If you were like me on Saturday, you were pumped up for a solid evening of entertainment between the NJPW G1 Special & the big UFC heavyweight title fight. Overall, both of these events delivered big time in their own ways, but one moment from the NJPW show is sticking out in particular for all the wrong reasons.
At the G1 Special, Hiromu Takahashi, The IWGP jr heavyweight champ, who is a hell of a performer and one of the guys I feel could cross over to the big leagues of wwe, defended his belt against CMLL star (home of the luchadors) Dragon Lee. Dragon Lee is also a very big draw on the indie circuit, which is important for reasons you’ll understand later on. Takahashi went on to retain his title, but there was a moment that was a huge scare which is shown here in this gif.
First off, this move, known as the phoenix plex, is not safe in any way. There’s obviously no way this would be allowed in WWE, and it really shouldnt be allowed in NJPW if they are serious about being a global, high level promotion. The margin of error with this move is razor thin, as you can see in the gif, and the slightest mistake can lead to what happened here, which was Takahashi breaking his neck. The man finished the match, which was his call & most likely due to adrenaline being sky high, and then collapsed backstage due to the injury. We are still awaiting word on his condition and I, like pretty much every fan, are hoping for the best news possible going forward.
The second issue is the crazy schedule being worked currently by Dragon Lee. Now, first off I completely understand that these guys have to grind at that stage of the game to make a good living. You gotta work your ass off and travel a ton and all that to succeed at the indy level in hopes of moving to a mainstay promotion. Here’s a legit issue tho: Dragon Lee worked 3 legit matches the night before the G1 special at the Cow Palace. He won the APW ” King of the Indies” tournament, which is a major indy event that some of today’s biggest stars have wrestled in previously, including lots of current top WWE talent. This is a no joke event, so its gonna be taxing on the body. Add in the fact that being tired is the main cause of botches in pro wrestling, and you see my point. Dragon Lee has to be smarter about what he does and how he does it. He’s a great talent who has all the tools, but if things like this keep happening, he will work his way right out of the business. As it is, he’s caused quite an uproar with this, and not in a good way.
In conclusion, while we all love high spots & cool moves, we should love seeing these guys have meaningful careers and being able to entertain us on a regular basis more. Be safe is all. Wrestling is fantasy in a sense. It’s crazy characters, with stories & conflicts between each other, and resolutions to these conflicts just like any other show you watch on tv. I also understand that accidents happen and no one thinks this was intentional or anything like that. This could have been avoided tho, and we may lose a great character and performer because of it.