NJPW News: Tomoaki Honma injured at New Japan Road event
What’s the story?
Tomoaki Honma may have suffered a serious injury at the NJPW New Japan Road show that took place today at the Okinawa Prefectural Budokan. No official reports have been released as of yet, but Twitter user Babalu Jack (@babalujack) has posted a picture of the former IWGP Tag Team Champion being stretchered from the ring following a six-man tag team match on the show.
Looks like Honma as suffered a nasty injury. Stretchered out the ring. https://t.co/NA8f2XgD6H— Babalu Jack (@Babalujack) March 3, 2017
Stretcher jobs are exceedingly rare in New Japan, especially so at untelevised house shows, and as such things do not bode well for the master of the Kokeshi headbutt.
In case you didn’t know...
Tomoaki Honma is one of the most popular wrestlers on the entire New Japan roster, although his route to the hearts of the fans was unorthodox, to say the least. Honma’s popularity exploded during the G1 Climax in 2014, a tournament that saw Honma come out without a single win to his name. With every passing loss Honma seemed to grow in popularity, and since then every successful Kokeshi has been met with vigorous applause.
Since late 2015, Honma has mostly worked in the tag team ranks alongside his equally popular GBH (Great Bash Heel) partner Togi Makabe. The duo won the IWGP Tag Team Championships at Wrestle Kingdom 10 along with the World Tag League in both 2015 and 2016.
Honma also had to deal with allegations of domestic abuse from, his former partner, Kiyoko Ichiki in 2015. He has since denied these allegations and taken legal action.
The heart of the matter
Honma picked up the injury whilst teaming with Makabe and Michael Elgin and competing against Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano and Jado. Those perusing the results of the show will have been surprised to see Jado pick up the fall over Honma, but it seems as though Honma may have suffered a serious injury taking Jado’s ‘Green Killer’ hope-rung DDT finish.
The Japanese text in the tweet doesn’t say much outside of how the injury was sustained, but seeing stretchers at New Japan Pro Wrestling shows is such a rare occurrence that Honma fans will have every right to be worried. Honma is also one of the band of NJ performers renowned for their toughness (both in character and out), and it is unlikely that a stretcher would be shown unless desperately required.
Whilst it is impossible to guess until details emerge, Honma was scheduled to team with Makabe to challenge Ishii and Yano for the IWGP Tag Team Championships at New Japan’s 45th Anniversary Show on March 6, but if the injury is as serious as some are already assuming it is clear that that match will not happen. There aren’t a whole lot of obvious options to take Honma’s place in the match either, although one option would be taking Elgin out of his eight-man tag match and putting him in.
For now, all thoughts are with Honma and his physical state.
For years we have enjoyed Honma’s efforts inside the ring, lamenting every missed Kokeshi and celebrating when he manages to hit one, so we can only hope that this injury is not as serious as it would seem at this juncture. We will keep our fingers crossed that everything turns out okay for Honma and his Honmaniacs.
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