The World Wrestling Entertainment specialists have long entertained wrestling fans around the globe. Sports entertainment has been around for years and is among the most popular and most successful of all sports events. It routinely beats out football, baseball, basketball, and many other sports in terms of revenues and ticket sales. However, like any high risk and high impact event, there is a very high chance for injury. That is to be expected when you are taking chair shots to the back of the head. Even the most basic and routine moves and holds can cause serious injury- especially when something goes wrong.
Here are ten of the most serious injuries WWE wrestlers have sustained in the ring that kept them out of commission for a long time.
10 Sheamus - Arm and Neck
The Celtic Warrior has been out of commission for a long time and WWE fans are excited to hear rumors of his return in the coming weeks. The Celtic Warrior was injured during a match against The Big Show and according to wwe.com suffered "a left cervical neurapraxia (stinger in arm), bone spurring, narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis) and narrowing of the nerve canals (neuroforaminal) along with nerve compression in his neck." The injury is thought to have originated from a vicious slam Sheamus received from Big Show and it caused him to miss out on the highly anticipated Survivor Series. Sheamus had surgery to help relieve the nerve and spinal pressure and has been going through extensive rehab and soon will be back in the WWE ring.
9 Bad News Barrett - Shoulder
The bad news spokesperson for WWE and the Intercontinental Champion sustained an injury during a match with Jack Swagger when he was thrown into the barricade at ringside. At the time of impact, Barrett said he felt a pop in his shoulder and was immediately in pain. The WWE medical team examined him and the tests showed that he had suffered a separated shoulder. Barrett was unable to compete in the Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match and due to the extent of his injury and the long recovery time the doctors gave him, Bad News Barrett was forced to surrender the title as he was unable to compete. It has been many months but now the WWE has their bad news spokesperson back and he is hungry to get back to the top once more.
8 Triple H - Neck (among many others)
While he is one of the most well known WWE wrestlers of the modern era, Triple H has earned that recognition in part due to his ability to compete even through intense pain. It takes a lot to keep this man down so you know that when Triple H was not seen in any in-ring matches for most of 2010 and 2011, it had to be something big.
During this time, the champ was recovering from a bad neck injury, but this is not the first time Triple H had found himself on the disabled list because of his neck. In 2005, he missed several months of action due to a neck injury.
The WWE takes neck injuries very serious, especially after what happened to former wrestler Darren Drozdov, who was paralyzed from a neck injury sustained in a match back in 1999. Other wrestlers have been forced to retire from WWE because of neck injuries and the threat of becoming paralyzed. Triple H has always returned from injuries and he is still going strong- even with all the injuries to his head, neck, back, shoulders, legs, and knees.
7 Stone Cold Steve Austin – Neck
One of the most famous wrestlers in the history of WWE – even non-wrestling fans have likely heard of Austin 3:16 – The Texas Rattlesnake Steve Austin had a long career in WWE. With the years of in-ring action have come many injuries. Austin in his later years was known for wrestling with two knee braces on but the most serious injury he ever sustained almost ended his career and his life.
During the Summerslam event in 1997, Owen Hart attempted to execute a pile-driver and ended up dropping Austin full force on his head and neck at an awkward angle. Austin was temporarily paralyzed, had no feeling below his neck and was in immense pain. Yet, somehow, he finished the match (and won) and walked out of the ring on his own. The recovery was long and hard though and he missed months of action and even temporarily retired after the injury.
6 Shawn Michaels - Back
Shawn Michaels, legendary wrestler and member of DX, was never supposed to wrestle again because of a serious injury. During a gruesome and intense Casket match at the 1998 Royal Rumble, Michaels herniated two discs in his back. It forced him out of the ring and out of action. Similar injuries had ended the career of legends like Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and many others.
When HBK left and said goodbye to the Attitude Era he had helped create, many fans feared they would never see Shawn Michaels in a WWE ring again. And for four years, it looked like that would be the case, but Michaels reminded fans to never say never.
Michaels had last wrestled a match in 1998 and it was 2002 when he made his return. Though some say he was never quite at the same level after his injury, there is no denying that Shawn Michaels was a favorite of old and new fans and went on to amaze many of them for years to come.
5 Rey Mysterio – Knees
One of the most famous and beloved highfliers on the roster, Rey Mysterio has had his share of injuries – mostly focused on his knees. His knees have always been an issue for him simply due to the amount of stress he puts on them doing highflying moves and jumps from the top ropes. Injuries to the knee can obliterate any athletic career, and more so for wrestlers who depend on strong and smooth movements to pull off their moves. Mysterio has had multiple knee surgeries over the years and after being absent for almost a year after a summer 2011 knee injury, Mysterio came back into the scene. His return was met with deafening cheers from WWE fans.
Despite his amazing comeback, Mysterio has had a quiet past year and it was announced in February that he had officially split with WWE.
4 John Cena – Arm
John Cena was forced to go on hiatus after a devastating injury to his arm and shoulder during a match in 2013. When he was injured, initial thoughts were it was a pulled muscle that would mend, but then after a week, Cena's elbow began to swell until a baseball-size lump was protruding from it. WWE medical staff told Cena that it was a mass of fluid forming in the joint of the elbow as a result of a torn triceps. They told him to go home and immediately get surgery.
WWE officials and medical team wanted to cancel the WWE Championship match at Summerslam, but John Cena refused. It was not until after the match that he finally took his leave, had surgery and started rehab. Then, in typical Cena fashion, he made his return back to WWE in record time, proving that the Champ was still there and still hungry for a good fight.
3 Daniel Bryan - Neck and Shoulder
The beloved under-dog wrestler who has fought and clawed his way up to be one of the most popular superstars in recent WWE history, Daniel Bryan was almost forced to retire due to neck and shoulder injuries. At a brutal Wrestlemania XXX match, Daniel sustained traumatic injury to his shoulder and neck. It caused lasting numbness, pain, and weakness in his shoulder and arm.
Surgery was performed, but it was not completely successful. Therapy was long and hard and many times, Daniel, as well as other WWE fans, feared his career might be over. Even during his absence and rehab, with no promise that he would ever be able to return, the WWE fans still kept the spirit of Bryan alive in WWE with chant of “Yes Yes Yes” echoing through just about every arena.
Finally, after a long and hard road to recovery, Daniel Bryan was cleared to take the ring and is now making his way back into the world of wrestling, which is the only life he has known since he was 18 years old.
2 Dolph Ziggler - Concussion
The self-proclaimed Show Off sure did that repeatedly when he was in the ring. However, one injury plagued him over and over again. Over the span of a few years, Dolph suffered several major concussions and had to be put on the injured list every time. Two of the most notable concussions were sustained at the hands of Alberto Del Rio – who kicked Dolph in the head several times during a match – and in a match with Ryback – who sent the Show Off slamming to the mat with a vicious clothesline move. Nevertheless, Dolph recovered and came back stronger than ever every time.
1 Edge - Back and Neck
Not even a week after beating Alberto Del Rio at Wrestlemania XXVII and retaining the World Heavyweight Championship, The Rated R Superstar Edge was forced to retire from active participation in WWE. It was in 2003 that Edge underwent his first major back surgery and had a two level spinal fusion of his C5, C6 and C7 vertebrae. After being cleared, he continued to compete for years, but every impact and every minor injury further damaged those surgically repaired discs.
His WWE career spanned 13 years and saw him with 11 World Title reigns. The Rated-R Superstar was forced to finally retire in 2011 after he had reportedly been suffering from trembling and numbness in his hands and arms and was told further wrestling could snap the fused vertebrae and leave him paralyzed from the neck down.