5 times WWE worked legitimate injuries into storylines
During a superstar’s career in WWE, they’ll sadly succumb to an injury or two, whether minor or serious. Often, WWE will incorporate these particularly life-changing incidents into storylines. This usually adds another layer of realism to the feud being played out on-screen.
It brings a different dynamic and certainly gets the WWE Universe more invested, that’s for sure. Storylines play out very well when there is that element of realism involved.
That being said, let’s take a look at five times WWE worked legitimate injuries into storylines, in no particular order.
#5 Edge’s neck injury is brought into his WWE storyline with Seth Rollins
— WWE (@WWE) September 15, 2021
Edge made his triumphant return to WWE during the Royal Rumble match in January 2019. The Rated R Superstar was previously forced to retire from professional wrestling due to a severe neck and spinal injury. Miraculously, the former WWE Champion returned and defied the odds.
Of course, what better way to really bring some intensity to a feud by bringing that very injury into the current storyline? That very thing happened with Seth Rollins. In fact, it was a masterstroke by WWE.
When Edge was on the sidelines, he figured in WWE storylines but never got physical. He encountered Rollins in 2014, who was going to deliver a Stomp to him, but, in his own words, didn’t pull the trigger.
Fast forward to 2021, and that very moment reignited and set the tone for what was to come. Rollins’ focus was on pulling the trigger on Edge’s neck to render him retired once again.
At the SummerSlam pay-per-view, Edge got the better of Rollins. During their rematch on Friday Night SmackDown at Madison Square Garden, things went down a little differently.
— WWE (@WWE) September 11, 2021
The Architect managed to deliver his famous Stomp and pick up the win against the Rated R Superstar. Not only that, it appeared to aggrivate Edge’s neck and he was ultimately stretchered out of the arena after medical staff rushed to the ring. It left the WWE Universe fearing the worst.
It was the perfect use of Edge’s past injuries and opens up so many possibilities. This believable factor is legitimate and provides a platform for another huge comeback for the WWE Hall of Famer.
It couldn’t have been perfected any better and it not only has given us an incredible feud, but it has pushed Seth Rollins even further.
#4 Hardcore Holly’s broken neck was worked into his WWE storyline with Brock Lesnar
13 years ago, Brock Lesnar broke Hardcore Holly's neck. pic.twitter.com/0qA7CTwiia
— Wrestling Fun Facts (@WrestlingFF) September 10, 2015
In the fall of 2002, then-WWE Champion Brock Lesnar battled Hardcore Holly in a match on SmackDown. It was a hard-hitting battle, until Lesnar set Holly up for a powerbomb. It appeared there was a struggle to execute the move, and Lesnar ended up legitimately dropping Holly on his neck.
The former Hardcore Champion managed to complete the match, but he was on the sidelines for a number of months. Eventually, Hardcore Holly would return and face Lesnar for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble event in 2004. Holly blamed Brock for taking away months off his career. In the end, Lesnar picked up the victory and both men moved on.
Brock Lesnar’s last match on SmackDown (or Raw) was March 2, 2004 against Hardcore Holly.
His match against Kofi Kingston on SmackDown’s Fox debut will be 5,694 days after that. pic.twitter.com/NLQ3rDrUmE
— SI Wrestling (@SI_wrestling) September 18, 2019
In an interview with Diamon Joe, Hardcore Holly detailed the incident:
“What happened was we had been wrestling for about 10 minutes. Brock, you know, he was sick, and we’re both blown up. And he went to pick me up to powerbomb me and I tried to come up. I tried to grab his head and I couldn’t quite reach it. And he ended up, you know, we ended up going back down and he tried to hold me and that was it,” Hardcore Holly said. (h/t Essentially Sports)
Hardcore Holly is a tough cookie when it comes to WWE and thankfully he was able to make a comeback.
#3 Chavo Guerrero’s concussion was introduced into WWE storylines
But IMO, the wrestler who had the BEST shooting star press (in the WWE) was former Cruiserweight & Tag Team Champion Billy Kidman. His version was so "cool" that, at one point, it caused Chavo Guerrero to have a concussion 🌠 pic.twitter.com/JZ29i0Nc23
— Jose Lorenzo 👑🏀 (@LorenzoMuli) April 28, 2021
On the August 26th, 2004 episode of WWE SmackDown a surreal moment took place. During a match between Billy Kidman and Chavo Guerrero, Kidman went up to the top rope. He went on to deliver a Shooting Star Press, a move he had done a thousand times before. This time, Kidman’s leg followed through onto Chavo’s skull, forcing it into the ring mat. Chavo was immediately taken to hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion.
The incident was immediately worked into WWE storylines. Kidman, who had become a face, was fearful of performing the Shooting Star Press. He would get up to the top rope, hesitate and come back down. Chavo eventually returned and sought revenge on Kidman for the incident.
July 6 2004 Paul London Billy Kidman WWE tag team championd pic.twitter.com/bJGQQwKqJ5
— Danny Bently (@DannyBentley60) July 6, 2021
At the time, Billy Kidman was also WWE Tag Team Champion with Paul London. For London, this period was frustrating because of Kidman’s inability to perform the Shooting Star Press. Eventually, Kidman turned on London, strapping him to a stretcher and finally delivering a Shooting Star Press. Great storytelling all round that resulted from a tragic incident.
#2 Rey Mysterio breaking Cody Rhodes’ nose was brought into WWE storyline
— P̷u̷n̷k̷.̷™̷ (@TheEnduringIcon) June 8, 2021
In January 2011, Cody Rhodes was as “Dashing” as ever and was ready to take the WWE by storm. He faced Rey Mysterio on the January 11th episode of SmackDown and things didn’t quite go to plan. Rey set Cody up for the 619 but he hit Cody in the face with his exposed knee brace. This immediately broke Rhodes’ nose.
Rhodes was absent from WWE for a number of weeks before returning wearing a protective face mask. His feud with Mysterio ended up on the WrestleMania card, with Cody picking up the victory.
The mask became a huge part of Rhodes’ character throughout 2011. He used it as a weapon during matches, and eventually he began to hand out paper bags to the WWE Universe to cover their faces.
(In fairness, we never gave the bags to ugly people – I told the bag boys to just find drunk dudes in the crowd who wanted em’)
I also think I discovered why you told me to get the f outta’ the ring after I tore my knee to shreds ha in Buffalo
Cheers to the next one https://t.co/45az7voRjT
— Cody (@CodyRhodes) May 17, 2020
It was all pure brilliance to create something so powerful after a run as “Dashing Cody Rhodes” to become the complete opposite. You could say it was written in the stars all thanks to that one night in early January when Cody broke his nose. It was by far some of Cody’s best work during his run in WWE.
#1 Seth Rollins’ knee injury was featured in his WWE storyline with Triple H
Seth Rollins will announce on RAW that he is cleared to compete and will fight HHH at WrestleMania 33. 🎊 pic.twitter.com/AbXmq16AXf
— Wrestle Kliq (@WrestleKliq) February 22, 2017
Seth Rollins was the reigning WWE World Heavyweight Champion in 2015 when he was forced to vacate the title due to injury. Rollins suffered a knee injury that ruled him out for a number of months. Fast forward to 2017, and on the road to WrestleMania, Rollins revealed he had suffered another knee injury.
The Architect posted a tweet from a hospital bed indicating his knee was once again injured. The incident occurred on Monday Night RAW following an attack by Samoa Joe. Rollins was feuding with Triple H leading into the Show of Shows. Speculation was rife that the former WWE Champion would be out for a number of months, but he miraculously returned in time to face The Game.
— B/R Wrestling (@BRWrestling) February 7, 2017
The injury was incorporated into the storyline, with Triple H persistently attacking Rollins’ injured knee. A stipulation was also added to the contract, stating that he was forbidden from suing WWE if he was to re-injure his knee during the match. The bout was also made a non-sanctioned contest to add to the suspense of whether the match should even be really taking place. On that night, Rollins picked up the victory and put on an incredible performance.