The AEW injury curse struck again last night during AEW: Blood and Guts, with Santana and possibly Eddie Kingston being taken out of action for the foreseeable future. For Santana, it happened when he hit a Uranage throw on Daniel Garcia, only to collapse straight away, clutching at his knee. He then rolled out of the ring to the side of the cage and took no further part in what was an excellent main event. In fact, after his team had picked up the win, he was seen being helped to the back while his compadres celebrated. As for The Mad King, after Claudio Castagnoli had picked up the win for The Blackpool Combat Club, the former Cesaro offered his hand to help Kingston up, to which Kingston was seen to mouth quite clearly that he’d hurt his back and couldn’t really move. This was made even more obvious when they all stood up and raised their arms to celebrate and Eddie Kingston was visibly in a lot of pain.
If this is the case—and with Santana, we know that he is legitimately hurt—that will take the AEW injury list to the grand total of twenty missing in action. But what’s even stranger is that seventeen of these long-term injuries have occurred this year alone. This leads to the question, is there an AEW injury curse?
The AEW Injury Curse
The correct and only answer to this is; “No, don’t be bloody stupid, curses don’t exist. They’ve just hit a run of bad luck”. But there’s hitting a run of bad luck, or a run of bad luck slamming into you like an out-of-control freight train, splattering your squishy flesh into atoms, and it seems to me that that is what’s happening to AEW at the moment. And what’s even weirder is that out of the twenty wrestlers that have been put on the AEW injury list, ten of them have occurred since CM Punk announced he’d gotten injured on Rampage at the start of June.
Until then, they only had that exact number through 2021 and 2022, seven of which had occurred since the turn of the year, while in 2021 they’d seen only three placed on long-term inactivity. So why the sudden change? What caused the AEW injury list to double in size in just over a month?
If you look at other promotions, you’ll notice that Impact currently only has Su Yung out of action—for maternity leave, so that makes sense—NJPW has three, and the WWE has thirteen Superstars out for a long period of time. And let us not forget that the WWE injury list is across three different shows. Which in itself might be part of the reason that AEW is suffering so much at the moment.
Say what you like about the brand split and the fact that the once-great Black and Yellow Brand is now nothing more than a shadow of its former self, if you have a group of wrestlers only working on specific shows you automatically lower the chances of them getting injured. They’re not needed at every Smackdown or RAW, so they can have time to heal any niggling knocks before they become a much bigger problem. Also, with such a huge roster of talent to choose from, the WWE can always write someone off of TV if they think that that performer is in any chance of doing themselves some serious damage, and—to me at least—the AEW injury list proves that Tony Khan is asking way too much of his wrestlers.
Think about it. There’s Dynamite and Rampage, but there’s also Dark and Dark: Evolution, and though I doubt very much you’d see the likes of Danielson or Punk on those latter two shows, Jungle Boy, Adam Cole, and Buddy Matthews—for example—have all put in shifts so that AEW can continue to build content towards their inevitable streaming service.
There’s also the fact that AEW allows their wrestlers to take bookings wherever they feel like. I’ve watched more than enough Indy shows to know that at least once a weekend—schedule permitting—I’m going to see Jon Moxley show up for some kind of hardcore deathmatch in front of a few hundred fans, or roll out for GCW and once again defend his world title, and though as a fan of pro-wrestling I love this sort of thing, it can’t do a body any good to be taking a beating nearly every single night.
What’s The Answer Then, Mr. Know-It-All?
Simple. Limit what your wrestlers do both in and out of the company. AEW has been accused of hoarding talent, and it is fair to say that even with contracts being run down and people being let go, they’ve still got more than enough boys and girls in the back to cover all the bases when it comes to their shows. Do we really need to see Luchasaurus destroy another jobber on AEW Dark or Red Velvet pick up another win on AEW Dark Evolution before she goes back to getting her ass kicked on Dynamite? No, of course we don’t. The idea behind these shows was to help elevate lesser-known wrestlers to a position where they could become bigger assets to the company, but as AEW seem to be determined to get as many matches in the can as they…er…can, so they don’t launch their streaming service with sod all to offer, then Tony Khan has decided that he wants more of his already big-ish names to be available for me and you to watch from the comfort of our own home for the low, low price of 9.99 from day one. Sure, it gives the punter a more varied choice, but it also runs the risk of leading to an AEW injury epidemic.
Which is where we currently are.
Also, they need to stop their top stars from overloading their plates. As I said, yes I love it when Mox walks out unannounced at an indy show, but those fans in attendance wouldn’t miss him, cause they didn’t know he was supposed to be there, and AEW might just be able to limit the amount of time that he and all the others that work far too hard, in my opinion, are on the AEW injury list.
But Tony Khan is going to Tony Khan, and I’d be surprised if he changed the company’s direction. After all, one of the more attractive elements of becoming All Elite is that you’re allowed to pick and choose what other shows you work, and as he must wave that in the face of any wrestler that he’s trying to sign, altering the game now is just going to piss a lot of people off.
So, does the AEW injury curse really exist? Like I said; No, don’t be bloody stupid, but the AEW injury crisis is alive and well and until they start to make those few alterations I’ve just suggested, it’s only going to get worse from here on out.