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April 24, 2000 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: death of Masakazu Fukuda, legal battles in the wrestling world, tons more


New Japan wrestler Masakazu Fukuda passed away of complications from a cerebral hemorrhage at 3:28 a.m. on 4/19 in the Public Kesennuma Synthesis Hospital in Kesennuma, Japan after collapsing in the ring on 4/14 at a match in the same city with Katsuyori Shibata.

Fukuda, 27, was rushed to the hospital when, after Shibata hit him with an elbow drop that he was supposed to kick out of. Instead he collapsed and began snoring in the ring, which caused everyone to panic. The snoring in the ring is heavily feared in both Japanese and Mexican wrestling culture because of what it signifies because of incidents in the past. It was similar to the situation with JWP woman wrestler Mariko Umeda (Plum Mariko), who passed away on August 16, 1997 after taking a power bomb in a match the night before, not getting up, and snoring in the ring. There are major similarities in both situations because both had histories of head problems. Umeda died from an abscess in the brain and a fractured skull, a condition she may have gone into the ring with since she had been complaining of headaches for some time and had not been herself. Fukuda had suffered a similar cerebral hemorrhage and underwent brain surgery last year and underwent brain surgery, and had been out of action for some time before collapsing in his first match back.

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