WWE is the worldwide leader in sports entertainment so they have a lot of reputation at stake. It sucks to lose a worker to injury but it seems to happen way too often. But this is always going to be the case when you’re talking about people in a contact sports environment and this risk is increased exponentially when extreme stunts are a factor.
But for some reason, there is still a stigma out there that the strong style setting of New Japan Pro Wrestling is more dangerous than WWE. People will use famous examples of NJPW guys getting tragically injured in the ring like when Katsuyori Shibata gave himself hematoma after hitting Kazuchika Okada with an insanely stiff headbutt. But WWE works their athletes on a much busier schedule and wear and tear can be a huge contributor to any injury.
This misdirected logic of NJPW being incredibly more dangerous than WWE was even used as a reason Daniel Bryan shouldn’t leave WWE.
“With Daniel Bryan, it’s like: ‘oh if he goes to New Japan they don’t care.’ I mean Triple H even said that bullsh-t,” Dave Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio.
Meltzer is referring to Triple H’s statements about Daniel Bryan staying in WWE rather than going anywhere else when he spoke to ESPN and said: “Part of me was so afraid in the period of time when it [was] all going down that he was going to walk and say ‘forget it’ and go wrestle for someone else that doesn’t care, that doesn’t take their health into consideration”
But Meltzer continued to discuss the differences in WWE and New Japan Pro Wrestling where he tried his best to illustrate his point that WWE is actually the riskier option when it comes to injuries.
“Guys get hurt worse in WWE. There’s more injuries in WWE. Whatever reason why maybe it’s the travel schedule and they’re tired and it’s not a more physical style but still — they still get hurt worse and the idea that WWE at least takes care of their guys and it’s not like… Randy Orton’s had this torn MCL for seven months and kept working on it because he wanted to keep working on it and they had stuff for him and now they got Jeff Hardy he can get his 2 months off and get it taken care of.”
“Shane McMahon worked WrestleMania and he worked the [Greatest] Royal Rumble and there’s no reason for him to work that Royal Rumble. He worked WrestleMania and were like, ‘it’s WrestleMania.’ But it’s like if you go into WrestleMania and you work a little hurt it’s the big payday and that would happen in any major promotion.”
It was also noted how Ric Flair worked with a broken neck back in the day and never took time off. The pro wrestling business is full of stories about guys working hurt like when Hawk worked a scaffold match with a broken leg or Kurt Angle worked WrestleMania with all sorts of things wrong with him. But Shane McMahon still didn’t need to take that insane bump through the announce table in Jeddah.
“Dean Ambrose worked months with a torn tricep,” Meltzer continued. “So there’s no difference and that just shows there’s no difference at all. You shouldn’t be working with a freaking hernia that’s just stupidity.”
It is true that Shane McMahon gutted through the pain and worked two matches he didn’t need to when he actually required a surgery. But this trend isn’t likely going to change especially if there is big money at stake.