Japanese wrestling legend Genichiro Tenryu has finally being discharged from hospital, 10 months after first being admitted.
Genichiro Tenryu, aged 73, retired in November 2015 and recently left the hospital after approximately 10 months of medical care.
Around September of the previous year, Tenryu was admitted due to a condition known as “myelopathy and spinal canal stenosis associated with atlantoaxial subluxation,” which posed a significant risk of sudden fatality.
In February, an emergency procedure became necessary to address septic shock arising from his kidneys, and he has since been grappling with this ailment.
Genichiro Tenryu Realised He Could Have Died
Genichiro Tenryu has recently spoken about his near-year long battle in the hospital, while being acutely aware he was close to death at any given time.
Speaking with Tokyo Sports, Tenryu revealed that battling with the illness was “more difficult than my training in America”, referring to his training with Terry Funk and Dory Funk Jr in Amarillo, Texas.
“It was really long. It was longer and more difficult than my training in America when I was young.” the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion said.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but one nurse after another told me that my heart and blood pressure were all wrong. I don’t remember when I had kidney-related surgery due to septic shock, or when I was transferred to an intensive care unit. When I heard about the situation later, I knew, “Oh, that’s right.”
“I didn’t think so at the time, but now that I’m discharged from the hospital like this, I realize that it was a situation that led to “death”. I only remember seeing my usually energetic daughter (Ayana Shimada, CEO of Tenryu Project) drop her shoulders in dejection and look at her back. It must have been so bad.”
He also spoke about the current state of his neck, which he is currently suffering with a lack of mobility due to its’ condition.
“When I removed the halo vest (fixing device) in February, the range of motion was about 20 degrees, but now it’s about 40 degrees. However, I can’t move backwards yet, so even if I see a cute onee-chan in the city, I won’t be able to look back.”
“The day before I left the hospital, I did one hour of rehabilitation in the morning and one hour in the afternoon. Two laps on a 30m track… Well, I’m discharged from the hospital, and I’m slowly working on my recovery. I have something I want to do when I calm down.”
Tenryu ended the interview by stating that he’d “stick to the life of a professional wrestler to the end”, showing the incredible fighting spirit that helped him battle his condition for all these months.
“It’s never easy to live a long life. But (the late Antonio) Mr. Inoki exposed his way of life until the end and passed away. I was impressed. From now on, Genichiro Tenryu won’t wear parentheses. No matter what he looks like, he wants to live as he is. Because that is the stubbornness and responsibility of a professional wrestler who has won MVP and Best Bout many times at the “Pro-Wrestling Awards”. I will stick to the life of a professional wrestler until the end, so please continue to support me in the future.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Tokyo Sport, with a H/T to Atletifo for the translation.
Genichiro Tenryu wrestled his last match in 2015, losing to Kazuchika Okada at an event title “Tenryu Project Genichiro Tenryu Retirement ~ Revolution FINAL”.
Tokyo Sports named Tenryu’s retirement match the 2015 Match of the Year, in honor of his incredible 40-year wrestling career.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.