New Year Dash is the equivalent of the Raw after WrestleMania, and this year it opened with the retirement ceremony of Jushin “Thunder” Liger.
Liger, real name Keiichi Yamada, debuted in 1983, had wrestled his final yesterday at Wrestle Kingdom 14 tagging with hand-picked partner Naoki Sano losing to Hiromu Takahashi and Ryu Lee.
The ceremony began with Liger entered the ring, followed by numerous other wrestlers, and was presented flowers by Tanahashi. Liger was then left in the ring until Okada entered with CHOAS and presented Liger with flowers.
From there, New Japan’s chairman and president entered and gave more flowers. They were followed by Liger’s wife and son, who gave him flowers, followed by a video message from Antonio Inoki.[AdSense-B]
Liger then made a goodbye speech you can watch below. He thanked his mother, his wife and son, and the fans. Then there was a ten bell salute.
The legacy of @Liger_NJPW!
Jyushin Thunder Liger Forever…
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) January 6, 2020
After this, in a clearly unplanned moment, Tanashshi requested the crowd sang Liger’s entrance music. Liger would then wave to the audience, walk up the stage, and bow before exiting.
It was a fantastic send-off and genuinely deserved for a legend of the wrestling world. His record of 11 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship’s will likely never be beaten.