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.