WrestleMania comes up short every now and again, and that’s to be expected given just how sensational HBK has been over the years. The location was the Citrus Bowl and the event was WrestleMania XXIV, where Shawn Michaels was preparing to end the legendary in-ring career of The Nature Boy, Ric Flair.
Flair was positioned by the announcer’s table and Michaels went for one of his traditional top rope moonsaults to the outside, only for him to under rotate and hit the edge of the table directly in his stomach. Given the force of which he came off the ropes, it could’ve been much worse than it was, and Shawn thankfully got off fairly lightly.
8 Shooting Star Press
Most people know the story of the world’s most notable shooting star press, but we’re going to repeat it because it deserves that kind of "Hollywood" treatment. To do so, we need to rewind all the way back to the main event of WrestleMania XIX – which is potentially the most underrated edition of the sports entertainment juggernaut in history.
Brock Lesnar, who was challenging Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship, attempted a shooting star press late in the match, and ended up landing square on his head. Despite what should’ve been an injury that required a sudden stoppage to the bout, Brock fought on through the contest and somehow managed to come away with his hand raised. He is simply not human.
7 Sid's Big Boot
The big boot is a great finishing manoeuvre, and it’s a shame that we probably aren’t going to see it for a while given that Big Cass is on the shelf. Still, we can always look back to past examples of the move being used – and what better way to scare the life into our readers than by showcasing the most ridiculous big boot of all time?
Under the advice of senior officials behind the scenes, Sid decided to attempt a top rope big boot during a WCW pay per view. As you can imagine things didn’t go all too well, with his leg completely giving way and essentially snapping in the middle of the ring. It was hard to watch then, it’s hard to watch now, and it will quite literally never be easy to watch.
6 Taker’s Dive
The Undertaker, by definition, is a deadman. That’s what his whole gimmick is based around and on more than more occasion since his debut back in 1990, he has displayed an utterly ridiculous ability to fend off numerous bizarre injuries. Seriously, he’s an absolute machine.
One such incident occurred at WrestleMania XXV when Taker dove over the top rope and landed square on his head due to a poorly-timed bump from the "cameraman" involved, who was actually Jimmy Snuka's son, Sim, aka Deuce of Deuce n' Domino. Of course, things weren’t meant to go this poorly, and it’s legitimately staggering that he was able to continue on with the match.
Oh, and it turns out it was arguably the greatest match of all time. Seriously, this guy’s Hall of Fame induction had better be the biggest ever.
We all know and love Rey Mysterio for everything he’s given us over the years, and in spite of some criticisms, he will forever be known as a former world champion in the WWE. That, in itself, is a tremendous honour and Mysterio should feel extremely proud of himself.
Unfortunately with such great careers often come some low points, and Rey’s occurred in the most tragic of circumstances. During a routine match against Perro Aguayo Jr, Mysterio sent his opponent into the ropes in preparation for the 619, only for Perro to suffer cardiac arrest as a result of the impact from the move. The Mexican sensation passed away, and to this day Mysterio is still haunted by that night.
You're still one of the best, Rey.
4 Joey Mercury's Ladder Spot
What happens when you put two of the best teams on the roster together in a high profile match? Well, you’d think they would create a masterpiece with one another, but in reality, the dangers of professional wrestling don’t hold off based on who is in the ring – and in this case, the wrestling gods certainly weren’t smiling down on Joey Mercury.
Essentially, The Hardys set up a move in which Jeff jumped off the top rope and caused a ladder to go straight up into the faces of MNM. He succeeded, but there was a price to pay. Mercury’s face essentially exploded as he was bust open the hard way, to the point where he was almost completely blinded in one eye. Perhaps the high flying style isn’t always that profitable.
Triple H has come a long way in the last two decades, and whilst some will argue that he simply ‘married well’ he’s certainly gone through some trials and tribulations in order to get to where he’s at today. Hell, he even had a push destabilised at one point due to the infamous curtain call incident, but that’s another story for another day.
We want to talk about one of his very first pedigrees on WWE television, which he delivered to Marty Garner. For some reason, Garner apparently thought that The Game was going to go for a powerbomb and because of that, he launched himself into the air as soon as HHH jumped backwards. The end result wasn’t pretty, as Marty landed directly on his head. Ouch.
We’re back to the powerbomb now, but this time there was no running involved. In fact, if you watch it back, it doesn’t seem like the damage would be all too severe; but you’d be oh so wrong.
The match was a run of the mill TV bout between Brock Lesnar and Hardcore Holly, and things were going to plan up to the point where there was some confusion between the two men regarding the scheduled powerbomb move that they were going to perform. There have been rumours that Holly sandbagged Lesnar in order to intentionally frustrate him, with the end result being Brock dropping him on his neck.
Those rumours have been nullified in recent years, but that doesn’t change the fact that Holly did wind up with a broken neck because of the error.
1 RIP Shawn’s Back
Shawn Michaels wasn’t a great human being back in the mid-'90s, with his numerous behavioural issues combined with his substance problems causing many issues backstage. So then, it’s interesting to note that we can all but pinpoint the moment in which things started to go wrong for The Heartbreak Kid.
During a casket match between HBK and The Undertaker during the main event of the 1998 Royal Rumble, Taker flipped Michaels over the top rope and to the floor below – at which point Shawn’s back connected with the corner of the casket. Whilst this wouldn’t have been the only cause of his numerous back injuries, it was almost certainly a contributing factor.
Who knows, maybe this incident was what led to the revitalised Shawn we all know love.