Being one of the last trainees of the infamous Hart Dungeon, it is easy to assume professional wrestling is in Tyson Kidd's DNA. While Kidd is married to the Hart family's Natalya, he has no blood relation to the famous wrestling pedigree. Speaking on The New Day: Feel the Power podcast, Kidd revealed he first became interested in wrestling when his cousin showed him a match.
"Initially, my cousin showed me some wrestling," Kidd said. "The first match I saw was Demolition vs. Killer Bees. For some reason, it really stuck out, but then, I would try moves on my younger sister. Wrestling became a banned show at my house. So, I wasn't allowed to watch wrestling. I would watch one or two episodes.
"Then, Teddy Hart friended me when I was 10 years old and his whole family is so involved with wrestling that I was just surrounded by it. SummerSlam 1992, Bret vs. Davey Boy is the match where something clicked. I didn't realize wrestling could look like this. That technical match, I can't explain it. At that point, I didn't meet Bret. I met Davey. That whole schedule, we didn't see them very often."
After a few successful WWE Tag Title runs, Kidd suffered a near-fatal neck injury in a 2015 dark match. The initial diagnosis had Kidd away from the ring for well over a year. While not being able to wrestle was hard, Kidd said being away from the locker room was the most difficult.
"When I got hurt with my neck injury, being away from the talent was the hardest part of that time," Kidd said. "I [missed] being around everybody even more than I miss being in the ring. So, now I'm allowed to be back around everybody in a producer. I don't have that in-ring part anymore in terms of me performing my match. Now, it's other people performing a match with my kind of creation."
Kidd's injury required 16 staples, four screws, and a rod inserted in his neck. The former member of the Hart Dynasty spoke on the grueling surgery process, noting his wife and former tag team partner were by his side the entire time.
"With my neck, it was insanity," Kidd said."And when they got the MRI results at the hospital in San Antonio, all of a sudden, they don't want to alarm me right away. I'm just sitting there and the friend that he is, Cesaro is there. He's there for all of this and of course, Nattie is there. They went in like a SWAT Team. They said, 'Sir, don't move. We're going to cut off. Your injury is so bad. Any slight movement can be catastrophic.' I was thinking maybe these guys were exaggerating for a little bit. I know that my neck's hurt. I know that very well. Maybe they were taking extra precautions.
"I go through the whole night not knowing what is my injury. The doctor comes in in the morning. Literally, Cesaro stayed in the hotel for a few hours and left at five in the morning. Cesaro just got there and literally, the doctor comes in and he's like, 'The MRI results came up and they are what the first plate showed me. I want to do emergency surgery. During that night, I already concluded that I probably wouldn't wrestle again. I was in so much pain. The things they were settling were rattling around my head. I look over and I see Cesaro wiping a tear away. With an injury at this level, only the best is going to cut you in."
After the surgery and accepting his in-ring days were over, Kidd began his road to recovery. He noted that the healing process was very different than how he worked through his past injuries.
"After surgery, they said a key phrase to a lot of people who get injured," Kidd said. "My other injury was I tore my knee, but that was different because I can do rehab. With my neck, it's a different story. They fuse a bone in my neck and I just have to let the diffusion take place and the way by doing that is not having that much movement. Very much the opposite of what my knee was. It was a lot of me not being allowed to do a lot physically. It was very much the opposite of what I like to do. It was a process especially mentally, in terms of telling myself not doing anything today.
"To go from working five days a week to zero, I had that before with my knee, but I knew was going to come back and get cleared. When you get hurt, you also make friends with people who also had neck injuries like Kurt Angle. I was a big fan of his, but I didn't know him and all of a sudden he gets my phone number and he's calling me and texting me. Steve Austin, same thing, because I was in Texas and he was having his people look at my surgeons that I was going to go to."
Rumors swirled of an in-ring return for Kidd after videos showed him running the ropes earlier this year. Kidd revealed he went as far as to approach Vince McMahon about a brief return, but the WWE Chairman wouldn't clear him.
"I kind of did. I wanted to close that book of me being an in-ring performer," Kidd said. "I thought what better way than the Royal Rumble, in terms of I wouldn't have to get slammed. I remember talking to Vince about it. He said, 'Do you need an answer today or do I need time to think about it?' I said, 'Of course take your time. Take as much time as you need.' When I was presenting to him, I said, 'I can even do next year's, Royal Rumble. It can be anytime.'
"He called me one day and said he put a lot of thought into it and we would try to control everything in or end, but what if something outside of our realm were to happen and it was to undo all the good that has happened over the last two years in terms of me being a cruiserweight. His thoughts were why risk that--in my mind, his visual was me coming from the entrance and getting hit from behind and whiplashes me and my neck's super messed up."
While Kidd didn't get the answer he was looking for, he said he knew Vince was doing the right thing.
"I remember thinking, okay, I offered this to Vince and he had two weeks to put solid thought to it and this was his answer. I had this visual in my mind of somebody coming and pushing me. Three months later, what happens at the Hall of Fame? Some dude slides in and takes Bret and Nattie down. This is almost like what I envisioned happening to me and I remember thinking that almost as a sign of, 'Okay, I know what I'm supposed to be doing. yes, it would be cool if I could write the final page of my in ring career, but I can't.'
"When Vince told me that he put a lot of thought into it and just couldn't clear me, I'd say I was 40% disappointed and 60% relieved. As we were talking, I felt that anxiety leave my system. So, I don't have that anymore, but I do get a lot of fulfillment on the matches that I produce. I can almost get the same fulfillment."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The New Day: Feel the Power with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.