It’s sad, but whatever world you’re in, retirements are a fact of life. That said, it was Liger that created the opportunity for me to come to NJPW, and I want to make sure he has a proper send-off. I’ve been lucky to wrestle in some of his last matches, and I hope I helped to end his career in a fulfilling way.
The thing I want to say most is ‘thank you for everything’. He’s a symbol for this company, and one I grew up watching myself. Then, when I was a junior heavyweight, I would often find myself in the same faction as Liger, and learned so much from him. I hope I can live up to the standard he set going forward.
I learned a lot from Liger when I first came into NJPW. Then when I went on excursion to Mexico in 2010 I spent a lot of time with him. I have so many memories of that time, and even though eight years has passed since then, he’s still in amazing shape. It’s strange to see him retire but I want to thank him so much for everything.
As a kid, Jushin Thunder Liger’s theme song would come on with a VT on The Wrestling Channel as a commercial in the UK. Once educated on his influence he had on everyone he quickly became a hero. I met him in the UK in 2013 being star struck. Now in 2019 when I’m in the ring and lucky enough to listen to his music as he makes his way to the ring, it still gives me goosebumps. I’ll always be grateful to Liger San and everything he has done.
He’s been wrestling for as long as I’ve been alive, maybe longer than that. He really could be my father in professional wrestling just in terms of age difference. But that difference goes out the window when he’s in the ring and comes at you full force, or outside of it when he has the fun he does and laughs with that big booming voice. I have so many wonderful memories with him. To go into detail would take far too long, but I’ll just say, the fact I was able to wrestle Jyushin Thunder Liger is something I’ll proudly take with me to the grave.
Please, Liger-san, don’t fade away after retirement, but keep watching over us juniors as we take things to even greater heights! Awhile ago Liger actually came to me and said ‘kid, do you wanna be the second generation Liger?’. I know he was joking, but the very thought made me so happy and so terrified all at once! There is no greater example to look up to in this business than Jyushin Thunder Liger, but I’ll do all I can to live up to him!
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