It can happen in the blink of an eye. One minute, you’re the company’s top champion, a ring general and hero to millions, doing what you do best. A moment later, you’ve sustained the injury that will ultimately take away your capacity to continue down that ordained path. Said superstar might be forced into retirement then and there, with next to no chance that they’d ever be able to resume that lifestyle normally. Or maybe they *are* able to come back, but with limitations. And even then, retirement lurks not too far down the road anyway.
Jim Cornette condemns the word “fake” in regards to pro wrestling because there’s nothing fake about the wear and tear, or the injuries, that come with the territory. Listed in this feature are five former World champions whose careers were altered in large part due to one such “blink of an eye” moment in their careers, an instant that robbed them of their once-mighty physical prowess.
Nobody is immune to the sudden pratfalls that exist in the wrestling industry. These five men are proof.
Because of his eight-year “second act”, we sometimes forget that Michaels spent over four years in retirement as one millennium turned to another. Though he’d accumulated lots of pains as a result of his bump-heavy style, it was Michaels’ back that gave out here.
During a Casket Match with The Undertaker at the 1998 Royal Rumble, Michaels took a back body drop onto the coffin, his lower back catching the edge of the lid. In the days that followed, Michaels’ back pains grew worse, and ultimately steered him toward the long sabbatical.