WWE’s New Problem: Bad News Injuries

It’s been a bad couple of months over in Stamford, Connecticut. Wrestlemania was followed up by Injurymania, and the two people shining brightest both took a hard fall.

We already know about Daniel Bryan’s neck surgery, which ended up costing him the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Neck problems have plagued the best and brightest of WWE for years. Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Edge. Great talents in the ring, and for the most part, great on a microphone too, all having careers cut short (or constantly interrupted) by neck injuries. The news on Sunday that Bryan may need a second neck surgery was disheartening, and almost buried the fact that a second fast-rising title holder was injured, stripped of his title, and knocked off a great storyline.


Last week, Jack Swagger injured the shoulder of Bad News Barrett. Swagger threw Barrett into a barricade the wrong way, necessitating shoulder surgery. Barrett, who had been stuck with what was believed to be an awful gimmick at first, did such a convincing job of playing his part and doing it with flair that he became a favorite despite being booked as a heel. It was so popular that Triple H began aping it in recent weeks when he announced Barrett’s presence by saying in his mock British accent (to counter Barrett’s real one), “I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you!” Fans even popped for that, because Barrett’s catchphrase was fun and sounded awesome in a British accent (even Triple H’s mediocre impression). Barrett had regained the Intercontinental Title, was riding the first well-booked run of his short career in WWE, and had finally developed a character he could run with.

This isn’t the first time that Swagger had derailed a title reign. Last year, it was his unfortunate concussing kick to Dolph Ziggler that led to creative’s decision to take the World Heavyweight Title off Ziggler, a belt he’d won with an incredible reaction the night after Wrestlemania against Alberto Del Rio. Ziggler’s career trajectory went straight south afterwards, a victim of the idea that he couldn’t be trusted to stay healthy (although rumors spread that it was his straight talk about the company in media interviews that led to his burial). Swagger’s inability to properly protect people in a match (Swagger is a great talent, but he needs to show a little more care for his opponents and not work so stiffly) should be a concern. After all, it was Vince McMahon’s anger over Mr. Kennedy’s inability to not injure people that led to his firing (apparently, injuring bad boy Randy Orton is a no-no). Swagger has been riding his own successful gimmick, which may be the only thing protecting him right now, as he’s gotten a DWI and injured two title holders in a 16-month span, yet kept his job.


There is a real concern amongst fans that Bryan and Barrett will both be knocked down the ladder because of how WWE often treats injured wrestlers these days. Even Orton was not immune, as he languished in a midcard role for months after a return from a shoulder dislocation several years ago (an injury I witnessed live at 2010’s Over the Limit). Ziggler has been buried. Barrett’s prior injuries led to his relegation to the undercard. Sheamus is still an upper-card wrestler, but is a former world title holder stuck with the rarely-defended U.S. Title (that needs to be fixed and fast) after missing six months for surgery on his labrum. The only immune person to burial is SuperCena, but I won’t even go there.

Bryan rode the hottest crowd backing since Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Austin’s neck injury didn’t keep him away from the title hunt, nor did it keep him off TV as much. I don’t know what Bryan’s medical limitations are, but putting him on TV in a non-combatant role and letting him use his natural charisma (as opposed to the awful sophomoric jokes WWE often writes for its top stars) would help keep him involved, even maybe having him interfere in matches by chairshotting the hell out of someone in a big spot. He doesn’t deserve to fall down the ladder. He’s too popular, too beloved, and the only person the crowd truly loves (as opposed to Cena, who holds the world title again and has tepid backing at best). Keeping him in a midcard role would turn off more fans who are already sick of the constant repeat winners (see: Cena, Orton).

The best possible scenario is to put the belt on someone that Bryan can run with and have outstanding matches with. While he hasn’t been around long in WWE, Cesaro would be a great fit. Him and Bryan have a long history going back to Ring of Honor, an ability to bring the best out in each other, and Bryan’s charisma vs. Paul Heyman as Cesaro’s backer would be gold. The same could be said of Brock Lesnar, whom would be a great foil for Bryan at next year’s Wrestlemania. As for Barrett, when he returns, he deserves to be put back right where he was, and in the meantime, get him back on a podium rising 50 feet in the air, taunting wrestlers and giving us some more “Bad News.”

What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.

  • http://marthalpittman.tumblr.com/ Martha Pittman

    I agree. Although in Bryan’s case I doubt it will have a big of a POP when he comes back… IF he comes back. And if he does come back, he will probably have to work his way back up which may take as long if not longer than last time. Sad for him… but that is what happens. Barrett… I would like to see him doing his BAD NEWS again right now. To hell with being injured he doesn’t need anything but his talent on the mic to give BAD NEWS or commentate while he heals. If they bury Barrett it’ll be the BIGGEST mistake they ever make.

  • tobimobi

    Agreed except on Sheamus. He just need to disappear fast.

  • codys moustache

    The thing that everyone is missing is that wrestle mania planted the seeds for the clash between Brock lesner and Daniel Bryan the two big stories coming out of mania. It was obvious that bryan was going to be a fighting champ all the way until to the inevitable clash with Brock. Wwe still wanted to get to that point hence the reluctance to strip bryan immediately. So once it was confirmed bryan won’t be ready wwe had to put the title on someone who can drop the title to Brock as Bryan was going to. It had to be cena because any other person would be a different direction to the plan that was put into play as far back as wrestle mania. The money match of the year was bryan vs lesner. Nothing really matches up to that tale of the underdog champ and the beast. Cena lesner is the best thing they could come up with to put the title on Brock and stick to the original plan.

  • Dustin Gramkow

    “The only immune person to burial is SuperCena, but I won’t even go there.”
    Why not cause he is the real face of WWE and not orton and no matter
    what happens to him personally, they will always cover it up and have
    his back. The man can do no wrong and just cause he kissed so much ass
    back 2002 when he debuted or again in 2005 when he was drafted to Raw
    and then the WWE went to hell forever. Glad they didn’t have any
    competition like back in the WCW/WWF wars, or they would be in real

  • arlowoodenhead

    I don’t see how anyone can say they are burying Ziggler. My God, he just kissed Summer Rae! Can you see those two show-offs together? I’m hoping.
    Besides, the life of a title holder is twice as demanding as a regular super star. Maybe they are protecting his health now that they know he is concussion prone.

  • CorXy StXwart

    Swagger has now 2years in a row derailed someones push but the one the WWE doesnt want to get behind now are the ones that are getting hurt instead of the one thats doing the hurting. ok