The 15 Most Gruesome Professional Wrestling Injuries That Fans Still Talk About Today

Wrestling is fake!

Everyone knows wrestling is fake and the outcomes are pre-determined from a storyline that has been created for each and every wrestler on the screen. The story and fighting is fake, but that’s where all that pretending ends.

Professional wrestlers do things for your entertainment, even if it means you could break your neck, arm, leg, or any bone in your body. The danger is outweighed by the fans, every time. These wrestlers will jump from 40 feet high onto a stack of tables to turn a match into something legendary.

A lot of the times, they get hurt, sometimes fatally.

Even knowing the risk of jumping from the top rope onto the concrete below, they do it without hesitation or a pause for concern for the good of the product that is wrestling. And most of the times, you probably did not even realize something was wrong because these guys battle through it and finish the match.

Here are the worst injuries to happen to wrestlers during a live, on-air, show or pay-per-view, ever.

The following eight wrestlers unfortunately passed away in the ring.

  • Owen Hart
    • Attempting a stunt from the rafters above, his safety harness snapped and he was dropped from 70 feet above straight onto the concrete floor.
  • Perro Aguayo Jr. 
    • Fractured three vertebrae after being thrown off the side of the ring onto the concrete below. He was knocked out and never recovered.
  • Mitsuharu Misawa
    • After a routine belly to back suplex maneuver, he was knocked out and was never able to regain consciousness.
  • Plum Mariko
    • She took a Ligerbomb/Sitout powerbomb knocking her unconscious. She later died in the hospital from various brain trauma injuries on top of that one.
  • Luther Lindsay
    • He suffered a fatal heart attack during a match
  • Oro
    • He took a massive blow to the head following a clothesline move which lead to his eventual death as he was being loaded into the ambulance.
  • Gary Albright
    • Following a routing finishing move to win the match, he suffered a fatal heart attack and died during the pin.
  • Mike DiBiase
    • He also suffered a fatal heart attack during a match from a cholesterol buildup that no one knew about at that time.

15. Vic Grimes (2002)

  • Wrestling Promotion: XPW
  • Show: Free Fall PPV
  • Match: Scaffold Match – New Jack vs. Vic Grimes
  • Injury: Minor Injuries but he was inches from falling onto the concrete head first. (Scariest moment)

From the top of a scaffolding, 40 feet above the ring, both wrestlers returned to rehash a rivalry that is legendary in the world of wrestling. Vic Grimes suffered minor injuries but the fall itself wasn’t planned to be as wide as it turned out with New Jack holding a grudge from the last time these two wrestlers fought in a scaffold match. (New Jack fell during ECW’s Living Dangerously in 2000 and blames Vic Grimes for the injury)

14. Vince McMahon (2005)

  • Wrestling Promotion: WWE
  • Show: Royal Rumble PPV
  • Match: John Cena vs. Batista
  • Injury: Torn Quads on both legs

As Vince McMahon was climbing into the ring, you can watch as he loses complete control of his legs and they go limp underneath him forcing him to sit down inside the ring. He was originally supposed to help decide the results of the match but as you can see in the video, he is trying to cover up the pain the best he can but he can only hold out for so long before he has to be taken off.

13. Marty Garner (1996)

  • Wrestling Promotion: WWF
  • Show: Superstars
  • Match: vs. Marty Garner
  • Injury: Severe Neck Injury (Nearly Broke his Neck)

In the early days of Triple H’s career, his pedigree finisher was one of the scariest moves he could have ever performed. It was more dangerous to the opponent in real life than anyone thought and when he performed it on Marty Garner, he almost broke his neck in the process. The video is tough to watch, so be prepared.

12. Hardcore Holly (2002)

  • Wrestling Promotion: WWE
  • Show: Smackdown
  • Match: vs. Brock Lesnar
  • Injury: Broken Neck

Since the incident, Hardcore Holly has said several times that it was an accident and that Brock Lesnar, who had the flu during the match, was tired and couldn’t hold onto him long enough to complete the maneuver safely.

11. Undertaker (2010)

  • Wrestling Promotion: WWE
  • Show: Smackdown
  • Match: Vs. Rey Mysterio
  • Injury: Fractured Orbital Bone, Broken Nose, Concussion

A lot of injuries you are going to read about are painful but none of them could begin to reach the level of pain it must feel like to break your orbital bone around your eye along with your nose like Undertaker did during a match in 2010 with Rey Mysterio. It was at the worst time possible for the WWE’s Smackdown roster as it was already plagued with multiple injuries and losing him was devastating.

10. Droz (1999)

  • Wrestling Promotion: WWE
  • Show: Smackdown
  • Match: vs. D-Lo Brown
  • Injury: Fractured two disks in his neck resulting in permanent paralysis from the waist down

Even though wrestling is fake, the pain that these men put themselves through for their fans is unreal. They are some wrestlers that no one even cares about that make very little money but risk it all each and every day just to become the best in the world one day. Droz was not a name many fans remember and back in 1999 during a match that was taped before the show was aired live on TV, he landed on his neck during a move that caused him to become paralyzed from the neck down. He later began using his arms and upper body but the movement is still limited. (The video no longer exists online because it was shot live but not for TV, just for the people that were in the arena that night)

9. Randy Orton (2008)

  • Wrestling Promotion: WWE
  • Show: One Night Stand PPV
  • Match: Last Man Standing Match vs. Triple H
  • Injury: Broken Collar Bone

It appears that one does not simply fight Triple H and not end up with a terrible injury. Randy Orton is the second wrestler to make our list that had been injured by the hands of Triple H. It is not really his fault, just bad luck for Hunter Hearst Helmsley to be honest. Randy Orton was tossed over the rope and failed to turn himself sideways to be able to catch his fall and shattered his collarbone because of it.

8. John Cena (2007)

  • Wrestling Promotion: WWE
  • Show: Raw
  • Match: vs. Mr.Kennedy
  • Injury: Torn Pectoral

One of the biggest names in the WWE today is John Cena. He exploded onto the scene in 2002 and is now widely considered to be the most popular active wrestler today. However, he is prone to injuries and is currently out of action due to a shoulder injury. During a match against Mr. Kennedy on an episode of Raw in 2007, Cena tore his pectoral muscle in his right arm early in the match and continued to wrestle and finish his match before having to deal with a beatdown from Randy Orton, which Cena also finished.

7. Joey Mercury (2006)

  • Wrestling Promotion: WWE
  • Show: Armageddon PPV
  • Match: Fatal Four Way Ladder Match
  • Injury: Broken Nose and Fractured Orbital Bone

The video shows exactly how painful this injury was for Joey Mercury. He was supposed to use his chest to break the ladder from hitting him in the face but he missed his position and ended up taking the ladder, which was a real aluminum ladder, straight to the nose. Imagine being hit in the face with a baseball bat but worse.

6. Triple H (2001)

  • Wrestling Promotion: WWF
  • Show: Raw
  • Match: WWF Tag Team Title Match w/ Stone Cold vs. Chris Jericho/Chris Benoit
  • Injury: Torn Quad Muscle

The quadriceps are the muscle that protects your femur bone and covers the front of your thighs down to your knees. Triple H tore his left quad so badly that he almost had to retire from the sport. It came completely off the bone causing him excruciating pain and also the inability to put any weight on his leg. He did, however, finish the match and even had a “Walls of Jericho” move put on him which basically pulls the quad even further apart. That is dedication and love for your fans right there.

5. Steve Austin (1997)

  • Wrestling Promotion: WWE
  • Show: Summerslam
  • Match: vs. Owen Hart
  • Injury: Broken Neck

When the WWE looks back on the moment it became the most powerful sports entertainment company in the world, it will remember that Stone Cold was one of the biggest reasons. He was amazingly popular and helped turn the WWE into a global phenomenon. However, back in 1997, just before the man became a legend, he broke his neck during a reversal move by the late Owen Hart. He might have been 3 inches away from not being injured at all but that little bit of difference caused a severe neck injury that haunted him the rest of his career.

4. Shawn Michaels (1998)

  • Wrestling Promotion: WWE
  • Show: Royal Rumble
  • Match: vs. Undertaker
  • Injury: Crushed Disc in his Back

The move was something wrestling fans have seen many of times. It was a simple maneuver on paper where the Undertaker is to toss Shawn Michaels out of the ring and onto the casket below to make it appear as though he was nearly dead when all he was doing was falling onto something that was meant to break. However, he missed and clipped the lower part of his back crushing a disc causing him to begin a long series of back injuries that followed him around the rest of his career.

3. Jesse Sorensen (2012)

  • Wrestling Promotion: TNA
  • Show: Against All Odds PPV
  • Match: Number One Contender’s Match vs. Ion
  • Injury: C-1 Vertebrae Fracture with Spinal Cord Edema

Total Nonstop Action, TNA, had a chance at becoming a competitor to the WWE, but the promotion never amounted to a lick of beans. During the promotions time, Jesse Sorenson became a popular face on the roster and was slowly moving his way up the rankings. However, during a backflip, Ion landed on Jesse’s neck causing serious damage that nearly broke his spine and neck.

2. Sid Vicious

  • Wrestling Promotion: WCW
  • Show:
  • Match:
  • Injury: Broken Tibia and Fibia in his leg

The Sid Vicious leg snap injury video is one of those videos that almost every wrestling fan has seen. He jumps down and lands on his feet but his left leg snaps and looks like jello. As he lays on the mat in pain, the cameras show the mangled mess his foot has become as it dangles freely from his left leg.

1. Sabu (1994)

  • Wrestling Promotion: ECW
  • Show: November to Remember PPV
  • Match: Tazz
  • Injury: Broken Neck

The worst injury in live wrestling history happened many years ago when Sabu was taking on a young, relatively unknown future star Chris Benoit in a 1994 ECW PPV match. Only a few minutes into the fight, Benoit tossed Sabu onto the mat where he landed on his neck, breaking it instantly. It is amazing he was able to move himself to the outside of the ring.