Shawn Phoenix
Photo Credit: Shawn Phoenix

Shawn Phoenix Says He Doesn’t Want To Be Defined By His Injury, Comments On Online Criticism And What Went Wrong

Shawn Phoenix was this week’s guest on the Wrestling With Reality Podcast with Jon Wanglund, Geoff Maxon, and Big Daddy J.

Phoenix is the Pittsburgh area wrestler that suffered serious injuries including a broken skull after he missed a 450 splash onto the floor at an October live event. Phoenix overshot the table after his opponent moved, and hit his head on the floor instead of going through the table.

As a result of the incident, he had injuries including a broken skull, bleeding from the brain, a broken ear canal, leaking spinal fluid from his ear, a concussion, paralysis in the left side of his face, and a torn tendon in his thumb.

When asked about why the spot went wrong, Phoenix addressed comments about the positioning of the table, saying that wasn’t the cause and he takes full responsibility. Phoenix went on to explain why he knows the botch occurred, noting the positioning of his feet didn’t give him a proper chance to perform the move correctly:

“I have been able to watch the footage and determine what I did wrong, if you’d like me to shed some light on that. Doing the move from the top rope—any move from the top rope, you stand on the ropes and face the mat—you have your left foot on the left side of the turnbuckle pad, and your right foot on the right side so you have a strong base. With [the move to the outside that caused the injury], I was on the turnbuckle, the metal piece of machinery that connects the post to the ropes. I was standing on that, basically like a tightrope—it was going horizontal through the soles of my feet—because of that I didn’t have the same base or foundation to support myself. I was basically balancing against a tightrope, and I can actually see [in the footage] that I was leaning at an angle before I jumped, so no matter which way I jumped, I would have overshot it.”

Phoenix said due to this, he wasn’t able to accommodate the angle of the jump.

While he did call leaving the hospital after only six days ‘remarkable’, he talked about the positive and negative criticism he received online, including comments from pro wrestling personalities and fans:

“It’s so easy to criticize a no name guy in [a GIF] on Twitter, they don’t know how severely I was affected. They don’t know what I went through. It’s super easy—I’m a nobody to them—so of course people are going to bad mouth me. I wanted to get it out there because I genuinely want to put a face and an injury together for a young kid that might have felt as invincible as I did, and stop and think that these risks are real.

Seeing how it affected my local Pittsburgh peers, hopefully it can change another life for the better. It takes so much to upset me; I’m so positive and words don’t mean anything to me. It’s just a reaction, and it seriously takes a lot to upset me. Surprisingly, only a handful of wrestling personalities have badmouthed me, but a lot of the replies have been positive, so that’s really cool. The fans—the people that I don’t know, those fans that have badmouthed me—that legitimately makes me laugh. They don’t care about me, they don’t know me, but they’re just looking to feel whole by chopping me down. It’s so silly to think that this random person is mad because I did this flip and I hurt myself; quit lying to yourself, you don’t care about me. You want to look smart and you want to look bigger than you are, which I think is hilarious.

That being said, I try to reply to everyone that takes time out of their day to give me an opinion. I feel like that’s the least that I can do if they were so motivated to give their input, not necessarily to argue, but to shed some light.”

Phoenix was also asked about comments made about him being poorly trained, including a tweet from Disco Inferno. He said it’s silly to blame the trainer for something he did, and made the comparison of blaming an automobile maker for an accident instead of the person driving the car. He went on to say if Disco feels that strongly or has genuine concerns he should get up, fly to Pittsburgh and host a seminar to teach the future generations of wrestlers how to work correctly.

When asked about how he would change his move set when he returns to the ring, Phoenix said he doesn’t think it’s going to negatively influence his wrestling. He went on to say that he doesn’t anticipate taking moves away, but plans on adding them:

“I don’t want to be defined by this injury, and I feel like if I couldn’t do anything because of it, I’d be admitting defeat. I may think twice about doing a high-risk maneuver, but I don’t plan on changing anything. If anything, I plan on adding more things to my move set. I’m thinking about ‘oh this is a cool move’ or I should really do a Skull Crushing Finale—that’s funny because I broke my skull. I don’t plan on taking anything away.”

Phoenix says he was supposed to go to physical therapy, but signs of vertigo had delayed things. He will go back in on January 4th for testing and will see if there’s a new timetable for clearance after that.

If fans were wondering how they could help out, Phoenix has merchandise on his Pro Wrestling Tees store, but said he’d like to use him platform to help a friend and wrestling fan Kayden out. Kayden has a GoFundMe account open because he is in need of a bone marrow transplant; the fundraiser details could be found here.

(Transcription credit to Bill Pritchard for 

Indie Wrestler Shawn Phoenix Breaks Skull In 450 Splash Gone Wrong (Video)

The match took place at International Wrestling Cartel’s live event back on October 6th in Elizabeth, PA; he is from Pittsburgh, PA and has wrestled for IWC, Ryse, Blackcraft Wrestling and other promotions in the area.

The full episode of Wrestling With Reality is available to listen to on the following platforms: