It was sad to see the news break-out that “The Empress of Tomorrow”, Asuka, recognised for having “the longest undefeated streak in WWE history” was relinquishing the NXT Women’s Championship due to injury. For a while, we have all been wondering who is going to finally defeat “The Empress of Tomorrow” to become the next NXT Women’s Champion. But, it turns out the answer is… no one. Following her victory against Ember Moon at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III it was later announced that Asuka had broken her right collarbone during the match after landing awkwardly from a throw. As a result, this meant that Asuka had to painfully let go of her title, ending her historic 500-plus day reign as NXT Women’s Champion. There have been negotiations that Asuka will move up to the main roster on either RAW or SmackDown but whatever the case, “No one is ready for Asuka!”
4. Seth Rollins
The ending of WrestleMania 31 was an unforgettable one as it saw “The Architect”, Seth Rollins, cash in his money in the bank contract and walk out as the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. As WWE champion, Seth Rollins was “The Man” and nobody could touch him; he would always find a way to come out on top whether it be an interference from J&J security or a crafty tactic *cough* cheating. Despite this, Rollins’ run as WWE World Heavyweight Champion came to an unfortunate end after he tore his ACL, MCL and medial meniscus in his knee while attempting to execute a sunset flip powerbomb in a match against Kane at a WWE live event in Ireland. As much as how devastating it was for Rollins to forfeit his title, at least we won’t have to hear that wicked laugh I guess.
3. Finn Bálor
Finn Bálor’s main roster debut on RAW left us all with chills as he won the opportunity to compete for the new WWE Universal Championship by firstly winning a Fatal-4-way match and then defeating “The Big Dog” Roman Reigns, cleanly on the same night, which is an achievement, in itself. With all that momentum, Bálor went on to face Seth Rollins for the Universal title at SummerSlam 2016, however, during the match Bálor suffered a legitimate shoulder injury. More specifically he tore his labrum and suffered additional damage including a torn bicep, a torn pectoral tendon, cartilage damage and a fracture to the glenoid neck socket after receiving a running powerbomb to the barricade from Seth Rollins. However, that did not stop “The Demon King” from finishing the match as he popped his dislocated shoulder back into place and then went on to win, becoming the inaugural WWE Universal Champion. Despite his efforts, Bálor was forced to relinquish the title he had just won due to injury in a segment on RAW the next day.
Edge is one of the most decorated wrestlers to ever step foot in a WWE ring having won a total of 31 championships, however, he was no stranger to injuries along the way. “The Rated-R Superstar” took many risks and bumps which meant he had to vacate three titles on three different occasions; the first one being the WWE World Heavyweight Championship back in 2007. Edge had to painfully surrender his first World Heavyweight Championship due to a torn left pectoral muscle he legitimately suffered at his Mardi Gras celebration when he was attacked by Kane and who took his place as World Heavyweight Champion? None other than The Great Khali… the one who still believes to this day that he won the WWE Championship at WWE Battleground. Edge’s second title he had to vacate was the WWE Tag Team Championship which he won with Chris Jericho in 2009. A torn Achilles tendon in the back of his leg meant that Edge had to relinquish the title which led to Jericho replacing Edge with The Big Show, forming Jeri-Show, which turned out to be a great tag team. Lastly, the third title that Edge had to vacate was the WWE World Heavyweight Championship once again. This was perhaps the most emotional one as not only did Edge vacate his world title but he retired as the World Heavyweight Champion because of a recurring neck injury that became life-threatening. It was a truly sad day saying goodbye to “The Rated-R Superstar” but what a way to go out as World Heavyweight Champion.
1. Daniel Bryan
WrestleMania XXX (30) was a truly memorable night as we witnessed Daniel Bryan defeat Triple H and then Randy Orton and Batista in the main event to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Years and years of hard work and dedication finally paid-off for Bryan, however, like Edge, Bryan was plagued with injuries throughout his career, which sadly caught up to him in the end and led to his premature retirement. Just over two months following the biggest win in his career, Bryan was officially stripped of the World Heavyweight Championship by the Authority due to a neck injury that prevented him from defending the title. And if that wasn’t unlucky enough, Bryan had to also vacate the Intercontinental Championship he won at WrestleMania 31 due to injury. Eventually, Bryan made the difficult decision to announce his retirement and as much as we were all thinking “No! No! No!”, it was probably for the best and his legacy as the underdog who made it to the top of the WWE will live on.