Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Top WWE Championship Reigns Derailed By Injury

A photo of WWE Superstar Rhea Ripley on WWE Monday Night Raw.

Coming down with an injury is one of the worst things that can happen to a professional wrestler. Not only is the initial injury and rehab torturous, but it can cost the wrestler a good amount of money. Being absent from television means less exposure and less time to collect the PLE paydays sought after.

As bad as any injury can be, nothing can stand up to it happening in the middle of a title reign. It is a time when a wrestler is the focal point of programming and has the company’s backing. There is no bigger gut punch than going on the shelf in the middle of a reign, just as these wrestlers below.

Rhea Ripley (2024)

This past Monday started with the most recent of incidents to occur on this list. There were reports earlier in the day that Rhea Ripley had been injured but there was a chance this was reported incorrectly. Unfortunately, the reports were spot on, and “The Eradicator” announced a shoulder injury that would force her to relinquish the WWE Women’s World Championship.

Not that there ever is a good time, but this announcement comes at the absolute worst time for Ripley. She had just gone over Becky Lynch, in a great WrestleMania XL match, and was poised to run the Women’s division on WWE Monday Night Raw. It was a 380-day reign that would have been historic if not for her untimely injury.

Finn Balor (2016)

Finn Balor was a stud for NXT. He was their best performer and rightly sat atop the brand during his tenure. When the time came for his main roster debut it took no time at all for him to challenge for the WWE Universal Championship.

It was a huge deal for the WWE fans to have one of their beloved stars challenge for the championship. It was even bigger when he won the title and ushered in what should have been a new era.

When Balor came out, the next night, in a sling a collective sigh was heard. Fans knew what announcement was coming but no one could believe it. The fans had built their hopes up only to have them dashed a mere 24 hours later. It was an injury that set Balor back, and he hasn’t been able to recapture a World Championship since.

Seth Rollins (2015)

WrestleMania 31 had one of the best endings in the WWE PLE history. Seth Rollins  cashing in his Money in the Bank to win the World Championship was a huge shock and provided for a great moment. It also started an impressive reign by Rollins.

A reign that saw him successfully defend the championship against the likes of Brock Lesnar, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Randy Orton. It was a reign that shouldn’t have been derailed by a freak accident.

During a live event match, Rollins landed on his knee, awkwardly tearing three ligaments. He was forced to relinquish the championship amidst an incredible reign. One that was establishing him as a top guy in the company. Luckily, his talent got him there anyway, but it wasn’t without its obstacles.

Edge (2011)

Edge was always one to struggle with injuries. They followed him throughout his career, but none were more devastating than when he relinquished the World Heavyweight Championship, in 2011.

It wasn’t just one injury but several that led to this moment. Edge had wrestled a dangerous style for a while, and the toll was becoming too much. So much so that doctors were against the ‘Rated R Superstar’ from stepping back in the ring again, prompting a nine-year absence from the ring.

His announcement on Raw was one of the most emotional in company history. No one was ready to hear this news and there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience.

Batista (2005)

Batista was a star on the rise in the early 2000s. Triple H had taken him under his wing and turned him into a bonafide star. His program opposite HHH turned Batista into a made man, one who went over The Game in the main event of WrestleMania 21.

The sky was the limit for Dave after his championship victory. He was pushed to the moon and was a feature of WWE programming for months. That is until he had to vacate the title after suffering a triceps during a live event match.

It was a blow that he would recover from but the halting of it did no one any favors. Who knows what his reign could have been if the injury bug hadn’t hit?

Daniel Bryan (2014)

Daniel Bryan’s run to the top of WWE was the truest underdog story. Bryan consistently got over with the fans and was a classic match machine. Despite this, the office had no interest in having him as a long—term champion. They saw no value in it, but the fans’ rejection of this idea was so strong that they were forced to change the narrative and give Bryan his WrestleMania XXX moment.

The ‘American Dragon’ winning the championship was a huge deal for the fans, but it did not last long. Six weeks after WrestleMania Bryan was forced to vacate the championship to receive neck surgery. The rug was effectively pulled out from everyone. We got a mere six weeks of a championship reign after years of begging for one.

Roman Reigns (2018)

Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar were joined at the hip. Early in Reigns’ career he continuously tried to best the Beast and wrestle a World Championship away from Lesnar. It was something he tried and tried for but never seemed to accomplish that feat. It was a feud that had little life left when Reigns finally got over Brock Lesnar.

The Universal Championship got Roman over the hump and big things were on the way. Until the devasting news that his Leukemia had returned was announced. Just when Reigns achieved his dream the strap was taken away.

John Cena (2007)

John Cena was already a household name in 2006. He had two world championship reigns under his belt and was running at the top of the card. However, it was his third reign that had him on the way to history.

After beating Edge, in Toronto, Cena embarked on one of the longest title reigns in company history. During his third reign, Cena went over a who’s who of WWE legends.

He established himself as the best in the world and nothing, or no one, seemed to stand in his way until he suffered a tear in his right pectoral muscle on October.1st. It was an injury that forced him under the knife the next day and one that stopped the progress on a record-setting championship reign.

More From LWOS Pro Wrestling

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