Last week, legendary big man wrestler Big Van Vader’s health concerns were in the news again, as the 61-year-old former WWE and WCW standout collapsed during a match in Japan. Moreover, while initial reports suggested he was in good shape after the match, newer updates have added information on why he wanted to wrestle at the tribute show for Japanese wrestler Tatsumi Fujinami. Moreover, this motivation appears to be connected to disturbing comments Vader previously made about his battle with heart disease and his desire to die in the ring.
On April 20, Big Van Vader took part in the first show in his most recent Japanese tour, competing in an event celebrating the 45th anniversary of Japanese legend Tatsumi Fujinami’s wrestling debut. As the Inquisitr had previously reported, Vader collapsed while working a match against Riki Choshu, but didn’t exactly lose consciousness. He was then able to return backstage “with minimal help,” stumbling a bit, but otherwise appearing to be in good condition, and fit enough to attend the post-show party. Initially, it was reported that Vader was suffering from dehydration at the time, which had apparently caused him to faint.
The latest update on Big Van Vader’s health, however, suggests that the wrestler who once was dubbed “The Mastodon” and “The Man They Call Vader” on WWE television may have actually collapsed due to a second, and totally different reason – a concussion that happened when he was dropped on his head by Choshu.
Pictures from my recent trip to Japan pic.twitter.com/sarhtRA9yG— Big Van Vader (@itsvadertime) April 27, 2017
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, that was the claim Vader had made when asked by others about why he collapsed, but even with the NFL offensive lineman-turned-wrestler claiming he had suffered such an injury, he was still able to wrestle in another match two days later. Moreover, in an even more worrisome note, he had reportedly commented on interviews with Japanese media that he was indeed diagnosed with congenital heart failure, and was determined to “live out his life the way he wants to live,” hence his decision to accept Fujinami’s invitation to perform on his tribute show.
Although Meltzer wrote that nobody had brought it up during his Japanese interviews, the general feeling is that Vader’s recent tour of Japan may end up being his last.
The above comments may tie in with previous remarks Vader had made, suggesting he doesn’t have much longer to live, and that he wants to die in the ring if possible. Speaking on the Two Man Power Trip podcast (quotes c/o ComicBook.com) in March, Big Van Vader said that there’s a reason why he still wrestles up to this day — despite Vader’s health issues, he believes that if he has to die, it should be in the wrestling ring doing something he loves to do, rather than at home or on a hospital bed.
“I kind of wish I hadn’t brought it up, and I am continuing to wrestle. Someone said, ‘Aren’t you afraid? Why would you get a booking (to wrestle) at this point when you’ve had this type of diagnosis?’ I said, ‘Brother, where would you rather die in a bed at home, or in the hospital, or would you rather die in front of 10,000 people having fun in the ring?”
In November of last year, Big Van Vader had first come clean about his health issues, tweeting that doctors have advised him he has only two more years to live, due to congestive heart disease supposedly brought on by his football and wrestling careers.
Following Meltzer’s report on the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, fans have been tweeting Vader, expressing their respect to a man who seems determined to go out doing something he has enjoyed doing for most of his adult life. Moreover, while Big Van Vader’s health may continue to be a concern, he appears determined to stay strong and get better, just as he had advised a fan who had sent his best wishes to the ailing wrestler.
“Yes I hope ur able to meet ur dark moments with courage.To be afraid in the dark is no way to live”
[Featured Image by WWE]