30 Years of Liger in 30 Days: 2005 【WK14C】

We continue our countdown to Jyushin Thunder Liger’s retirement.

<– 30 Years of Liger in 30 Days: 2004      30 Years of Liger in 30 Days: 2006–>

Wrestle Kingdom 14 night 1: January 4 tickets! 

Wrestle Kingdom 14 night 2: January 5 tickets!

As 2004 turned to 2005, Jyushin Thunder Liger represented CTU at home and abroad. In May, he was part of NJPW’s first ever tour of Italy, while in October, he would head to the US, wrestling Samoa Joe in TNA under the banner of CTU and NJPW. 

Yet his most significant match in 2005 was domestically, inside the Tokyo Dome as he continued his issues with Pro Wrestling NOAH stars that had been a major factor over the last few years of his career. While his GHC Junior Heavyweight championship reign had ended in July of 2004, beginning a three year gold drought for Liger, he would refocus, and together with Masahiro Chono, take on the biggest name in the green group. 

At the Tokyo Dome on May 14, the anti-establishment anti-heroes of Liger and Chono faced the very establishment of NJPW and NOAH in tag action when they took on former president of NJPW Tatsumi Fujinami, and the president of NOAH, Mitsuharu Misawa. This was a dream clash for Liger against junior heavyweight legends in many respects; Fujinami’s time as a junior heavyweight had inspired Liger to get into pro-wrestling in the first place, and it was under Fujinami in the Dragon Bombers that Liger first had a stable to call home. 

Misawa meanwhile had spent the early part of his career carrying the mantle of Tiger Mask as the second incarnation of the animated character in the ring. In different ways, he and Liger both had overcome high expectations in embodying animated characters and gone on to form their own legacy in the ring. Misawa’s tragic early passing in 2009 meant that this was the first and last time the two touched; the significance of this moment in 2005 shouldn’t be lost.

Watch Mitsuharu Misawa & Tatsumi Fujinami vs Masahiro Chono & Jyushin Thunder Liger here!