Behind the show-stopping action are tales of broken bones and shattered dreams. Though the WWE’s storylines are scripted and choreographed, sometimes accidents happen.
After his “King of the Ring” Pay Per View in 2001, Chris Benoit went under the knife, while doctors attempted to repair his broken neck. During the triple threat match with Chris Jericho and Stone Cold Steve Austin, Jericho superplexed Benoit off the top turnbuckle. Though this stunt was planned, the inaccurate landing put Benoit out of action for over a year.
On May 23, 1999, the wrestling world suffered a tremendous loss when superstar Owen Hart was killed center stage. Hart soared down from the ceiling on a zip line (similar to Shawn Michaels’ entrance at Wrestelmania XII in 1996) when things turned deadly. A broken cable caused Hart to fall 50 feet to his death, hitting his head on the top turnbuckle, causing it to snap back. Fans stood in disbelief as paramedics rushed to the ring. Owen Hart died later that night due to cardiac arrest.
Shawn Michaels, also known as the showstopper, Mr. Wrestelmania, the heartbreak kid, and many other names, has also endured more than his share of injuries. He has injured both knees numerous times, which now requires him to have a series of surgeries, which he plans to have done after he retires (His retirement hopefully won’t be for a few more years.). Early in his career, Michaels required back surgery due to countless injuries received in the ring. “That’s really real, I mean that’s choking'” Michaels said while he and Kevin Nash watch a clip of Nash choking Shawn Michaels with his wrist tape. As they watch the old video of the match, both men flinch and make sympathetic oo’s and ahh’s. Kevin Nash said, “Yeah, that one really hurt,” as they watch Michaels hit Nash over the head with a cowboy boot.
During the 2004 New “Year’s Revolution” Pay Per View both Eugene and Lita suffered legitimate injuries. Eugene dislocated his Patella, which required surgery. Lita sprained her knee, but fortunately, will not have to go under the knife. She is expected to be out of action for a few more months. However, you can expect to see her in new comer, Christie Hemme’s corner, during her out time.
You have to give it up to WWE President Vince McMahon. Even he has been injured during these events. Aside from the numerous bumps and bruises he suffered during his ongoing feuds with Stone Cold Steve Austin, McMahon blew out his knee at the 2005 Pay Per View, “Royal Rumble”.
After Batista and John Cena eliminated each other in the Royal Rumble match, McMahon made a rushed entrance to the ring. As he attempted to slide into the ring, his knee slammed into the apron. This injury too required surgery.
It seems that every WWE superstar endures at least one major injury during his or her career. Most matches end in scripted injuries which require a wrestler to be out of action for a period of time, when in reality he is lying on a sunny beach in Bora Bora. The way to tell if an injury is not scripted is by the referee. If a referee makes an “X” sign with his arms, it means a wrestler is legitimately injured and cannot continue the match.
The superstars of the WWE are truly loyal to their fans, and put their whole hearts into every performance. To continue to put their bodies on the line every week after suffering from such significant injuries proves it. WWE fans are like no others. Each having our personal favorites, we do not easily forget those other wrestlers who interfere with their matches, and we know how to hold a grudge.
We have stuck by these athletes from ECW, WCW, WWF, and Monday Night War to the current WWE. Speaking for all wrestling fans, I would like to say thank you to all the athletes who continue to put their lives and careers on the line to give us show-stopping action.