Hiromu Takahashi is one of New Japan Pro Wrestling‘s biggest stars right now. He quickly became a fan favorite after returning from excursion in CMLL through his combination of unique, entertaining character work and delivering exciting, intense matches. Even when he wasn’t in a junior heavyweight title picture, he kept people watching his every move, introducing stuffed therapy cat turned martyr Daryl Takahashi.
Takahashi is currently in his second reign as IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. He won this year’s Best of the Super Juniors after a banger of a final match with Taiji Ishimori, and won the title from Will Ospreay at Dominion in another memorable bout. At the G1 Special In San Francisco, Takahashi defended the championship against his old rival Dragon Lee. Like most Takahashi vs. Lee matches, it was fast-paced and really fun to watch, and also featured some scary-looking spots. Here’s the one that concerned fans in the live audience and watching from home, and led the referee to check on Takahashi for a long moment afterwards:
On the post-G1 Special Wrestling Observer Radio episode by Brian Alvarez and Dave Meltzer, Meltzer reports that New Japan officials believe that Takahashi broke his neck during this spot. Though Takahashi finished the match, he is believed to have collapsed backstage and been rushed to the hospital.
I was doing press at this show, and we believed that Takahashi would come cut a promo and answer questions after his match, like most of the other winners of their matches. However, instead Dragon Lee came out to answer questions. We did not speak to only the loser after any of the other matches. While this doesn’t tell us anything about the specifics of Takahashi’s injury, it does support that there was some sort of incident that preventing him from being able to cut his usual post-title-defense promo. We’ll keep you updated as this story develops.