Okay, before we start, let’s clear this up.
Professional wrestling is many things; predetermined, scripted, choreographed – whatever word you want to use. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that the athletes that dedicate their lives to the sport-entertainment are still human, and they put themselves through a lot of strenuous and dangerous matches, all for the purpose of entertaining the fans.
On Sunday night, we saw the very definition of this play out in a Hell In A Cell match at WWE’s PPV of the same name. The event was main-evented by former WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens, taking on the Smackdown Live general manager – and real-life son of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon – Shane McMahon.
Seriously, it was like watching a match on a WWE video game being played by two overzealous teenagers, as the duel featured a highlight reel of vicious “spots”. The pair brawled on top of the cell, Kevin Owens fell through the Spanish announce table, steel steps were used, Shane hit his infamous Coast-to-Coast jumping dropkick – in terms of brutality, it was certainly one of the most memorable Hell In A Cell matches of all time.
However, being a ‘Falls Count Anywhere’ match, and given the fact it involved Shane McMahon (who just loves to jump from ridiculously tall structures), the crowd weren’t going to be fully satisfied until the Smackdown Live general manager threw himself off the top of the cell.
And it didn’t disappoint.
During the closing minutes of the match, Shane positioned Owens on another announce table, and climbed the 25-foot steel structure. Taking a quick moment to prepare himself and symbol the cross on his body, he made the death-defying leap. However, the finish saw Owen being pulled out of harms way at the last second by former best friend and longtime rival, Sami Zayn.
Then, as EMTs and officials attempted to tend to Shane and place him on a backboard, Zayn ended the match by placing an “unconscious” Owens over the Shane, and forcing the referee to count to three.
As mentioned before, all the this was choreographed and planned – as is the nature of professional wrestling. But, throughout the match it was clear that Shane was protecting his neck, repeatedly clutching his head after every high-impact move, which included a pop-up powerbomb on the top of the cell.
After taking a sharp DDT onto the steel ramp and falling awkwardly on the back of his neck following his Coast-to-Coast, it was evident that any preexisting injuries would only be exacerbated by jumping 25 feet off a cage and through a table. And that’s exactly what happened.
With his wife and three sons watching at ringside, Shane was stretchered away following the match, but did throw the crowd a “thumbs up” to indicate that… Well, that he was still alive.
But now WWE have released a statement listing the full extent of Shane’s injuries. Here is the official statement released by the WWE regarding the condition of Shane McMahon:
“A preliminary report has determined that Shane may be dealing with multiple injuries, including neck trauma, fractured ribs and a dislocated shoulder.”
Now, I know it’s easy for anybody just to say that the list of these injuries are made up – or a “work” – but watching the match in its entirety and seeing what Shane put his body through, you have to believe that the injuries are real, especially considering that Shane missed Tuesday’s taping of Smackdown Live.
Either way, as a fan, the match was incredibly entertaining, and without a doubt became an instant classic!