Friday, March 4, 2016

Hayabusa - RIP

Japanese pro wrestler Eiji Ezaki, aka Hayabusa, has tragically died from bleeding in the brain. He was 47 years old.

Hayabusa was one of the most iconic pro wrestlers of the 90's, thanks to his cool ninja outfit, unique move-set, high-flying antics, and a willingness to endure harsh punishment in hardcore matches. Most Western fans will recognize him for his one-off tag team match at ECW Heatwave 1998 or as the inspiration for several "fake" wrestlers in various WCW video games.

He was the "ace" of the independent Japanese promotion FMW, carrying on its legacy after the departure of the original promoter/star Atsushi Onita. Ezaki's high-risk offense drew in fans but also made him susceptible for several painful injuries. He briefly changed his gimmick to a rock star named "H", bringing in more ground-based maneuvers to his repertoire, but the less-than-positive alteration added to the many woes for the promotion. He went back to the Hayabusa character to win back fans but the change would unfortunately prove his downfall.

In October 2001, during a match with Mammoth Sasaki, Ezaki performed a Lionsault (a backwards flipping splash off the middle of the ropes), only to slip and land directly on his head. It instantly paralyzed him from the neck down.

Ezaki went on to be a lounge singer and as a ambassador for various post-FMW promotions, including a recent revival of FMW.

Last year, Ezaki made headlines and caused many a wrestling fan to weep a sea of tears when he publicly walked again with the assistance of a cane. It looked to be the start of a new era for the wrestler but it sadly will remain as his last display of the human spirit.

He will be missed.

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