NJPW, WCW, WWE, ROH Legend Jushin Thunder Liger to Retire at Tokyo Dome in 2020

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2019

TOKYO,JAPAN - MARCH 6: Jushin Thunder Liger looks on during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling at Ota City general Gymnasium on March 6, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)
Masashi Hara/Getty Images

Wrestling legend Jushin "Thunder" Liger announced Thursday that he will officially retire next year, with his final match taking place at the Tokyo Dome in January 2020:

NJPW Global @njpwglobal

【Jyushin Thunder Liger will retire in the Tokyo Dome, January next year! 】 Live video of the press conference on YouTube! https://t.co/dKhKFcSFtL Also broadcast on 'NJPW World' at the same time! https://t.co/4s1BYig1y7 # njpw # Liger https://t.co/22jotsKLxh

The 54-year-old Liger held a press conference to discuss his plans, which will include a final send-off at Wrestle Kingdom 14, New Japan Pro-Wrestling's biggest show of the year:

Liger's career began in 1984, and he has competed for the past 35 years, establishing himself as arguably the greatest junior heavyweight of all time.

Wrestling into 2020 means Liger will have competed across five decades by the time he retires. He has also competed in almost every major wrestling company in the world, including New Japan, WWE, WCW, Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Noah and CMLL.

Liger has won multiple championships during his time in NJPW, including the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships six times and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship a record 11 times.

Because of his success and longevity, Liger has left a huge impression on many within the wrestling world, including fellow junior heavyweight Will Ospreay:

“A̶e̶r̶i̶a̶l̶ Assassin” Will Ospreay @WillOspreay

Timeless. Liger is forever. https://t.co/s8tsDnvvNo

ROH play-by-play announcer Ian Riccaboni also has fond memories of the legendary performer:

Ian Riccaboni @IanRiccaboni

I was four when I made my family rush home from one of Bill's basketball games, foregoing Frostees to make sure we were home in time for Starrcade '91. I saw Liger for the first time that night. Congrats on a HOF career! Would love to call one more... against @CheeseburgerROH. https://t.co/T4tX68wF4Y

For those who haven't followed New Japan closely over the years, they may be most familiar with Liger from his time in WCW from 1991-1992 and 1995-1999. He became the second holder of the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship in 1991, and he went on to appear in the first-ever match on Monday Nitro in 1995.

More recently, Liger made the first and only televised appearance of his career with WWE in 2015 at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, where he defeated Tyler Breeze.

Liger has worked on the New Japan undercard in recent years and continues to do remarkable things in the ring of a high-flying and technical nature even at his age. He also remains one of the most popular wrestlers in Japan, which has made him a major asset for the company.

Announcing his retirement 10 months ahead of time will give Liger an opportunity to have a proper retirement tour, and there will also be plenty of time to set up the ideal storyline and match for him to go out on at Wrestle Kingdom 14.

Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: some language NSFW).