As a young teenager, I’d buy every FMW DVD off the shelf at Best Buy, run home & skip right to his matches. #RIPHayabusa
— The Young Bucks (@MattJackson13) March 4, 2016
In the late 1990s there was no wrestling promotion hotter than Extreme Championship Wrestling. ECW was known to borrow concepts from promotions around the world. Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling heavily influenced ECW’s style. FMW started to gain a lot of recognition through the tape trading market. Hayabusa was becoming a star. When Hayabusa would return to FMW, he would begin to feud with Mr. Gannosuke, Mike Awesome, and Onita. Hayabusa would begin to team with Jinsei Shinzaki and would even be featured at ECW’s Heatwave 1998, where he and Shinzaki unsuccessfully challenged RVD and Sabu for the ECW Tag Titles, which was a highly anticipated match. Hayabusa was the star of FMW. The promotion’s popularity in the United States was spurred by the innovated and high risk taking in matches. In some regards he was the Japanese Version of Sabu. Except for a little cooler. The mask, the face paint, the hero, Eiji Ezaki was a rockstar who transcended the Japanese Independents. Sadly in 2001 Hayabusa’s foot slipped off the ropes while attempting a moonsault resulting on him landing on his neck, leaving him paralyzed. His injury would keep him out of the ring for good and FMW would fold not long after.
Long before those days, Eiji made his Southern California debut in Los Angeles in May of 1992, when Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling was working with World Wrestling Association. WWA promoted shows in Baja California as well as in Los Angeles at Cal State Los Angeles. As Eiji Ezaki, he would make his North American debut at El Auditorio Municipal ‘Fausto Gutierrez Moreno’ in Tijuana, Baja California on May 15th 1992. Ezaki teamed with Rey Misterio (Sr.) and Ultramán Dos Mil to take on Billy Anderson, Louie Spicolli and Jesse Hernández that ended in no contest. The next day Ezaki would team with Mr. Gannosuke and Ultra Taro in a losing effort to Billy Anderson, Louie Spicolli and Jesse Hernández. As Hayabusa, he would continue to work in Mexico.
Although Hayabusa would wrestle for Terry Funk in 1997 and for ECW in 1998, Hayabusa wouldn’t return to Los Angeles again until the E3 Expo as part of Tokyo Pop’s booth that was introducing their import of all things Japanese including Anime and the very violent FMW Death Matches.
Hayabusa has been fighting the past few years to begin walking again. He has inspired many both in and out of the ring. News last night it was reported that Ezaki died of a subarachnoid hemorrhage on 3 March 2016, at age 47. Before he passed, Hayabusa had regained the ability to walk, assisted with a cane.