Damian Priest scored a huge upset in Glasgow, Scotland on June 15, 2024, when he defeated local hero Drew McIntyre to retain his WWE Heavyweight title, and although the storyline called for CM Punk to assist in that surprise victory, even more shocking was a freak accident that saw Priest’s leg become entangled in the ropes, almost ripping his limb out of its socket in the process.

The stomach-churning moment was a stark reminder that pro wrestlers put their bodies on the line in a way that many other athletes would never have to consider. Unlike in boxing or MMA, an injury sustained in the pro wrestling ring rarely calls for the bout to be stopped, as the grapplers often suck it up to complete whatever epic storyline is scheduled to play out, live, before millions of expectant fans.

M&F attended the “Clash at the Castle” post show press conference, and were able to get Paul “Triple H” Levesque’s thoughts on why wrestlers are among the toughest humans in the world, and why you should never be tempted to try the moves out at home.

Damian Priest almost shattered his leg in freak accident at Clash at the Castle 2024

Several minutes into defending his title in the main event inside Glasgow’s Hydro arena, against fan-favorite Drew McIntyre, the 6’ 5”, 250-pound champ appeared to be attempting to leap outside of the ring to squash the big Scot by using the middle rope as a springboard. Unfortunately, as Priest made his ascent, the middle rope became intertwined with the top rope, trapping right leg.

As Priest launched himself outside of the ring, his lower leg and ankle remained fixed and were unable to move, meaning that as his torso completed a forward roll, he almost dislocated a joint or broke a bone in this scary situation.

While critics often deride pro wrestling as being more like a soap opera than a real sport, it is moments like this that continue to illustrate just how dangerous this hybrid of sporting performance entertainment really is.

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Triple H comments on the genuine physical dangers in pro wrestling

Attending the ‘Clash at the Castle’ post show press conference, I asked the WWE legend and current Chief Content Officer, Paul ‘Triple H’ Lavesque if he had any memories of being in a similar type of situation, where the desire to entertain a global fanbase is weighed-up with an athlete’s own personal wellbeing.

“Yeah, not good ones,” he reflected. “Yeah, I’ve been in that situation before where, you know, as you said, it’s a full contact sport. The injury rate is one hundred percent. No one gets out unscathed … You’re going to leave here with some issues, with some aches and pains, it’s just a part of the game but its part of what we do and why we love it. When I saw that happen to Damian, my heart jumped out of my chest. I didn’t see any way that we wasn’t injured.”

As a multi-time champion in his own right, Levesque tore a quad in 2001, and continued to complete his match despite the excruciating pain that he was suffering. In other sports, such an injury would have meant game over, but in WWE where there’s a story to tell, it’s not that simple.

“There is such a fine line between what we do being safe and what we do not being safe,” he explains. “There is a risk to reward ratio, every single time you get in that ring … So, yeah, it brings back memories, I can relate to it, and I certainly hope he’s ok, but it’s part of what we do. Don’t try this at home.”

The initial prognosis on Priest’s health coming out of the weekend is that the ‘Judgement Day’ member appears to have mercifully avoided a serious injury on this occasion, but this incident was just another in a long line of reminders that pro wrestling is far from pantomime.

WWE Clash at the Castle 2024 was the first ever WWE Premium Live Event to take place in Scotland.

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