Last month’s Rival Turf was one of the most memorable events in IPW history. Pirate Burns turned his back on The Origin to join The Investment, Britenay and Evie engaged in a wild fight for the women’s title, Fury and Travis Banks wrestled a match of the year contender with the IPW Championship on the line, and James Shaw suffered a career-threatening injury.
“It was in the Rival Turf Capture the Flag Match when I came off the rope where I heard a pop in my left knee, which then took me out of the match,” Shaw told told NZPWI.
That pop turned out to be the tearing of Shaw’s medial collateral ligament (MCL) – one of the four main ligaments in the knee, joining the shinbone to the thighbone.
Shaw was already wrestling on a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in his right knee, sustained during Wellington Armageddon earlier this year. The PCL injury on its own didn’t stop him competing in IPW, or even travelling twice to Australia, but two knee injuries are enough to rule anyone out of the game.
“With both knees injured at the moment it’s pretty much impossible for me to wrestle now,” he told NZPWI. “I can hardly walk.”
There’s never a good time to get injured, but Shaw’s knee injuries have come at a particularly inopportune time. The fan-favourite has strung together a series of wins in 2014, with only three losses over the course of the year, and wins around Australasia – including Sydney’s PWA, where he beat Adam Hoffman in spite of his torn PCL.
“I started to build up enough momentum to be a serious contender for Liam [Fury]’s title,” Shaw said. “I had all the support from everyone in the crowd, which was a humbling experience, but I need to take some time off now. Seven-and-a-half years without a break and working for two companies at the same time has finally caught up to me [laughs].”
Shaw could require up to four months away from the ring to recover, meaning he will be on the sidelines for the rest of 2014’s IPW events, including September Selection and Nightmare Before Xmas.
“I’ve never taken time off before, and wrestling is my life,” he admits, “so it’s gonna be a hard time for me. All the support from you guys will help though.”