At the risk of sounding like an old curmudgeon, professional wrestling used to be different. What was once simply a case of 'getting your bell rung' now requires immediate medical attention and brings serious questions regarding the possibility of associated concussion symptoms. Now, let me be clear - this most certainly represents advancement and progression as we grow more mindful of the alarming impact of head trauma that has now been chronicled. That doesn't mean we can't appreciate the toughness - however ill-advised - or grapplers from yesteryear, who remained committed to giving wrestling fans their money's worth, often at their own expense.
For as fake as wrestling is, there remain a surprising amount of injuries that are incurred in and outside of the ring. Over the next few weeks, WWE anticipates the returns of headlining names like John Cena, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton, whose absences highlight the physically demanding and perilous nature of life inside the squared circle.
The 10 superstars on this list are no strangers to the workplace injuries that are a necessary evil of the pro wrestling industry. Even as they incurred injuries that would put them on the shelf for long stretches of time or leave them with little memory of the match in question, they all share one common mark of pride: they finished the match.
In these instances, finishing the match may not have been the most logically or medically sound option available. We hope that these athletes don't suffer any long-term health consequences as a result of their choices (although, in the case of Bret Hart, it may be too late for that), but at least some merit must be given to the dedication towards respecting the business and giving their audience a show. If these 10 superstars could do it all over again, it's hard to imagine these legends of the ring changing a thing.
10 Brock Lesnar - WrestleMania 19
9 Triple H - RAW 2001
8 The Miz - WrestleMania 27
7 Bret Hart - WCW Starrcade 1999
6 Sting - Night of Champions 2015
5 Undertaker - Elimination Chamber 2010
4 Vader - Match vs Stan Hansen 1990
3 Sabu - ECW Born To Be Wired 1997
2 Hardcore Holly - SmackDown 2002
1 Mick Foley - King of the Ring 1998
Outside of OJ Simpson and the Buffalo Bills, few had a rougher go of it in the 1990s than Mick Foley. While switching between aliases of Cactus Jack, Mankind and Dude Love, Foley suffered through countless injuries as he put his body on the line in the squared circle. In 1994, the hardcore legend lost a part of his left ear in a WCW match against Vader after getting caught in the ropes. Four years later, Foley endured two devastating bumps off the top of the cage in his Hell in a Cell match against the Undertaker at the 1998 King of the Ring pay-per-view. Those legendary bumps, plus a litany of breaks, bruises and other injuries, have given Foley special standing among even the most hardcore of grapplers.
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