There is no doubt that Kris Statlander‘s injuries have limited her AEW career.
If she had stayed healthy over the past four years, she would likely be one of the biggest stars in the division and have a world title reign under her belt.
Sadly, she has suffered with knee injuries that have kept her off TV for an extended period of time.
Despite this, she has come back stronger than ever and proved that injuries cannot keep Kris Statlander from being a top face in the AEW Women’s Champion.
1. ACL Tear (2020)
Kris Statlander injured herself not long after two AEW Women’s Championship matches in 2020.
Her first was against Riho, the first ever champion in the companies history, taking place on an episode of AEW Dynamite in January. It is remembered for being a great match until Brandi Rhodes and the Nightmare Collective interfered, ruining what was at that point a brilliant match.
The next one was at AEW Revolution 2020. The intergalactic wrestler faced off with new champion Nyla Rose, showcasing her as a powerhouse who could take on the Native Beast. While she was unsuccessful, she impressed during the match and showed fantastic potential going forward.
However, she would soon be injured. She tore her ACL just a month later during an episode of AEW Dynamite, in a horrific scenes that many fans will want to forget. This came at the worst time as she was getting a huge push as part of Best Friends and could have been on course to become AEW Women’s Champion if she had stayed fit.
In her absence, the stars of Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa grew and she shrank into the background, awaiting her return. It would be nearly a year before she was seen again in AEW and was determined to come back better than she was before she left.
2. Torn ACL & Lateral Miniscus
The intergalactic superstar made a shock return in AEW in March 2023, a full 9 months since she last wrestled for the promotion.
Her return had long been rumoured, with the typical recovery rate for an ACL tear is usually along the lines of 6 to 8 months. She was slightly behind this schedule and it was likely that Tony Khan was waiting for the right angle to introduce her back.
She made her long-awaited return on AEW Dynamite on March 31st, 2021. She appeared during the Arcade Anarchy match between The Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy) and Miro & Kip Sabian.
During the bout, she rose from an arcade grabbed machine to attack Sabian’s wife Penelope Ford and help her team to victory. It also saw a return for Trent during the match, as well as his mother Sue.
Statlander continued on the trajectory she was on prior to her injury. She wrestled AEW Women’s Champion Dr Britt Baker D.M.D for the title at All Out 2021.
However, she was once again unsuccessful, losing to the champion for third consecutive title match. It began to look like she would never win the big one.
Sadly, disaster would strike again. As she was being built up to face TBS Champion Jade Cargill, Statlander suffered a completely torn ACL and lateral meniscus in her right leg during a match on AEW Dark.
The injury took place in August 2022 and came at a time when she was getting a big push in the company, after moving away from the alien-gimmick and becoming “More Than A Woman”.
She faced another 9 months out of the ring and put an end to her sustained push. With a return well into 2023 likely, it will take a lot of hard work for her to regain the trust of Tony Khan if she is to finally become a champion in AEW.
Some fans may have hoped that Kris Statlander’s injury was not as bad as AEW made out – some companies artificially inflate the length of injuries to make their return even more surprising – but the extra-terrestrial superstar took to social media to let her fans know she was not set to return to the ring just yet.
Statlander revealed in a recent Tweet that she is still not cleared to compete before jokingly suggesting the headline for news sites reporting the news. Statlander Tweeted, “No I am not cleared yet. “AEW Wrestler Provides Injury Update” is the headline I’m expecting to see.”
The Best Friends Have Struggled With Injuries In AEW
Kris Statlander is not the only member of Best Friends to have struggled with injuries over the past four years. The most noteworthy of the injured members is Trent Beretta. The former WWE superstar has struggled with neck issues since joining the company, missing over a year of wrestling due to two separate injuries.
In his absence, Orange Cassidy teamed with Chuck Taylor. Trent later revealed he had neck fusion surgery which hopefully should put an end to his time on the shelf and give the Best Friends the chance to win the AEW Tag Team Championship for the first time in their careers. He posted that “Neck fusion surgery went well” on an Instagram post, as he lay in a hospital bed post-surgery.
Chuck Taylor also struggled with injuries in AEW, although the nature of his health issues were kept quiet by AEW. He was quietly removed from TV from May to June 2021, due to an injury suffered during a NJPW Strong taping. Chuck Taylor returned from Injury at AEW Blood and Guts and continued to tag with Trent and the Best Friends.
Orange Cassidy has remained healthy throughout his run and has not missed any time out due to injury. He’ll be hoping that his good health rubs off on Kris Statlander and stops her from being injured again inn the future.
Kris Statlander’s double ACL injury is similar to Welsh WWE Superstar Tegan Nox, who suffered the same injuries during her time in NXT. She now wrestles on the main roster as the first Welsh wrestler since Mason Ryan.
Kris Statlander returned from her latest injury at AEW Double or Nothing 2023.
She appeared as a surprise opponent for Jade Cargill. Statlander defeated Cargill for the TBS Championship in a short match, becoming the first woman to pin Jade Cargill in AEW.
Kris Statlander is not currently injured, and is the TBS Champion in AEW.
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.