Tha Sports Junkies 101

Wrestling Legend Hayabusa Passes Away At 47


Wrestling Legend Hayabusa Passes Away At 47

The wrestling world was stunned this week, after Japanese wrestling legend Hayabusa (Eiji Ezaki) passed away on Thursday,March 4th, due to a subarachnoid hemorrage (bleeding of the brain, due to blunt trauma). He was 47 years old. Known for his high risk aerial style, he was a household name in the Japanese wrestling scene, dazzling fans young and old in his wars against a who’s who of wrestlers in his ten-year career.

Starting out with Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling, and training under the Tarzan Goto, he was first introduced in as part of a tag team with Amigo Ultra. In his beginning stages as a wrestler in the puroresu style, he lost a majority of his matches, most notably against Jushin Thunder Liger during the New Japan Pro Wrestling J-Cup tournament of 1994.

During his travels, he would eventually learn and hone his high flying craft while in Mexico, learning from Mexican wrestling legend Rey Mysterio Sr. From there, he took some time wrestling in the US, before finally returning to the land of the rising sun. His career was cut short in 2001, after suffering a terrible accident during a match that left him paralysed. It would be years before he could walk on his own to the ring, in which he was able to do last year, but his love for the sport never wavered.

As an innovator for both the Falcon Arrow and the Phoenix Splash, his style inspired a generation of wrestlers, and his influence could be seen even in this day and age. From Sami Zayn, to Seth Rollins, to any number of indy high flyers, the name Hayabusa is synonymous with aerial daredevilry.

Ezaki’s passing sent shockwaves throughout the wrestling world, as wrestlers and fans worldwide paid their respects to the fallen legend. WWE posted on their website the day of his passing:

“WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of Eiji Ezaki, better known to fans around the world as Hayabusa, at the age of 47.

An innovative high-flyer who helped inspire a generation of Superstars, the mysterious, masked Hayabusa was known for throwing caution to the wind. Ezaki created daring moves like the Phoenix Splash, which to this day can be seen in the repertoire of daredevil competitors, including former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins. A major star in Japan in the mid to late ’90s, Hayabusa competed in one major American match, teaming with Jinsei Shinzaki (known as Hakushi in WWE) in a losing effort against Sabu & Rob Van Dam at ECW’s Heat Wave 1998 event. Although his career was cut short by injury in 2001, Ezaki never strayed far from the industry, where he continued to impart his knowledge.”

Hayabusa’s passing is the second in the last couple of months, as former ECW wrestler, and storyline stablemate of Ezaki’s in FMW, Brian “Axl Rotten” Knighton, passed away last month. We here at wish the family of Eiji Ezaki our deepest condolences.

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Photo by Paul Blatchford, via Flickr.