In 2015, Samoa Joe hit a move on Tyson Kidd that caused a horrific neck injury that ended the Canadian’s wrestling career for good, and nearly killed him. The former WWE Tag Team Champion
Injuries are a fact of life in professional wrestling. While it’s always devastating to see a wrestler get hurt, sometimes the injuries are so severe that they end a wrestler’s career prematurely. That was the case with Tyson Kidd, who suffered a serious injury at the hands of Samoa Joe that forced him to retire from the ring.
The injury was so severe that Kidd was forced to undergo neck surgery, and he was never able to return to the ring.
It was a tragic end to a promising career, and many fans and wrestlers were left wondering how such a devastating injury could happen.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the incident that ended Tyson Kidd’s career, and examine the impact it had on both wrestlers and the wrestling industry as a whole.
Tyson Kidd’s Injury
During a dark match before WWE Superstars on the 1st June, 2015, Tyson Kidd took on NXT’s Samoa Joe in a match. The match was likely for Vince McMahon to see Joe work, with a view to bring him up to the main roster in the near future. However, things could not have gone worse for the pair.
Kidd had also spent time in NXT in the years prior, but had soon become part of one of the top teams in the WWE, winning the WWE Tag Team Championships, alongside his partner Cesaro. He had grown from a wrestler who was likely to be fired, to becoming one of the most interesting characters on the show, as well as one of their best wrestlers.
Along with his wife, Natalya, as his manager, Kidd and Cesaro become a formidable tag team, winning the WWE Tag Team Championships in a career-defining run for both men.
However, it would all come crashing down during his match with Samoa Joe. The former TNA World Heavyweight Champion hit his famous Muscle Buster finisher on Kidd, and attempted the pin fall to win the match. The move saw Joe grab Kidd from the top rope, in a fisherman suplex-style fashion, before slamming him to the mat with an almighty thud.
This move was not known to injure any wrestlers before, and was considered incredibly safe. Joe had used it to win multiple championships in the past, including twice to win the NXT Championship. However, Kidd was in bad shape as soon as his shoulders hit the ground. Upon impact, Tyson Kidd broke his neck and suffered from a spinal concussion, with his vision going bright white and losing all movement in his body.
He was temporarily paralyzed, and could not move a muscle in the ring. This was his last match ever, as Tyson Kidd was forced to retire immediately, or else risk total paralysis, or even death. Tyson Kidd’s injury was one of the worst ever seen in a WWE ring, and he was very lucky to be alive.
It has been said that only 5% of people who suffer the type of C1 injury that Tyson Kidd survive, while only 5% of those that survive end up without significant paralysis. Kidd suffered from the same fracture that Christopher Reeve (the famous Superman actor) suffered from, which left him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, unable to move from the neck down.
Tyson Kidd was paralyzed from the injury at the time, unable to move any part of his body for a short period of time. He managed to get through that and regain control of his limbs, but the former WWE Superstar was lucky not to have died from the injury.
Tyson Kidd was asked about what happened in the ring with Samoa Joe, during an interview with Chris Van Vliet. The former WWE wrestler revealed that he lost feeling throughout his entire body, and was no longer in control of his own body.
“I remember everything very vividly, yeah. Yeah, I lost feeling for about five seconds. Every head-to-toe scary time, stand still. Dude, you just sit there like in no control whatsoever. It’s not it wasn’t in my control, I was at a higher power, I was at somebody’s mercy just sitting there.
You can’t move anything, also your body feels like it weighs like two million pounds. But in there was some weird voice telling me, ‘This isn’t permanent.’ Now in that five-second span, you’re doing a lot of thinking like this little voice is telling me that. Doesn’t mean this voice is right, though. But luckily, thankfully, it was.”
Astonishingly, Tyson Kidd was up and about, walking very soon after having surgery after his injury. He had a C1 and C2 vertebrae fusion, which has given him incredibly mobility in his life going forward, but has stopped him ever from wrestling for the WWE again.
Tyson Kidd and Samoa Joe
In the same interview, Tyson Kidd revealed that he bears no ill-will toward Samoa Joe. Despite Joe being the man who injured Tyson Kidd and almost cost him the use of his legs, he does not blame him for the injury. It was a freak accident, with hundreds of wrestlers taking his “Muscle Buster” move without issue over the years.
The Canadian revealed that Joe was incredibly apologetic after the event, visiting Kidd in the hospital that night. They also met up backstage in the WWE once Kidd returned to work as a producer. Kidd retired from wrestling immediately after the injury, and begun working as a backstage producer for the WWE.
“He came to the hospital that first night when I got hurt, and then we would exchange texts all the time. And then he was one of the first guys I found when I came back in Los Angeles last June.
As a producer, he was. I like sought him out. That, I mean, wasn’t hard to find him, but I found him, and we had a very good talk. And we get along well. There’s no animosity with me and Joe. It’s just a perfect storm of whatever it was.
And then when we hit, just everything went. It’s the whitest light I’ve ever seen in my life. But yeah, we have no, there’s zero bad feelings. That’s mean Joe. Yeah, is it? He didn’t do it with some type of malice and intent at all. So, and he came to the hospital that night, and we’re good.”
Will Tyson Kidd Ever Wrestle Again?
Tyson Kidd will never wrestle again, according to his wife Natalya. The WWE Superstar helped Kidd recover from his neck break, and feared the worst when he came through the curtain on that fateful day.
The former WWE Tag Team Champion suffered a fractured C1 vertebrae in his match against Samoa Joe, and miraculously avoided paralysis, or even death. While he seems fit, healthy and better than ever, a single bump could kill Tyson Kidd, which is why he cannot step into the ring again.
With a number of wrestlers coming out of retirement in recent years (Edge, Daniel Bryan and Paige, most notably), there has been talk about whether or not Tyson Kidd could follow suit and step back into the ring. His wife Natalya has cleared things up, explaining why Tyson Kidd can never wrestle again, exposing the severity of his injuries.
Natalya spoke with Chris Van Vliet on “Insight with Chris Van Vliet” to explain why Tyson Kidd can no longer wrestle anymore, and why he can never come back into professional wrestling.
“He can’t do anything that would require him to take a bump,” Natalya said. “He can show little techniques … And he’s just so gifted, and he’s so good [in training others], but he just can’t bump. That’s the thing when you have an injury, like what TJ had, where it’s a C1 injury, and not everybody’s familiar with what a C1 injury is, but it is, where TJ broke his neck, at the base of his brain.”
“So it’s where like the brain and the spinal cord meet. It’s a very, very vulnerable area, and the actual medical term for that injury is called ‘The Hangman’ fracture, so when people say, ‘Oh, TJ, we want to see you get back in the ring,’ and they see that he is very healthy, and he is in very great shape. Because he had a C1 injury with a C1-C2 fusion, he just can’t take a bump. He has to be very careful, so he can’t ever come back to wrestling.”
Tyson Kidd currently works for the WWE as a producer/agent, helping talent put together their matches and segments, helping keep him creatively fulfilled while avoiding letting him wrestle again, due to his injury and potential parlysis.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.