New Japan Pro Wrestling has finally issued an official statement on the status of Hiromu Takahashi and the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship, stemming from an injury the 28-year-old superstar suffered on July 7th.
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At a press conference held early today in Tokyo, company chairman Naoki Sugabayashi confirmed that Hiromu will be vacating his title after suffering a broken neck during a match with long-time rival Dragon Lee in San Francisco.
As reported by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter earlier this month, while Takahashi did legitimately break his neck, doctors discovered no nerve damage in the weeks he remained hospitalized. This is obvious good news – as “good” as the news can get when you’re talking about potential career-ending injuries – and it’s expected that he will be out of action for another 9-12 months depending on how his recovery and rehabilitation goes.
New Japan has announced a four-man tournament featuring exclusively former IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champions to ensure the future and legitimacy of the historic title and division.
Juniors ace KUSHIDA will face Los Ignobernables star BUSHI on 9/23 at Destruction in Kobe. The “Aerial Assassin” Will Ospreay will also battle “The Villain” Marty Scurll on 9/30 at Fighting Spirit Unleashed in Long Beach, CA. The winners will advance to NJPW King of Pro-Wrestling on 10/8 to crown a brand new champion.