Finn Balor suffered a dislocated shoulder during his match at Summerslam last month, forcing him to relinquish his WWE Universal Championship one day after winning it. Balor's injury will force him to sit for at least six months, sidelining the rising wrestling star just after he made the main WWE roster.
Injuries are a sad reality in wrestling and many of the greatest wrestlers to ever step into a ring were forced into early retirement because of their injuries. Here are seven famous wrestlers who have suffered major injuries inside the squared circle:
Mick Foley is one of the most beloved wrestlers of the Attitude Era, in part because his dedication to the "hardcore" style of wrestling led to some of the goriest and craziest matches ever seen in a WWE ring. Foley suffered a ton of injuries during his wrestling career (he once lost a part of an ear in match and suffered severe burns from a C4 explosion), but his most memorable injury came during a Hell in a Cell match against the Undertaker in 1998.
Hell in a Cell matches are usually brutal, but this Hell in a Cell match was infamous due to two different incidents. The first came when the Undertaker tossed Foley off the top of the 16 foot cage and through an announcer's table. The spot was scripted, but Foley's dislocated shoulder suffered from the fall was not.
Despite the injury, Foley got back up and the match continued. After Foley and the Undertaker climbed to the top of the cage again, the Undertaker delivered one of his signature chokeslams to Foley. When Foley hit the roof of the cage, it gave way and Foley fell into the ring, with pieces of the cage landing on top of him.
Although the Undertaker briefly thought Foley had died because of the fall, Foley merely suffered a concussion, lost two teeth, dislocated a jaw, bruised a kidney, and put a hole through his mouth. Unbelievably, Foley got up and finished the match with the Undertaker.
Foley nearly died because of the match, but his insane spots/bravery helped solidify his popularity with the fans.prevnext
Bret Hart famously claims to have never given one of his opponents a significant injury, but his career unfortunately came to due a series of concussions suffered in late 1999 in a series of matches with Goldberg. Hart's first concussion came during Starrcade 1999 when the two squared off in a match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Goldberg accidentally kicked Hart in the head, giving Hart a severe concussion.
Hart continued his feud with Goldberg over the following days, and suffered up to three more concussions in subsequent matches. Hart wound up with severe post-concussion syndrome and had to retire. Many have also speculated that his concussions also led to the stroke Hart suffered just a few years later.prevnext
The biggest tragedy to ever occur inside a WWE ring was the death of Owen Hart, suffered during a fall before his Intercontinental Championship match during the Over The Edge pay per view event in 1999.
At the time, Hart was using a superhero gimmick and wrestled as the Blue Blazer. Before the match, Hart was supposed to drop down from the ceiling in a safety harness, parodying Sting's similar entrance. However, as Hart descended, a cable broke away from Hart's vest and he fell more than 70 feet, hitting one of the turnbuckles as he landed in the ring. While EMTs provided CPR and rushed him to a nearby hospital, Hart was pronounced dead soon after the fall.
Vince McMahon and other senior WWF officials decided to keep the event going and the live audience was not informed of Hart's condition. Although the fall wasn't televised, television announcer Jim Ross informed fans watching the pay per view of what had happened and reported that Hart had passed away later that evening.
Owen was one of the WWF's most respected wrestlers and the organization received heavy criticism for continuing the pay per view event after his accident. The Hart family sued the WWF and settled for a reported $18 million.prevnext
The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels was a fan favorite of WWF/WWE fans for over 20 year. Michaels had two separate runs with the company, the first of which ended due to a major back injury.
Michaels fought the Undertaker in a casket match for the WWF Championship at the 1998 Royal Rumble. During the match, the Undertaker threw Michaels up against the side of the casket. The impact herniated two discs in his back and crushed a third, leaving him with significant back issues. Michaels assumed the injury would be the end of his career and retired after a loss to Stone Cold Steve Austin in the main event of Wrestlemania XIV. Coincidentally, Austin's win over Michaels also marked the beginning of the WWF's incredibly popular Attitude Era.
However, Michaels' back injury did not permanently end his career. Four years later, he made a surprise return in 2002 and stayed with the company for another eight years. Michaels adopted a slower in-ring style during his second return, focusing more on telling a great story than trying to wow the crowd and fly through a match. Michaels remained a fan favorite until 2010 until he was fittingly retired by the Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXVI.prevnext
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold Steve Austin was one of the WWF's most popular wrestlers during its famed Attitude Era, but he suffered a serious neck injury during his rise to popularity that threatened his entire career.
Austin had a match against Owen Hart at Summerslam in 1997 for the Intercontinental Championship. During the match, Hart gave Austin a piledriver, but botched the move and slammed Austin on his neck. The impact legitimately broke Austin's neck and left him temporarily paralyzed in the ring. As Hart stalled for time, Austin regained the feeling in his extremities and quickly rolled Hart up to pin him and win the match. WWF officials had to help Austin out of the ring, as his injury was too severe for him to walk on his own.
Although Austin won both the match and the Intercontinental Championship, he quickly vacated the belt so he could heal. Austin would eventually return and become one of the WWF's biggest stars, although his lingering neck issues contributed to him retiring in 2002. Austin later admitted that doctors had advised him to never wrestle again after the neck injury as any additional damage would result in possible paralysis or death.prevnext
John Cena's third reign as the WWE Champion ended in October 2007 when he suffered a severe pectoral injury in a match against Mr. Kennedy. Cena tore his pec while doing a standard hip toss. Although he was able to finish the match, he later learned that the entire muscle had been torn from the bone and would require up to a year of recovery time.
But one of Cena's famous mottos is to "Never Give Up", leading to one of the memorable surprise comebacks in the modern WWE era. Cena was cleared to return after just a four months and made his comeback as the surprise 30th entrant in the 2008 Royal Rumble. Although Cena had his fair share of haters even back then, the crowd went wild as his music hit and he proceeded to clear the ring and quickly win a chance to regain his WWE Championship at Wrestlemania XXIV.prevnext
Daniel Bryan's rise to become the WWE Champion is one of the best wrestling storylines of the modern era. However, after defeating the likes of Triple H, Batista, and Randy Orton to win the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania XXX in 2014, Bryan had to cut his championship run short after suffering a neck injury and losing all strength in his right arm.0comments
Bryan returned in January 2015 and won the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania XXXI. However, he suffered a concussion just a week later and had to vacate his championship again.
Fans waited for months to hear when Bryan would return. While Bryan repeatedly said that doctors had cleared him, the WWE refused to let him step into the ring due to his long history with concussions. After a brain scan showed a brain lesion, Bryan announced his retirement earlier this year and admitted the next day that he had suffered from seizures because of his brain injuries.prev