The long, lonely road of injury and comeback has two travelers from Ring of Honor.
At Boiling Point, Tommaso Ciampa blew out his ACL in the opening moments of his 2-out-of-3 fall match against Jay Lethal. Instead of forfeiting, Ciampa gutted out an amazing effort, nearly winning and never giving up. Surgery to repair the ACL, torn cartilage and heal the bone bruise means the “Sicilian Psychopath” will be on the shelf for up to a year.
At Glory By Honor XI, Mike Mondo suffered a serious lower leg injury early in the match against the “Prodigy” Mike Bennett. Instead of forfeiting, Mondo gutted out an amazing effort, nearly winning and never giving up. Mondo will soon be seeing an orthopedic specialist to determine a course of treatment but early estimates put “No Fear” out of action for up to a year.
It is no accident that I duplicated the second line of the two proceeding paragraphs. Neither forfeited or stopped fighting. Both were gutsy and heroic in their efforts. Ciampa and Mondo both said they knew they were hurt but neither would give into the injury. No one would have thought less of them if they would have asked for their matches to be stopped but neither would entertain giving into that possibility.
Professional wrestlers are larger-than-life superheroes… where injured athletes continue to fight, refusing to give into the pain. I never stop marveling at how amazing and tough pro wrestlers are. These two Ring of Honor wrestlers went beyond toughness and were super-human for what they did in the face of cataclysmic injury.
I think about the fact that both New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis both went down with season-ending injuries this past weekend. Jeter was carried off with a broken ankle while Lewis tore a triceps tendon. Surgery awaits both and there is a real possibility that neither will ever see the field again. I have been thinking about Ciampa and Mondo and Jeter and Lewis.
But there is something about Ciampa and Mondo that I can’t get out of my head and that’s the fact that they gutted out their matches because they are warriors. True warriors. For the love of pro wrestling, they fought on. For the fans, who paid their hard-earned money to see them compete, they fought on.
For their own pride, ego, whatever you would call it, they fought on.
For Ring of Honor, they fought on.
And wouldn’t quit…
Now Ciampa and Mondo have long, painful, grueling roads of recovery that will be filled with progress and setback. While they are very different people outside the ring, there are a couple of strong similarities between the two. Both Ciampa and Mondo are obsessive workout freaks, who push themselves beyond human limits. Their patience will be tested, as healing will be slow and torturous. Mentally, they will be tested but they will not fail.
Because they are warriors.