One of the greatest high flyers in the history of professional wrestling died recently.
Hayabusa (real name Eiji Ezaki) died on March 3, 2016.
People of a certain age likely first discovered Hayabusa under the name Hannibal in the Nintendo 64 video game WCW vs nWo World Tour.
Many US wrestling fans discovered Hayabusa while at in the wrestling VHS/DVD aisle at Sun Coast and/or Best Buy and reading about the wildest sounding deathmatches in the history of wrestling from the FMW promotion.
However, most US wrestling fans were introduced to Hayabusa in one of the most entertaining tag team matches of all time, at one of the most entertaining pay per views of all time, ECW Heatwave 1998.
Hayabusa innovated the Falcon Arrow and the Phoenix Splash. Moves used regularly in the modern era by Jay Briscoe of ROH and Seth Rollins of WWE. Two men who a year ago at this time, respectively held the world titles for two of the three biggest pro wrestling promotions in the US.
Hayabusa was so far ahead of his time, that he would just in the decade be surrounded with people of his speed, style, and talent despite debuting in 1991. Hayabusa would have fit like a glove in CZW in 2003, ROH in 2005, DGUSA in 2008, PWG in 2012, and of present day Lucha Underground seems custom made for him.
The in ring tragedy that paralyzed him is nothing short of horrific. I won’t link to the video here, but you can look it up if you’re a glutton for the suffering of others. The fact that he walked again just last year was amazing and brings strong goosebumps to me now just as it did when I first read the story.
Hayabusa to me was imaginary, video game wrestling come to life. Every person I’ve ever shown that Heatwave ’98 match to always has the same look on their face when they see him, child like awe and amazement.
The man, the myth, the legend. A series of words as befitting Hayabusa as any professional athlete or entertainer in history. For a fan of my taste he is the ultimate combination of wrestlers. Cactus Jack meets Shawn Michaels. Abdullah the Butcher meets Brian Pillman. The Sandman meets Too Cold Scorpio. AJ Styles meets Abyss. Pentagon Jr meets Prince Puma.
Hayabusa was a hero, Hayabusa was an innovator, Haybusa was a legend, Hayabusa will Rest In Power.