New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s SANADA is out of action with a fractured left orbital bone. NJPW confirmed the injury on Friday.
The injury happened on Thursday, during his match against Will Ospreay in the third round of the New Japan Cup tournament. Late in the match, Ospreay executed a running shooting star press. His knee landed on SANADA’s head.
The referee immediately moved in to check on SANADA’s left eye. After a few moments, the match continued with SANADA locking on his Skull End submission hold and then attempting a moonsault. Ospreay got his knees up and followed up with his Hidden Blade running back elbow, which struck SANADA in the right side of his head.
Will Ospreay went for a cover, but SANADA kicked out. Ospreay responded by raining down a series of elbow strikes. He set up for another Hidden Blade but SANADA collapsed down to the mat. Ospreay paused momentarily, then moved in and delivered more elbow strikes until the referee stepped in and stopped the match.
SANADA was pulled from Friday’s card in Shizuoka. NJPW says there is no timetable for his return. SANADA himself posted his own statement on social media.
“SANADA will return,” he tweeted on Friday.
SANADA is the current IWGP United States Champion. He won the title last month from Hiroshi Tanahashi.
Ospreay’s win on Thursday moved him into the quarterfinals of the New Japan Cup where he will face Zack Sabre Jr. Sabre advanced with a win over Great-O-Khan on Thursday. The quarterfinal match between Ospreay and Sabre is scheduled for Monday.
The second quarterfinal match on Monday will see Shingo Takagi face his LIJ stablemate, Hiromu Takahashi. Takahashi advanced with a win Friday over EVIL. Takagi defeated Chase Owens on Friday.
The quarterfinals on the opposite side of the braket will be held on Sunday. IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada will face CIMA and Tetsuya Naito will go up against Jeff Cobb in a Wrestle Kingdom 16 rematch.
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