Jushin Liger

  • Born: 11/30/1964 in Hiroshima, Hiroshima, Japan
  • Birthname: Yamada Keiichi
  • Height & Weight: 5'7", 209 Ib
Titles Won:
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship (11 times)
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (6 times) – with The Great Sasuke (1), El Samurai (1), Minoru Tanaka, (1), Koji Kanemoto (1), AKIRA (1), and Tiger Mask IV (1)
  • J-Crown
  • WWE Hall Of Fame (2021)

Best known for his work in New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), where he is the longest-tenured member of the roster, having remained with the company since his debut in 1984 until his retirement in January 2020. Throughout his career, which spanned three-and-a-half decades, he wrestled over 4,000 matches and performed in major events for various promotions across the globe, including America’s WWE, where he was also inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2020, delayed one year to 2021.

Debuting under his real name for NJPW in 1984, he was given the gimmick of Jushin Liger in 1989, based on the anime series of the same name. Becoming Jushin “Thunder” Liger the following year, he saw unprecedented success in the junior heavyweight division when he won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship a record 11 times and set the record for its longest reign during his second reign, which lasted for 628 days.

Liger was the first three-time Best of the Super Juniors tournament winner (a record eventually tied by Koji Kanemoto), is a former six-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion, won the Super J Cup twice (in 1995 and 2000), and was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1999.

Liger also wrestled the opening match for the first January 4 Tokyo Dome Show in 1992, as well as the first ever match on WCW Monday Nitro. He is frequently cited as one of the greatest junior heavyweight wrestlers of all time. Liger had his retirement match at Wrestle Kingdom 14 on January 5, 2020, 35 years after his career began.

Notable Feuds

vs. Brian Pillman

vs. The Great Muta

Other Notable Achievements

NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship (2 times)

NWA World Welterweight Championship

UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Championship

WWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Championship

WWF Light Heavyweight Championship

WAR International Junior Heavyweight Championship

Top/Best of the Super Juniors (1992, 1994, 2001)

G1 Climax Junior Heavyweight Tag League (2001) – with El Samurai

Naeba Cup Tag Tournament (2001) – with Yuji Nagata

Young Lion Cup

GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship

GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship – Tiger Mask IV

NTV G+ Cup Junior Heavyweight Tag League (2013) – Tiger Mask IV

All-Star Promotions World Heavy Middleweight Championship (2 times)

CMLL Universal Championship (2010)

CMLL World Middleweight Championship

CMLL World Tag Team Championship – with Hiroshi Tanahashi

Dragon Gate Open the Dream Gate Championship

JAPW Light Heavyweight Championship

Michinoku Pro Wrestling / North Eastern Wrestling British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Championship (2 times)

Super J Cup (2000)

Osaka Pro Wrestling Tag Team Championship – with Takehiro Murahama

WCW Light Heavyweight Championship

WAR International Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship – with El Samurai

Super J Cup (1995)

Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards:

5 Star Match (1994) vs. The Great Sasuke on July 8

Best Gimmick (1989)

Best Flying Wrestler (1989–1993)

Best Technical Wrestler (1989–1992)

Best Wrestling Maneuver (1987, 1988) Shooting star press

Match of the Year (1990) vs. Naoki Sano on January 31 in Osaka, Japan

Most Outstanding Wrestler (1990–1992)

Rookie of the Year (1984) tied with Tom Zenk

Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1999)