The naysayers who keep professing “Wrestling is fake” are not aware of the catastrophes that could have happened had some WWE wrestlers not saved another wrestler from injuries. The squared circle is a structure of wooden planks wrapped with canvas, which makes it a pretty tough surface to take a bump on.
Add the high-flying moves of airborne superstars and a pinch of gravity to that, and its often a recipe for disaster. The wrestlers need to practice extreme caution whenever in the ring to save themselves and their fellow wrestlers.
Sports entertainment is a show business, the background of which is usually colleagues looking out for each other. That, and from the natural human instinct of saving your fellow man, wrestlers are driven to save others.
Unless it’s someone as psychotic and deranged as New Jack, most wrestlers usually avoid hurting their opponents seriously in-ring. A physical business, like WWE, demands hefty strains from the wrestlers.
Constant bumps every week, rigorous travel schedules, high-risk maneuvers usually leave them exhausted. Even so, there are ways to avoid additional injury.
Despite WWE has inculcated much of the safety procedures, risks are always existent. After all, the business includes steel chairs and crashing through wooden tables.
However, through the quick wit and brilliant presence of mind, some wrestlers have saved others from serious injuries, over the years. Be it the accurate ring awareness or years of experience in the business, these people are heroes in their colleagues’ eyes.
Today we countdown 10 such incidents where the WWE wrestlers saved another wrestler from painful injuries.
#10. Fandango saves Cody Rhodes from head trauma
In 2013, following the latest face-turn of Cody, he was supposed to battle lower card wrestlers before he could establish his dominance. Following the usual narrative, he had taken on the master of dance forms, Fandango in a mildly entertaining match.
The match proceeded smoothly until Cody’ with going high-risk struck and he ran to the top rope to do a moonsault. What Cody had not noticed, however, was Fandango was way outside his range and he was setting himself up for a trip to ER.
Fandango noticed the accident about to go down, and he rushed in, to catch Cody mid-air to redact his fall momentum. The quick wit of the dancer saved his opponent wrestler from suffering the same injuries as Brock Lesnar years ago.
#9. Ryback catches Kalisto before a collision
Ryback is not the brightest crayon in the business, as has been noticed by his several mistakes that have ended up hurting wrestlers, by accident. However, something special transpired in the 2016 pre-show of Payback. Ryback had demanded a shot at the US title, against the then champion, Kalisto.
The Luchador did a springboard corkscrew plunge at his opponent outside the ring in one perfect motion. However, he had not timed it right and came up short.
Ryback was out of range for the fall and Kalisto was about to crash spine-first at the hard part of the canvas or straight into the floor. Either way, the US champion would have been severely injured, until The Big Guy intervened.
Ryback quickly realized the accident about to occur and rushed in, catching Kalisto and dropping down. An underrated instance when Ryback had saved his fellow wrestler from injuries, is the difference between Kalisto’s career and potential paralysis.
#8. Bret Hart to the rescue
In the SummerSlam of 1992, the WWE Universe witnessed one of the best IC championships matches ever seen. The Excellence of Execution and the British Bulldog had charged at each other to have a match that would go on to be historical.
However, a lesser-known fact about the match was that the longest duration of it was carried by Bret Hart as Davey Boy was too incapacitated to wrestle. Unknown to the audience at that time, Davey Boy had stayed up the previous night, doing hard drugs.
Exhausted and completely deprived of sleep, The Bulldog gasped into Bret’s ears, “I don’t remember anything”, in-match. Thus, for the rest of the duration of the championship bout, Bret did most of the work, making The Bulldog follow the lead.
Had it not been for the brilliance of The Hitman, The Bulldog might have gotten himself seriously injured that night. Davey Boy ultimately picked up the pinfall victory and held his only IC title, riding the coattails of The Hitman the entire time.
#7. Curt Hennig rescues Jericho from an injury
We will get to the parts later where Jericho has been a savior to a fellow wrestler, more than once. However, in a 1997 episode of WWF, The Breaker of Walls came inches close towards meeting his maker.
In a short match with Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennig, Jericho was closing in on a win. At that point, Jericho’s weapon of choice was the side rope somersault he termed, The Lionsault.
With a prone Hennig lying back first, Jericho flipped off the ropes with his Lionsault, but he calculated wrong. He could not complete the flip and was about to hit the mat, head first.
Had that happened, he would have either been paralyzed for life or would have wrestled his last in that ring. It was the brilliance of Mr. Perfect who had the quick wit of getting his knees up at the right moment.
Jericho landed on his opponent’s knees back first and his screams moments before, are indicative of his panic. The future-GOAT could not believe how close he had come that night to a painful end.
One more reason Hennig was deemed as Mr. perfect was that how he saved this young wrestler from catastrophic injuries inside the ring.
#6. The Undertaker is the Phenom, here’s why
Taker has been a locker room leader for almost 3 decades that he strapped up his gear and stepped into the ring. One of the most charismatic personalities who has enthralled both the audience and colleagues, this man is immensely respected by his co-workers.
In a Smackdown episode, Kurt Angle came out smashing people down with the Olympic Slam. American Badass Taker had been taken out moments ago by Angle.
With steel chairs and bodies lying around, the ring looked like carnage. The next person on Angle’s Slam list was The Big Show.
However, unbeknownst to either Angle or Show, a steel chair was lying dangerously close to Show’s impact area.
Had Angle dropped The World’s Largest Athlete on to the chair, he might have been out for months, with incredible agony. However, the superior ring awareness of The Deadman saved the big man a lot of pain, and Angle, a lot of embarrassment.
In a swift motion, Undertaker moved the chair out of harm’s way with his leg, an action done so smoothly, people hardly notice. Luckily for Show, Undertaker was inside the ring, albeit lying prone still selling a previous Angle slam.
One of the most remarkable episodes in Taker’s career, the phenom saved another wrestler from severe back injuries. It’s sad how he does not get enough recognition for these minute tasks which establish him as a good human being.
#5. Jericho shoves a referee for Neville
Back in 2016, Y2J was a heel, as most of the time in his career. In a match against Neville, Jericho was doing his best to put over the young man from England.
However, while trying to do a baseball slide, Neville messed his ankle up, and he was very visibly limping. Sensing his opponent in trouble, the ever-aware Jericho dropped Neville down, just to ask him, “You OK?”.
Neville was not and any more punishment to the ankle that could have damaged him beyond repair. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Jericho tried doing a quick roll-up pin to finish it early.
The referee Charles Robinson had not gotten the message, however. He passed it off as a two count, to the dismay of Y2J.
Jericho angrily, and very audibly barked in the referee’s face, “He’s Hurt!”. Throwing kayfabe to air, realizing the referee will not call the match, he shoved Robinson to be DQ’ed.
Although the announcer exclaimed, “There’s no need for that!”, there was and Neville thanks Jericho for that to date. He saved the wrestler whom gravity forgot from worsening his ankle injuries, despite getting disqualified for that.
There is no way you can hate this man.
#4. AJ Styles thinks fast
The Styles Clash is a fairly easy maneuver to perform and it takes very little on the part of the victim to have it executed. However, James Ellsworth managed to mess this one up as well, like his career.
AJ was about to finish the match with a well-places Styles Clash at the center of the ring when Ellsworth decided to put in some of his training. He tucked his non-existent chin in, to protect it, unaware that Styles Clash is a face bump.
His actions would have gotten his neck snapped, were it not for Styles being the genius he is. Noticing that Ellsworth had his chin tucked, Styles quickly extended his knee, to reduce the impact.
Any later and Elsworth would have ended up in a much worse neck brace that he had to wear for kayfabe. The swift decision of Styles in a fraction of seconds saved the dim wrestler from neck injuries and prolonged his life.
#3. King Corbin saves face for Ziggler
Baron Corbin is a big, scary wrestler who looks rather intimidating with his 6’7 frame and bulging muscles. However, he is one of the wrestlers who use extreme caution while executing any move on his fellow wrestlers.
The Show Off was a close witness to the sympathetic side of Corbin on a Smackdown Live show when he chased Corbin out of the ring.
Ziggler was running up the steel steps outside, to jump at The Lone Wolf, when he tripped. Had he fallen, it would have been face-first and who knows how many teeth he could have lost.
Realizing the situation, Corbin lunged in and grabbed Ziggler to execute one of the safest Deep Six, on to the floor. Not only did he save the man who can sell any move from a gruesome face bump, but he also pulled it off so smoothly, people hardly noticed.
King Corbin needs a better push.
Cooked these bad boys up last night! 2 60-90 day dry aged ribeyes. The flavor was insane! @FoodNetwork come get some of the King! And @TheTedAllen next bbq and booze on chopped I’ll be a judge! #fitforaking #wwe pic.twitter.com/Tgnv88634k
— Corbin (@BaronCorbinWWE) May 29, 2020
#2. Jericho whispers to the woods
Any fan who has seen Jeff Hardy has seen him struggle with his addiction issues. Often he would show up in the ring, hungover out of his mind and exhausted, gasping for breath.
On one such episode in 2009, the Enigma was facing The Breaker of Walls, Chris Jericho. An amazing wrestler, Jericho was well aware the Hardy was in no condition to wrestle.
However, not the one to give up, Hardy ran towards the opposite turnbuckle for a Whisper in the Woods. Instead, he did not time it right and was just about to crash down, head-first.
Jericho, the genius he is, had had the idea to chase Hardy and he quickly was able to prevent Jeff’s collapse, with a cleverly-placed push. What seemed an offensive tactic, had just saved a wrestler from terrible head injuries.
Only Jericho finds his mention twice for saving people on the list. This is because it’s just him who he pays more attention to the well being of his colleagues than kayfabe.
#1. Rollins almost gets impaled on live TV
The number one on this list is something much more brutal than any others mentioned. Had the accident happened, we would have witnessed a human being impaled and die, on live television!
That is exactly how gruesome the following incident would have been. WWE Universe still gets goosebumps at recalling this one incident from 2014.
Back when Rollins had sold out to The Authority, his prime targets were his Shield brethren. In one such show of RAW, a blindsided Roman Reigns was attacked by The Authority.
Kane, Randy Orton, and Rollins rushed in, to dish some punishment out to the Big Dog. To make matters worse, Reigns was supposed to be locked inside a steel cage to be destroyed by The Authority.
Rollins was re-entering the ring with a steel chair in hand, only when the steel cage was being lowered. The most brutal part of this was, the metal spike that is used to lock the cage in, was centimeters away from Rollins’ back.
Roman screamed from inside the ring, “Get out!” knowing he was about to witness live murder. The Big Red Machine noticed what had happened and possibly dragged Rollins out by his leg.
Had the spike lowered seconds earlier, or had Rollin not been pulled out, the WWE Universe would have had to bear a nightmarish sight. Of course, a steel spike piercing a man’s back through the chest and most certainly, killed in the worst way imaginable, is nothing short of a nightmare.
I ain’t dead yet.
— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) August 3, 2019
However, the Roman Empire saved his real-life friend and wrestler buddy at the nick of the time, from what could have been the worst of injuries on this list. Rollins has to owe The Big Dog a big one, for saving his life.