Pro Wrestling: 15 of the Worst Injuries to Happen in the Ring
In the sport of pro wrestling, injuries are always going to happen.
Sometimes we see wrestlers taken out on a stretcher or helped to the back as part of a storyline.
Other times we see them being taken out of the ring, and we know for sure that a serious injury has taken place.
There are even times where we see a move happen and know the wrestler has hurt themselves, yet the wrestler stays and finishes the match.
This slideshow is designed to show 15 of the worst in-ring injuries, as selected by me.
The slides are in no particular order.
If you do not see one on this list that you think I should have included, please leave a comment below.
So many injuries have happened that I am sure I will be able to do multiple slideshows based on this concept.
Droz Is Paralyzed
During the SmackDown taping on Oct. 5, 1999, Droz, wrestling under the ring name of Puke, was wrestling a match against D'Lo Brown. Brown was going to execute one of his signature moves, a running power-bomb.
During the move, D'Lo slipped on some type of drink that was thrown into the ring. Puke was dropped on his head, breaking two bones in his neck.
Droz admits that he failed to leap properly into the move and the shirt he was wearing was too loose.
D'Lo never had a firm grasp on him.
Droz was immediately taken to the hospital where he underwent hours of surgery to reduce swelling in his spine.
The surgery was not successful. Droz was paralyzed.
Triple H Tears Quad.
In 2001, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H were competing in a tag match against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit.
During the match, Austin was trapped in the Walls of Jericho. Triple H came in to make the save, and as he planted his leg, the quadricep muscle in Triple H's leg was torn.
What makes this even more remarkable is that Triple H finished the match, and he allowed himself to be put in the Walls of Jericho—after the injury took place.
For those of you who are curious about how much pain the Walls of Jericho can cause, read my article about it here.
The amount of pain that Triple H went through while in the move must have been astronomical.
Triple H would miss eight months recovering from this injury.
Sid Vicious Snaps His Leg
Sid Vicious was wrestling Scott Steiner, Jeff Jarrett and Animal in a four corners match for the WCW Championship.
The suits in WCW felt that Sid needed to add some moves off the top rope. Sid was reluctant, but he decided to give it a shot.
Sid went up to the top rope, jumped off and gave Steiner a boot to the face.
When Sid landed, he suffered a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula.
A compound fracture is when the bones are broken so severely that they break through the skin.
Sid had to undergo surgery for the injury and had a steel rod implanted in his leg to fix the broken bones.
Austin Breaks Neck
Steve Austin was wrestling Owen Hart at SummerSlam '97.
During the match, Owen had Austin set up to land a pile-driver.
Austin's head was too low, and when Owen delivered the move, Austin's head hit the mat, causing his neck to compress and break in the process.
Austin was temporarily paralyzed after the move. Owen stalled for time by playing up to the crowd.
Austin was able to get some movement back into his body, and the match was quickly ended when Austin rolled up Owen for the win.
Austin did not wrestle again until Survivor Series later that year.
Joe Mercury Breaks Nose
In December 2006 at the Armageddon pay-per-view, Mercury and Nitro were involved in a fatal four way ladder match against London and Kendrick, Regal and Taylor and the Hardy Boyz.
There was a spot set up where two ladders were set up like a see-saw, and Jeff Hardy would leap off the top rope, landing on the ladder and forcing it upward into the faces of both Nitro and Mercury.
Mercury was not able to get his hands up to protect his face and suffered a direct impact of the ladder to his face.
It looked as if Mercury's face had exploded. Mercury was immediately removed from the match and taken to the hospital for treatment.
Amazingly enough, Mercury only suffered a broken nose. The injury could have easily been broken bones in his face, or even damage to his eyes, but he was lucky.
Mercury was out of action for only a few weeks.
Sting Tears His Knee
The injury takes place around the eight minute mark.
During Clash of the Champions Ten, Sting tried to interfere in a cage match that featured the Four Horsemen.
Sting ran down to ring and began to climb the cage.
As part of the story, some wrestlers and security were trying to hold Sting back.
It looks as if the security holding Sting back as he attempted to climb the cage caused the injury.
Sting suffered a torn patella tendon.
As the show came to a close, Flair ran out of the cage to attack Sting. Flair had no idea that Sting was injured when he jumped on him.
Wade Barrett Dislocates Elbow
During the February 20th Raw, Wade Barrett suffered a dislocated elbow.
The injury happened when Big Show threw Dolp Ziggler out of the ring.
Barrett tried to catch Ziggler, which led to Barrett's elbow becoming dislocated.
Barrett would undergo surgery to repair his elbow and will not be able to compete at WrestleMania this year.
Jesse Sorensen Suffers a Broken Neck
At the Against All Odds pay-per-view in February, Jesse Sorensen had his neck broken by Zema Ion.
Ion attempted a spring board moonsault off the second rope. The knees of Ion connected with the top of Sorensen's head.
The impact compressed the cervical spine of Sorensen and resulted in a fracture of his C-1 vertebra.
It is estimated that it will take Sorensen up to a year to fully recover.
Jim Cornette Destroys Knee
At Starrcade 1986, The Midnight Express and Road Warriors were competing in a scaffold match.
During the match, Cornette was chased up the scaffold by Hawk, and Animal was waiting for him at the top.
Cornette then would climb over the edge of the scaffold and drop 20 feet down to the ring.
When Cornette landed, his knee buckled inward and tore all the ligaments involved in keeping the knee attached to the femur, and tibia and fibula.
Cornette would undergo surgery on his knee.
Jim Cornette talks about this match, and injury here.
Warning: Cornette does use graphic language in this interview. The topic of the scaffold match starts at around the 1:20 mark.
Shawn Michaels Injures Back
At the 1998 Royal Rumble, Michaels was facing The Undertaker in a casket match.
During the match, Undertaker gave Michaels a back drop to the outside of the ring.
Michaels impacted the casket with the base of his spine.
The impact led to two herniated discs in the lumbar region of Michaels' spine.
This injury would ultimately lead to Michaels having to retire.
Michaels ended up coming back after his four-year absence and was able to wrestle for eight more years.
Vince McMahon Tears Both Quads
At the 2005 Royal Rumble, there was a dispute on who won the Royal Rumble match.
John Cena and Batista both went over the top to the floor.
The referee for Raw declared Batista the winner, while the referee for SmackDown declared Cena the winner.
Vince McMahon would eventually come out. McMahon slid into the ring and attempted to stand up, but he quickly fell to the ground.
Vince sat, leaning against the ropes, and ordered the match to continue.
It was later discovered that McMahon tore both quadriceps muscles when his knees impacted the ring as he slid to the inside.
Bret Hart Is Concussed
During Starrcade 1999, Bret Hart was in a no disqualification match against Bill Goldberg.
During the match, Bret was sent into the ropes and Goldberg landed a kick to Bret's head.
At the time, Bret did not know he was injured. He would continue to compete in future matches.
Once it had been discovered that Bret had a serious concussion, he retired.
It has been speculated that the concussion Bret received in this match laid the foundation for the stroke that he would suffer later in life.
Cactus Jack Has Ear Ripped off in Germany
The injury occurs at 7:28 spot.
In a match in 1994, Cactus Jack was in a match against Vader.
During the match, Jack performed a hangman spot. This spot consists of the head of the wrestler being tied up in the top two ropes.
While trying to free himself from the ropes, Jack slid his head through the ropes, causing two-thirds of his ear to be removed from the side of his head.
WCW was known to use steel cables as their ropes, and also it appears in the video that the ropes were tighter than usual that night.
Those two factors are likely what led to Jack's ear being ripped off.
I know some people may not think this injury is as severe as others on this list, but I am of the mentality that if you leave the ring with one less body part, it is a serious injury.
John Cena Tears Pectoral Muscle
The injury occurs at around the 1:20 mark.
On October 1, 2007, John Cena was wrestling against Mr. Kennedy.
During the match, Cena executed a hip toss on Kennedy. It was this move that tore Cena's pectoral muscle completely off the bone.
Cena was able to finish the match, and he also endured a run-in by Orton after the match was over.
Cena had surgery on his pec and was told it would take seven months to a year to recover and return to the ring.
About four months later, Cena made a surprise return at the 2008 Royal Rumble and won the rumble match.
Mankind vs. Undertaker: Hell in a Cell
You had to know that this would be on the list.
At the King of the Ring pay-per-view in 1998, Mankind and Undertaker competed in a hell in a cell match.
The most famous spot in hell in a cell history was when Undertaker threw Mankind off the top of the cage to the floor.
Surprisingly, Mankind was able to finish the match and go through another high-impact spot.
Undertaker would throw Mankind through the top of the cage, down to the mat.
In EMS, I am trained to know that a fall that is two-and-a-half times the height of the person is considered to be a very critical fall.
Mankind had two critical falls that night.
The injuries Mankind sustained that night were: two missing teeth, multiple stitches below his lip, dislocated jaw, concussion, bruised kidney and a dislocated shoulder.
Foley talks about this match here.
Thank you everyone for reading my list. I hope you enjoyed it.
If you feel like I missed some injuries, let me know in the comments, and if I get enough, I will make another list.
Remember, this list was not meant to say that these were the worst 15 injuries, but 15 of the worst.
They are in no particular order.
Louie Babcock has over five years experience working in emergency medicine and is studying biology and health science at the University of Minnesota.
Follow me on Twitter@Medic_Louie.
Love me or hate me, just as long as you read me.