Big E was on the receiving end of a botched overhead belly-to-belly suplex on the March 11 episode of Friday Night SmackDown, landing on the top of his head and breaking his neck with fractures to his C1 and C6 vertebrae. E confirmed on Twitter in the days that followed that he wouldn't need surgery and even shared a video of him walking through his neighborhood, but on Tuesday he learned just how close he came to death as a result of the injury.
"Had my first doctor's appointment and learning (because of the C1 fracture) I narrowly escaped a stroke, paralysis or death is very sobering. Life feels even more precious and valuable now," he tweeted.
Had my first doctor’s appointment and learning (because of the C1 fracture) I narrowly escaped a stroke, paralysis or death is very sobering. Life feels even more precious and valuable now.— Ettore “Big E” Ewen (@WWEBigE) March 22, 2022
So I got some really good news, all things considered," E said in an update a day after injuring his neck. "The C1 and C6 are indeed fractured, not displacement thought which is a very good thing, and I don't have any damage to my spinal cord. No ligament damage, and no surgery, which I'm very thankful for. And a pro tip. If you're gonna break your neck, do it in Birmingham. They've been great. Everyone here at UAB has been great. But for real, this meant...a ton to me. That so many of you have been so kind and reached out, stopped in to see me, text me. I know I feel like I sound like a broken record but I am very grateful, and I'm gonna be alright. So bless you."
E stated 2022 as the WWE Champion but saw his reign come to an end on New Year's Day when Brock Lesnar pinned him at the Day 1 pay-per-view. He was then quietly moved over to the SmackDown roster prior to his injury in an attempt to reunite The New Day once all three members were healthy.
"My focus has been on controlling what I can," he told TalkSport regarding his booking to start the year. "We've had several interviews and I'm sure I've already talked your ears off about meditation and how much that has helped me, but, that's my job. I focus on being the performer and do the very best with what I'm given, that's my focus. I don't want any of that to be perceived as me taking away from being with Kofi and Woods. That's my greatest delight. For me, it was a transition I will say I did not expect at this time in my career. I had hoped to climb back and try once again to win back the WWE championship. But, we have a pretty big champion [Roman Reigns] and pretty big title on SmackDown as well so, you never know. Right now, my focus is all about controlling what I can and doing the best with what I'm given, and that's always been my focus,"