Incredibly sad news from the world of Japanese pro wrestling and anyone who got into tape trading in the ’90s, as junior heavyweight wrestling star Hayabusa has reportedly died at age 47.
Tokyo Sports reports that Hayabusa, real name Eiji Ezaki, was found dead on Thursday due to a subarachnoid hemorrhage. That’s a bleeding of the brain usually found in elderly people who have hit their head. As you may know, Hayabusa’s in-ring career came to a sudden end in 2001 when he cracked two of his vertebrae attempting a springboard moonsault in a match and ended up paralyzed. Confined to a wheelchair for more than a decade, Hayabusa worked hard to overcome his paralysis and just last year walked to the ring unassisted for the first time since the accident.
For the uninitiated, Hayabusa was an icon of underground Japanese wrestling in the 1990s, competing primarily in Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling but popping up in places as diverse as All Japan, CMLL and even ECW. He innovated the Falcon Arrow, innovated the Phoenix Splash and was pretty much Sabu mixed with a superhero.
Hayabusa may be gone, but he’ll never be forgotten. Phoenixes always rise from the ashes, don’t they?