With new and old names coming into the WWE as we head to WrestleMania, it seems to be there’s been a growing issue of recklessness in the ring. With so many fantastic wrestlers in the WWE, I’m shocked when we see specific wrestlers who are habitual offenders of reckless ring work continue to be pushed. WWE posted an article about the 20 most dangerous Superstars of the WWE, but that was written in kayfabe, and about wrestlers throughout the years who have been strong and appear dangerous. I’m talking about those wrestlers who have had issue with taking the proper care with those they’re facing in the ring, Superstars who are competing now, even after proving that they’re not the safest to work with.
With all articles of this kind, parameters have to be laid out because there will always be someone who says, ‘What about ___?’ So, the wrestlers I’m naming are all males, are employed by the WWE right now, and are working the televised shows on a regular basis.
I have been more than vocal about Mark Henry being careless in the ring since his return, and because of that, I’m starting with him. From the first person Henry touched upon his return, he set the tone for what was to come. The way Bryan was slammed into the barricade, his head being the only part to actually connect, he was lucky he wasn’t seriously injured. If that had been it, I wouldn’t have said more than just in passing, but it continued with Rey and Sin Cara in the ring. It wasn’t that they’re so much smaller than Henry – though that did look bad in the booking – it was the way Henry tossed them around as if they were rag dolls without much care for their physical well being. From there I will say Henry looked like he was controlled slamming Hornswoggle to the mat, but then the way he leaned his whole weight on his fists, grinding them into Hornswoggle’s body looked rather vicious, and not in a good way. Even the way Henry was tossing Khali around the ring hand me cringing, and that’s saying something. But then Henry had to try to one up Ryback on RAW and poor McIntyre was the one to take the brutality. That last WSS had no support, and McIntyre was just thrown down like a sack of corn. It was very sad and uncalled for.
For the first time since Brock’s return he actually ran fast and loose with his own body when he brawled with Triple H around the ring on RAW 2/25/13, which is funny because I’ve read for years that Trip is one of the safest wrestlers in the business. Prior to that, from the first punch Brock threw in the WWE, blood was flying. His first F5 on Cena looked fine, even if Cena looked like a dead fish, but that first punch after Cena slapped him busted Cena wide open. I had thought years ago that Brock looked really reckless in the ring, but he’s taken it to a whole new level since his return. It seems as though Brock has lost what little ability he had to make professional wrestling look realistic. I thought he struggled with it in the past, but since his return he’s either busted people open, or thrown punches that looked terribly fake, or even worse was the way he ‘broke’ HBK and Trip’s arms. While he never truly grasped professional wrestling beyond having the look and character, his time in MMA has seems to make his ring work that much worse, and reckless. It might have been a smart financial move to bring him back to the WWE, those who work the ring with him are the ones who have to deal with his reckless behavior.
Khali, unlike most everyone else on my list, has been reckless in the ring all along, not just more recently. His strange and awkward build makes him quite ungainly in all he does, but on top of that he doesn’t seem to understand his own strength in the ring. Even when he hits the moves the way he should, they look too strong for the person facing him. It doesn’t help that much of the time he’s booked facing much smaller wrestlers to make him look that much bigger. When Khali first came into the WWE he seemed to be much more careful than he is now, though still not up to the safety standards I’d expect from all WWE wrestlers.
I have defended Ryback’s ring work since he’s returned to TV as Ryback, and not Skip. He might be built like, and pushed like, a specific WCW wrestler, but he has proven that he can work the ring. Go back and look at Ryback when he was in FCW, and you can see that his work was really strong. The thing is that at that point he wasn’t so jacked up, and I wonder if that might be holding him back right now. When Ryback first came up to the WWE as Ryback, he had his five moves of doom, and he hit them on multiple jobbers, but he was pretty safe in doing it. It wasn’t until Ryback’s push started falling off, and he was losing at every PPV, that his work became a bit fast and loose. While I understand that he’s feeling let down, and not getting pushed to the top as he expected, that’s no reason to let your in-ring work suffer. That’s only going to stall your push that much more. Hopefully Ryback pulls it together and really shows of the skills he really does have beyond his five moves of doom.
I really struggled on who to pick for my 5th wrestler on this list. I thought of Orton and how he had been punting everyone’s heads off, and then the last punt broke Cody Rhodes’ unbreakable mask, but he’s no longer using that move. I thought of Miz, how he side stepped R-Truth and let him hit the floor outside, and the monstrosity he’s been making of the fig 4, but he’s not dropped anyone lately, and hasn’t hurt anyone with the fig 4. Then I got to Tensai. Since his return he’s struggled with the WWE way of doing things. I know he thought he had a lot to prove through all the ‘Albert’ chants, but almost every move he hit left me cringing. Between wild blows and tossing people around the ring without a care about their well being, Tensai quickly proved that he was not a force to be reckoned with, and not someone you really wanted to be in the ring with. But on top of how reckless Tensai has been throwing moves, it was the way he took a couple moves that seal the deal for me. Cesaro is one of the strongest men on on the WWE roster, but that doesn’t mean that Tensai should sandbag his finisher. It’s impressive that Cesaro got Tensai up without any help and managed his finisher, but Ryback wasn’t so lucky. While I will give Ryback props for trying twice, Tensai very obviously sandbagged Ryback’s shell shocked, and could have easily injured McMahon’s rising star.
No matter what you might be dealing with at any particular moment, there’s no reason to put someone else at risk in the ring. Whether taking or throwing a move, working the ring is a two way dance where everyone should be kept as safe as possible. To put someone else at risk is unconscionable. Not only could you injure yourself in the process, you could injure the other person you’re working with, and that’s their livelihood. You hurt them and you are taking money from them, food from their families. The locker room isn’t what it once was, but there’s still a pecking order and if you get a reputation for putting others at risk, you could be putting your own career on the line.