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Veteran Japanese wrestler remains paralyzed after injury suffered during match

Pro-Wrestling Masters Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Our latest reminder of just how little margin for error there is in professional wrestling came from a show held yesterday (April 10) in Tokyo’s Sumo Hall.

During the main event of Sunday’s ZERO1 show, Shinjiro Otani was facing the promotion’s World Heavyweight champion Takashi Sugiura in the main event. The 49 year old Otani took a German suplex into the turnbuckle, then was unable to continue the match. He was taken out of the building on a stretcher and rushed to the hospital as fans were asked to leave.

Referee Katsumi Sasazaki told Tokyo Sports that while Otani was conscious and able to see & hear, he couldn’t move and reported not having sensation in his hands. Today, ZERO1 President Takahito Kami provided an update:

“It hasn’t changed. He’s conscious, but can’t move his limbs. Currently, he’s being treated by a doctor. As for the official diagnosis, we are waiting for a reply from the hospital.”

Otani is a veteran of the Japanese scene, having worked with New Japan from 1992 until leaving to found ZERO1 with Shinya Hashimoto in 2001. He is a former IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion, two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag champ, and ZERO1 World Heavyweight champion. In the 90s, he was the first man to hold WCW Cruiserweight title, and the last to hold the UWA-version of the WWF Light Heavyweight belt.

Please join is in keeping a good thought for Otani and his family & loved ones today.