12 arm injuries that impacted WWE
In the squared circle, a devastating arm injury can be as common as it is chaotic. But, perhaps more important than the damage itself is where a competitor chooses to go once their particular upper-body malady has occurred. Sometimes, the difference between a blessing and a burden depends on nothing more than one's true grit and ability to improvise.
An arm affliction like the one recently sustained by WWE COO Triple H may sap a grappler’s ability to pull his own weight in the ring for the foreseeable future, but it could also stoke the fire within the wounded warrior to cast the pain aside and fight again another day. That kind of resiliency is critical for a Superstar to achieve a long, successful career in WWE.
In that vein, WWE.com takes a look back at a 12 instances of past and present Superstars who either came up short or bounced back in a big way after getting hurt in WWE’s arms race.
Injury No. 12: Orton shoulders the headlines
Within weeks of being drafted from SmackDown to Raw in Sept. 2002, Randy Orton suffered a separated shoulder that put the rookie Superstar out of action for months. Though such an injury would entice most competitors to step out of the spotlight and focus on rehabilitation, Orton chose to keep the WWE Universe apprised of his every move.
Orton interrupted the regularly scheduled programming on Raw in the weeks that followed with periodic updates of his status on a segment known as the “Randy News Network,” or RNN for short. RNN allowed Orton to speak freely and directly to the WWE Universe about his current status, but often used the occasion to inform everyone about of the minutiae of his life while openly soliciting for get-well wishes from the WWE Universe.
Injury No. 11: The shoulder that shattered the New Age Outlaws
A rotator cuff injury to Billy Gunn brought about more than just new tag titleholders in The Dudley Boyz at No Way Out in 2000. It also served as the harbinger of doom for one of the iconic tag teams of the Attitude Era.
Hindered by his bum shoulder, Gunn could only watch as “Road Dogg” Jesse James attempted to singlehandedly defend the World Tag Team Championship on behalf of the New Age Outlaws. Bubba Ray delivered the knockout blow by striking Gunn’s shoulder with a lead pipe, rendering him helpless on the ringside floor and permanently leaving Road Dogg outnumbered. The end came moments later as Road Dogg endured a ferocious 3-D that allowed the duo from Dudleyville to clinch the tag team titles for the first time.
Triple H confirmed the next night on Raw that D-Generation X would get their rematch against The Dudley Boyz, but the title opportunity for the green-clad renegades would not include Gunn. Instead, DX decided to gang up on Gunn despite his arm being in a sling, and evict him from their rebel faction and from the Outlaws, officially marking the end of his wildly successful partnership with Road Dogg.
Injury No. 10: The Narcissist “steels” the show
Lex Luger arrived in WWE in 1993 thinking only of himself, though a motorcycle accident that delayed his in-ring debut inadvertently gave the former WCW stalwart an ability to elbow his way into WWE infamy.
Introduced as an egomaniacal Superstar called “The Narcissist,” Luger touted his abilities to anyone who would listen, then marvel at his own physique in a mirror before every match. His self-serving proclamations did little to intimidate his opponents, but a steel plate installed in his right forearm turned out to be the great equalizer for any critics who chose to call out The Narcissist. ( WATCH)
Though his forearm required reinforcement from the injuries sustained in his accident, Luger used the hidden metal plate to knock out any competitor without warning. Despite being required to wear a forearm pad to cover it, Luger continued to use his steel superiority to lay out rivals like Mr. Perfect and Bret “Hit Man” Hart in the months to come.
Injury No. 9: Sheamus shrugs at a shoulder injury
At Extreme Rules 2012, World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus fought a war against Daniel Bryan to emerge victorious in a grueling 2-out-of-3 Falls Match. Despite the fact that his adversary had tried to "tear [his] left shoulder off," The Celtic Warrior heroically agreed to once again battle the submission specialist just five days later on the May 7 edition of SmackDown.
In the height of the match, The Great White suffered a further assault to his arm, with the emergence of Alberto Del Rio. The Mexican Aristocrat locked in the Cross Armbreaker to wear down Sheamus’ shoulder before Bryan administered the excruciating “Yes!” Lock to finish him off. ( WATCH | PHOTOS) The clash may have ended with a disqualification victory in the champion's favor, but Sheamus refused to let his injury get the best of him.
The moment he was medically cleared and bandaged up by WWE officials, Sheamus returned for a rematch against Bryan in the main event that same night. He continued to show signs of concern regarding his shoulder, but managed to rise above, delivering a spirited effort to seal the win against WWE’s “Yes!” man. ( WATCH | PHOTOS)
By battling through the pain, Sheamus seized the moment, sending a powerful message to all competitors vying for his World Heavyweight Title.
Injury No. 8: Big Daddy Cool’s elbow woes
Just one month removed from retaining WWE Championship gold against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XI, Diesel placed Michaels’ former bodyguard, Sycho Sid, in his crosshairs at the inaugural In Your House pay-per-view. Sid missed his opportunity to seize the WWE Title due to interference by The Million Dollar Corporation, but the sinister Superstar still left a lasting impression on the imposing 6-foot-10, 317-pound champion. ( WATCH)
A savage combination of a chokeslam and powerbomb by Sid left Diesel with a broken elbow that required surgical intervention from renowned orthopedic and sports medicine surgeon Dr. James Andrews. The injury put the momentum on Sid’s side, but it didn’t leave Big Daddy Cool out of action for long.
Diesel would go on to join forces with Bam Bam Bigelow in tag team action at the King of the Ring in 1995 in a successful effort against Sycho Sid & Tatanka. The reigning WWE Champion even used the reinforced elbow pad to power his team to victory before finally dispatching of Sid one month later at In Your House 2: The Lumberjacks.
Injury No. 7: Savage gets snakebitten
From crashing the Match Made in Heaven to criticizing his longtime rival at every turn, Jake “The Snake Roberts” tried every trick in the book to goad “Macho Man” Randy Savage from the announcer’s table and back into the ring in 1991. Those tactics turned venomous when Roberts slithered his way to ringside for a match on the Nov. 23, 1991 edition of “WWE Superstars of Wrestling.”
Despite being forced into retirement from active competition at WrestleMania VII, Savage headed to the ring and stepped right into his tormentor’s trap. Roberts viciously battered Macho Man and restrained him between the ropes, then primed his King Cobra, Damien, to embed its fangs into Savage’s left arm.
Savage survived the encounter and eventually earned his reinstatement as an active WWE Superstar, allowing him to settle his differences with Roberts in the ring in the months that followed.
Injury No. 6: The biceps that beat Batista
In Batista took Randy Orton to the limit in a merciless Steel Cage Match at WWE Extreme Rules in June 2009 to win his first WWE Championship. However, The Viper returned the following night on Raw to subject his rival to a barbaric case of sour grapes.
Orton kept The Animal’s attention long enough for his Legacy cohorts, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, to sneak up on the five-time World Champion with an attack from behind. Rhodes and DiBiase restrained Batista on the ring apron and wrapped his left arm in a steel chair that Orton then stomped and stretched without mercy. Batista required medical assistance to leave the ring, and the damage would take months to heal as The Animal was diagnosed with a torn biceps muscle.
Though the injury forced Batista to vacate his one-day reign as WWE Champion, he would get an opportunity to extract revenge against Orton three months later. Appearing on the Sept. 14, 2009 edition of Raw wearing a brace, The Animal lured Orton out of hiding and revealed his arm had fully healed, then trounced The Viper in a No Holds Barred Match later that evening.
Injury No. 5: Kane’s fiery forearm
When Kane resurrected his rivalry with The Undertaker after WrestleMania XIV, The Big Red Monster followed the advice of his father, Paul Bearer, to attempt to burn his half-brother in more than just effigy.
The two warriors agreed to a WrestleMania rematch at Unforgiven: In Your House in 1998 with a never-before-seen stipulation: an Inferno Match. The skyscraping Superstars met for an epic battle in a ring surrounded by fire, with victory decided only when one of the two combatants could literally set his opponent ablaze.
Kane almost escaped the ring unharmed after The Undertaker’s scorching strikes sent The Devil’s Favorite Demon over the flames and to the ringside floor. Moments after Vader arrived to keep Kane at ringside, The Deadman delivered a big boot to his half-brother that fed his adversary’s demonic arm to the fire for the victory. ( WATCH)
Injury No. 4: Doink’s prosthetic ploy
Looks can be deceiving and, as the mischievous Doink the Clown demonstrated first hand, so can arm injuries.
Despite blaming Crush for injuring his arm during a fan altercation, Doink attempted to make amends with the Hawaiian grappler on the Jan. 16, 1993 edition of “WWE Superstars of Wrestling.” The creepy clown, now with his arm in a sling, offered a gesture of good will in the form of a flower. Crush accepted the sentiment on his way back to the locker room, though he never finished his journey down the aisle.
That’s because Doink revealed the arm in the sling was a prosthetic one before using it to level Crush at ringside. The duo then renewed their rivalry at WrestleMania IX, where Doink made use of a doppelganger Doink, wielding a prosthetic arm of his own to sneak up on Crush and steal a victory at The Show of Shows. ( WATCH)
Injury No. 3: “Cowboy” Bob Orton recasts his tactics
It wasn’t so much how “Cowboy” Bob Orton hurt his left forearm that earns him a spot on this list. Rather, it was his forearm’s protective plaster that cast the WWE Hall of Famer in a more devious light on the eve of the inaugural WrestleMania, and beyond.
When Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka whipped Orton into the ring post at the 1985 WWE event The War to Settle the Score, he likely did not intend to legitimately break his opponent’s forearm that would relegate the injured appendage to a protective cast. It's also safe to presume that Snuka didn't plan to empower Orton into using the newly created weapon to his personal advantage for the foreseeable future.
Orton proceeded to make use of the cast as an implement of destruction to incapacitate opponents behind the referee’s back, but the Superstar nicknamed “Ace” would see that tactic backfire on many occasions, including one on The Grandest Stage of Them All. Just two months after Snuka first injured him, Orton attempted to assist “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff & “Rowdy” Roddy Piper at the first WrestleMania by attempting a forearm smash off the top rope against Hulk Hogan – only to inadvertently lay Orndorff out for an easy pinfall by The Hulkster. ( WATCH)
Injury No. 2: A “Stone Cold” triceps recovery
The accomplishments of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in WWE may speak for themselves, but what would the history books have said about the Texas Rattlesnake if the damage he endured in the Land of the Rising Sun had never happened?
While plying his craft as a “Stunning” competitor in World Championship Wrestling, Austin tore a triceps muscle while on tour in Japan in 1995. Sensing the injury could offer an opportune time to sever ties with a brawler lacking star power, then-WCW Vice President Eric Bischoff elected to relieve Austin of his in-ring duties – effective immediately.
Now free to compete in any association he wished, Austin made a pit stop in ECW before making his way to WWE. Within six months of his WWE debut, Austin accrued his first WrestleMania victory, won the King of the Ring tournament and preached the tenets of "Austin 3:16" in a rapid transformation that turned him into the hell-raising rebel and decorated champion that the WWE Universe came to know and love during the Attitude Era.
Injury No. 1: Lesnar locks on to Cena and Triple H
Brock Lesnar’s brutal tactics are well documented by the WWE Universe. Yet the former three-time WWE Champion brought the pain to a new level at WWE Extreme Rules. There, Lesnar unleashed his agonizing Kimura Lock on John Cena, which ultimately left the Cenation leader in a sling. ( PHOTOS)
It can be argued, however, that Cena got off light compared to what transpired the following night on Raw SuperShow. Upset with the revocation of his revised contract terms, Lesnar placed WWE COO Triple H in the Kimura Lock and proceeded to break The Game’s left arm as the Superstars in the locker room and the capacity crowd in Dayton, Ohio watched helplessly. ( WATCH | PHOTOS)
As his representative, Pual Heyman, made perfectly clear on Raw SuperShow, don't look for Lesnar to step into a WWE ring in the aftermath of his brutal assault on Triple H. However, the effects of his devastating maneuver remain quite clear. The freakish brute demonstrated in his first run in WWE that he could crush any opponent, but the Kimura Lock sent the message that he can now prolong the pain and suffering against any who care to fill Cena or Triple H’s shoes.