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Determinator / Professional Wrestling

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  • Fans may know the Harley Race who voices the decisions of the Global Honored Crown to be barely mobile, but it took him a long time to get there. Not long after becoming a professional wrestler he was involved in a car crash that killed his wife and nearly tore off his leg, but he survived and returned to the ring with all of his limbs. He was taken out of the ring again when a table leg ruptured his abdomen after a splash through it, but he returned again after surgery. He nearly drowned after a boat crash but made his way from the water and continued to wrestle. After a shoulder injury he was outright told to retire and did for a short bit, becoming a manager in WCW, but eventually the lure of the ring became too strong. Ultimately his career was ended by yet another car crash that required hip surgery.
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  • In 1975, back when Ric Flair was still a three hundred pound super heavyweight, he, David Crockett, "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods, Bob Bruggers, and Johnny Valentine were involved in a plane crash. Among the injuries, Mr. Wrestling suffered broken ribs and a concussion, but since he was a baby face, he couldn't let word get out that he had been traveling with a group of heels and had to immediately return to the ring and wrestle while the rest spent the rest of the year recovering from their injuries before making their in ring returns. The reslilence shown by Woods helped preserve kayfabe with the casual audience for another decade.
  • NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion Danny Hodge was in a car accident that broke his neck and flung him from the road into a bayou. He swam to shore with one hand while holding his head stable with the other and then walked to the nearest settlement while continuing to hold his neck steady until he could get medical treatment.
  • Pretty much every main event Face in Professional Wrestling since Hulk Hogan, and half the Heels too. Incidentally, being a Determinator is one of the things that can make a heel a Draco in Leather Pants. It worked for "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, after all. In fact, wrestling actually has so many Determinators running around, that it actually has a contest to see who the biggest Determinator actually is: the I Quit Match, a special Gimmick Match in which the only way for the match to end is for one of the participants to say "I Quit" into a live mic in front of the thousands of fans in the arena and the millions watching at home. Naturally, I Quit matches tend to be among the most brutal affairs one can see in wrestling.
    • Austin lost his "I Quit" match vs. Bret Hart by passing out while in Hart's "Sharpshooter" hold, rather than submit. He'd rather deal with enough pain to make him lose consciousness than give up. That was just about the turning point...
    • Later, when Austin made his Face–Heel Turn at WrestleMania X-Seven by selling out to Vince McMahon four years later, he was put in a cage match with the Rock the next night. At one point, The Rock put him in the Sharpshooter just like Hart had. This time, Austin started tapping out almost immediately and would have lost the match had Vince not distracted the referee. Symbolically taking away the thing that made him famous in the first place, this pretty much locked in Stone Cold's status as the new heel (as well as him beating up on announcer Jim Ross).
    • Applies in real life as well. Austin's neck was infamously broken in a ring accident when Owen Hart botched a Tombstone Piledriver on him. Despite being temporarily paralyzed and in agony he still pinned Hart to win the match.
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  • Terry Funk, both in Kayfabe and Real Life. During a tag team match in All Japan Pro Wrestling in 1977, Abdullah the Butcher and the Sheik (Ed Farhat) cut up Funk's arms to the point that his brother Dory Funk Jr. had to take over against both foreign madmen. Funk rolled out of the ring, got his arms taped up while in the crowd, and came back in the ring to continue the match, which the Funks won by DQ. After spending years in gruelling matches around the world, most wrestlers adopt a safer style to protect their mobility and avoid serious injury. Funk decided instead to start taking part in gruesome Japanese Deathmatches involving barbed wire, fire and broken glass. He also spent much of the 1990s in ECW, where he was severely burned by a flaming chair shot and badly lacerated and almost garroted in the Born To Be Wired match mentioned above, among other pleasantries. He also had the bright idea as he approached his 50s, to start incorporating Moonsaults into his moveset, which almost invariably led to him landing on the concrete floor, the steel barricade or piles of foreign objects. In Beyond the Mat, Funk's doctor examines him and tells him that his knees are so badly damaged that he shouldn't even be able to walk, let alone wrestle. Heeding this advice, Funk only continued to wrestle in hardcore matches for another ten years or so.
  • Kenta fucking Kobashi. This defined him. He lost over 60 matches in a row in AJPW, was constantly pinned in tag matches, and overall was made to look like he just barely lost for quite some time. This even worked its way into his finisher, the Burning Hammer, where he was so determined to beat rival/friend Mitsuharu Misawa he had to invent a move that no has kicked out of yet.
  • Jacqueline once separated her shoulder in a match with Candi Devine in Kansas early in her career and finished the match.
  • All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling had this enshrined in their motto, "Victory Through Guts".
  • Madusa was named the most inspirational wrestler of 1990 in Zenjo after her nose was broken for the fourth time.
  • Davey Boy Smith went into the main event at SummerSlam 92 with a raging staph infection in his knee that had taken him out of action for two months. Nobody was sure if he could carry his part of the match, but he did and he won the Intercontinental Title from his brother-in-law Bret Hart in front of over eighty thousand fans in his homeland.
  • The Sheik and Bobo Brazil are often cited as two professional wrestlers who went too long and should have retired years beforehand. During his sixties in May of 1992, The Sheik teamed up with Sabu against Atsushi Onita and Tarzan Goto in a No Ropes Barbed Wire Fire Death Match which went to a No-Contest when the wrestlers refused to stay in the ring after it started melting. The Sheik was the last wrestler to leave the ring and suffered third degree burns as a result. Once he was out of the ring Sabu threw water on The Sheik and the Sheik berated Sabu because that prevented him from throwing a fireball at the fleeing Onita and Goto! Only after the match was officially called off did The Sheik agree to go to the hospital and have his burns treated.
  • MATT. FUCKING. HARDY. JEFF. FUCKING. HARDY. Both of them proved to be a determinator during any time they were baby faces, in fact, in Matt's latest Face–Heel Turn a significant change was he gave up in a match as a way to prove he was no longer the good ol' Matt we all loved to watch. Before that his Nickname was 'the man who will not die'. After his girlfriend cheated on him with Adam "Edge" Copeland and his contract expired at the same time, they waited a while before re-signing him so they could have the storyline of him taking them both on in a super Roaring Rampage of Revenge that only ended when in a Ladder match, Edge knocked him onto the ropes & tied him down while evil Ex Lita put him in a crucifix hold, literally meaning you have to hold him down & tie him to something to make him stop.
  • The Great Sasuke was taking on Último Dragón in the finals of a J Cup Tournament for all eight belts. Early on in the match, Sasuke takes a diving kick to the head. Aside from being a bit loopy for a moment, he went on to win the match. It was later revealed that he had wrestled the entire match with his skull fractured and nearly broken and he kept on fighting despite it, either enduring or ignoring the pain that had to be going through him.
  • Kurt Angle won a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics "with a broken freakin' neck!" He's only gotten more unstoppable since.
  • ECW's Sabu LIVES this trope. He has been cut up in barbed-wire matches, wrestled with broken bones, had some of his TEETH knocked out when he missed a table spot and only took TWO nights off, despite doctors telling him he would have needed to have his jaw wired. In his infamous ECW Born To Be Wired barbed-wire match with Terry Funk, Sabu tore his bicep completely open on the barbed wire and continued to take punishment from Funk while repairing the wound with masking tape, before finishing the match (which only ended when both men were so tangled up together in barbed wire that they had to be cut apart by ring technicians armed with pliers).
  • Triple H is also an example. In what was probably the greatest tag team match in Raw history, which also had "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit involved, he tore his quad muscles about right before he was supposed to be put in a Walls of Jericho (Jericho's signature submission hold) on the announcer table. Jericho asked him if he should think of something else to do, and Triple H told him to carry on with the spot. This probably hurt like something that would have hurt like hell, but Chris Jericho, who throughout his autobiography is not too fond of Triple H, put it best- "That right there is a tough mofo."
    • This Troper remembers that match fondly and, after knowing happened to Trips during that match, made me swear to never question the man's loyalty to the business nor his will to see those things through to the end. The WWE fanbase apparently was in this mindset as well, given the return MSG gave The Game when he returned.
  • Who can forget Mick Foley's Hell in a Cell Match against The Undertaker. Mick's a determinator to begin with.
    • Ironically, Mick's had two high-profile "I quit" matches and lost both of them. However, neither was because of the pain being too much. In the first match, the Rock cheated by playing a recording of Mick yelling "I quit! I quit!! I QUIT!!!" (from a pre-match taunt) while Foley was on his face unconscious. The second match was a loss because Ric Flair threatened to harm Melina Perez if he didn't quit. Caring more about Melina's safety than his own reputation, Mick obliged. (Melina promptly pulled a Face–Heel Turn.)
  • During a Unified Triple Crown match in January of 1999, Toshiaki Kawada hit Mitsuharu Misawa with a back fist so hard that he broke his own wrist and forearm. He proceeded to not only wrestle for another fifteen minutes in this state but won the match by inventing a new move, which was dubbed the "original power bomb" or "ganso bomb" when his broken bones made a regular power bomb impossible.
  • On that note, Mitsuharu Misawa himself, given two of pro wrestling's biggest stars had to invent the two top contenders for the most dangerous move in pro wrestling just to defeat him. His never say die attitude applied in the ring and out of it, on camera and off, and it ultimately proved to be Misawa's end. Fans liked Misawa, but they didn't like his hand picked successor Go Shiozaki, so Misawa literally worked himself to death in Pro Wrestling NOAH trying to get Shiozaki over.
  • During the road to becoming Ring of Honor's first pure wrestling champion, it seemed everyone had conspired to target AJ Styles's knee, but in spite of every opponent in every round going after it, including CM Punk dropping it on concrete in the finals, he still won the belt.
  • This is how Austin Aries usually beat Bryan Danielson. Danielson usually proved to be the superior wrestler, especially during the early ROH days of Aries and Generation Next, but even during their Testing The Limit match where Aries really only had the advantage once during a forty five minute time span that he spent the majority of being dominated as Danielson worked to break Aries down from the neck all the way down to his toes, he still couldn't beat Aries simply because he wouldn't quit, leading Danielson to make a mistake during a tope in his over zealousness to finally put Aries away.
  • Bryan Danielson, both on and off the clock. He continued defending the Ring of Honor World Championship belt for three months with a separated shoulder, just so that his Story Arc could play out properly; this included an epic 45-minute match with KENTA (who is coincidentally Kenta Kobashi's protege) in which KENTA spent most of the match kicking Danielson in the shoulder, only for Danielson to power through the pain and become the first ROH wrestler to defeat KENTA.
    • It's how he went from scrawny nobody to World Champion beloved by entire stadiums. Wrestlemania 30 was the crowning indicator of this, as Danielson went 50 minutes (on a 4-hour card) with an injured shoulder, against Triple H, Batista, and Randy Orton, the latter two in a triple-threat match, all three of whom outweigh him by a few dozen pounds, to win the grand prize on the biggest stage of them all.
  • This is how John Cena has been presented since 2005: As a man who may not be the strongest or biggest, but will never ever give up even when the odds are stacked against him. He even has "Never Give Up" appear on his shirts as a slogan of sorts. This also implies real life: if he's been injured and taken surgery, expect him coming back into the ring within at least half the amount of time it takes normal people.
    • It's the sole reason he won't lose any "I Quit" matches.
  • Nigel McGuinness proves that Bryan Danielson isn't the only determinator to hold the ROH World Championship belt. This man, whose signature maneuvers are a wide array of lariats, tore both his biceps towards the end of his title reign. Rather than drop the belt, McGuinness changed his wrestling style to show that even without use of his biggest weapons, or his arms in general, he was still willing to defend his title in any way possible. Much like Danielson, he also defeated KENTA, also while being kicked mercilessly in his arms throughout the match. Two years later, it's still difficult to watch him crumple in pain clutching his biceps while trying to put on a memorable show for the fans.
  • As CM Punk once noted about The Undertaker, "I know what it takes to put him down; I don't know what it takes to keep him down".
    • The Undertaker's embodiment of this trope is even more evident when he wrestles at WrestleMania. For reasons unknown (in kayfabe), The Undertaker cannot be defeated at WrestleMania. Period. It got to the point that, at WrestleMania XVII against Triple H, Undertaker had been beaten so badly that Jerry Lawler (on commentary) remarked that the way Undertaker was struggling to do his signature sit-up indicated that his nervous system was basically all but destroyed by the physical damage he'd taken. Once again... Triple H kicked The Undertaker's ass so badly that Undertaker's nervous system was on the verge of being irreparably destroyed. And Undertaker won the match. It's like Implacable Man and Determinator all in one.
  • Chris Jericho wrestles with one ACL note . Independent wrestler MsChif wrestles with none.
    • Earlier in his career, Jericho wrestled with a forearm bone broken earlier that day from a failed attempt to learn the shooting star press. It wound up being the bloodiest match in the history of SMW, achieving the fabled ranking of 1 on the Muta Scale.
  • Ivelisse Vélez is unfortunately known for losing two opportunities with WWE to injury, but less known is the nine years she wrestled with a torn rotatory cuffnote . In an interview in which it was brought up, she ensured it had steadily been getting better over time.
  • If you watched WWE in the summer of 2011, these annoying words should sound familiar too: Just One More Match
  • Zack Ryder is slowly working his way up: from nobody to "Internet Champion" to WWE United States Heavyweight Champion, he worked his ass off to get far. And in the month of January 2012, he's been battered, bruised, beaten and broken at the hands of Kane and yet it took the Big Red Monster the whole month to get that guy down to the ground.
  • One year after leaving it all behind, 911 Wrestling's magazine put La Rosa Negra on the top of a list of the toughest women wrestlers in the fifty states. Toward the start of the year she received a concussion in a match with Su Yung that left her unable to stand for more than a minute before collapsing and still finished the match with a frog splash before stumbling her way out of the arena. Later she would be told she required reconstructive surgery on both her ACLs following a match with Datura in World Wonder Ring STARDOM, a match where she defeated Datura with a death valley bomb and frog splash in spite barely being able to stand and in tears due to her knees, but ended up back in wrestling shape through self rehab when insurance wouldn't pay for the operation soon enough for her liking. This effort got her nemesis Malia Hosaka to break kayfabe and start a go fund me campaign to get La Rosa surgery.
  • This is a major element of Dolph Ziggler's character- the guy just will not stay down, despite being on the lighter side of the roster (and using a number of high-risk, self-destructive moves). More in-depth details can be found on his Awesome page, but for now we only need to mention one: 2014 Survivor Series, where he took savage beatings from Rusev, Kane, Luke Harper and Seth Rollins (making him the designated Ricky Morton in the 5-on-5 tag match between Team Cena and Team Authority) and yet managed to single-handedly take out all four of them himself (Rusev by count-out after dodging a table-to-table splash outside the ring, Harper by roll-up and Kane and Rollins with the Zig Zag) to be the last man standing and win it for his team.


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