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Japanese legend Hayabusa dies at age 47

Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FMW) legend Hayabusa (real name Eiji Ezaki) has died, according to Tokyo Sports.

In addition to the hardcore-themed promotion, the 47 year old worked with Dragon Gate and New Japan in his home country, and ECW and WCW in the United States. His career ended tragically in 2001 when he was paralyzed following a slip on the ropes during a moonsault attempt that cracked two veterbrae.

Cause of death is reported as subarachnoid hemorrhage, or a "brain bleed". Subarachnoid hemorrhages are bleeding in the area between the brain and the thin tissues that cover the brain. They're most common as the result of things like car crashes or unprotected falls. There are no specifics in reports as to what's believed to have caused Ezaki's.

Beyond his role as a central figure in FMW - in addition to coming up through their dojo and being their biggest star, it was announced last year he would part of a team trying to revive the promotion which faded aways after his injury - fans who remember the pre-internet "tape trading" days will remember Hayabusa from his breakout match opposite Jushin Thunder Liger in 1994's inaugural Super J Cup tournament. The one-nighter, which also featured Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit (as Super Pegasus) and Eddie Guerrero (as Black Tiger), received rave reviews from Dave Meltzer and others.

FMW was known for matches with stipulations like barbed wire and exploding cages, and participated in some late 90s cross-promotion with Paul Heyman's Extreme Championship Wrestling, where Hayabusa probably had his highest profile match in the United States at Heatwave:

In 2014, he walked (with some assistance, but remarkably mostly controlling his own limbs) to the ring for a ten-bell salute commemorating his career and official retirement:

Afterwards, he was spoke from the stage:

With all my heart, I will do my very best to connect as many people as I can with the dreams and the never-give-up attitude I have received from professional wrestling, even if it's just one person.

In pro wrestling, he'll be remembered as a central international figure during a period of peak popularity for the form, as well as an innovator behind the creation and/or popularity of moves like the Phoenix Splash and the Falcon Arrow. In life, he is survived by two children and many friends, in and out of the industry.

Everyone here at Cageside Seats thanks Ezaki for entertaining us during his life, and extended our thoughts & prayers to his friends and family as they deal with their loss.

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