Injuries are a part of professional wrestling, just like any sport. Even the biggest stars are not immune to the injury bug. And when the big stars go down, that creates an opportunity for other, healthy people to step up and make the most of the opportunity. In wrestling, injuries have changed match outcomes, career paths, and even the entire direction of a promotion. Don’t believe us? Here’s a list some injuries that might have completely changed the course of pro wrestling forever.
15. Finn Balor
When WWE introduced the Universal Championship as part of their new Brand Extension in 2016, they had big plans to elevate a new star as the first champion. The plan was to take Finn Balor, a former indy star with an insanely marketable “Demon” gimmick, who had spent most of the past year carrying the main event of their NXT developmental brand, make him a top draft pick for Raw, put him over several of the brand’s biggest stars (including, shockingly, company “golden boy” Roman Reigns), and win the Universal Title at SummerSlam. Beyond that, the plan was to phase some over-exposed stars such as Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns out of the title picture for a while, and give Balor an honest chance to carry the Raw brand. Everything went swimmingly, right up until Balor dislocated his shoulder during the match in which he won the title. He finished the match and got the win, but after tests revealed serious damage requiring surgery, Balor was forced to vacate the Universal Title not 24 hours after winning it. WWE, justifiably, went into panic mode, and while they eventually settled on another relatively new talent to carry the title in Kevin Owens, it was clear most of their next few months of planning had gone out the window, as Owens was treated as little more than a placeholder champion and booked to be incredibly weak after months of being a dominant, arrogant heel, Reigns and Rollins were thrust back into the title picture out of necessity, and the rest of the year featured a lot of directionless, poorly-planned ideas as WWE was forced to scramble and come up with a Plan B on the fly.