Randy Orton and 3 other WWE stars who suffered career-threatening back injuries
WWE Superstars like Randy Orton put their bodies on the line every night to entertain the fans, with the potential risk of getting severely injured always a possibility.
The Viper has been out of action since May 2022 after reportedly undergoing a surgical procedure for a longtime back problem.
Join us as we look back at Randy Orton and three other WWE superstars who have suffered career-threatening back injuries.
#4 - Randy Orton
Randy Orton's most recent match took place in May 2022 on SmackDown, where he and Matt Riddle took on The Usos in a contest for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team titles. RK-Bro would unfortunately not come away with the win, and following the match, it was revealed that the Apex Predator had been suffering from a long-term back injury.
Having been absent from the ring for over a year, there are those who are becoming more and more certain that The Legend Killer may have hit his last RKO. However, Randy Orton himself is seemingly determined to make his return.
According to a recent report from Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select, Randy Orton is still not cleared to wrestle, with some doctors advising him to never take a bump again.
"We’ve heard that he’s not yet cleared for in-ring training or action, and those we’ve spoken to say that there hasn’t been an extensive conversation about what the plans will be for Randy Orton. As of now, before in-ring training resumes, Orton is planning to make a return to the ring. However, a lower back fusion isn’t typical among pro wrestlers and is uncharted territory for many. Doctors have told Randy Orton that wrestling in the future isn’t a good idea, but he still plans on it. He has resumed lifting, and we’ve told he’s “huge” as a result." (H/T Bleacher Report)
#3 - Ric Flair
One star whose career almost had a very different outcome was The Nature Boy Ric Flair.
In 1976, the 16-time world champion, along with various other wrestlers, were traveling by plane from Charlotte, North Carolina, to a wrestling show in Wilmington when tragedy struck.
Flair's plane crashed near the Wilmington, NC airport, but The Nature Boy miraculously survived. Speaking on The Joe Rogan Experience, Ric Flair recapped a moment that almost ended his life as well as his career.
"Broke my back in three places, T10, 11 and 12. I used to be 6’2. No surgery at all. It was October of 1975 and I was back in the ring March of 76. I went from 255 (pounds) to 180 back to 218." [H/T Sportskeeda]
#2 - Seth Rollins
Last night on Monday Night RAW, Shinsuke Nakamura, who is feuding with current World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, revealed that The Visionary has been suffering from a long-term back injury for the past four years.
Having been one of the poster boys of WWE for almost a decade, Seth Rollins has put his physical well-being ahead of his own health on occasion in order to entertain the fans.
During a recent appearance on the IMPAULSIVE podcast, Seth Rollins gave details on his back injury and the treatments he's had for it.
"My lower back has been at me since 2019. Probably should get some surgery on that but trying to just do whatever I can to make sure I don't need it because I have a couple of stress fractures back there. So I tried some stem cells. I've done a couple of stem cell treatments and I found that they were temporarily helpful, and I wasn't taking time off so I wasn't just idling while I was on the stem cells." [H/T Cultaholic]
#1 - Shawn Michaels
In January 1998, Shawn Michaels faced The Undertaker in a casket match at the Royal Rumble. Near the end of the match, HBK fell to the outside of the ring, with his back landing directly on the rim of the casket. This led to Michaels picking up two herniated discs and crushing another in his back.
After suffering in pain for a few months and dropping the WWE title to Steve Austin at WrestleMania 14, HBK would retire from the ring. However, he would make his triumphant return to the company in 2002.
Michaels' comeback lasted until 2010, during which he had arguably the greatest matches of his career. Ironically, two of his most acclaimed matches were against The Undertaker at WrestleManias 25 and 26.