The series that really never got going will finally get it's start with one legend that really needs know introduction. One part of Japanese wrestling that has never caught on in the states is the connection to cartoons and anime. In the spring of 1984 a young gun named Keiichi Yamada would make his debut in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Though most people know him as Jushin Liger he wouldn't dawn his legendary outfit for the first few years of his career. Actually his first career accomplishment came under the Keiichi Yamada name when he won the Young Lions Cup in 1986.
It was soon after this win though that Yamada would go on his excursion to both Europe & Canada for around a year before returning to Japan. Upon his return to New Japan he would finally dawn his gimmick as Jushin "Thunder" Liger. For those who don't know Liger he portrays an anime superhero and has become an "Icon" in the land of the rising sun.
Dawning the gimmick in late 1986 it is crazy think that Liger has been under the mask for the last thirty years of his wrestling career. For better part of a decade Liger would be one of the leaders of NJPW's Junior division and it was around this time he'd become a legend based on longevity alone. Now don't get me wrong Liger has competed for each of the major wrestling companies in the world at one time or another excluding ECW. Liger has had matches for WCW, ROH, WWE, & TNA during his career and has of course competed in CMLL due to the working agreement that NJPW has had for decades. In recent years Liger has also competed in companies like Chikara, PWG, PWS, and various others.
Overall there is no doubt that Jushin Liger is a member of the upper echelon of legends in the history of pro-wrestling. In a way Liger is on part with the Undertaker based on how long both stayed in character and how serious both men took their gimmicks. Though at this point he might not be fully active but it is still crazy to think that not only does he still compete at 53 years old but also the idea that he has been an active wrestler for the last 34 years which is insane. Thank you for the memories Liger and all you have done and continue to do for this great profession.
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