The world of wrestling is a sport where the men and ladies in the squared circle have been known to suffer serious injuries. From fluke injuries like tearing muscles while walking to wrestlers getting hurt when they land wrong, careers have been shortened due to ring injuries. Sadly, there have been times when wrestlers have even paid the ultimate price in the sport of wrestling, as more than one has lost their live in the ring.
Wrestlers pride themselves on trying to make their cstarraft look ‘real’ without trying to hurt their fellow opponent, no matter how much it may seem like they don’t like the person staring at them.
There have been cases when accidents have happened that have kept wrestlers on the shelf for weeks or even years at a time, but it never ceases to amaze us how many times these warriors throw caution to the wind and get back in the ring.
Wrestling is like no other event out there, where pain and suffering gets cheered by the masses, yet when a grappler goes down, fans suddenly show compassion for that wrestler who was injured.
Maybe that’s why it’s such a great sport, it’s the illusion of pain and suffering without each person in the ring truly trying to injure the other.
Today we take a look back at some of those injuries, a piece on “The Top 25 Most Disturbing Wrestling Injuries of All-Time.”
See how many you recall or which ones you cringe at just thinking about.
*Some of those videos are graphic and not easy to watch. We'll warn you again for the most graphic ones. Other videos will be omitted entirely out of respect to the parties involved.
25 Kurt Angle Knocked Out After a Header On the Announcer Table – WWE SummerSlam 2000
Skip to 9:30 to see the injury.
The main event of SummerSlam 2000 was a triple threat featuring a great angle between then-champion The Rock, Triple H and Kurt Angle. HHH and Angle were in a feud involving Stephanie McMahon, who Angle was infatuated with. The Rock was the champion and was at the top of his game at the time. The match started with Angle and Triple H going at it before The Rock even came out, and Triple H put Angle in his finisher, the Pedigree, while on the announcer’s table. The table gave out before the move could take place and Angle’s head bounced hard off a piece of the table, knocking him out. Angle was taken to the back for most of the match, leaving The Rock and Triple H to do battle. Angle came out eventually, but there was no doubt he wasn’t even close to 100 percent. The Rock won to retain and Angle ended the bout with a nasty concussion.
24 John Cena Tears His Pec Muscle – WWE RAW 2007
John Cena was the top dog of the WWE in 2007, but that quickly ended as the WWE Champion was forced to vacate the championship after totally ripping his pec off the muscle during a match in 2007 in Cleveland on RAW. The bout in which he was hurt was against Mr.Kennedy and the injury happened early in the bout when Cena went for a hip toss, and the pec tore. It hung on his chest and he went the rest of the way with it, even taking an attack from Randy Orton. The storyline used the attack on Cena as what caused the pec to tear and Cena missed a few months following surgery.
23 Jesse Sorensen Breaks His Neck – TNA Against All Odds 2012
TNA wrestler Jesse Sorensen was going up against Zema Ion in an X-Division number one contender match during 2012 TNA Against All Odds, in which he suffered a broken neck. The accident took place when Ion did a spring board moonsault off the second rope and his knees connected with Sorensen’s head. The move ended up getting Sorensen counted out, but more importantly the wrestler suffered C-1 vertebrae fracture with spinal cord edema. Sorensen never made it back in the ring in TNA and was released in July of 2013. He still wrestles here and there on the independent circuit.
22 Taz Suffers a Broken Neck – ECW 1995
While Taz was the master of the suplex and a legit tough guy, his neck couldn’t take the pounding it took during a tag match during an ECW event in 1995. Taz was teaming with Eddie Guerrero against 2 Cold Scorpio and Dean Malenko. Scorpio got Taz in a piledriver, but the move got botched, and Taz didn’t have a shot to protect himself. The tough guy was able to stay on the ring apron for the rest of the match, but afterwards had to be taken to the hospital by Tommy Dreamer. As Taz tells the story, doctors were shocked he was even able to walk into the hospital after breaking his neck.
21 Barrett Dislocates His Elbow – WWE RAW 2012
Wade Barrett was a wrestler on the rise, but that suddenly was stopped when Big Show threw Dolph Ziggler into Barrett outside the ring, who dislocated his elbow in the accident. 10-man matches can get ugly, and this one did as Barrett knew right away he was injured, slamming his hand on the mat yelling curse words after Ziggler was thrown into him. The injury cost Barrett his shot at Mania that year and he had to have surgery to repair the elbow, which kept him out of action an extended amount of time. In the video, you can hear him scream, which tells you how much pain he was in.
20 ‘Big Sexy’ Goes Down with a Torn Quad – WWE RAW 2002
Again it seemed like a rather harmless move, as Kevin Nash and his nWo mates were involved in a tag match on a Monday Night RAW in 2002. Nash had just delivered a big boot to the face of Booker T and was simply walking over to his corner to execute a tag. Just like that, the big man went down in a heap, ripping his quad and basically ending the run of the nWo, as it wasn’t long after that the company ditched having the faction in the WWE.
19 Mayweather Breaks Big Show’s Nose – WWE No Way Out 2008
It was the return of The Big Show and he was out to make an impact in his promo. The Giant took an injured Rey Mysterio, who was being helped to the back, and proceeded to choke him while taunting him in front of boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. The boxer had enough and hopped over the barricade into the ring. Big Show got on his knees and teased the much smaller boxer, who then opened up, punching Show in the face easily 5-6 times in what seemed like five seconds. The punches broke Show’s nose, leaving a trail of blood all over the ring and on Show’s face. Show chased Mayweather from the ring, knocking over anyone in his way, but never caught up to him. In the end, the well done promo and awesome visual resulted in one of the main event matches at WrestleMania XXIV.
18 Hardcore Holly Suffers Broken Neck – WWE SmackDown 2002
Brock Lesnar has always been a force in the WWE, but in 2002 was still a rather green in ring competitor. In a match with Bob “Hardcore” Holly, Lesnar picked him up for a powerbomb, but didn’t quite get him up all the way. The result – he dropped Holly and he suffered a broken neck from the unexpected fall. The broken neck kept Holly out of action for 13 months and while he was able to have an angle with Lesnar when he came back, the injury was careless and should have not happened in the first place.
17 Triple H Tears His Quad During Tag Match – WWE RAW 2001
Triple H and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin were red-hot in 2001, with Austin as the WWE Champio, while he and Triple H were the WWE Tag Champs. The two were in the midst of a run when they came up against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. During a tag match to end RAW in May of 2001, Jericho had Austin the Walls of Jericho, when Triple H came into the ring and during a simple step to break up the move, totally tore his quad. HHH somehow finished the match, but paid the price, missing the rest of the year due to surgery and rehab.
16 Hart Drops Austin On His Neck – WWE SummerSlam 1997
Owen Hart and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin had a solid and entertaining feud in the summer of 1997, coming at a time when Austin’s popularity was reaching new levels. During a match for the Intercontinental Title at SummerSlam 1997, Austin’s career almost ended at the hands of an accident by Hart. Owen put Austin up for a pile driver, but the head of Austin was too low, and when Hart dropped to the mat, Austin’s head jammed, causing him temporary paralysis. The result was a broken neck for Austin and the match ended with one of the weakest roll-ups in wrestling history. Austin recovered, but it was a scary injury that nearly cost him his career.
15 Sabu Suffers a Broken Neck by Chris Benoit – ECW November to Remember 1994
Chris Benoit was always known as a ‘stiff’ worker and that was never more evident than in 1994 when he broke the neck of Sabu. The incident took place at the 1994 ECW November to Remember when Sabu landed wrong after a suplex, breaking his neck. Sabu was paralyzed for a few moments after taking the fall, but was able to recover and make it back to the ring.
14 Mr.McMahon Tears His Quads During Run-In at the Rumble – WWE Royal Rumble 2005
While it didn’t look all that bad, the injury that Vince McMahon suffered at the 2005 Royal Rumble was downright disturbing. The WWE owner came rushing to the ring after Batista and John Cena went out at the same time, resulting in a ‘tie’ to end the Rumble. McMahon wouldn't accept that and was about to enter the ring to restart the match. In doing that, he somehow managed to tear not one, but BOTH quads while sliding into the ring. McMahon still made the announcement that the match needed to continue, but it was evident that he had suffered a serious injury that resulted in a painful surgery on both legs.
13 Triple H Ruptures His Knee – WWE New Year’s Revolution 2007
It was safe to say that New Year’s 2007 didn’t start so well for the ‘King of Kings,’ as Triple H suffered a ruptured quad muscle during a tag match at the PPV event. The injury was costly, as it cost him a rematch with John Cena at WrestleMania 23. The injury officially was a tear of one of the four tendons in his right quadriceps. The injury took place during D-X's match with Rated-RKO, and like the first time he was injured, he missed months of action following surgery.
12 HBK Tears Up His Back – WWE Royal Rumble 1998
The ‘Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels was in the midst of a title match with The Undertaker during the 1998 Royal Rumble, when he suffered an injury that cost him over five years in the ring. The injury took place when he took a backdrop over the top rope onto a wooden casket. The lower part of Michaels back hit the casket and caused him to herniate two discs in his back and crush one. It was thought when Michaels left wrestling after WrestleMania that year that he would never wrestle again, but he defied the odds and returned at Summerslam in 2003.
11 Sid Vicious Snaps His Leg In WCW Title Match – WCW Sin 2001
Before you watch this video, we'd like to again warn you about its graphic nature. This video in particular is quite graphic.
It appeared to be a simple leap off the second rope, where Sid Vicious was going to give a big boot to Scott Stenier during a WCW Title match that also involved Jeff Jarrett and Animal. The result was when Sid came down, his left leg snapped like a twig, resulting in a compound fracture in both his tibia and fibula. A 17-inch rod was placed in Sid’s leg during a surgery which took over two hours. The injury was too graphic and WCW decided not to re-air the injury on their TV shows moving forward.
10 Joey Mercury Takes a Ladder to the Face – WWE Armageddon 2006
Before you watch this video, we'd like to again warn you about its graphic nature. This video in particular is quite graphic.
As part of the MNM tag team, Joey Mercury and partner John Morrison took on the Hardys, London & Kendrick and William Regal & Dave Taylor at the 2006 Armageddon PPV. The match involved a spot where there was to be a ‘see-saw’ as Jeff Hardy would jump onto a ladder and it would ‘hit’ both members of MNM. Instead, the ladder actually struck Mercury in the face, causing a nasty broken nose which gushed out quite a bit of blood for the rest of the match. Mercury went to the hospital and had to get a number of stitches on his face following the bout.
9 Jim Cornette Tears Up Knee Falling From Scaffold – WCW Starrcade 1986
At the time, Jim Cornette was one of the most hated managers in the business and fans wanted to see him pay, and pay he did. During a match with The Midnight Express and Road Warriors, Cornette found himself hanging on for his life 20 feet up on the scaffold. Big Bubba Rogers was supposed to catch Cornette when he let go and fell, but Rogers misjudged the fall, and Cornette hit the mat. The fall resulted in Cornette tearing all the ligaments in his leg which then resulted in the tennis racket carrying manager to have to have surgery to repair the damage.
8 Mick Foley Leaves an Ear in Germany – WCW Tour 1994
He’s not the ‘King of Hardcore’ for nothing. Mick Foley actually lost a body part during a match in Germany against Vader. At the time, Foley was wrestling as ‘Cactus Jack’ and during the match got his head caught up in between the top and second rope, a move that looks like he’s being choked. This time though, the ropes overseas were just a bit too tight, and part of Foley’s ear was ripped off when he managed to twist himself out of the ropes. Thankfully Foley was able to get the part of his ear ripped off back and was able to have the cartilage reattached.
7 Mule Kick Gone Wrong – WCW Starrcade 1999
Bret Hart’s career was in a flux in 1999, as he was a part of WCW but not happy with the direction of the company and the move he made leaving WWE. During a match at Starrcade with Bill Goldberg, Hart took a serious mule kick to the head, a kick that gave him a severe concussion. The event also left him with serious post-concussion syndrome and led to his retirement. Hart gave up his final World Title in January 2000 and smartly walked away from full-time competition in wrestling.
6 Chairshot Mania to the Head of Mick Foley – WWE Royal Rumble 1999
In an event that was heavily used during the movie ‘Beyond the Ring,’ WWE Champion Mick Foley and The Rock went at it in an ‘I Quit’ match for the belt. The match got somewhat out of control and with Foley’s wife and kids at ringside, they had to watch as Mick took a tremendous amount of punishment, taking no less than 10 chair shots to the head. The shots mind you were not softballs, as these were wind ups that gave Foley a nasty gash and sent his kids and wife crying away from their ringside seats. To make matters worse, it cost him his championship as well.
5 Brock Shoots for the Stars and Misses – WWE WrestleMania XIX
Brock Lesnar wanted to make his first major championship in WWE special and wanted to finish his match with Kurt Angle with a special move. Instead, he almost knocked himself out, when he went for a ‘shooting star press,’ a move that you usually see from wrestlers that are 180-220 pounds, not 260 beasts like Lesnar. The move involves a top rope leap where the wrestler does a 180 degree leap on top of his opponent. The move looks great when done correctly, but in this case, Lesnar misjudged the leap, falling short and jamming his neck in the canvas next to Angle. A woozy Lesnar eventually got the win, but suffered a concussion due to a move he never should have tried.
4 Power Bomb Gone Wrong Leaves Droz Paralyzed – WWE Smackdown 1999
Even the most routine of moves can be the end of a career for a mat star and in 1999 that’s exactly what took place for Droz. The match was with D’Lo Brown, and while the match had nothing special or unusual to it, Brown set up Droz for a ‘power bomb’ that would eventually lead to a win for D’Lo. Instead, the move got botched when Brown slipped and Droz was dropped on his head, breaking a pair of bones in his neck. Doctors worked on Droz for hours, trying to reduce the swelling in his spine to allow him to regain movement. Sadly, it was never to be and Droz to this day remains paralyzed.
3 Mankind Takes Flying Lessons – WWE King of the Ring 1998
Mick Foley took chances,and that was never more evident than during his Hell in a Cell match with The Undertaker. In a brutal match, Foley was thrown off the top of the cell onto the announcers table. He suffered a collapsed lung and shoulder separation on the fall, and the match should have ended right there. It didn’t. As Foley was being wheeled away, he got up and went back to the cage, climbing it again much to the delight of the hardcore WWE fans. The next fall took place when Taker choke slammed him on top of the cage and the top gave way, having Foley fell through, with a steel chair hitting him right in the face, knocking out a tooth. To this day it still goes down as one of the most brutal matches in the history of the company.
2 Pedro Aguayo Jr. Dies in the Ring – Independent Lucha Libre Show 2015
In the most tragic ring injury/accident in a number of years, the sport lost Mexican wrestler Pedro Aguayo Jr. during a tag match involving former WWE star Rey Mysterio. The death of Aguayo took place in the middle of the match after a drop kick by Mysterio to the back of Aguayo, who was then to fall to the ropes so he could do his signature move, the ‘619.’ Mysterio never got to do it, and it took a few moments for those in the ring and around it to realize that Aguayo was seriously injured. He died almost immediately, as he suffered three broken vertebrae according to an autopsy. Prosecutors are still looking into the death.
1 Owen Hart Falls To His Death – WWE Over The Edge 1999
It was a stunt that was supposed to mock the entrances of the likes of Sting from WCW, and instead is still recalled as the most tragic in-ring death in wrestling history. Owen Hart, wrestling as the ‘Blue Blazer,’ fell to his death in what was a pre-match stunt before a bout with the Godfather during the WWE’s Over the Edge PPV in 1999. The harness that Owen was wearing was not on properly and once he pulled the string to release it, he basically fell from the rafters of the Kemper Arena in Missouri to his death in the ring. The WWE was highly criticized for not telling the live crowd that Hart had passed and also for going on with the show. The widow of Hart sued the WWE and it was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.