Few wrestling fans can forget Lex Luger’s underdog win against Hulk Hogan to become the World Heavyweight Championship. Luger told WWE:

“The night in Detroit when I won the WCW title against Hulk Hogan. The response I never forget. It was incredible in Detroit that night. And in the exact same building where I didn’t win back in ‘93.”

The win was arguably the highest point in a career that didn’t quite live up to its potential. Nevertheless, Luger was one of the biggest and most recognizable wrestling stars of the ‘90s and early ‘00s. His career ended in calamity, but he’s made an incredible recovery. 

Lex primarily uses a wheelchair and can walk short distances

Lex Luger
Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Theathletic

Lex started feeling discomfort in his neck during a 2007 flight to San Francisco. The tissue in his neck was placing too much pressure on a nerve, causing a pinched nerve. The condition caused a spinal infarction and paralysis from the neck down. Luger told WWE:

“The way I had turned my neck while sitting on the plane had basically cut off my blood flow. It was just a freak accident but it caused massive swelling from my C6 [vertebra], at the base of my neck, to my D5 in my chest. It paralyzed me from the neck down.”

The physicians told Lex that he would remain paralyzed for the rest of his life and require round-the-clock care. However, through antibiotic treatment and rehabilitation, Lex defied expectations and regained most of his mobility. 

He continued: “My recovery has been just phenomenal. Now I live on my own, I’m walking and I’m thankful for that. Nobody knows if I’ll make a 100% recovery but I’ve gotten so much back already… more than anybody would have ever thought.”

Lex primarily uses a wheelchair but can walk short distances if required. He told Sports Illustrated

“Other than my mobility issues from my spinal cord issue, I’m very healthy, and that’s a miracle of God after what I put my body through. I usually use a wheelchair or a walker, but I can walk some.”

Luger told Sports Illustrated he plans to walk when he gets inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame: “I might pop out of the chair for that. I would take that chance, if that moment comes. That honor would be the cherry on top of my career.”

Luger’s chances of Hall of Fame induction have increased following Vince McMahon’s departure as CEO. According to insiders, Vince was reluctant to induct Lex because he was in a wheelchair. With Triple H in charge, Lex might soon join the Hall of Fame. 

“Lex Luger said if he was to get a WWE Hall of Fame induction, he would walk onto the stage,” Booker T said. “Man wouldn’t that be something special?”

Luger lost his famous physique but claims to be in good health overall

Luger’s suffered paralysis two years after retiring from wrestling. By his retirement, Luger’s life was a mess due to drug and alcohol abuse. 

Having failed to bag a lucrative contract with WWE after WCW’s downfall, Luger had a lot of free time, which he spent taking drugs with his lover Miss. Elizabeth. She passed away in 2003 after taking a lethal combo of vodka and painkillers. WCW boss Eric Bischoff said in an episode of A&E’s WWE Legends:

“I was devastated, and I was angry as hell at Lex, which is really immature on my part, because she made her own decisions and choices — she was an adult woman. I felt that Lex took advantage of her and influenced her and led her down that path. I blamed Lex for a long time.”

The death drove Luger deeper into drug use; huger didn’t care for life and even contemplated suicide. Lex said his life changed after meeting Pastor Steve Baskin, who helped the former wrestler embrace Christianity. Luger said:

“I got down on my knees and prayed. I’d never done that in my life. When I got done, I was weeping. I made a full commitment to come clean and ask for forgiveness and ask for Jesus to come into my heart … I felt an instant peace. I felt like I got power-washed from the inside out by the whole experience.”

Luger has lost his famous physique and part of his ability to walk, but he lives a wholesome life. “I’ve never been stronger or richer in spirit or as a man as I am right now,” he told The Atlanta Journal.