One of the biggest stars in Japanese pro wrestling history has reportedly suffered a catastrophic injury.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Yoshihiro Takayama is paralyzed from the neck down after a botched sunset flip maneuver a few months ago. While the move was considered career-ending at the time, Takayama’s injury status had been kept under wraps until now.
Meltzer reports that Takayama is able to talk, but is otherwise unable to move.
Takayama, 50, was once one of the biggest stars in Japan, and is one of only two wrestlers in history to hold all three of the major heavyweight Japanese titles. Most notably, Takayama won the IWGP Heavyweight title in 2003, a title that has since been held by stars like Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, A.J. Styles, and Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura actually defeated Takayama in multiple matches with the IWGP title on the line.
Takayama was also an MMA competitor, going 1-4 in his career. He is most known in that realm for a 2002 fight with Don Frye that won the Wrestling Observer’s “Fight of the Year” award.
We send our best wishes to Takayama and his family as they deal with this injury.