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Top 15 Wrestlers Who Overcame Potential Career Ending Injuries

Far too often, those who are cynical about the professional wrestling industry use the word “fake” instead of “scripted” when they are talking about the business. The outcomes of matches are, of course, planned ahead of time, and thus the majority of what you see on an episode of World Wrestling Entertainment program Raw is scripted. There is, however, little fake about the punishment that these athletes endure during their careers. Trained pro wrestlers know how to take bumps and have been taught how they can try to limit injuries. Accidents happen, though, just as they do in competitive sports such as football, soccer, hockey and other examples.

A National Football League cornerback who tears his ACL during practice or a preseason game is not ready to experience such a serious setback. That type of injury can occur with one wrong step or because somebody else on the field falls the wrong way. In just a moment, what seemed, at first, to be an insignificant incident can forever change the life of an athlete. Similar injuries, some of which have accumulated because of years of working in the business, have ended the careers of pro wrestlers years before they should have had to quit working as a member of an active roster.

Edge could be the first example that comes to mind. The “Rated-R Superstar” was holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship when he learned that he had to immediately retire because of spinal stenosis. Christian, who was Edge's long-time partner in WWE and also a world champion as a solo worker, was also forced to retire early. Some wrestlers, however, have managed to defy that odds and also their own bodies by making comebacks that were remarkable and maybe even ill-advised. That includes a beloved babyface who finally saw the writing on the wall and retired as an active wrestler in February 2016.

15 Eva Marie 

via gwf.forumcommunity.net

14 Tyson Kidd 

via wrestlingnewspost.com

13 Buff Bagwell 

via forums.penny-arcade.com

12 Sid 

via ebay.com

11 Lita 

via sportskeeda.com

10 Sabu 

via en.wikipedia.org

9 Hardcore Holly 

via ecwfrenchtribute.free.fr

8 Bret Hart 

via ottrwrestling.com

7 Bruno Sammartino 

via myemail.constantcontact.com

6 Daniel Bryan 

via baltimoresun.com

5 Mick Foley 

via wrestleradionow.com

4 Kurt Angle 

via smacktalks.org

3 Shawn Michaels 

via mindofcarnage.com

2 Ric Flair 

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

1 Steve Austin 

via wwfoldschool.blogspot.com

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin was not yet the hottest babyface in the WWE when his career nearly ended at the 1997 edition of SummerSlam. Owen Hart accidentally dropped Austin on his head while executing a “Sitdown Tombstone" and Austin suffered a broken neck and also temporary paralysis. Austin made his way back to the ring, and he became, per journalists such as Dave Meltzer, the biggest single draw in the history of the WWE. “Stone Cold” has suffered lingering problems from that night, though, and it is believed that the state of his neck is why he has not worked a match since losing to the Rock at WrestleMania 19.

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Top 15 Wrestlers Who Overcame Potential Career Ending Injuries