The legendary career of Jyushin Thunder Liger came to a close on night-two of Wrestle Kingdom 14. His retirement ceremony came tonight at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) yearly post Wrestle Kingdom tradition — New Year Dash.
Per reports of the NJPW English commentary team, Liger requested his ceremony lead off the event, which took place in the scenic Ota City Gymnasium in front of a ‘Super No Vacancy Full House’ crowd of 4,078. NJPW put together a special video highlighting his career and major accomplishments.
During his sendoff, a video of wrestling icon and NJPW Founder Antonio Inoki played in the arena where Inoki gave Liger well wishes in his retirement. While addressing the crowd, Liger thanked his wife and son (both briefly joined him in the ring) for dealing with his travel schedule, and his mother for raising him — who was shown sitting in the arena.
Liger is expected to continue his role as a trainer at the NJPW Tokyo Dojo while appearing on Japanese commentary from time to time.
As New Year Dash tradition states, the event card is kept secret from the fans until the matches are about to begin. The opening match consisting of NJPW future stood out for how competitive and intense it was. Every participant graduated from or currently in the NJPW Dojo System, Toa Henare being the lone graduate. The match was a showcase of the greatness of the legendary NJPW dojo system.
The second match saw El Desperado/Yoshinobu Kanemaru of Suzuki-Gun with a 4-way Junior Heavyweight tag team match after Desperado pinned Sho, one-half of Roppongi 3K, the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions.
Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and new IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions FinJuice (Juice Robinson/David Finlay) teamed together to defeat Bullet Club members Guerrillas Of Destiny (Tama Tonga/Tanga Loa) [GOD], Bad Luck Fale, and Chase Owens. Afterward, Tanahashi and Ibushi challenged FinJuice to a championship, which their friends seemed to accept. Ibushi pinned Owens after the Kamigoye, after his back to back losses at Wrestle Kingdom 14.
New NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto and CHAOS unit mate Tomohiro Ishii teamed together against Los Ingobernables de Japon (LIJ)members Shingo Takagi and Evil. In what was an incredibly intense, physical, and brawl heavy match, the LIJ team was victories when Takagi pinned Goto. This match may be one of the best tag team matches that will take place in 2020.
After defeating Goto, Takagi requested a championship match against Goto while Evil and Ishii had words with one another.
CHAOS (Robbie Eagles, Will Ospreay, Yoshi-Hashi, and Kazuchika Okada) defeated Suzuki-Gun (Taichi, Lance Archer, RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion Zack Sabre Jr., and Minoru Suzuki) by disqualification when Taichi used Iizuka’s iron glove on Okada.
During the match, Eagles displayed his spirit by surviving a Suzuki-Gun onslaught, Will Ospreay and Zack Sabre Jr squared off, and Taichi took his shots at Okada.
After the disqualification, Jon Moxley came through the crowd, exchanged blows with Suzuki before putting him down with a Vertical Drop Death Rider. Suzuki eventually made his way to the back with a sadistic smile on his face.
The marquee match saw LIJ (Sanada and new Double Champion [Non-Unified IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Titles] Tetsuya Naito) defeat Bullet Club (Jay White and KENTA). As expected, KENTA was hated by the Ota City Gymnasium crowd after his attack on Naito after the latter became Double Champion on night-two of Wrestle Kingdom 14.
Sanada was able to defeat Jay with a cradle, leading to the two Bullet Club members to beat down Sanada and Naito. KENTA would challenge Naito for both Double Championship titles, while Jay White said he would put Sanada in his place for feeling too confident.
During the show, the English commentary team announced matches for the New Beginning tour would drop in several days. The broadcast team also hinted at several big schedule announcements were coming shortly.
Fantastica Mania 2020 begins on January 10th, and those cards are expected to be made public within the next few days.