Jushin Thunder Liger Explains Why Now is the Right Time to Retire

Sep 20, 2019 - by Steve Gerweck

NJPW recently conducted a new interview with wrestling legend Jushin Liger, who is set to retire from wrestling early next year. Liger discussed his decision and the philosophy behind his retirement. Below are some highlights.

Jushin Liger on why he thought it was the right time to retire: “It was kind of, not really sudden, but a sense of ‘OK, then’. It just felt like the right time to put a full stop on things. I’m happy to hear [Togi Makabe thinks it’s too soon], but truth is, you could see in Best of the Super Juniors this year just how deep the junior heavyweight roster is, and as far as in-ring is concerned, I’ve done everything I ever wanted to do. Plus, I think it’s important to bow out with the fans saying ‘why is he quitting now? He can still go!’ rather than laughing like ‘old man Liger is still going?’. This way is more dignified.”

Jushin Liger on what his wife said when she found out: “All the guys before me, Antonio Inoki, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Riki Choshu, Tatsumi Fujinami, when the question comes to ‘what’s a key trait for a wrestler?’, my answer, and I’m sure that Makabe feels the same, is ‘a wrestler can’t become weak.’ As the years have caught up, I was starting to feel like I couldn’t wear that philosophy as a badge of honour anymore. After the match with Ishimori, all those feelings really hit. My wife said ‘it was your decision, so I’m not going to say anything’. But then she went ‘I wish you’d talked to me first…’”

Liger on how the news of his retirement has reverberated: “I appreciated that. To get back to Tenryu, he said to me ‘if you’re not completely stuffed on wrestling, if you’re not at that point where you couldn’t eat another bite of it, you’ll turn out like those guys who keep coming back one more time. That’s always sad, right?’ I said to him ‘I agree, and after I’m done, I won’t ever come back again.’ I still feel that way and I don’t ever plan to go back on my retirement.”

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