Hiromu Takahashi will return to the ring for the first time since July 2018 this Thursday, Dec. 19. Takahashi will team with BUSHI to take on Robbie Eagles & Will Ospreay as part of the Road To Tokyo Dome tour. Takahashi is set to challenge Ospreay for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title at Wrestle Kingdom 14.
Hiromu has been out of action due to a broken neck suffered against Dragon Lee at G1 Special in San Francisco. Hiromu took a Dragon Driver by Lee, landing awkwardly on his neck. He finished the match, defeating Lee, but was forced to the sidelines and had to relinquish his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title as a result of the injury.
Speaking to NJPW, Hiromu revealed his thought process during and after 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," he explained. "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 realised 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."
Hiromu continued, saying once he got backstage, he told Tetsuya Naito that he wasn't okay and couldn't move. At that point, he was checked out 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," he said.
After going to the hospital, Hirumo had to wait eight hours for a CT scan. He was given morphine while he waited, which put him on cloud 9 for 30 minutes before the pain came back. He once again stated that he thought his career would be over.
Hiromu returned at NJPW Power Struggle in November to challenge Ospreay for Wrestle Kingdom 14. The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title match will take place on night one. On night two, Hirumo will team with Dragon Lee (Ryu Lee in Japan) against Jushin Liger & Naoki Sano.