Despite professional wrestling being scripted, superstars still have to perform moves that can only be mastered after years of practice inside the squared ring. Over the years, fans have seen the careers of several wrestlers being cut short due to various injuries. When we think of superstars retiring due to injuries, the names of Daniel Bryan and WWE Hall of Famer Edge pop up, who successfully came out on top and returned to in-ring action. Then there is Stone Cold Steve Austin, who was forced to retire due to injuries.
Hardcore fans of professional wrestling also know the dark side of such injuries, where a wrestler's life completely changes due to one small mistimed move. One such name in the wrestling business is Darren Drozdov, whose life took a turn for the worse after he was involved in a life-threatening injury. Let's have a look at what happened to Darren Drozdov and how the now well-documented 'Darren Drozdov accident' impacted his career.
Darren Drozdov, who went by his wrestling name, Droz, was just 30 years old when he was on the receiving end of a mistimed wrestling move, also known as a botch. On October 5, 1999, at WWF's (now WWE) TV taping at Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York, Droz faced wrestler D'Lo Brown. While this was believed to be a decently paced wrestling match, D’Lo Brown went for his signature powerbomb. As it is well-documented, the move went terribly wrong and Drozdov ended up severely injuring his neck, becoming a quadriplegic.
Surprisingly, the WWE Universe was completed oblivious to the ill-fated Darren Drozdov accident as the company edited out the footage from its tapings. It was reported that the company decided to withhold the entirety of the footage to avoid causing any unrest among their audience. However, footage of Drozdov being stretchered out of the arena was included in WWE’s 'Don’t Try This at Home' video.
After the incident went public, multiple publications speculated several theories to explain the accident. During an interview, Droz himself broke down the accident and stated D'Lo Brown was not at fault in the accident.
"I have no hard feelings toward D’Lo because sh*t happens and everyone who gets involved in athletics, including WWE, knows the risks that exist. It was an accident." - Drozdov speaking to FOX
Droz later revealed that he had worn a slightly loose t-shirt for the match which made it difficult for Brown to manage a strong grip on Darren Drozdov. Moreover, he was unable to generate a proper jump to aid D'Lo Brown during the move, according to Droz.
A former defensive tackle for the University of Maryland, Drozdov reportedly continues to live in South Jersey with his family. The 50-year-old needs 24-hour in-home care but still continues to enjoy a normal life. Darren Drozdov told FOX back in 2014 that he remained in touch with most of his college teammates and was a huge fan of the Maryland football team. One of his most notable friends is Kevin Plank, the CEO and founder of Under Armour. Plank reportedly designed and financed a tank-like wheelchair for Drozdov. Drozdov also reportedly continued working for WWE as a writer and held several unspecified roles.