Sycho Sid, or Sid Vicious, broke his leg in one of the most horrific injuries ever seen in the history of wrestling. A normal leap from the top rope turned into an earth-shattering injury which functionally ended his career and almost stopped him from being able to walk.
The former WWE and WCW Champion’s injury was as gruesome as they come and was entirely avoidable, had he not been forced into something he’d never once done before by WCW management.
Sycho Sid’s Leg Break
Sid broke his leg during a horrific accident that took place at the WCW pay per view Sin in 2001. He had just dropped the WCW Championship to Scott Steiner a month prior and was looking to regain the title for his third reign with the belt.
He only wrestled one match for the WWE since WCW went under in 2001, mainly due to a horrific injury he suffered in his last match for the doomed promotion. Battling WCW Champion Scott Steiner and Jeff Jarrett in a triple-threat match for the aforementioned title, he put it all on the line to try and regain the belt he lost to Steiner a month prior. The match then had a surprise fourth man involved in it, which turned out to be tag team legend Road Warrior Animal.
He gave it his all during the match to try and make WCW Sin the best pay per view he could. However, the six foot nine star was forced by former WCW executive John Laurinatis to try something he’d never done – head to the middle rope. For a man his size, a top-rope move was unthinkable and despite his reservations, he was forced into jumping from the top rope. This would cause his ankle to shatter and would end his career as a full time wrestler.
He climbed to the middle rope, which is something fans had never seen Sid do before. He jumped off the turnbuckle and swung his leg out, ready to hit a giant big boot square onto the face of Scott Steiner. However, he landed on his left leg which put all his 300lb weight onto his ankle, shattering it instantly and putting him out for the count. His foot bent in ways a foot should not go and his screams could be heard all over the arena and at home.
Eric Bischoff, the former head of WCW and the man credited with inventing the NWO, spoke about the leg break on an episode of his podcast. Speaking on 83 Weeks, he expressed regret on WCW showing the injury on TV and letting the crowd see the replay of the horrible event. He noted it was a gruesome injury to watch and said it was a tough call to show it on TV the next night on Nitro.
“Yeah because it was so gruesome. It was tough to watch. I wasn’t sure. You want to be real, and it’s something I’ve always noticed. Whenever a wrestler gets busted open or gets hurt in the ring, there’s always a need to show the post-injury surgery or to show the severity of the wound. But there’s a certain point where you have to draw the line with good taste, and with something as gruesome as this, it was a tough call. It really was.”
He also spoke about how he was felling during the event, as he sat backstage watching the match through a monitor. At first all he felt was disbelief before a sickening feeling came over him. He also claimed he wished he’d never seen it, citing it as nauseating.
“Oh god, I was sitting backstage at a desk where we had a monitor, and I was watching the show. And it was kind of — I think the first reaction was, we were kind of like numb to it. It was kind of like, ‘Did that really just happen?’ And of course, there’s a replay involved, and by that time it sunk in. And then I don’t want to say I was getting nauseous, because that would be exaggerating my reaction. But I was on the verge of it. It was like, sickening.“
“Kind of like the Joe Theismann leg break in the NFL so many years ago. You see it, and you’ve got to watch it, but you wish you didn’t kind of thing. It’s like a really bad car accident. You know you shouldn’t look at it but you do it anyway. And that’s kind of how I felt. I was a little disgusted with myself for having to look at it two or three times in a row. It was nauseating, really.”
While Sid managed to wrestle a handful of matches after the fact (although he spent 3 years outside of the ring recovering and only returned to the WWE for one match in 2012), he was never the same after his leg break. The man once known as Sid Vicious was told by doctors that he’d never run again after the injury, although he proved that wrong by returning to the ring years later, on numerous occasions.
I was told I would never run again. That’s when it hit me that this was going to be a tough deal.
In a shoot interview in 2018, Sid spoke about how former WCW agent John Laurainitis was the man who forced him to do the spot, citing the fact that the spot would be the cue for Road Warrior Animal to enter the match. The fact that the two men were brothers forced Sid’s hand and eventually came back to bit him, although he claimed it was never something he was comfortable doing.
“I just said hey man I’m not comfortable with it and he said well hey we’ve already got it written in and the truck meaning the camera people know that that’s the spot for the mystic partner to come out in the mystery part of course it was his brother and of course he never really showed up cuz they broke my leg before he got there but it was something I would I didn’t want to do so I wasn’t comfortable doing“