No Kidd Games: The Near Death Experience of Tyson Kidd

Brian Damage

TJ Wilson aka Tyson Kidd was a WWE superstar that was trained by the legendary Hart Family. A pro wrestler for the majority of his life, Kidd was just blossoming as a star in WWE, when an accident in the ring ended his career and almost ended his life.

On June 1st, 2015 on Monday Night Raw, Tyson Kidd wrestled Samoa Joe in a dark match. The match itself, wasn’t even supposed to happen. Kidd was a last minute opponent for Joe and while Wilson never wrestled Samoa Joe before…he felt that he was a student of the game and could make the match work. Towards the end of their match, Samoa Joe picked up Kidd and set him up for his finisher called the ‘Muscle Buster.’ The move was basically Joe taking his opponent on his shoulder and then dropping them down to the mat shoulder and neck first. It was a maneuver that Joe has done thousands of times in the past without any incidents. This time was different.

When TJ’s head and neck hit the canvas….Wilson said he saw nothing but a white light in his eyes…it was then followed by extreme pain in his neck. Joe covered Kidd for the pin ending the match, but Wilson was motionless. TJ said his partner and friend Cesaro looked to pick him up and move him out of the ring, but TJ knew something was seriously wrong and told Cesaro not to touch him. Wilson was immediately transported to a nearby hospital.

After an MRI was done, it was revealed that TJ did not break his neck, but suffered what they call a ‘spinal cord concussion.’ The ligament holding his C2 vertebrae ruptured…the doctor caring for him said this injury was extremely serious and had Wilson transported to another hospital more equipped to handle the injury. He was told only 1% of people who have these injuries survive…and he was now in that 1%. As Kidd laid in a bed, Samoa Joe showed up and with tears in his eyes began apologizing to TJ profusely. Wilson acknowledged that the accident happened because he didn’t position himself correctly for the move.

The next morning, the doctor told Wilson that they needed to perform emergency surgery and that his wrestling career was over. TJ said the news “gutted him.” Seeing her husband completely distraught, Natalya Neidhart asked the doctor if he was the best person to do the surgery. She said the WWE had access to the very best doctors and surgeons in the world and if he wasn’t the very best to do the surgery then the doctor wouldn’t touch Wilson’s neck. The doctor said if you have access to somebody better, do what you need to do. That is exactly what happened, as Nattie and TJ airlifted from the San Antonio, Texas hospital to a Tampa, Florida facility.

TJ was told that he suffered a similar injury as actor Christopher Reeve. He was told the C2 injury should have suffocated him to death and that five percent of people survive this injury and of the five who do, 99% are paralyzed. The only reason TJ Wilson survived, was due to his top physical conditioning. The 4 hour surgery was performed where TJ’s neck and spine were fused. He received 4 screws, 16 staples and a metal rod in his neck.

After two years of recovery and rehabilitation, TJ Wilson returned to WWE in 2017…but this time as a producer. Wilson has been heavily praised by both current and former WWE superstars for his work including the like of the former IIconics, Nia Jax, Dana Brooke, New Day and more.

3 thoughts on “No Kidd Games: The Near Death Experience of Tyson Kidd

  1. Definitely feel for TJ here of course. There’s no telling what he would’ve done or been allowed to do had his career continued. That being said, knowing what we know about Vince and all those layoffs, I have no doubt that unless he was offered a role as a producer, he would’ve eventually been let go as I don’t see Vince properly utilizing him as he did before the accident. His talents would’ve been wasted, with him being used as an enhancement talent. Impact probably would’ve taken him in or NJPW,and maybe a few years later MLW, where he could join the Hart Dynasty stable. I do wonder if he’d have gone to AEW if Khan was interested in him…

    And then there’s Samoa Joe. I can’t even imagine the sheer amount of guilt he carried with him & probably still does to this day over it, much like D-Lo did with Droz’s injury. I remember certain “fans” calling for his firing what happened, but that’s typical of certain members of the IWC. I hope in time, that guilt’s lessened as TJ’s made the most of his condition, and while probably permanently retires, at least he enjoys total mobility.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Was a sad time hearing of this and knowing I’d never see Tyson Kidd wrestle again. He really was an incredible talent in the ring I loved watching his matches for you would always see some new move(s) used by him. Hearing he recovered to point of not being paraplegic was such great news and now his skills and knowledge passed onto new talents is a blessing.
    Kidd & his wife Natalya are future Hall of Famers, wish WWE would’ve done something to commemorate his talent.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Top Five Wrestlers Careers Cut Short By Injuries | Ring the Damn Bell

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