Former WWE Star Reveals He’s Essentially Done In The Ring Due To Spinal Issues

While speaking with Chris Van Vliet, former WWE/ECW/WCW star Stevie Richards provided an update on his health issues.

Richards discussed his recovery from a spine infection:

“It was pretty scary, but also it was, looking back on it, and obviously 20/20 as hindsight and, you know, having perspective after the facts were really easy. During it is the hard part. Being a wrestler for so many years, any athlete will understand, even entertainers and people in Hollywood who you talk to, when they do stunts or they get injured doing physical things, if there’s a blueprint, and there’s obviously a predictable diagnosis right away of, you broke your ankle, you broke your neck, you tore your ACL, it’s pretty easy to see within a short amount of time. This spine infection was a dormant thing that became a mystery and hit me out of nowhere. It was something that an illness like that is so unpredictable, and then you factor in my age of 51, you factor in other things that are unpredictable when it comes to an infection and that moves so quickly when it gets to your spine, that’s what makes it more scary, the unknown, of not only the diagnosis, but the unknown of can I get treated? Then even after treatment, what percentage am I going to be after the treatment is complete? I’m thankful to say that, in a lot of ways, I feel like I’m back to 100%, but in a whole bunch of other ways, we’re very early in the stages in my road to recovery.”

On when the infection started:

“I couldn’t (walk) at one point. I did do a What Happened video because there was kind of like these pictures. I wanted to update people and just didn’t want to disappear off social media or YouTube. Even though my ego and my pride didn’t want to share myself in my low point, I’m so happy I did now because it did speak to a lot of people. I’ve made a lot of friends since then.”

“But going back to the beginning, the morning like late January on a Sunday morning, I had one of the best workouts which must be a sign of the jinx that’s coming. I had one of the best workouts I had on a Sunday morning around 9 AM, but my back was a little stiff. I thought, you know, obviously, you’ve spoken to a lot of wrestlers. Our backs and our necks are eventually going to hit a wall at some point. About three hours after my workout, I was completely stuck right in this chair that we’re talking to each other in right now. I could not get up. My back was completely at the time thought locked down. My wife literally had to come home and peel me out of this chair and put me in the bed, threw me on a heating pad, then it just progressively got worse within seconds, not minutes. Now I mean, literally, after it was over, it just accelerated whatever pain I had from the beginning. Then I turned into having a heating pad with assistance from her to walking with a walker. So from 9 AM to about 12:15 PM, my entire world, my entire life, just completely changed.”

“That’s the very beginning and then the desperation of trying to find a doctor, trying to find a surgeon, trying to find a hospital that can correctly diagnose me. You know, we first went to a hospital where they couldn’t find a diagnosis. We ended up in the Mayo Clinic and they saw from the week I had a CT scan in the previous hospital to the week that I was admitted in the Mayo Clinic, it had already eaten like half my L4 and L5, and the entire disc was gone and it was already working into L2 L3. So Mayo Clinic was really scared and at this pace within a week this happened, number one, even if we don’t know what’s wrong with this guy after a painful spine biopsy, we’re going to start him on broad spectrum antibiotics right away because we gotta stop this infection because if it gets to his brain, it doesn’t take a super intelligent person to figure out if an infection gets to your brain, it’s over. So it was really like, we need to hurry up and figure this out. So that was the beginning stages of what I needed to get done.”

On realizing something was wrong:

“So, about maybe eight or nine months before that, I was over one of my best friends’ houses, and his dogs got kind of freaked out by something. At the exact moment they got freaked out, both of them, you know, I was leaning over petting and this was like maybe the third or fourth time I petted the dog and in the same exact manner in this visit, but something freaked them out and spooked them to where the one dog bit me right in the face and kind of like right through my lip here, all the way through, and then the other dog bit me in the leg because I got scared by the other dog that bit me. So it’s like a recipe for disaster. But, you know, it was a dog bite. I was like, Okay, well, it’s a dog bite, no big deal. It wasn’t a stray dog, not a feral (dog), not any of that stuff.”

“We went to the emergency room. They stitched me up here, they left the leg open, and then I got COVID four days later, which knocked my immune system down. By the way, this is still absolute pure speculation, but maybe an educated guess on the doctors infectious disease and then us trying to piece it together, we think that might have lowered my immunity. Then even with that, the doctor claims, this is where I was like, I’m in great deal of pain, but at the same time, I’m happy that the doctor put me over because he was like, ‘Hey, thank God you work out so hard and you do this and that because other people, it would have been a lot worse or would have happened a lot faster’. I forgot I was sick for half a second. But hey, I still had an ego, but the fact that I worked out so hard and tried to take care of myself as best I could over the years definitely did, according to the doctor, saved my life. So over-training is awesome.”

On if he is retired from wrestling:

“I really don’t know about that. I mean, but the spine infection and the fact that two discs and four levels of my vertebrae are eaten away, and I need them to naturally fuse over 12-18 months, essentially right now I’m done.”

You can check out the complete interview below:

(h/t to for the transcription)