A Bicep Injury Cost Nigel McGuinness His WWE Career

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Hamish Woodward

One of the best wrestlers never to be given a chance in the WWE has to be Nigel McGuinness.

The Englishman personified indie wrestling in the mid 2000s. His matches in Ring of Honor with the likes of Bryan Danielson, KENTA and Kevin Steen were ahead of their time, and he looked like a proper wrestler.

McGuinness had it all. He was big, tall, could talk and was a fantastic worker. Few had as much of an all-round game as him, except perhaps his long-time friend and rival Bryan Danielson. The pair had some amazing matches in ROH, and even fought each other in their final outing in the company.

It was reported that both men were set to sign deals with WWE following their match on ROH Glory By Honor VIII: The Final Countdown. After the bout, the pair addressed the crowd, saying goodbye to the promotion.

Bryan Danielson would go on to become a WWE Champion, and a legend in the ring in AEW. Meanwhile, McGuinness turned up as Desmond Wolfe in TNA a month later, bitter at losing out on a WWE contract.

Nigel McGuinness didn’t get his WWE deal, although he wrestled one dark match years prior before Raw.

As it turned out, his honesty had cost him. He agreed and signed a deal with the company, subject to a medical. After passing all the tests, he shared details of a previous bicep injury. Doctors had told him to let it heal naturally, but WWE wanted surgery.

Given the cost of the procedure and the time he’d spend out of the ring, McGuinness had to refuse. This cost him his WWE contract, despite following doctors orders. He never had an injury in his bicep following his dismissal, which only added to the disappointment of losing his job.

In his brilliant documentary “The last of McGuinness“, Nigel McGuinness explained exactly why his bicep injury cost him his WWE contract. He said:

“When I went for my WWE medical, I passed every test for blood-borne illnesses and for physical health. The doctor asked me, however, if I’d had any injuries in the past. He said if there was an issue, they’d fix it, but if I didn’t disclose something, and they found out, I’d be fired. My bicep injuries were common knowledge, but I’d seen an orthopaedic specialist who advised me to avoid surgery by resting and letting them scar in place to where I’d still have functional strength.”

“I couldn’t have afforded surgery anyway, and as it turned out, I changed my style and my arms were perfectly fine. The WWE doctor felt them and agreed but, to be safe, wanted to see the original MRIs. When he saw them, however, he said I needed to get new MRIs done as he felt the left bicep should have been surgically repaired. More money, more time.”

“When he saw the new MRIs, he concurred and told me over the phone he couldn’t clear me to be hired. I went back to my original orthopaedic doctor, who stood by his prognosis, and to be fair, I’d wrestled without an issue for 2 years. He wrote a letter confirming this—that my arm was no more likely to get injured than if it had never been torn in the first place.”

“But it didn’t matter; WWE rescinded my contract. I could have had the surgery their doctor suggested, but at $5,000 when I was already broke from waiting for them to decide, and wouldn’t be able to work for the 6 months it would take to heal—not to mention the fact that no one in WWE would return my calls to say if they’d even be interested.”

Sadly, Nigel McGuinness took this rejction hard. Despite joining TNA soon after, he embarked on a retirement tour years later. He wrestled his final match in December 2011, never to set foot in a wrestling ring again.

Click here to learn more about why Nigel McGuinness retired from wrestling.

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