What AEW TBS Champion Kris Statlander Learned While Sidelined By Injury

It's been a rollercoaster of emotions for Kris Statlander these last few years. But through the ups and downs, she has taken the time to reflect on herself and her career in professional wrestling. 

Since signing with AEW in 2019, Statlander has suffered two knee injuries, with her most recent occurring during an "AEW Dark" match against Sierra in August 2022. There, she sustained a tear to her ACL and lateral meniscus on her right leg.

With such a serious injury, Statlander knew she would be on the shelf for a while after undergoing surgery. While speaking with "Busted Open Radio," she explained some of the things she learned during her time away from the squared circle. As she took a step back from in-ring action, Statlander's perspective began to shift. Through this lens, she was able to develop a deeper appreciation for professional wrestling.

"There's a lot of things that you learn when you're out with such an extensive injury," Statlander said. "You learn a lot about yourself and how much wrestling means to you, and how much it sucks when something that you love gets taken away from you. But then, you also kind of learn to take a step back and watch as a fan, and you see how people react to things, and you see how everything is happening as a whole, and then you try to find your way to work back into things and see where you fit."

Fitting Back Into The Product

"Wrestling always evolves and changes," Kris Statlander continued. "And you kind of look to see how you can make yourself fit into where the product will be when you return. I think it was a lot more internal soul-searching that you learn about with an injury as opposed to just more moves or anything. You gotta start over and make sure that just you can still do what you used to do once you recover from an injury."

Luckily for Statlander, she maneuvered her way back to AEW quite well. After nine months away from the action, she surprised fans with a dramatic return at AEW Double or Nothing where she dethroned Jade Cargill to become the new TBS Champion, and in the process, she also snapped Cargill's undefeated streak. 

Statlander admitted she had some nerves heading into her match against Cargill, but after a moment of self-assurance, she burst through the curtain to accept Cargill's open challenge. Since winning the TBS Championship, she has already had three successful title defenses against the likes of Nyla Rose, Anna Jay, and Lady Frost.

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit "Busted Open" with a H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.