The pro wrestling world has suffered a great loss, as Eiji Ezaki, known to wrestling fans as Hayabusa has died at 47 years old.
Reports emerged early Friday of the Japanese legend's passing due to a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Tokyo Sports said that Ezaki was found dead on Thursday afternoon.
Ezaki had been confined to a wheelchair for the last 14 years after suffering a career-ending injury inside the ring. During a match against Mammoth Sasaki, Ezaki lost his footing on a springboard moonsault attempt which caused him to land awkwardly, cracking two of his vertebrae, and leading to him being paralyzed.
Ezaki had a fantastic moment in 2014 where he rose from his wheelchair and took steps. He was later able to stand and walk on his own with the aid of a cane.
American pro wrestling fans perhaps best remember Ezaki from the classic ECW match where he teamed with Jensei Shinzaki (Hakushi) to take on Rob Van Dam and Sabu. The match was one of several in a talent exchange and co-promotion between ECW and Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, known as FMW.
Hayabusa was one of the key cogs in FMW, and after his injury, the company withered away. In 2015, it was announced that the company would be revived, with Hayabusa/Ezaki serving as the Executive Producer.
Hayabusa also helped popularize several moves such as the Falcon Arrow and 450 Splash, while also inventing the Phoenix Splash. American fans may also know him as the motivation for the character "Han Zo Mon" in WCW/NWO Revenge video game and "Habanero" in WCW vs. The World.
We at Wrestling Inc extend our condolences to the friends, family and fans of Ezaki.