Believe it or not, the “fake” sport of professional wrestling has ended the careers, mobility, and even the lives of the Superstars who compete in the squared circle. Yes, we all know wrestling is choreographed, but that does not mean that it’s a safe sport. Sometimes, things can go wrong in the ring. Most wrestling fans have seen their favorite Superstar sidelined at some point.
Just take a look at the current roster for proof that wrestling can be very dangerous. John Cena, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Tyson Kidd, and Enzo Amore have all missed significant time in 2016 due to the grueling nature of their profession. The people who appreciate wrestling for what it is understand the risk that the Superstars are taking. However, there are many people who unfortunately disregard wrestling because it’s scripted. Well, I have two words for those people… don’t watch.
When it’s done correctly, professional wrestling is one of the most entertaining shows to watch. Unfortunately, many people, myself included, feel that the current product is a bit out of touch. Aside from the terrible writing, I feel that the WWE’s ratings are suffering due to the fact that many of the top stars are out of action. Luckily, it was recently revealed that Cena, Rollins, Orton, and Enzo will be making their returns in the near future.
Unfortunately, some Superstars on this list were never able to return to the ring due to the severity of their injuries. Before you dive headfirst into this list, I must warn you that some of the entries are graphic and truly unfortunate. It should be mentioned this list will not include death and permanent paralysis, as that’s a whole other level of tragic. These injuries are here due to the graphic nature of them. With that being said, here are the Top 15 Real Wrestling Injuries That Were Hard To Watch.
15. Enzo Amore – Concussion/Whiplash
Enzo Amore is one of the most popular new stars in the WWE today. He was recently brought over from NXT with his partner Big Cass. Unfortunately, Enzo was severely injured during the tag team tournament finals at the WWE Payback event.
The injury occurred when Simon Gotch Irish whipped Enzo into the ropes way too hard. Simon was supposed to send Enzo underneath the second rope, but Simon used too much power and Enzo ended up smashing his head into the rope.
Enzo’s head snapped back and then bounced off the mat. He was legitimately knocked out by the impact, and he was out of action for a few weeks.
Enzo suffered a concussion along with whiplash. Luckily, Enzo is doing better, and just recently made his return.
14. Beth Phoenix: Broken Jaw
During a match with Victoria in 2006, Beth Phoenix suffered a broken jaw. The injury occurred when Victoria went for a stunner like maneuver on the top rope. Immediately after the move was performed, Beth Phoenix fell to the mat and held her jaw.
Beth ended up winning the match, but the injury was severe. Phoenix underwent surgery after the accident, and two titanuim plates were implanted into her jaw. She was sidelined for an entire year.
13. Brock Lesnar: Lucky Break
The Beast Incarnate is the most feared man in the WWE today. Lesnar is a powerhouse of a man who can crush anyone who stands before him. While he is undoubtably one of the strongest human beings that has ever laced up a pair of boots, we all can agree that he isn’t the most graceful.
At WrestleMania XIX, Brock Lesnar legitimately almost killed himself when he botched a Shooting Star Press. Rather than landing on his stomach, Lesnar landed directly on his neck. Luckily, the failed maneuver only resulted in mild injuries to Brock’s neck and skull. However, a lesser man would’ve probably been killed.
12. Kevin Nash: Blown Out Quad
Big Daddy Cool Diesel was one of the most powerful WWE Champions of all time. Nash is 6’9 and 300 pounds. He wasn’t the most agile or athletically gifted wrestler of all time, but he didn’t need to be.
Kevin Nash used his strengths to his advantage, and he got over with the fans. As a matter of fact, Nash was one of the most popular Superstars of all time. He was a key member of the Kliq and the nWo. His place in wrestling history cannot be denied.
With that being said, Big Daddy Cool blew out his quad in embarrassing fashion on an episode of Raw in 2002. His injury occurred when he walked to the corner to tag in Bubba Ray Dudley. Nash went down and screamed in pain. He was unable to continue the match, and the injury halted his WWE run in the early 2000s.
11. Joey Mercury – Broken Nose and Orbital Bone
Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury took on the Hardy Boyz, William Regal and Dave Taylor, and London and Kendrick in a fatal four way ladder match at the 2006 Armageddon pay per view. The match was very exciting, but Joey Mercury ended up suffering one of the worst injuries in WWE history.
Jeff Hardy jumped onto a ladder with intentions of catapulting it into Nitro’s and Mercury’s faces. Unfortunately, the spot was botched, and the ladder was launched into Joey Mercury’s face for real. The ladder hit Mercury’s face so hard that it broke his nose and orbital bone.
Mercury was immediately rushed to the hospital, and he was out of action for several weeks. He eventually returned to the WWE in a protective face mask until his injuries healed completely.
10. Bruno Sammartino – Broken Neck
Bruno Sammartino was the original king of the WWE. His title reign lasted for more than seven years. It’s safe to say that Sammartino was the man back in the 1960s and 1970s.
Aside from being one of the best WWE Champions in history, he was also one of the toughest Superstars to ever grace the ring. In 1973, Bruno suffered a broken neck at the hands of Stan Hansen.
The injury occurred when Hansen botched a body slam. Sammartino landed on his neck and it was broken instantly. Amazingly, Bruno finished the match and even took a plane ride home before visiting a doctor. Seeing the biggest wrestling star of his era with a broken neck had to be a scary sight for fans, as Bruno basically carried the New York area on his back for WWE for so long.
9. Bob Holly: Broken Neck
Bob Holly was one of the stiffest workers in the history of the business. It wasn’t uncommon for him to punch his opponents for real. Whether you want to call it karma or not, Holly would end up suffering a devastating injury at the hands of Brock Lesnar.
The incident occurred during an episode of SmackDown in 2002. Lesnar was young and green, but his power was undeniable. Bob Holly was completely overmatched in the strength department. Brock hoisted Bob Holly up for a powerbomb and dropped him right on his neck. Holly’s neck crumbled under the pressure.
Bob grabbed his head after the botched move. He knew that something was severely wrong with his neck and many of us did too.
8. Seth Rollins: Knee Injury
Seth Rollins is arguably the best wrestler in the WWE today. Unfortunately, he was out of action for over six months due to a painful injury that he suffered during a live event in Ireland in 2015.
Kane and Rollins fought in a hardcore match, and the injury occurred when Rollins went for a sunset powerbomb off the top rope. Seth flipped over Kane as intended, but his right leg landed awkwardly on the mat. Seth’s knee blew out, and it was obvious that he was injured.
Thank God Seth Rollins is now back. I don’t know how much more of this Roman Reigns championship run I can take.
7. Triple H – Blown Out Quad
The year 2007 did not start off all that great for Triple H as he severely injured his quad during the New Year’s Revolution Pay Per View. The injury occurred in the middle of a match between D-Generation X and Rated-RKO.
Triple H’s right quadricep completely blew out when he delivered a spine buster on Randy Orton. The “Game” was unable to stand. Luckily, Shawn Michaels saved the day by destroying Edge and Orton with a steel chair.
The injury caused the “King of Kings” to miss his scheduled main event matchup against John Cena at WrestleMania 23.
After seeing Triple H’s first quad injury in 2001, fans were extra queasy to see it happen again.
6. Vince McMahon – Blown Out Quads
On the night of the Royal Rumble Pay Per View in 2005, Vincent Kennedy McMahon blew both of his quads out in hilarious, but painful, fashion. The injury occurred when Vince power-strutted down to the ring in his usual fashion. Amazingly, Vince made it to the ring apron, but he was so angry that he dove underneath the bottom rope to enter the ring. Unfortunately, Vince’s powerful thrust created too much force for his quadriceps to handle.
Vince blew out both of his quads like two flat tires. He was forced to sit in the ring and give orders to the referees who had “botched” the ending of the Royal Rumble.
5. Shawn Michaels: Broken Back
Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker are two of the greatest WWE Superstars of all time. Their matches at WrestleMania XXV and XXVI were incredible. With that being said, HBK and The Undertaker faced off several times before their legendary WrestleMania matches.
HBK and the Undertaker made history when they fought in the first Hell in the Cell match in 1997. Their rivalry in the 90s was intense and hard hitting. During the 1998 Royal Rumble, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker once again fought each other. This meeting was a bit different though, as they fought in a casket match.
Shawn Michaels took a painful bump when he was flipped over the ropes. He landed on the corner of the casket. The harsh landing crushed two of HBK’s discs. Shawn was severely injured, but he managed to make it to Wrestlemania 14 where he dropped the belt to Stone Cold Steve Austin.
After his matchup against Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels retired from wrestling. However, the Heartbreak Kid would return in 2002. His second run in the WWE was even better than his first, and that’s when he proved that he is the greatest in ring performer of all time.
4. The Undertaker – Broken Nose and Orbital Bone
During an episode of SmackDown in 2010, The Undertaker was seriously injured in a match with Rey Mysterio. The incident occurred when Mysterio went for a seated senton, a move he’s done hundreds of times before. However, this time, Rey ended up landing on The Undertaker’s face rather than his upper chest. The Phenom’s orbital bone and nose were crushed upon impact.
Taker managed to get through the match and win via Tombstone Piledriver. The Undertaker’s ability to power through the injury and finish the match was another testament to his loyalty and love for the business.
3. Mick Foley – Lost an Ear, Concussion, Dislocated Shoulder, Missing Tooth, Bruised Hip
Mick Foley, hmm, where do we begin? Mick has had far too many injuries to list. So, I thought it would be a good idea to cover some of his more famous injuries.
During a match against Vader in 1993, Mick Foley lost half of his ear. Mick attempted to do his famous Hangman’s Move, but his momentum was too great and his ear was ripped off in the process. Luckily, Foley’s ear was later reattached by a German doctor.
A missing ear? That’s nothing…
The 1998 King of the Ring Pay Per View proved to be one of the worst nights of Mick Foley’s life. The Undertaker and Foley fought in one of the most brutal WWE matches of all time. Mick Foley and the Undertaker had already competed in increasingly violent matches leading up to the King of the Ring, but their Hell in the Cell match took things to an insane level.
The Hell in the Cell match started off with Mick Foley getting thrown off the top of the cell into the announcer’s table. It’s amazing that he wasn’t killed. Prior to the match, Foley told The Undertaker about the spot, but the Phenom was reluctant to do it. However, Foley begged Taker over and over, and he unfortunately got what he asked for.
The fall from the top of the cell to the announce table was only the first of two insane falls. After the first fall, the WWE medical team tried to carry Foley out of the arena on a stretcher, but he decided to climb the Hell in the Cell for more. The Undertaker eagerly awaited Foley’s return. After a bit of brawling on top of the cell, the Undertaker chokeslammed Mick through it. Foley landed extremely hard on his back and neck.
All in all, Mick Foley suffered a dislocated shoulder, a severely bruised hip, a missing tooth and a concussion. He also bit part of his lip off during one of the crash landings.
2. Sid Vicious: Destroyed Tibia and Fibula
Sid Vicious was one of the most feared WWE Superstars in the mid 1990s. In his prime, Sid was 6’7 tall, and he weighed 317 pounds. On-screen, Sid portrayed a lunatic who enjoyed causing physical harm to his opponents. While he had a bad reputation for punching his coworkers for real, Sid was a decent worker for the most part.
Sid was one of the few wrestlers who jumped back and forth between WWE and WCW. He was a big star, and both companies wanted him. However, during a WCW pay per view in 2001, Sid Vicious completely destroyed his left leg.
Sid’s injury was one of the most gruesome things you will ever see inside of a wrestling ring. The injury occurred when Sid jumped off the top turnbuckle to attack Scott Steiner with his patented “Big Boot.” Unfortunately, when Sid landed on his left leg, it basically folded in half. If it weren’t for his wrestling boot, I believe his leg would’ve fallen right off.
Sid’s injury was extremely severe. He completely destroyed his tibia and fibula. Sid was forced to undergo several surgeries to repair his leg, and he was unable to walk for months.
1. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Broken Neck
Stone Cold Steve Austin is arguably the most popular WWE Superstar of all time. His run in the late 1990s was legendary, but it almost came to a crashing halt on the night of August 3, 1997. On that night, Stone Cold took on Owen Hart for the Intercontinental Championship.
The matchup started off great as Steve and Owen were both seasoned veterans at the time. However, things took a turn for the worst when Owen Hart botched a piledriver. Stone Cold landed directly on his head. The landing legitimately broke Steve’s neck and left him temporarily paralyzed. Nonetheless, Stone Cold managed to roll Owen Hart up for the win.
Stone Cold was sidelined for several months after the injury. However, his return was epic. Steve Austin came back to lead the Attitude Era and dominate the competition.
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