Tomoaki Honma suffered a potentially serious injury during a New Japan Pro Wrestling event on Friday.
Honma was injured taking a DDT from the second rope as part of a six man tag match at a live NJPW event in Okinawa pitting Honma, Togi Makabe, and Michael Elgin against Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano and Jado. Honma was unable to move after taking the DDT. The match was stopped, and Honma left the ring on a stretcher before being taken to a nearby medical facility.
On Saturday morning Japan time, NJPW announced (link is external) that Honma had suffered a cervical vertebrae injury that would keep him out of the ring for the immediate future. That changed the scheduled IWGP Tag Title match, set to take place March 6 in Tokyo. Honma and Makabe were set to challenge Ishii and Yano for the titles at that event. Instead, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima now will get the tag title shot.
Although he has been wrestling for NJPW for the better part of the past 11 years, Honma broke through as a popular performer during the 2014 G1 Climax round-robin tournament, where he finished winless in his block but had a series of hard-fought matches. From there, Honma transitioned to the tag division in the latter part of 2015. He and Makabe won the IWGP Tag Titles last year at Wrestle Kingdom and the pair has won the past two World Tag League tournaments — the first team to win the league in back-to-back years.
Honma got his start in wrestling with the Big Japan promotion, where he earned the distinction of being the first wrestler ever who used a light tube in a match.
NJPW has now released the following update on Honma on the promotion’s official English language website:
Tomoaki Honma was injured on March 3rd during his match in Okinawa, and immediately rushed to hospital. He was diagnosed to have injured his cervical vertebrae. In order to recover, he will miss the scheduled March 6th IWGP Tag Team title match and his return to the ring is currently tentative. His tag partner, Togi Makabe, has also declined to compete on March 6th.
As a result, the IWGP Executive Committee has named Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima as the challengers.