Back on May 5th of this year, Japanese legend Yoshihiro Takayama was competing in a 6-man tag match for DDT Pro in Osaka, Japan, when things went terribly wrong. According to SoloWrestling.com: “One of the matches faced members of Smile Squash (HARASHIMA, Soma Takao and Yasu Urano) against the team of Shunma Katsumata, Kazusada Higuchi and Yoshihiro Takayama. The encounter went on normally until Takayama tried to apply a Sunset Flip on Yasu Urano, falling unluckily on his head. The impact was of such a magnitude that the fighter could not move, reason why the combat was canceled and proceeded to move it quickly in ambulance to a nearby hospital.”
The wrestling world heard very little of the outcome of the injury, except that he’d suffered a major spinal cord injury and he would not be wrestling for quite some time. Sadly, it appears the news coming out of Japan isn’t good. Japanese wrestling blog Kakutolog is reporting that Takayama has been declared paralyzed from the neck down.
While recoveries from this sort of injury have occurred (Hayabusa regained his ability to walk years after a similar paralysis before he passed away), it doesn’t look good that 50-year old legend will ever wrestle again, with his 25 year career seemingly cut to an end.
Takayama is only the second man in history to ever hold all three major titles in Japan – All-Japan’s Triple Crown Championship, NJPW’s IWGP Heavyweight Championship and Pro Wrestling NOAH’s GHC Heavyweight Championship – alongside Kensuke Sasaki. A legend in puroresu, he also made a name in the MMA world as well. He debuted with PRIDE 14 in 2001, but it was his legendary slugfest with Don Frye at PRIDE 21 that showed the world his resilience and toughness, even in defeat.
Everyone at Last Word on Pro Wrestling wishes to extend their sympathies and well wishes to Yoshihiro Takayama on a speedy recovery and good health.