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Awesome / Jushin Thunder Liger

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  • Even before he became Liger, Keiichi Yamada was a gifted amateur wrestler who had competed on a national level, making it to the finals of a championship tournament which was won by another amateur turned pro wrestler, Toshiaki Kawada. Yamada applied to the New Japan Dojo after high school, only to be rejected because he didn't meet the height requirements at the time. But Yamada was determined to become a pro wrestler, took everything he had at the time and traveled to Mexico. According to his book, Liger was almost starving during his tenure there, when New Japan officials decided to take pity on him and brought him back to Japan to train in the dojo.
    • On top of this, Liger was trained by some of the best. In the New Japan Dojo, he studied under his inspiration, Tatsumi Fujinami, and Yoshiaki Fujiwara, the inventor of the famous Fujiwara armbar. Oh, and he went to Canada to train for a bit under some guy named Stu Hart in his Hart Family Dungeon. On top of that, Liger studied several martial arts to add variety to his wrestling style. If he hadn't taken the Liger gimmick, Yamada would've potentially started up Pancrase with Minoru Suzuki. Damn.
  • Legitimizing and revolutionizing the Junior Heavyweight division in Japan. For the longest time, junior heavyweights were seen as more of a "side attraction" to the heavyweight bouts from Inoki and his ilk. In 1989, a masked man entered the Tokyo Dome in its first ever wrestling event and proceeded to wow the crowd in attendance with his combination of high flying, striking, and grappling. Within less than a year, Liger had become one of the hottest acts in puroresu.
    • On top of this, showing that juniors can go up against heavyweights. As the reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, he had an exhibition match against IWGP Heavyweight Champion Shinya Hashimoto. Despite the size difference, Liger was able to rally against Hashimoto several times, even getting him up and dropping him down with a Liger Bomb. While he would ultimately lose, Liger proved that junior heavyweights could hold their own against the bigger guys. Also, in a rare instance of a complete attire change, Liger forwent the full body suit and decorative mask, opting for his "Battle Liger" look that he would don when he would face heavyweights throughout his career.
  • Winning the 1995 and 2000 Super J Cup Tournaments.
  • His 5 Star match with The Great Sasuke from NJPW Summer Struggle 1994- Day 8, July 8, 1994.
  • Winning The Wrestling Observer Newsletter's "Most Outstanding Wrestler" Award from 1990-1992.
    • "Best Flying Wrestler," 1989-1993.
    • "Best Technical Wrestler," 1989-1992
    • "Best Wrestling Manuever" for the Shooting Star Press, 1987-1988
  • Was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1996 and there were those who believed he would never compete again. He kicked its ass and was back in the ring by November and competed for almost another 25 years before his retirement in 2020.
  • His matches against Koji Kanemoto. Kanemoto was, at one point, Tiger Mask III. Liger was the one to unmask him. And then there was their encounter in the Tokyo Dome on January 4th, 2000, where Liger demolished Kanemoto in just under 4 minutes.
  • Just a few days before he turned 50 years old, Liger gets perhaps one last hurrah as a champ, winning The NWA World Jr Heavyweight title, winning it at Power Struggle 2014.
  • Being given a gimmick based on a cartoon character and not only not ending up as WrestleCrap, but making a decades long career as one of New Japan's top draws is a crowning moment in itself.
    • Not only did he become successful with the gimmick, his popularity eclipsed the Jushin Liger anime's. While it's still given a nod to and makes appearances in other media, the titular mech and its show came and went while Liger himself would have a career that spanned 30+ years and would become one of the most recognizable Japanese pro wrestlers of all time, highly respected and beloved by fans for generations.
  • The announcement that Liger would make his WWE/NXT debut at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn was a massive CMOA for millions of wrestling fans.
    • Said match against Tyler Breeze was amazing in of itself. Even after passing the 50 milestone, he can still go against the new blood.
    • The announcement that Liger will be part of Class 2020 of the WWE Hall of Fame. He's such a legend that the biggest company in the wrestling world is inducting him into the HoF even though he only had one match, and not in the main roster, but in the developmental roster.
  • In his year long retirement tour on August 23rd, 2019, Liger squared off against the son of his most well known American wrestling rival: Brian Pillman, Jr.
  • Any time he brings out Kishin Liger. He's only done it a grand total of four (4) times, meaning if he's brought it out, his opponent has crossed a Moral Event Horizon and that he'll Beat Them at Their Own Game. Details of these transformations:
    • October 10th, 1996: A match against The Great Muta goes pretty much as expected. Liger tries to rally against the vicious Muta, who uses his aggressive, underhanded tatics to keep our masked hero on the defensive. To show complete and total disrespect, as well as to humiliate Liger, Muta begins tearing at his mask. That's when a transformation happens. After leaving to get a chair, Muta comes back into the ring to see Liger tearing his mask completely, revealing something of a familiar sight: a painted face, much like Muta's own. Liger than proceeds to spit the same mist that Muta uses in his face, temporarily blinding him. Liger than rips off the top of his body suit, revealing body paint beneath. The match is now completely different, with the two attempting to outdo the other in dirty tatics, with Kishin at one point attempting to STAB MUTA. Eventually, it takes Muta to use his Red Mist and a cartwheel back elbow followed by Muta's patented moonsault to get the win. This was the birth of Kishin Liger, showing just what could happen if Liger was pushed too far.
    • July 30th, 2006: As a part of an anniversary show for Liger's stable "Counter Terrorism Unit" (CTU), Liger was involved with a feud with Bad Boy Hido, who cut Liger's hair. Liger decided to retaliate in the only way he knew how: bring out the demon beast within. This was the first time that Liger announced beforehand that he would be wrestling as Kishin. It was a bloody brawl throughout Korakuen Hall, with barbed wire bats, chairs, pretty much anything they could get their hands on. Kishin eventually won by driving Hido headfirst onto a chair with a brainbuster.
    • Dominion 6.16 (June 16th, 2012): Liger and Tiger Mask IV took on Suzuki-Gun's Taichi and TAKA Michinoku. Suzuki-Gun, known for their brutal and downright evil tactics, got a taste of their own medicine when, after trying to unmask their opponents, Taichi was in for a surprise when he received red mist to the face for his troubles from Kishin Liger. Kishin once again attempts to stab his opponent, only for Taichi to move out of the way, with Kishin driving a spike through a table. However, this was only a minor inconvenience, and Kishin instead drove Taichi through the aforementioned table with a powerbomb, taking him out of the match which allowed Tiger Mask to get the pin on TAKA, capturing the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team titles in the process.
    • Destruction in Kobe (September 22nd, 2019): After months of dealing with Suzuki-Gun's leader, Minoru Suzuki, and his villainous tatics, Liger decided enough was enough and low blowed one of the most dangerous men in wrestling. Liger proceeded to remove his mask, revealing a completely painted bald head underneath. Kishin would blind Suzuki with green mist, before attempting to stab him with a spike. After the match, Kishin gave chase to Suzuki as he tried to get away. Young Lions, officials and even Hiroshi Tanahashi weren't safe as they felt the demon beast's wrath in his pursuit of vengeance.

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