As rumored, he’s joining the 2020 WWE Hall of Fame class along with Batista, the nWo, The Bella Twins, JBL, and British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith. The company made the official announcement this morning (Mon., Mar. 16).
One of the most influential wrestlers in history, Liger pioneered and perfected the light heavyweight/super junior/cruiserweight-style. If you’ve seen a show he appeared on in his almost four decades of performing, it was impossible to miss - both because of how good he was at it, and because he did so wearing a superhero costume.
After working under his real name (Keiichi Yamada) for a few years, he debuted as the anime tie-in Liger character for New Japan in 1989. He worked the majority of his career for the company, winning every prize a super-junior could, multiple times. That includes a record 11 IWGP Junior Heavyweight title reigns, including one of 682 days.
Liger frequently worked abroad, most famously for a 90s run with WCW which included an epic feud with Brian Pillman, and opportunities to work with other light heavyweight greats like Rey Mysterio, Dean Malenko, and Chris Benoit. In addition to WCW, he wrestled for New Japan partners CMLL, Ring of Honor, and TNA over the course of his lengthy career. In the 21st century, Liger also took dates with a variety of North American and European independent promotions.
His WWE experience is limited to a crossover show with NJPW & AJPW at the Tokyo Dome in 1990, Wrestling Summit, and a match with Tyler Breeze at the first NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn show.
Regardless, Liger is a no-brainer for any wrestling Hall of Fame. How and when he’ll receive this latest honor depends on whether WrestleMania 36 activities go forward as planned given the coronavirus pandemic.
For now, we’ll offer our congratulations and look forward to seeing the legendary Jushin “Thunder” Liger on stage and on WWE Network at some point.