Wrestle Kingdom 14 Preview Retirement Match #2: Jushin Liger & Naoki Sano vs. Ryu Lee & Hiromu Takahashi | NJPW | New Japan Pro Wrestling

Jyushin Thunder Liger Retirement Match II Graphic via NJPW

The long-awaited night is finally here. For the first time, we’ll be to actually call this the January 5 Dome Show! Silly as that sounds, this is serious stuff here, a monumental and historic night for pro wrestling. Wrestle Kingdom 14 is one double the scope of everything that has come before it, a full weekend of wrestling greatness. And now we’re here on Night 2, where things are heating up more than ever before.

I’m Jordan Huie of the Overtimer, and it’s a good thing my sleep schedule was already a great big mess by the end of last year! Otherwise I’d never be able to stick with you for the entirety of these shows! It’s a great trade-off, if you ask me. I’ll be previewing the action for tonight, just as I did for Night 1, so let’s get to it!

Jushin Liger & Naoki Sano vs. Hiromu Takahashi & Ryu Lee

And now, it comes to this… a match 36 years in the making. Jushin Liger is considered by many the greatest and most celebrated junior heavyweight of all time. He is an innovator, one of the great originals, originally coming from a time that scoffed at a man his size. By any measure he’s a legend, and even at 55, the man is in truly incredible shape. He was putting on great performances to the very end. I’m sure this will be no different.

His partner, Naoki Sano, is from the same generation as himself, coming from the same class of young lions. Liger’s second-ever match and Sano’s second-ever match was one in the same. The two were great rivals coming up together and those acclaimed bouts helped build Liger into what he is today. He teams with his oldest rival against Hiromu Takahashi and Ryu Lee, the man formerly known as Dragon Lee. This is quite symbolic, as Hiromu and Dragon are similarly young men who came up in the business at the same time, and made waves with their rivalry, putting the both of them on the map. Adding to this, Hiromu will likely be going into this match holding the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title – the title that Liger held 11 times, a record no one has even managed to touch. A title that Liger, in many ways, made famous.

It’s a very poetic match. It is a sentimental, emotional, symbolic torch passing occasion to be sure. And I’m also positive that it’s going to be a great one in it’s own right. On balance I’ll say that Hiromu & Ryu win, probably with Hiromu pinning Liger. But the result is secondary to the place this bout will have in history. Godspeed, Liger-san.

Hiromu TakahashiJushin LigerNaoki SanoNew JapanNew Japan Pro WrestlingNJPWRyu LeeWrestle Kingdom 14
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