Shinjiro Otani’s Terrying Injury Left Him Paralyzed For Life

Japanese former wrestler Shinjiro Otani is fondly remembered by wrestling fans from Japan and across the globe.

Otani wrestled in New Japan Pro Wrestling for 30 years, debuting in the company in 1992.

He was very successful in the promotion. Shinjiro Otani won a number of championships in the title, most notably the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in 1997.

His most famous match was the classic encounter against Jushin “Thunder” Liger at NJPW Fighting Spirit 1997. It is considered one of both men’s greatest matches.

He continued to wrestle for the company until 2022, 30 years after his debut in the company. His last match would be one of the most famous ones, but sadly for all the wrong reasons for Shinjiro Otani.

Shinjiro Otani Was Paralyzed In 2022

Shinjiro Onani was paralyzed in his last wrestling match in 2022, putting an end to the 30-year career.

On the 10th April 2022, Shinjiro Otani challenged Takashi Sugiura for the ZERO1 World Heavyweight Championship. Despite being well past his prime at 49-years-old, Otani was the president of the company, and as such was pushed in the main event when maybe he shouldn’t.

Otani and Sugiura wrestled in the ZERO1 Osu Premium Show ZERO1 20th & 21st Anniversary Pro Wrestling show, with the world title on the line. The match did not last long, as a German Suplex into the corner caused Shinjiro Otani to suffer a neck injury during the match.

He lost consciousness, and was quickly removed from the match. Suigura was awarded with the victory, while paramedics moved an unresponsive Otani to hospital. The Japanese star awoke in hospital, but disaster struck.

Shinjiro Otani could not move his limbs when he woke up, being fully paralyzed from the neck down.

This was a similar injury that has plagued Japanese wrestlers in the past, like Yoshihiro Takayama and Hayabusa.

Yoshihiro Takayama Was Paralyzed From The Neck Down & Will Never Walk Again

Sadly, Yoshihiro Takayama is still fully paralyzed from the neck down, and will likely never walk again.

In April, he underwent surgery for his injuries, which were said to be a big success. He also was moved to a different hospital for the treatment for his cervical spine injury.

He has since improved his breathing and is able to breathe without assistance. Otani has also had a device fitted onto his chin, allowing him to communicate with others without the use of his hands.

He is currently fully paralyzed, unable to use his arms or legs.

Otami Spoke To The Crowd At A Show In His Honor

Despite being bound to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, Shinjiro Otani still managed to appear at the ZERO1 show paying tribute to him.

At the opening of a special ZERO1 show in his honor in Takadanobaba, he appeared in a wheelchair and received a bouquet of flowers from Sugiura.

This was the first time fans had seen him since his accident, and he received a huge cheer from the crowd as soon as he appeared.

Otani told the crowd at his tribute show (translated from Japanese):

“The hope that everyone who supports professional wrestling could see me moving forward has come true.”

“Since I was injured in April last year, many people have been encouraging me to do my best, not to lose, and to stand up. But I still think like this: the professional wrestlers who fight every day, as well as everyone who came to see us today, are clenching their teeth and working hard for someone important to them.”

“That’s why, let me send you a cheer. Let me send a cheer to everyone who works hard every day. Do your best. Let’s do our best, no matter what happens. I can’t stand losing.”

Talking to the press after his public appearance, Shinjiro Otani added:

“People may say various things, but I’m glad that Takashi Sugiura was my opponent last year at the ZERO1 anniversary tournament. To all the reporters, thank you so much for continuing to support professional wrestling. I will definitely come back in front of you again. Until that day, thank you for your support.”

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