4 – Rikishi’s Match With The Undertaker at WrestleMania 17 Rests In Peace
While unconfirmed, a potential WrestleMania encounter with The Undertaker was in the cards for Rikishi in 2001. Fresh off wrestling the Rock at Survivor Series 2000 and main-eventing the next month’s show, ‘Kish was responsible for eliminating Taker at the 2001 Royal Rumble. After that show, Rikishi teamed with fellow Samoan bad-ass Haku to antagonize The Undertaker and his storyline brother Kane.
Even though The Brothers of Destruction dispatched Rikishi and Haku before WrestleMania, the feud could have continued on to WWE’s biggest event (the fact that Kane was awkwardly inserted into a Hardcore Championship match furthers the point). Even if that didn’t happen, another likelihood is that the duo could have been inserted into the legendary Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for the tag team titles. We’ll never know for sure, however, because Rikishi suffered an eardrum injury that kept him on the shelf for a month (the worst single month to miss).
3 – Neville Can’t Celebrate His WWE Anniversary At WrestleMania 32
WrestleMania 32 has been beset with injuries for months now. In between November and the beginning of 2016, Seth Rollins tore his right knee in multiple spots, Randy Orton suffered a shoulder injury, Cesaro had rotator cuff surgery, and John Cena underwent shoulder surgery. While Neville wasn’t likely to have a main-event level slot like the aforementioned quartet, his injury was devastating in its own way.
The episode of Monday Night Raw that airs the night after WrestleMania is usually the biggest episode of the year as WWE uses the opportunity to debut new characters, kickstart new feuds, and change the status quo for the next year. Neville, who ruled over WWE developmental league NXT in 2014, debuted on Raw the night after WrestleMania 31. So in effect, WrestleMania 32 was not only going to be Neville’s first ‘Mania match, it was also something of an anniversary for the high-flying Brit, making missing it all the more painful. He’ll have to wait over a year for his first chance to fight at the event, as Neville fractured his ankle in a match against Chris Jericho.
2 – Wade Barrett Has Bad News Before WrestleMania 28
Wade Barrett’s early WWE career had the bare-knuckle boxer at (or near) the top of the card for many months as he challenged John Cena and other high-profile names in many main events. Even though his star had sank a little, Barrett entered 2012 with a bit of an upswing. Rumors abounded that WWE was going to bring back the Money in the Bank ladder match for WrestleMania 28 and that Barrett would take home the instant-championship opportunity.
That would not come to pass, however, as Wade was injured the night after Elimination Chamber. During a battle royal, fellow competitor Dolph Ziggler was tossed onto Barrett awkwardly, which caused a separated shoulder. The silver lining is that Barrett’s arm catch Ziggler from hitting the announce table in a way that likely would have given DZ a much more drastic injury. Unfortunately, Barrett career hasn’t rebounded in the four years since, as his two WrestleMania appearances since then have amounted to two Intercontinental Championship match losses.
1 – Rey Mysterio Misses Out On Money At WrestleMania 24
It may be more spectacle than sport, but as far as entertainment value goes, there may be no greater WrestleMania celebrity match than Floyd Mayweather’s match against The Big Show. The idea of matching WWE’s largest competitor against an undefeated undersized boxing champion was a great one, which makes it weird that the WWE had many other plans for “Money” Mayweather before settling on BS.
Originally, the undersized underdog Rey Mysterio was slated to team with Oscar De La Hoya in a tag match against Big Show and Mayweather, but after ODLH turned WWE down, that was changed to putting Rey and Floyd in a tag match featuring Shane McMahon and a wrestler of his choosing. All of the planning was for naught as Rey injured his biceps the month before ‘Mania, which led to the one-on-one bout that ended up happening. It remains Big Show’s most high-profile WrestleMania performance, and it’s a shame that Rey couldn’t share that spotlight.
Are there any other WWE injuries that kept wrestlers off of big events? Tell us about them in the comments below!