By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Dot Net staffer Anish Vishwakoti wrote the following recap of Jushin Liger’s press conference to announce that his final match will be held in January 2020 at Wrestle Kingdom.
Jushin Thunder Liger sat down and thanked the press for coming and without hesitation declared that at the next Tokyo Dome show, in January of 2020, he will retire. He was asked why he has come to this decision and said that he doesn’t think he can go anywhere further than he has come. He said that he still thinks that he could see himself winning the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title the way he is now. He said that in his heart, all his life he has been a wrestler and has lived the life of a wrestler. He said that when he’s in the ring he can still do what he wants, however no matter who you are you have to get stronger and he thinks that he can’t do so anymore.
Liger was asked if he chose the Tokyo Dome because Liger debuted there. He said that didn’t make a difference, the reason was because when he told NJPW that he wanted to retire, they asked him to do it in the Tokyo Dome. He was surprised by this and thought they were joking, because he thought that only Antonio Inoki had done so in the past. A reporter corrected him and said that Riki Choshu also did that.
Liger thanked NJPW for giving him the opportunity to retire at the Tokyo Dome and said that it is a real honor and he has to thank the company, as they have always let him do whatever he has wanted to. He said that he is thinking of what he should do until retirement. He said that he wants to go all over the world and Japan to perform one more time for all his fans and thinks that they should all have one last opportunity to see him.
Liger wants fans from around the world to be able to see him and said that he feels that because he is retiring. He said that he still really likes NJPW and that he doesn’t want to do a retirement tour in which he is fed up with pro wrestling. Liger said that he will be going to Dublin, Ireland at some point, because he does want fans, even those who aren’t necessarily NJPW fans, to be able to see him.
Liger said that Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Carlos Jose Estrada for the WWWF Jr. Heavyweight Championship was a match that made him want to become a pro wrestler. He was asked about the image that he wants to leave as he retires. Liger said that he wants to enjoy wrestling and said that his goal is always to be the champion, but if he cannot do that anymore he should try and have fun on his way out.
Liger was asked if he feels he has done all there is to do in 30 years of NJPW. He said that aside from the trophies and all the moves that he did, he wants to be looked at someone who loved pro wrestling and made the business bigger. He was asked about his influences in NJPW and named a lot of NJPW legends including Antonio Inoki, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Akira Maeda, and Nobuhiko Takada, but said that absolutely the answer is Naoki Sano.
A reporter said that Hiromu Takahashi had just asked Liger to face him. Liger said that if Takahashi returns before he retires that he would gladly do so because he thinks that the fans would love to see that. The NJPW executive running the interview then jokingly asked Liger whether he would move out of the NJPW Dojo, but Liger said that he really likes it there and that he doesn’t plan on doing so just yet even if he is retiring. Liger thanked the press present and those watching on the internet for watching and bid everyone farewell.
Powell’s POV: Liger is 54 today and will be 55 by the time he retires. It’s amazing that he can still perform at the level he does at his age and considering the wear and tear on his body. And here’s hoping Takahashi is healthy enough to have that match with Liger.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Ian Riccaboni discussing his decision to re-sign with Ring of Honor, getting emotionally invested in matches, the March 15 ROH 17th Anniversary show, the G1 Supercard at MSG, and much more.
Jason Powell and Jake Barnett co-host the Dot Net Weekly and Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast combo show and discuss Raw Underground and other WWE concepts, The Rock's group buying the XFL, the Marty Jannetty story, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV, and more...