One of the most common misconceptions of people who don’t follow wrestling is that the sport is safe. While the athletes try their hardest to keep everything as safe as they possibly can, it's almost impossible for you to be completely risk-free after you enter a wrestling ring. The misconception itself happens because people assume that since a good part of wrestling is scripted, there is nothing that could be really dangerous in a scripted event. That is so wrong we shouldn’t even consider giving that an answer. Sure, those athletes know very well what they have to say and do most of the times they walk into that ring. Nevertheless, once you are throwing someone into the air and bouncing their heads off the canvas, it is impossible to be 100 percent safe. It really doesn’t matter how scripted a match can be. When you are performing moves as crazy as the ones wrestlers do, especially in the WWE, you are bound to suffer an injury here or there.
That is where the problem lies. Injuries will happen, that is as much a truth in wrestling as it is in any other contact sport. However, injuries in wrestling have a lot to do with who your opponent is. Most often than not, a wrestling injury happens because one of the people inside that ring messed up. And while we hoped most of them would be accidents, there are a few trends that show some wrestlers are more dangerous than others. That being said, here are eight wrestlers who kept injuring their coworkers for real and seven who were totally safe.
15 Dangerous: Scott Steiner
For the vast majority of his career, Scott Steiner was actually an outstanding wrestler who, like most of the others, did not injure many of his opponents. The problem with Steiner began towards the end of his career, as it probably will with most wrestlers. The guy decided to put on a villain face for the home stretch of his wrestling days, but an aging villain turned out to be more dangerous in reality than in the plot.
As with all people, Steiner lost a lot of his mobility as he grew older. Add that to the fact that he started taking the juice to look more and more terrifying, and this guy became a powder keg. He was a menace to anyone in the ring and even hurt some coworkers, but he was also dangerous outside of it because of how hotheaded he was.
14 Safe: Harley Race
Wrestling is an incredibly competitive business. As it should be, a lot of it is dictated by the will of the public. If the owners of any given promotion see that one particular wrestler is captivating the attention of the crowd and they love him or hate him, the owners will try to bank on that guy. That gets a lot of wrestlers a reason to sometimes be unsafe in the ring and disregard the amount of care they should have with their opponents and themselves to avoid devastating injuries.
A man whom nobody can say fit that rule was Harley Race. This guy was called a King, and there was a good reason for it. He cared about the fans, and he cared about his colleagues. In any old tape of wrestling you watch, you can pinpoint how careful this man was with protecting his coworkers during matches. You just had to be sure not to piss him off in real life.
13 Dangerous: Ahmed Johnson
Training is something necessary for literally every single profession in the world. If you want to be a mechanic, you gotta learn from someone and start fixing cars while you’re being supervised before you can try to fix a Mercedes on your own. The same goes for doctors, who need to go through their residency period before they can start practicing on their own. The list goes on and on, as far as professions exist. You should not turn someone into a professional before they had proper training. And that was where people messed up when they decided to make Ahmed Johnson into a wrestler before he actually got any proper training.
The result, as most of you could probably predict, was that this guy injured a bunch of his coworkers.
12 Safe: Ric Flair
Unlike many nutjob wrestlers today would lead you to believe, being a safe wrestler was part of the recipe to becoming a great wrestler. You don’t need blood in order to entertain the crowd. Of course, there are people who will not be satisfied until there are a bunch of bruises and blood in that ring, but that is not really what wrestling is all about. Wrestling is about the acrobatics and the theatrics of each and every match. In order for it all to continue being awesome, you need the wrestlers to stay healthy.
That is where some of the greats come. Sure, they might have injured a colleague or two, but that is almost unavoidable in this industry. Nevertheless, guys like Rick Flair were terrific wrestlers who managed to keep from hurting their opponents, despite wrestling 60-minute matches on a regular basis, where fatigue can easily lead to mistakes.
11 Dangerous: Seth Rollins
We are probably going to catch a lot of hate because of this one at first, but after we explain it, most of you should understand why Seth Rollins is on this list. Unlike many others on this list, Rollins has never hurt an opponent intentionally, but a few too many mistakes have happened, and Rollins has to own it. First of course, there was the flying knee that left John Cena with a nasty broken nose. Then, there was the buckle bomb that led to a career ending injury for Sting. Then, there was the power bomb into the ring barrier that left Finn Balor with a labrum tear in his shoulder, causing him to forfeit his Universal Championship.
Rollins seems to have improved over the past year in staying safer in the ring, but past injuries to fellow superstars caused him to get called out by Bret Hart, who preached safety to Rollins. Speaking of which...
10 Safe: Bret Hart
A lot of guys are proud of the people they defeated and the titles they won. But only one guy was most proud of something that both wrestling fans and other wrestlers really appreciate. Bret Hart used to say that he was most proud of having never injured anyone in the ring. While someone would have to do a lot of digging to see if that claim is true, we cannot really think of a time when Bret Hart injured someone off the top of our heads. The guy was a fantastic wrestler as a lot of not injuring an opponent in wrestling has to do with a person’s technique. To go his entire career without hurting anyone just shows people how great of an athlete and how skilled of a wrestler Bret Hart was.
9 Dangerous: Vader
He didn’t look like Darth Vader, but Big Van Vader was about as evil as Anakin Skywalker depending on who you ask. Just like Brock Lesnar, this guy had the problem of being too strong for his own good. Well, he was too strong for the good of others. That being said, Vader had an amazing beginning for his career. Wrestling has always had a place for monsters like him, but his downfall was kind of his own fault. Most of the wrestlers who worked with this mountain of a man complained that he was one of the stiffest athletes to ever walk into a ring. If you are not familiar with wrestling, being stiff during a match is one of the easiest ways of getting yourself and others hurt.
8 Safe: Big Show
Another behemoth of a man who always went above and beyond to stay safe during his wrestling days was Big Show. Despite being so big and so strong, we hardly hear of stories where Big Show severely hurt someone during a match. Well, we never heard a story of him hurting someone who was in a match against him. The most notorious incident in the Big Show’s career happened when he accidentally trampled AJ Lee during a Smackdown episode in 2012.
Many will look at the incident and say that the whole thing was scripted. But when you look at the face Big Show made once he realized what he had done, it shows you how much this guy cares about his colleagues and their safety.
7 Dangerous: New Jack
New Jack is a dangerous wrestler who stands on a league of his own. A lot of guys and gals in the WWE have hurt many coworkers, which just seems to be something people have to live with because that is how some wrestlers are, which is still unacceptable, but there is nothing we can really do about it. That being said, New Jack really is a peculiar case. That is because this guy is one of the few who never really showed any regret for hurting his colleagues. This dude almost killed people in the ring and acted like he could not care less. Seriously, if you go and watch a highlight reel of this guy’s worst hits and near career-ending injuries he caused, you will probably need a break from wrestling.
6 Safe: Triple H
Here is yet another controversial pick. A lot of us remember Triple H swinging sledgehammers at people and doing stuff like that, but aside from the times when he and the promotion were purposely trying to hurt other guys, Stephanie McMahon’s husband was quite the safe wrestler.
This seems to be a trend with the guys who are students of the business. They understand that despite the competition and everything else, no wrestler would be there if it wasn’t for his colleagues. That being said, there was the notorious incident where he almost killed a colleague with a Pedigree. Despite some people not agreeing with it, the conclusion there was that the other wrestler was the one who moved the wrong way, as he thought Triple H was performing a suplex, rather than his signature move.
Outside of that, it’s hard to find instances in which Triple H hurt other people.
5 Dangerous: JBL
Some dangerous wrestlers injure their coworkers because they are just bad at wrestling; some do it on purpose because they are blood-thirsty nutjobs who should really be looking for another profession, but there are still those who roughen up and sometimes even injured coworkers for something a few people would consider a good reason.
JBL is the perfect example of this. When you sign a former football player to become a wrestler, you know you are going to get an enforcer nine times out of 10. And that was precisely what JBL was. This guy was notorious for being rough with rookies in the ring when they were causing problems backstage. It is one of those things that will cause a lot of controversy if we took a side, but it’s hard not to understand the guy handing out some punishment for the annoyance someone caused to the whole family backstage.
4 Safe: Terry Funk
Terry Funk is a guy who does not get as much credit as he deserves. To work in the style he did and to be as safe as he was with his coworkers is something nothing short of amazing. Soon, we will tell you about a guy that every single wrestler was terrified of facing in the ring because they had no idea how he would react to the moves or if he would lose control and hurt his opponent out of the blue.
Terry Funk is the exact opposite of that. Ric Flair even mentioned once that Terry Funk was one of those guys with whom he was never worried about being in the ring. Hell, this guy once gave Flair piledriver through a table and managed to keep the entire thing injury-free.
3 Dangerous: Sexy Star
Perhaps no other wrestler has fallen further in terms of their reputation than Sexy Star. The female luchador made a lot of enemies in the industry in 2017 when the legit broke Rosemary's arm in a match, after the bell had sounded. Star went completely off script and refused to break an armbar, and thus made herself public enemy no.1 to many in the industry. Look, accidents happen in wrestling and no wrestler will be blackballed for making a mistake, but Star causing harm to Rosemary was so blatant and many in the industry called her out.
Another incident occurred a couple of months ago when Star seemingly no-sold a stiff kick from her opponent, then proceeded to attack her from behind, delivering some stiff punches and kicks.
You can decide Star's intentions for yourself from the footage below:
Here it is in full. That kick was rough but not "no sell and start fighting with her over it" rough. pic.twitter.com/d7jpifHXsM— Coke Ibushi (@CokeIbushi) November 28, 2017
2 Safe: Kane
You don’t earn the respect of all of your colleagues without being one of the safest wrestlers in the business. For these guys and gals, the most important thing of all is that they all come out in one piece after a show. Kane is the kind of guy who studies the game in order to know exactly what he has to do during every move and every single situation so he will know how to react and keep his colleagues and himself safe throughout a match. Kane is so widely well-regarded that you will hardly find someone who does not applaud him for his skill and respect for the business and his colleagues.
To prove this point even further, the only injuries we can remember off the top of our heads that were supposedly inflicted by Kane were injuries that were part of storylines in the WWE, aka, they probably were not real injuries.
1 Dangerous: Goldberg
Hey, being rough or not, you have to respect a guy who managed to go 173-0 in a period of one and a half year. Goldberg was nothing short of a sensation, and the fans of the WCW adored him. The guy was a hero for his time, and aside from some coworkers, you will have a hard time finding fans who will badmouth this undefeated badass. Nevertheless, hero or not, Goldberg was the villain for a lot of his colleagues.
When it comes to endangering other people in the ring, this guy did almost everything in the book. You could hear people talking about how he hit home in every single one of his punches and kicks. And worse than that, how he would purposely stiffen up whenever performing his special moves.