Although it’s a scripted and largely choreographed spectacle, professional wrestling is still a brutal business in which broken bones, dislocations and concussions are daily occupational hazards.
So it seems rather peculiar that the most talked-about wrestling injury in recent memory is, of all things, an infected finger.
In fact, the infection went “viral” this past week, in the sense that it sparked a (sarcastic) sympathy campaign that trended worldwide on Twitter.
Colt Cabana, a popular comedic wrestler on the independent circuit (i.e., not WWE), figures he suffered a small cut in a less-than-sanitary wrestling ring, possibly during a recent tour of Australia. After failing to adequately clean the cut using his own methods (hot water and some tweezers), he checked himself into a Los Angeles hospital, where he was told he was likely just days away from losing the finger entirely, if not his whole hand.
After posting a picture of himself on Twitter — pouting, with the bandaged finger draped over a teddy bear — his fans showed their tongue-in-cheek support using the hashtag #SaveColtsFinger. It caught on. Silly memes followed, each depicting fingers in various states of distress, accompanied by the rallying cry of “Save Colt’s Finger.”
For a wrestler who doesn’t have the WWE marketing machine behind him, Cabana’s global popularity is unique — maybe even unprecedented. It’s thanks largely to his wrestling/comedy podcast, the Art of Wrestling, which gives fans a peek behind the curtain of typically secretive wrestling business.
Tens of thousands of listeners tune in each week to hear Cabana’s tales from his peculiar line of work, and his shop-talk conversations with his wrestling friends (and “foes”).
I chatted with Cabana the other day for a story on a wrestling website, and asked him what he thought about getting so much attention for what is possibly wrestling’s most unimpressive injury ever.
“It seems fitting for me,” replied Cabana. “I think the silliness that I bring to the world of wrestling goes hand-in-hand – or, I guess, finger-in-finger – with something as weird and random as this injury.”