Ken Kennedy suffered an unusually severe muscle tear that will take him out of the ring for six months in the middle of the WWE European tour over two weeks ago.
Kennedy tore his latissimus dorsi muscle in Milan, Italy on November 17 but finished the tour and attempted to continue working with the injury until it revealed itself to be too serious, according to WWE.
“I had torn it completely off the bone and the doctors said I needed surgery — that it couldn’t be rehabbed,” said Kennedy on the WWE website. “The doctor estimated that it will be three months before I can even start strengthening it or rehabbing it, and then an additional three months before I can set foot in the ring. So, six months.”
For Kennedy, the 29-year-old boisterous wrestler said to be one of Vince McMahon’s favorite acts, the injury is a significant setback. He only started going on tour with WWE in late August, debuting on Smackdown after being under a developmental contract for only six months, and catching the eye of fans with his memorable ring entrance in which he criticizes ring announcer Tony Chimmel and introduces himself as “Mr. Kennedy—Kennedy” in homage to a classic boxing ring introduction. In light of catching on quickly with fans and a lack of significant star power on Smackdown, he became one of the most heavily pushed young talents in the company despite limitations as a wrestler.
Kennedy has been off television for the past episode of Smackdown and the PPV prior to that, Survivor Series, and his departure does not interfere with any immediate or ongoing storylines. He will have surgery on Tuesday.
The injury, which recalled a similar situation with World Champion Batista only two weeks prior, was thorough. One of Kennedy’s latissimus dorsi muscles, a broad muscle in the middle-to-lower back that regulates arm and shoulder movement, ripped from the bone it is connected to. Complete recovery will require surgery to reconnect the muscle tendon to the bone and extensive targeted physical rehabilitation for the muscle to return to proper form.
Batista’s injury was less severe—the muscle tore slightly and rolled up in his back according to reports from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter—and he was given the option to either connect it in surgery and take three months off or simply rehabilitate it and lose only up to six weeks. Though surgery would ensure more complete recovery, Batista decided that either the injury was not severe enough to warrant surgery or that the time off would hurt his career.
Batista remains World Champion as a result of that decision. Without similar options, Kennedy is not likely to even be at what was supposed to be his first Wrestlemania next year. Kennedy can only hope that the injury will not interfere with his career.
“Well, I don’t want to wait six months before I come back,” said Kennedy. “I think there are other things I can do to contribute to the show without actually being in the ring wrestling. But, hopefully now there will be some time to think about things. I want to make an impact when I come back. I don’t want to just take a little run to first base; I want to knock one out of the park and round the bases.”