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Top 15 Wrestlers Who Succumbed To Injury Before Reaching Their Full Potential

The professional wrestling industry can be a cruel mistress for many. Talented men and women who should be mainstays for an organization such as World Wrestling Entertainment fail to reach their full potential because injuries sideline them, sometimes for good, each and every year. The second half of 2015 up through the first few months of 2016 has been particularly rough for the WWE, as several superstars have been put on the shelf due to health reasons. One man who was a champion but who never had the chance to truly be the top guy in the WWE was forced to retire in February 2016 because of health reasons.

Some wrestlers will only ever be able to dream of being in the main event of a massive show such as WrestleMania. One such individual seemed to be a budding star making his way through the NXT developmental system when he learned that his body had betrayed him and that he would never again be cleared to work a match underneath the WWE umbrella. While he was obviously upset to learn of this news, he has done well to begin a new career with the company, and he could, in fact, be on his way to achieving even more success than he would have as a wrestler.

There are probably some fans out there who would say that a wrestler who was given a run with a championship had an opportunity to reach his full potential and thus does not belong on the list. That, as history has shown, is inaccurate. Truth be told, the biggest money-making star in the history of the WWE technically never reached his full potential because he succumbed to injuries and had to retire as an active wrestler. As much money as he made during a short portion of his career, one can only imagine what might have been for that man and for the industry had he remained healthy.

via onlineworldofwrestling.com

14 Mike Von Erich 

via stylepinner.com

13 Rick Rude 

via prowrestling.wikia.com

12 Lita 

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11 "Dr. Death" Steve Williams  

via bleacherreport.com

10 Nigel McGuinness 

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9 Edge 

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8 Droz 

via superluchas.com

7 CM Punk 

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

6 Christopher Nowinski 

via profightdb.com

5 Richie Steamboat 

via cagesideseats.com

4 Corey Graves 

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3 Shawn Michaels 

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2 Daniel Bryan 

via 411mania.com

1 Steve Austin 

via faktual.info

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin was a rising babyface when he was accidentally spiked on his head by Owen Hart at SummerSlam 1997. Less than six years after that moment, Austin was forced to retire because of injuries following one last WrestleMania match against The Rock. In between that time, Austin became the biggest draw in WWE history and the top act in the industry. While acts such as Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair were able to wrestle as stars for decades, Austin only had a handful of years at the tops of cards. Austin could, and likely would, have been an even bigger star, one who could still be working today if not for his injuries.

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Top 15 Wrestlers Who Succumbed To Injury Before Reaching Their Full Potential