wrestling / Columns

Csonka: Hiromu Takahashi’s Return is The Feel Good Moment of 2019

November 4, 2019 | Posted by Larry Csonka
Hiromu Takahashi NJPW

If you have been following my work for any amount of time, I’d like to think that you understand that I am an absolutely huge fan of wrestling, and I choose writing about it as my job because of that. We may not always see eye to eye, we may not always agree, but I’d love to think that we have an understanding and respect as fellow fans. We all have our favorites, and then we all have the ones we want to go away for various reasons, but as a whole I love wrestling so much.

I have talked about my journey as a fan many times, from the NWA fan that would fight a kid to defend Ric flair as the rear world champion to watching AWA, WCCW, & USWA on ESPN, to watching WWF, tape trading for Japan stuff, being hooked by Muta, Liger, OG Tiger Mask and Hayabusa, to discovering the insanity of ECW, never missing a show during the Monday night wars, and then finally realizing the NWA I grew up with was officially dead when WCW was sold. But it was in that tragedy that I really learned to evolve as a fan. There was still too much out there to see. TNA saved my fandom at the beginning, I found ROH, PWG, CHIKARA and other groups. I discovered lucha, and it really just kept going. For as much as wrestling can take away, it can give right back.

One of my bigger loves over the last five-years or so has been NJPW. I loved Shibata, I love Big Tom Ishii, I have nothing but love for my Ace, and for my money Will Ospreay is the wrestler of the year for 2019. I love the young lion process and fell in love with Kamaitachi in CMLL. His stuff with Dragon Lee was just so cutting edge and state of the art, which is hard to do these days. I fell in love with that feud, and then he returned from excursion to NJPW at Power Struggle 2016. He quickly took the promotion by storm, had an amazing feud with KUSHIDA and was on his way to being the ace of the juniors division, winning the championship twice and BOSJ once.

On July 7th, 2018 something extremely scary happened at the G1 Special in San Francisco. Hiromu was facing his greatest rival in Dragon Lee once again, they had an excellent match and while Hiromu would pickup the win, it came at a cost, a broken neck on a Phoenix-Plex that didn’t go right when he slipped out of Lee’s grasp. This was a move they had done in almost every one of their matches, on the surface it’s not the most dangerous of moves, but this night was a cruel reminder that one slip, one bad landing, one inch off in any wrestling match could spell potential doom for a wrestler.

At the time it was reported that Takahashi may miss up to 9–12 months of action due to the severity of the injury and as a result the title was declared vacant. I was worried, worried that another wrestler I had fallen in love with was done. I was just hoping that the injury wouldn’t be catastrophic and that he could lead a normal life above anything else. There were various updates that came along, lots of rumors of a possible return, but after 12-months I had accepted that he may never come back.

Wrestling is a cruel mistress at times, for as much as she gives and you become emotionally invested in her, she can just as quickly take away. She took Eddie, she took Dusty. I had to come to terms of watching wrestling for the first time without Ric Flair & Shawn Michaels as full time performers. For as much as she gives she takes away. but that’s part of being a fan. The good news is that for everyone we lost for whatever reason, there is someone new to discover and love, for every tragedy, there is some special moment.

I have been very open about my health issues, the fact that I lost a leg in January and the long recovery process I’ve undergone. My daughters have been instrumental in my recovery, from helping with therapy, keeping me grounded and happy, and I wouldn’t be where I am without them. My oldest daughter Hana, who used to be the little girl I took to CHIKARA, has been the absolute best and did the coolest thing for me, she bought me a Daryl.

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Please don’t mock me, I’ve been through some shit this year.

She tracked down Daryl because she knew I loved Hiromu, and when I asked her why she bought him, she said, “Because, if Daryl can get Hiromu healthy, he can do the same for you.” And since that day, that stuffed cat went to every therapy appointment with me and has been my senpai.

17-months after breaking his neck, Hiromu made another Power Struggle moment, masking his return and announcing that he will return to the ring on January 4th, that he will challenge Will Ospreay for the title he never lost, and that he is back. Hiromu Takahashi is back, he’s crazier than ever, and he’s facing Will Ospreay at Wrestlekingdom. This will be a special moment, not only is Hiromu returning to win the championship he never lost, he’s returning to reclaim his division the same weekend that we say goodbye to the greatest junior heavyweight wrestler of all time, Jushin Liger. We’ll be losing Liger in January to retirement, another one that will personally hit me hard, but Hiromu Takahashi’s return at Power Struggle was for my money, the feel good story of 2019 and I couldn’t be happier to see him back.

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The 411 on Wrestling Podcast returns to the 411 Podcasting Network for episode 64. On the show, 411’s Larry Csonka & Jeremy Lambert review WWE Crown Jewel, MLW Superfight, & NJPW Power Struggle and then discuss how much of a dumpster fire ROH has become. The show is approximately 106-minutes long.

* Intro
* WWE Crown Jewel Review/Post Show Drama: 2:00
* MLW Superfight Review: 42:10
* NJPW Power Struggle Review: 58:50
* Is ROH Now a “Dumpster Fire?”: 1:24:55

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