The individuals in the professional wrestling industry don’t really have the most ideal of lives as they have to put their bodies on the line and work almost every single day of the week to entertain the masses throughout the year. Because of the pressure they put their bodies through all the time, they tend to be forced to retire in their 40s as many of these wrestlers’ bodies just succumb to the pressures of their line of work.
While some more well-known retired wrestlers do get the attention of the mainstream media when there’s a serious, life-threatening injury, not everyone else does. There have been many incidents where a professional wrestler has almost passed away due to some illness or accident and few fans actually even knew about it. These wrestlers have to use a lot of precaution in the ring and outside it, but sometimes some of them are involved in terrifying accidents or incidents which almost take their lives.
There have been many cases of wrestlers getting critically ill or being part of some terrible accidents from which they almost passed away as we take a look at 15 of them.
X-Pac was an extremely entertaining wrestler back in the 90s when he was hot property in the wrestling industry and played big roles for both WWE and WCW during the “Monday Night Wars”. X-Pac career fell off after the new century kicked in, as he was forced to work more time on the Independent circuit after being let go by WWE. But it was during an Independent show that he had a close shave with death. X-Pac was wrestling a match when he went for the Branco Buster move, but his opponent moved away. He landed on the turnbuckle anus-first but continued with the match. But after it finished, X-Pac saw a bloody mess in his clothes and called an ambulance. He later revealed that he almost died because of how much blood was pouring out of his anus, going to show how this “hilarious” move can be deadly.
14. Edge’s Winter Death Tour
Edge and Christian were buddies right from the beginning of their career and both of them being for Canada, they knew how difficult the conditions could get in winter. Many wrestlers feared the “Winter Death Tour” in Canada during the ice-cold season and Edge almost was made to pay for what could’ve been a fatal mistake during one such tour. He was driving a van carrying some of WWE’s crew to a town when the coldness made him almost doze off in his seat. It was at that moment when he saw a hole in the lake(which was the size of a football field) ahead and he barely managed to hit the brakes and save himself and the crew from guaranteed death. They were left stranded in the middle of nowhere at -50 degrees and took it slow and steady after this terrifying incident.
Gangrel was quite the terrifying character back during the Attitude Era when he assembled “The Brood” with Edge & Christian and portrayed his “vampire” gimmick really well. Gangrel would fall off the WWE after the turn of the century after he was released and went onto wrestle in the Independent scene amongst other ventures. But Gangrel had a really close shave with death in 2011 when he was involved in a terrible motorcycle accident. He was riding his motorcycle when it was struck by an on-coming car in full speed. But thankfully he didn’t suffer any fatal injuries, only breaking his elbow because of the terrifying experience and made a full recover later on. It seems that Gangrel’s prone to these near-death experiences, as he also was involved in another notable one in WWE when he was almost hanged to death by the Big BossMan.
Hayabusa was a terrific, high-flying wrestler in the Japanese circuit when he got his mystical gimmick when on his excursion of North America. He did some great work in Mexico before moving back to Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling where he was the top star. But in 2001, everything came crashing down for him when he suffered a horrific injury in the ring. He attempted a springboard moonsault off the middle rope but lost his footing and landing straight on his head. That cracked two of his vertebrae’s and left him paralyzed. He had to go through surgery and even though he miraculously survived, he could never wrestle again. This horrific incident not only left him in a terrible state but also meant for the end of FMW, which slowly folded up after its’ big star had been forced to retire.
11. Buff Bagwell
Buff Bagwell was the man for the ladies during the 90s when his “buffed up” physique helped him get pushed in WCW to reap the eyes of the female wrestling fans, and it worked pretty well as well. Bagwell would see a real downfall after WCW folded up and he failed to impress in WWE and was left to wrestle in the Independent scene afterward. But he’d have a close shave with death in 2012 when he was in a horrifying accident after his Jeep was flipped and left him stranded in it. Bagwell was later taken to the Intensive Care-Unit and had suffered many broken bones in his neck and faces and a broken jaw, but it’s actually quite miraculous that he was still breathing after coming out of that situation, as luck had served him good at that time.
10. The Hurricane
The Hurricane will always be remembered as the hilarious wrestler who portrayed a “superhero” on WWE TV and also got pretty over because of it. He later dropped his mask and became the top guy of the Cruiserweight Division and was in the company for many years before he was released in 2010. While he wasn’t remembered by many after that, The Hurricane did go through a terrible accident in real life when he was involved in a bad motorcycle accident with his girlfriend. He was driving under the influence as the accident left him with a broken leg, ankle, jaw, and nose. He also had other fractures and was required to get over 200 stitches, while his girlfriend sustained a broken neck. This accident left him in a broken state, but it’s quite fortunate on his behalf that he actually managed to survive that kind of a terrible crash.
9. New Jack
New Jack may have the reputation of being a complete psycho in real life who doesn’t know where to cut the line between wrestling and violence, but even he has had close shaves with death in the past. Jack was never scared to take punishment and loved to take it as much as he loved to deal it to his opponents and he almost died during an extra-violent match in 2000. He faced Vic Grimes in a scaffold match and the original plan was for both of them to fall on multiple tables, helping them land safely. But Jack ended up landing on the concrete floor and Grimes straight on his neck. Jack was lucky to have actually survived that, but he was permanently blinded in his right eye and suffered brain damage from it as well despite managing to survive the terrifying fall.
8. Perry Saturn
Perry Saturn was quite a promising wrestler in WCW when he got over in the late 90s after his infamous feud with Raven, as he also had a unique look and physical attribute which helped him get to WWE. But while his WCW friends managed to get into big spots in the company, Saturn was turned into a lower mid-carder who was given the gimmick of being obsessed with a mop. He actually even got over with it, before he was released and that’s when tragedy struck him. About a year after his WWE release, Saturn helped save a girl from getting sexually assaulted and while he managed to fend off the attackers, he was shot in the neck for it. Now a regular human does not survive that, but Saturn miraculously did and even though his condition isn’t the best right now, at least he’s happy with his family.
JBL has been a man associated with WWE for a long time now, as the color commentator and notorious bully hasn’t been liked by fans for a long time now. But he decided to do something good and climb the Seven Summits of the World back in 2012 only for a near-fatal incident to almost have taken his life away in the first attempt itself. He started off at Russia’s Mount Elbrus and made it to 1000ft of the summit before a gigantic storm forced his team off the mountain. He contracted frostbite and hypoxia while scaling the mountain and things did not look good for him at all at one point. But luckily for him, the frostbite wasn’t severe and the hypoxia dissipated as well and he returned home safely. Despite this, he went onto tackle Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua and aims at tackling more soon.
Darren Drozdov was quite the unique wrestler for the WWE when he came to the company as he was only hired by Vince McMahon for his ability to puke at any time. He was given a gimmick of that and had a stint with the Legion of Doom as well. Just as his career was about to pick up, everything came crashing down for him. Droz almost died inside the WWE ring when he was wrestling D’Lo Brown at a Smackdown taping. Brown tried to execute his signature, the Running Powerbomb on Droz but it was terribly botched as he landed straight on his neck. It’s a miracle that he even survived that, but it left him paralyzed for life and his ambitions at becoming a big WWE star was absolutely crushed at that moment.
5. The Sandman
The Sandman was quite the famous wrestler back in the 90s because of his great work in ECW, as he was a character everyone fell in love with because of his interaction with the fans. But while continuing his wild work for ECW, The Sandman also had a terrifying encounter with death as he had apparently overdosed while traveling with his ECW buddies to a show. Tommy Dreamer spoke on how The Sandman had overdosed one night and how they left him in a hospital, but he was miraculously revived by the hospital staff. To make things even crazier, The Sandman actually managed to reach the event and even wrestled on that day, showing just how much of a “hardcore” and fearless individual he really is.
4. Arn Anderson
Arn Anderson has been a big influence for many wrestlers who have come and gone in the past, as the tough member of the Four Horseman proved just how strong he was day in, day out in the squared circle. But Anderson showed his real-toughness when he was entangled in a heated battle with Sid in a WCW tour of England where Anderson claimed that Sid couldn’t draw money. This made the maniacal Sid angry and he decided to go into Anderson’s hotel room with bad intentions later that night. Sid had a quarrel which soon turned physical and in a shocking turn of events, Sid brought out a knife and stabbed Anderson a number of times. When it was broken off, Anderson had twenty separate stab wounds! It’s quite unbelievable to realize someone actually managing to be alive after that and shows why Anderson is such a highly respected individual.
3. Harley Race
Harley Race has to be one of the most respected individuals in the history of wrestling because of how much he did for wrestling and how he influenced many others to take it after him. Race was a spectacular wrestler in the 70s and 80s, but his career almost ended before it had started when he was a victim of a terrible accident in the early 60s. Race’s car collided with a tractor trailer which instantly took the lives of his wife and unborn child and also killed Harley at first as well. He was later revived and doctors thought about amputating his leg, but his mentor Gust Karras wouldn’t allow it to happen. Race would go onto embark on a legendary career and despite that harrowing incident, he never gave up and even after suffering so many injuries over the years, he has always been a survivor.
2. Tomoaki Honma
Tomoaki Honma has been a big star in New Japan Pro Wrestling for almost a decade now, as the Japanese wrestler is beloved by the fans for his amazing work. Honma may have been a hard-working and long-serving wrestler for New Japan, but he was part of a shocking incident a few months back. Honma took a DDT from wrestler Jado but it was badly botched due to his feet being caught up in the ropes and Honma landed straight on his head. He was unresponsive for some-time which had many feared about what had happened to him, but miraculously he survived the terrifying incident. He was paralyzed from the neck down and had injured his cervical vertebrae, but he has since made a decent recovery and is looking forward to wrestling again, which shows the heart of the man.
1. Magnum TA
Magnum TA was a rising star for Jim Crockett’s Promotions in the 80s as he had a memorable feud with Ivan Koloff and was being recruited for big things into the future, when a terrible tragedy took place with him. Magnum was involved in a bad accident in 1986 when his Porshe lost control in the rain and was wrapped around a telephone pole. His vertebrae’s “exploded” because of the impact and Magnum was kept in that predicament for almost two and a half hours before help came for him. It’s quite unbelievable that he even survived that kind of an incident, but sadly he couldn’t recover from it and the right-side of his body was paralyzed. He was forced to retire from wrestling, as many were crushed to see him leave just as he was about to become a mega-star who could’ve ruled the wrestling industry.
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