Feature: Steve Anderson on the Impact of Wrestling Injuries


Word is that Shawn Michaels suffered a triceps tear over the weekend. Even if he can work the Unforgiven match with Chris Jericho, the long-term future of this feud is in question. It was just this past week that I wrote about how I wanted to see a lengthy, epic feud between the two, leading up to WrestleMania.

It wouldnâ<80><99>t be the first time than injury short-circuited promising feuds, angles, and even careers. Unexpected injuries make promoters and creative folks scramble for new ideas. Some decisions made in haste can be brilliant. Others disastrous.

In early 1990, the Four Horsemen were returning to their heel roots. New member Sting did not have a place in the group as he had the nerve to accept a title match against NWA champ Ric Flair. They kicked him out in February of that year and an all-out Flair vs. Sting feud would commence.

Later that nightâ<80>¦

Sting tried to interfere in a Four Horsemen cage match only to blow out his knee. Instead of Sting vs. Flair, we got Lex Luger versus Flair. Instead of Sting immediately taking the strap, he made a new friendâ<80>¦in Robocop.

Seriously, you canâ<80><99>t make this stuff up.

By July, Sting was all better and grabbed the title from Flair at that yearâ<80><99>s Great American Bash.

Bret Hart was on his way to a first WCW championship reign after his win at 2000â<80><99>s Starrcade. Well, technically second as he relinquished the belt the following night on Nitro, only to win it again in a rematch with Bill Goldberg. At Starrcade, Goldberg legit mule-kicked Hart into an early retirement.

Instead of seeing history, instead of Bret Hart finally making some impact in WCW, he vacated the title due to the injuries suffered. He would never wrestle again. Say what you will about Hart being bitter or believing his own publicity. Pound for pound, he was one of the best. He was entitled to a WCW title reign, not a boot in the face.

Who knows where his career would have gone. He ended up mending fences with WWE and joined their Hall of Fame. However, competing in a WWE ring was not an option. Can you imagine Hart vs. Michaels againâ<80>¦or Hart vs. McMahon at WrestleMania?

We would have gotten used to the term World heavyweight champion Magnum TA or Hall of Famer Magnum TA or WrestleMania main eventer Magnum TA. Terry Allen was hot. White-hot. He had lost the US title to Nikita Koloff, but was likely to win it back. World title matches were in his future. World title reigns were in his future. And you know that Vince McMahon and his almighty checkbook were in his future as well.

That all changed on October 14, 1986.

Magnum wrapped his Porsche around a telephone pole while driving in the rain, paralyzing the left side of his body. In a flash, his career was over. Koloff turned babyface and took his spot. He never came close to the success or notoriety. No one is talking about him as one of the all-time bests. Magnum had potential. Magnum had â<80><9c>it.â<80> Rarely has a car crash had so much impact.

Well, thatâ<80><99>s just three examples of many times wrestling history has changed and not necessarily for the better. Injuries are a sad part of this business. It changes lives personally and professionally. It makes us ask, â<80><9c>What if?â<80>

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