During a recent interview with NJPW, Hiromu Takahashi commented on breaking his neck during a match with Dragon Lee in July 2018, and more. You can check out some highlights from the interview below:
On his mental state during the injury: “(Referee Marty) Asami came over and I told him to stop the match. But I had so many thoughts going through my head. That this can’t be the end, that I can’t end my career like this. I think all in about a second. And just that stubbornness kicked in, not wanting to lose to Lee, or lose the (IWGP Junior Heavyweight) title…And right as I’m thinking that I can’t end my career like this, I tried to move my hands and feet and I had feeling back. So I told Asami to keep going. I think my actual words were ‘just kidding!’ Asami had a really worried look on his face, like ‘are you sure?’ And I was thinking, this is what strength is. Like you’re OK just throwing everything away. I can’t describe what it’s like, but the feeling someone has when they’ve decided they can retire, that it can end. It’s like I was high. I felt invincible. I took moves from him after that and didn’t feel a thing. Just kept going. That invincibility, it was something else. And then, all of a sudden ‘hey!, I won!’ I think that’s why I pulled through in the end. Anyhow, I won, and thought ‘ok, now’s the time to look cool and tough’. Right that instant is when all the pain came and I realized I wasn’t going to play to the crowd. I just thought ‘OK, at the very least, walk out on your own two feet and hold the belt up at the end’. And that, I thought, was the end of my career.”
On getting checked by the trainers: “Before that in the trainer’s room just before I went to the hospital, a lot of thoughts were going through my head. I couldn’t move, but I was thinking, hey, I’m still alive, right? I can probably still wrestle. I even asked the trainer when the next tour started, but he told me ‘don’t even think about it!’ But I was thinking I’d maybe miss one tour and be back for the G1.”
On making his surprise return: “I was definitely nervous, but it was a good kind of nervous. It’s not often you get to have that feeling. I’ve been in this business nearly ten years now, but that nervous excitement was like my debut again. Just wondering what it’d be like to walk out, thinking what I was going to do when I got out there.”
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