Jushin Liger announced his plans to retire at an NJPW press conference held yesterday. The 54-year-old legend said he will hang up his boots after Wrestle Kingdom 14 on January 4th, 2020.
Throughout his nearly 35-year career, Liger revolutionized the junior heavyweight division. His IWGP junior heavyweight championship records may never be broken.
NJPW commentator, Chris Charlton, posted the following in regards to Liger shortly after the announcement was made:
We’ll have ten months to unpack and process Liger’s retirement announcement, but I’ll offer this. Like many people my first exposure to Japanese wrestling was the 1994 Super J Cup. Liger vs Hayabusa was the first New Japan match I saw.
— chris charlton (@reasonjp) March 7, 2019
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Statistics
Top 10 champions in title’s lineage:
- Jushin Liger – 11x champion, 31 defenses, 2,245 days
- Prince Devitt – 3x champion, 15 defenses, 1,010 days
- Minoru Tanaka – 4x champion, 20 defenses, 998 days
- Koji Kanemoto – 5x champion, 14 defenses, 954 days
- Tiger Mask – 6x champion, 12 defenses, 858 days
- Shiro Koshinaka – 3x champion, 9 defenses, 702 days
- Kushida – 6x champion, 8 defenses, 684 days
- Kota Ibushi – 3x champion, 8 defenses, 337 days
- Kenny Omega – 2x champion, 4 defenses, 285 days
- Norio Honaga – 3x champion, 9 defenses, 283 days
Liger also won the IWGP junior heavyweight tag-team championships 6x, all with different partners: the Great Sasuke, El Samurai, Minoru Tanaka, Koji Kanemoto, Akira, and Tiger Mask.
He’s a former CMLL Universal champion, middleweight champion, and tag champion along with Hiroshi Tanahashi as well. Liger also made regular appearances with WCW in the 1990s. He wrestled 50 matches for the promotion between 1991-1999.
Liger wrestled just once under the WWE banner. He defeated Tyler Breeze at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn in 2015. He also wrestled 3 matches for TNA Wrestling. Liger lost to Samoa Joe in 2005 in TNA and also represented Japan in the 2006 World X-Cup.