Everything from torn rotator cuffs to torn ACLs
The plans for WrestleMania are set, but there still needs to be backup options, just in case. Prepare for the worst. Hope for the best. Because all it takes is one wrong move, and a top Superstar can wind up on the injury list with a muscle tear or a broken bone.
Here is the complete list of full-time WWE Superstars who are currently hurt. How does their absence affect WrestleMania 34, and how do they fit into the bigger picture once they’re healthy? A few months is a lifetime in WWE; these superstars will need to play some serious catch-up.
14. Big Cass
Injury: Torn ACL
Injury came at a bad time for Big Cass. He had dropped the dead weight (Enzo Amore) off his back and was ready for a mid-card push. Unfortunately, in the process of wrapping up his feud against Amore in a Brooklyn street fight, Cass tore his ACL, necessitating surgery. He estimated that he’ll be returning to in-ring action shortly after WrestleMania.
The main event picture is so crowded that it’s unlikely Cass would have been in universal title contention anyway. But as a midcard talent, vying for the Intercontinental title? Absolutely. Hopefully, Cass can pick up where he left off come April. A feud with Braun Strowman would be a great way to do that.
13. Big Show
Injury: Hip damage
Big Show was in the best shape of his life. He dropped 60 pounds, and he was showing off his newly found abs on social media. But then, in a steel cage match against Braun Strowman, Big Show tweaked his hip, which required surgery in order to resurface it.
Originally, Big Show planned on retiring from wrestling after this latest run. But now, with unfinished business and a perfect comeback story in the making, will Big Show come back one more time for a farewell victory lap? He says he’ll be back in the ring soon (no word on his WrestleMania availability), but there’s still no official date of return.
Injury: Neck damage
This one is just a shame. After two years filled with personal and professional setbacks, Paige was back on WWE television as the head of her own stable, Absolution.
But then, tragedy struck. Sasha Banks kicked Paige in the back, and the whiplash aggravated the neck injury that almost ended her career. And this time, WWE doctors weren’t going to take any more chances. Paige hasn’t wrestled since then (December 2017), and multiple sources have confirmed that her in-ring career is over.
Even without her in-ring presence, the Absolution stable is killing it on Raw. It’s sad to imagine what could have been, had Paige’s health held together.
11. Dean Ambrose
Injury: Right triceps tendon tear
Back in December, Dean Ambrose suffered a high grade triceps tear, most likely when Seth Rollins dove onto him outside the ring. He had a successful surgery to repair the damage; Michael Cole announced that Ambrose would be out of action for approximately nine months.
That takes him out of WrestleMania entirely; even SummerSlam (2018) is no certainty. Aside from ruining The Shield reunion, Ambrose’s injury probably affected the WrestleMania storyline. Jason Jordan replaced Dean Ambrose as a tag team partner. Was this supposed to be an Ambrose vs. Rollins feud in the making? Would they have helped Roman Reigns win at WrestleMania, or backstabbed him at the moment of truth? We’ll never know for sure.
10. Jason Jordan
Injury: Neck (disc) damage
For weeks, the rumors were that Jason Jordan was working through a neck injury. But then in early February, Jordan underwent surgery to fix a disc in his neck, confirming those rumors. Angle later confirmed on Raw that Jordan would miss WrestleMania.
Dean Ambrose was Plan A for Seth Rollins. Jason Jordan was Plan B. What’s going to be Plan C? Coming off his 60+ minute performance on the Raw Gauntlet match, he can probably do whatever he wants. Still, this must be frustrating for The Architect, who is out of the main event picture at Mania. He’ll have to bide his time.
9. Jeff Hardy
Injury: Torn right rotator cuff
Honestly, it’s a minor miracle that Jeff Hardy is moving at all. He started wrestling as a teenager, and he’s never, not even for an instant, let his hand off the throttle. Hundreds and hundreds of daredevil stunts exact a toll. This time, it’s a torn rotator cuff, sustained when Jeff competed in a six-pack challenge back in September.
Originally, Jeff was scheduled to return to the ring by May–one month after WrestleMania. But the most recent rumors state that Jeff is training for his in-ring return right now and will make it back in time for WrestleMania 34 if all goes well. It’s also been reported that Jeff’s surgeon has approved his in-ring return; all he needs now is the green light from WWE.
Who knows–maybe a dip in Lake of Reincarnation is what Jeff needs to become Brother Nero, and he can help ‘Woken’ Matt Hardy revive his floundering gimmick.
Injury: Shoulder damage
R-Truth is one of the senior members of the WWE roster. He’s 46 years old, and he’s been with the company, on and off, since 2000. He was engaged in a low-level feud with Goldust and Elias before injuring his shoulder. He had surgery this past October.
R-Truth’s injury probably did not affect any Mania storylines; he’s out of his prime, and he’s been putting younger guys over for the past several years. But his comedic timing would be welcome at the big show, even if he doesn’t actually compete.
7. Samoa Joe
Injury: Right foot tissue rupture
This injury also came at a really bad time. Samoa Joe was being pushed as a main event talent on the same level as Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, and Braun Strowman. He was part of a new type of big man, who was as agile and light-footed as he was powerful.
But during a match against Rhyno in January, Joe felt something “pop” in his foot, and it turned out that he sustained a serious foot injury. Not only did he get removed from the Mixed Match Challenge (he was slated to be Bayley’s partner), but all his scheduled appearances prior to WrestleMania were cancelled. It looks like he’s going to miss the big show as well.
Joe is 38 years old. If WWE wants to give him a world title run when he returns, they need to book it quickly because he’s not getting any younger.
6. The Brian Kendrick
Injury: Broken orbital bone and nose
The GTS is a brutal finisher. Invented by Hideo Itami (and further popularized by CM Punk), it starts with a fireman’s carry. The wrestler then drops his opponent, face first, onto a rising knee.
If you want to see what happens when this move actually connects, click this link. Itami broke The Brian Kendrick’s nose and orbital bone on the December 25 episode of Raw. The estimated recovery time is two months, which means he should be back in time for WrestleMania, provided all goes well.
A lot has happened in the cruiserweight division since Kendrick was injured. The former Cruiserweight champion, Enzo Amore, was fired under suspicion of rape. Rich Swann left the company after a domestic abuse incident. And the title is up for grabs in a bracket tournament. Kendrick will come back to a division that’s in better shape than when he left it.
5. Noam Dar
Injury: Meniscus tear
Noam Dar was one of many cruiserweights whose talents were squandered by poor booking. He was a lackey for Enzo Amore and had little time to define himself as a character. But now that Triple H has taken charge of the division, better days might be ahead.
Dar had surgery in December and was projected to be out for five months–slightly past the WrestleMania cutoff point. When Dar gets healthy enough for in-ring action, WWE Creative should hit the reset button on him. Start all over again, and pretend the last year and a half never happened.
4. Alicia Fox
Injury: Broken tailbone
Alicia Fox injured herself during rehearsals for the first women’s Royal Rumble, and that’s the worst part about it. Fox hit her prime during that weird nether-realm between the Women’s Revolution and the Divas era. Her participation in the Rumble would have been a great way to acknowledge her underrated contributions.
Unfortunately, that didn’t come to pass, and now, WrestleMania is too crowded to fit Fox in somewhere. She’ll get to be in a multi-woman tag match, at best, if she makes it back to active competition in time.
3. Epico Colon, Primo Colon
Injury: Shoulder damage, Knee damage
Epico and Primo have not been consequential since 2012. That they are both on the shelf is neither a factor nor a non-factor. The buzz simply isn’t there for either of them. And the current tag team scene is too competitive for them to register, least of all at WrestleMania.
There’s nothing they need to do once they return other than win. These two men are part a famous wrestling family; all they need is a shot, and they’ll probably take it. No more matadors. No more selling timeshares. WWE needs to let the Colons be themselves.
2. Samir Singh
Injury: Torn ACL
Samir Singh is a no-go for WrestleMania. He tore his ACL during a spot with Bobby Roode on SmackDown, and he’ll be rehabbing his leg for the foreseeable future.
Currently, Jinder Mahal has one Singh brother guarding him. And fans barely miss Samir, or even know the difference between Samir and active brother Sunil; they have such shallow characterization that their personalities are impossible to tell apart.
When Samir returns, the two brothers should break from Mahal and strike out on their own as a tag team. It’s an unlikely path of success. But it’s an even more unlikely path if they continue to pin their careers on the Modern Maharaja.
Injury: Torn rotator cuff
Unlike Fox, Tamina managed to wrestle in the Rumble. Then, she went on medical leave for a torn rotator cuff. Her chances of making it to WrestleMania are quite slim.
One of the main problems with Tamina is that as physically dominant as she is, her mic skills don’t measure up. And that’s a problem, since Nia Jax–a more popular, comparable monster–can cut a great promo. When Tamina gets back, she needs to a make strong ally who can talk–a better ally than Lana, for example–if she wants to keep her job.