Sad news today as it was reported by Tokyo Sports that Eiji Ezaki, aka Hayabusa, has passed away at the age of 47. Ezaki was found dead at his home, having suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Ezaki trained with hardcore legend Atsushi Onita in the FMW dojo and made his debut in 1991. He adopted the ring-name Hayabusa in 1993 and would soon be considered one of the world’s best and most daring high-flyers and risk-takers. He became a major star after his amazing match against Jushin “Thunder” Liger at the inaugural Super J-Cup in 1994. While Hayabusa did make excursions to other promotions on occasion, he spend most of his career with the promotion that helped make him star, FMW. There he fought countless hardcore matches, often against his mentor Onita whom he eventually replaced as FMW’s top ace. Hayabusi would also often team up with Jinsei Shinzaki (WWE’s Hakushi), most notably in a losing effort against Rob van dam and Sabu at Heatwave ’98.
In 2001, Ezaki suffered a career-ending injury in a match against Mammoth Sasaki. While attempting a top-rope springboard, Hayabusa slipped and landed on his neck, an accident that left him paralyzed. After that, Ezaki had a career has a singer and would still, occasionally appear on wrestling shows, most notably for Dragon Gate.
Last year Ezaki regained some of the use of his legs and could once again walk, albeit with the help of a cane. In an emotional moment, he appeared at a wrestling event where, with the help of some of Japan’s biggest names, he made it to the ring to receive a ceremonial ten-count. He also re-opened FMW (the promotion folded in 2002, soon after he was forced to retire) alongside Hideki Takahashi and Shoden Senshi Battle Ranger.
It is difficult to express what Hayabusa has meant to the wrestling world in just a few lines. A cult figure, one of the most innovative high-fliers of the nineties, he was also one of the most influential. It can even be argued that Hayabusa was one of the first to truly popularize aerial wrestling. Bound to a wheelchair after his injury, he unfortunately also became a warning to wrestlers the world over about just how dangerous the business can be.
Eiji Ezaki will always have a special place in wrestling history and will be missed by fans all over the world. Rest in peace Hayabusa.
Tags: Atsushi Onita, Eiji Ezaki, FMW, Hayabusa