Near-Death in Japan Pro Wrestling, With Real Fallout

Other developments have kept me from staying on top of the harrowing recent incident in pro wrestling in Japan, from which a veteran performer remains in critical condition after getting beaten up by a younger wrestler in the dressing room prior to a match – on top of having taken at least one hard chair shot to the head on earlier shows. See the coverage at Cageside Seats by Keith Harris:

The story here combines elements of two appalling episodes at World Wrestling Entertainment that I covered last year. One was the near-death of WWE legend Ricky Steamboat. See “Watch Linda McMahon’s Wrestler Ricky Steamboat Get Beaten to Within an Inch of His Life Last Month on ‘Raw’ by Inexperienced Fellow ‘Soap Opera’ Cast Members,” July 22, 2010,, plus earlier coverage.

The other was the de facto manslaughter of WWE’s Lance Cade – who, as private punishment for a breach of dressing-room etiquette, was punished on live TV with more than a dozen chair shots (including a stiff one to the head in a move supposedly banned a year earlier). Cade fell into prescription painkiller addiction and died two years later. See “WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels Should Speak Up on What Happened to Lance Cade,” February 14,


Irv Muchnick


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