If you're not an avid follower, your introduction to Japanese professional wrestling might consist of some of the comedic stylings of DDT, such as Joey Ryan flipping wrestlers with his Herculean American penis. It's not all fun and games, however. In fact, there can be some downright somber moments that demand the most genuine of reflections. One such moment occurred this past weekend on the under-card of New Japan Pro Wrestling's G1 Climax Tournament at Tokyo's Korakuen Hall. In a match that pit Bullet Club members Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, and Yujiro Takahashi against Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, and Hiromu Takahashi), we saw one of the promotion's fan favorites tragically lose their life.

Hiromu Takahashi's beloved feline sidekick Daryl Takashi was murdered in front of a live crowd by Bad Luck Fale. (Warning: very distressing footage)

Kudos to the announcers and fans for selling it like a child just got drop-kicked. This is something you might almost enjoy more with a lack of context, but here's the backstory on why fans are so upset at the death of a stuffed cat doll. Hiromu Takahashi used to be the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), and had an interesting gimmick of having a very intimate relationship with the championship belt, which he referred to as Mr. Belt, sometimes having full blown conversations with it and even bathing with it. After losing the belt, he replaced it with a stuffed cat he dubbed Daryl.

Takahashi developed an emotional bond with Daryl, always bringing him to the ring as his support cat. He recently gave Daryl a perm at a beauty salon, and even took the cat to Disneyland on a recent tour of the United States. As you can imagine, many fans became fascinated with Daryl and even hunted down the maker to buy their very own. With news of Daryl's passing, fans around the world have expressed their sadness and entered a state of combined anger and mourning, taking to social media with touching tributes. Take a look back at some of Daryl's finer moments, when he was still whole.

Currently, Takahashi is in a state of shock, and comes to the ring cradling an imaginary Daryl. The announcers speculated that Daryl may not be tangible anymore, but he lives on in Takahashi's heart.

Given Takahashi's eccentric character, we think he may eventually rebound in a creative way--perhaps with a Mecha Daryl, Franken-Daryl, or even Daryl Jr. Until then, we are left with this image of a broken man and a savage beast.


By - grape Japan editorial staff.