Highs and lows have marked Kris Statlander's journey in professional wrestling, and she has endured a tumultuous few years. However, during her time on the sidelines due to injury, she took the opportunity to reflect on her career and personal growth.
Since joining AEW in 2019, Statlander has faced significant setbacks, with two knee injuries interrupting her progress. Her most recent injury occurred during an "AEW Dark" match against Sierra in August 2022, resulting in a tear to her ACL and lateral meniscus in her right leg.
Knowing she would face a considerable recovery following surgery, Statlander utilized the time away from the ring to gain valuable insights. Speaking on "Busted Open Radio," she shared some lessons she learned during her absence.
Stepping back from the physical demands of wrestling allowed her perspective to shift, deepening her appreciation for the sport. "When you're out with such a serious injury, you learn a lot about yourself and the significance of wrestling in your life," Statlander explained.
"It's heartbreaking when something you love is taken away from you. But you also can observe, as a fan, witnessing the industry's reactions and overall dynamics. It's about finding your place and figuring out how to reintegrate."
Statlander's Soul-Searching Journey
Statlander emphasized the importance of adapting to the ever-evolving nature of wrestling.
"The sport is constantly changing," she said. "You have to assess how you can fit into the future landscape of the product upon your return. It involves more than learning new moves; it's a soul-searching journey. You start from scratch, ensuring you can still deliver what you were capable of before the injury." Fortunately, Statlander made a triumphant return to AEW after a nine-month absence.
Surprising fans at AEW Double or Nothing, she seized the opportunity to dethrone Jade Cargill and capture the TBS Championship, simultaneously breaking Cargill's undefeated streak. Although she experienced nervousness before facing Cargill, Statlander overcame her doubts and confidently accepted the open challenge.
Since becoming the TBS Champion, she has successfully defended her title against formidable opponents like Nyla Rose, Anna Jay, and Lady Frost. Statlander's injury-induced hiatus allowed her to gain valuable self-insight and a fresh perspective on wrestling.
Her triumphant return to the ring and impressive championship reign has proven her resilience and determination to overcome obstacles in pursuing her passion for professional wrestling.