Jushin Thunder Liger is making the most his remaining time as an active wrestler before he retires at Wrestle Kingdom 14. He’s been taking extra bows after his NJPW matches, is producing the upcoming Super J-Cup, has had a career vs. career feud teased with Minoru Suzuki, wrestled an extremely cool last match in CMLL, and teamed up with his former rival The Great Sasuke against Shinjiro Otani and Tatsuhito Takaiwa in ZERO1 (which you can watch here.) On November 15, Liger will make another stop on his retirement tour at the memorial show for “The Destroyer” Dick Beyer, where he’ll team up with Keiji Mutoh (aka the human alter ego of the Great Muta) and All Japan Triple Crown Champion Kento Miyahara against the team of Sanada, Bushi, and Kai.
Liger and Mutoh (as Muta) were last in the same ring when it looked like they were the final two wrestlers in the Honor Rumble at G1 Supercard, and Mutoh last worked with New Japan wrestlers in Riki Choshu’s retirement match this June, when he teamed up with Tatsumi Fujinami and Togi Makabe to defeat Choshu, Shiro Koshinaka, and Tomohiro Ishii.
According to the match announcement in Tokyo Sports, as interpreted by Google Translate and the more reliable All Japan English fan account, there’s historical significance to this match that ties it all in to Beyer. The Destroyer first found success as a masked wrestler in Showa era (the imperial reign of Hirohito) and Liger is a masked wrestler who came up during the transition from the Showa to the Heisei era, or reign of Akihito. Miyahara represents the future of wrestling, a top star from Heisei to the Reiwa era that began on May 1, 2019, when Naruhito became Emperor of Japan. Mutoh is supposed to represent “the dark world” of masked wrestling because of his Great Muta alter ego.
As much as this match is supposed to be about honoring the Destroyer and the history of masked wrestlers and representing different generations of wrestling, it does seem like it’s not-so-sneakily all about Mutoh. Sanada, Bushi, and Kai were all trained by him and have no ties to the Destroyer aside from also previously working in All Japan. Seeing New Japan star Sanada face off with Mutoh will call back to not only his time in AJPW and Mutoh’s Wrestle-1 promotion but the TNA angle in which Sanada turned on his mentor and adopted “The Great Sanada” heel character.
New Japan and All Japan don’t work together very often these days, so this should be a cool match to see on when it probably gets uploaded to NJPW World at some point and definitely not earlier through some form of piracy. Miyahara vs. Sanada interactions are probably the closest we’ll get to Miyahara vs. Okada (besides Miyahara vs. Tanahashi sequences at the Giant Baba Memorial Show) and legends Liger and Mutoh working together should be a hit.