The pro wrestling world saw a big scare on Thursday when it was reported that former WCW champion Big Van Vader, real name Leon White, had collapsed during a match at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
Vader announced last year that he was facing severe heart problems, even stating that doctors had only given him two years to live. However, those heart issues apparently weren’t the cause of the collapse, as Vader later took to his Twitter account to say that he was dropped on his head and that he suffered a concussion.
Vader, 61, has still been wrestling in recent years despite his health problems. Per UPROXX, the match where Vader was injured on Thursday occurred at an anniversary show for WWE Hall of Famer Tatsumi Fujinami. In fact, Vader said it was Fujinami that dropped him on his head during the six-man tag match also featuring The Great Muta, AKIRA, Riki Choshu, and Shiro Koshinaka.
Vader was an All-American offensive tackle at Colorado before heading into the pro-wrestling world. In wrestling, “Big Van Vader” first made his name in Japan, where his initial victory over Japanese legend Antonio Inoki brought a legitimate riot from the crowd, solidifying Vader’s status as a top contender for years to come.
In his career, Vader won both the IWGP Heavyweight Championship (Japan) and the WCW World Heavyweight Championship three times. Vader also wrestled with WWE in the late-90s, being involved in several high-profile feuds with Bret Hart and the Undertaker for the then WWF Championship.