Friday, July 10, 2015

Ten Years Gone

Hashimoto has been gone ten years, and his loss is still felt today
Photo via Wikipedia
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the death of Shinya Hashimoto. He was one of New Japan Pro Wrestling's Three Musketeers, along with The Great Muta/Keiji Mutoh and Masahiro Chono. While All-Japan Pro Wrestling was the darling puroresu promotion with its slate of strong-style icons, NJPW boasted critical and financial success thanks to those three. Hashimoto was the one among the group who channeled the HOSS spirit the most. Weighing in at 290 lbs. while standing shorter than six feet, Hashimoto was a kinetic wrecking ball who was considered among the greatest workers of an era with tremendous in-ring talent.

Hashimoto's kayfabe accomplishments are numerous as they tend to be for legendary wrestlers. He captured three IWGP Heavyweight Championships, the 1998 G1 Climax tournament title, and he was the second person to capture the IWGP, AJPW Triple Crown, and NWA World Heavyweight Championships after his fellow Musketeer Mutoh. But the measure of a wrestler isn't so much in the things wrestling companies lay at a wrestler's feet, but at how memorable a performer they are. Hashimoto's legacy as one of the all-time beloved greats was magnified by his sudden death.

Premature wrestling deaths can be collated into two categories: tragic and "can see it coming a mile away." Hashimoto's is in the former, as he was claimed by a brain aneurysm eight days after his 40th birthday. Unless the victim gets quick medical care, death is a foregone conclusion. Still, 40 is too soon to die, and 13 is far too young an age for a boy to lose his father. But it was his father's death that pushed Daichi Hashimoto into the wrestling business. Judging by his run so far, his father certainly would be proud of him.