Hayabusa’s Horrific Injury That Paralyzed Him In The Ring

Hayabusa’s wrestling injury is one of the most gruesome in the history of the sport, and left him paralysed for almost his entire life.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling made waves in Japan as the home of some of the most crazy wrestling ever seen.

Founded by legendary Japanese star Atsushi Onita, FMW found its niche with Death Match wrestling, a brutal, ultra-violent form of pro-wrestling.

Barbed wire ropes, flaming tables and exploding bombs (no, really) were common in the biggest matches for FMW. They innovated the infamous Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match that would later be used by Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega in AEW.

The company hosted a number of worldwide stars and legends of the wrestling business. Icons like Terry Funk, Cactus Jack, Kenta Kobashi, Aja Kong and Rob Van Dam all plied their trade within FMW, putting on some incredible matches and creating memorable moments.

However, alongside Onita, one man stands head and shoulders above the rest. That man is Hayabusa, and this article is about the horrific injury that left him paralysed in the FMW ring.

Hayabusa’s Injury

Considered the ace of FMW from 1995 to 2001, Hayabusa was a phenomenal in-ring talent. The masked wrestler was a high-flying god, performing flips and high-flying moves that nobody had ever seen before.

His real name was Eiji Ezaki, but he crafted the Hayabusa character during his excursions to Mexico in the early 1990s. Inspired by Mexican stars and ECW icon Sabu, he crafted his own unique wrestling style that none had the talent to imitate.

Wrestling primarily for Atsushi Onita in FMW, Hayabusa quickly became the top star in the company, winning his first Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Championship the same year he returned from Mexico.

He continued to wrestle as the ace of the company (meaning the top star in Japan) for Frontier Martial Arts until 2001, when a disaster would strike to end his career once and for all.

During a match on October 22, 2001, FMW wrestler Hayabusa would suffer a career-ending injury after going for a springboard moonsault off the middle rope. This was a standard move from his arsenal and had very little chance to go wrong.

However, there’s always a chance for something to go wrong. While trying to springboard off the middle rope, Hayabusa’s foot slipped. He tried to rotate into a backflip, but instead only managed to flick his head and neck back.

He fell straight to the ground, slamming his head onto the mat. His neck was arched as he tried to perform a backflip safely, which only increased the damage suffered due to the botch.

The match was immediately called off. Hayabusa could not wrestle. He could not move, as the move had broke two of his vertebrae and left him paralysed. He was confined to a wheelchair for the majority of his life.

However, in 2015 Hayabusa shocked the world. The former wrestler managed to walk to the ring during a wrestling show, aided by a crutch and the support of his fellow wrestlers.

It was a remarkable achievement and a testament to over a decade of work and struggle from Hayabusa. The Japanese star would sadly pass away a year later, but his legacy as a trailblazer in wrestler has never been forgotten.

Many current day stars have been inspired by Hayabusa’s wrestling. Pro-wrestlers like A.J. Styles, Jack Evans, Kalisto, PAC and Chris Jericho have all claimed to have been influenced by the FMW legend, and his legacy will be felt for decades to come.

Will Ospreay even paid tribute to Hayabusa during a NJPW show. Before his match against Shota Umino at the NJPW and STARDOM Historic X-Over event, Ospreay wore a Hayabusa mask created by the original mask maker himself. He then took to social media to explain the significance behind the tribute.

Ok costume last night has a lil story.

Hayabusa is one of my favourites of all time. In May this year I wanted to wear the mask as a tribute but I wanted to have the families blessing instead of not giving back to them. I took Hayabusa daughter out for lunch and asked for the blessing and how much it would be an honour to wear the mask. She was so kind she allowed me to pay tribute to her father. No hesitation said yes immediately.

The mask is made by the original mask maker himself “Kuniharu Yamagata/naughty boy” And is helping by selling the mask on the fans and the money going towards the family.

It was meant to be in May but I got covid and the timing was a little weird giving the circumstances. But it was either today or never. So happy and blessed that you enjoyed the costume.

Please buy “Hayabusa” official merch so they get the money and show everyone how much I love him.

Thank you so much for the biggest honour of my life.

Former AEW and WWE Champion Chris Jericho then weighed in, calling it “so call” and “what an honor!”

Other Wrestlers Who Were Paralyzed In The Ring

Hayabusa’s injury was a tragic part of wrestling history, and sadly was not the only time a wrestler has been paralyzed in the ring. A number of top wrestlers in Japan, America and all over the world have suffered from horrendous injuries to their neck and spine that have cost them the use of their legs.

Some of these wrestlers include fellow Japanese star Yoshihiro Takayama, who suffered total paralysis after after executing a simple sunset flip during a match in 2017, WWE legend “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and even the legendary Icon, Sting.

Click here to learn more about wrestlers who were paralyzed during matches.

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