Welcome back to the Dark Match Dungeon! If you run with Team D.M.D., you already know that this is where I blindly throw darts at the internet and see if I can manage to hit any forgotten footage of today’s wrestling stars. We’ve got ourselves an odd one today, folks. I’ve been wanting to do a Chris Jericho edition for a while now, but I didn’t know what I should focus on. He’s had a deceptively long career, and tons of footage from his travels around the world must have fallen through the cracks, right? And that’s when it hit me… Jericho’s done a ton of great stuff, but what about that really, really dumb thing he did in Japan? Whether or not it was his idea, let’s take a look at the strangest (and quickest) chapter of his career. I’m talking, of course, about his time as SUPER LIGER.
What To Look For:
- Jericho’s opponent, Koji Kanemoto. Still an active wrestler, Kanemoto has several claims to fame, most notably inventing the Koji Clutch and being the third Tiger Mask. In fact, he revisited the Tiger Mask persona to represent All Japan Pro Wrestling at the Lucha Libre World Cup this year.
- Jericho almost constantly adjusting his Liger mask. More on that later.
- “ASK HIM.” Ah, the classics.
- A hilariously missed attempt at Jericho’s springboard corner dropkick.
So, here’s what was supposed to happen. During WCW’s working relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling, somebody got the idea that Jushin “Thunder” Liger should have a mirror-image rival. It’s the same idea behind Black Tiger, the character created to oppose Tiger Mask. Just as all the Black Tigers have been gaijin (including Rocky Romero and Eddie Guerrero), the Super Liger character would also be played by a foreigner. Jericho debuted the character at this very match, which took place at NJPW’s Wrestling World 1997. As it turns out, unveiling a knock-off version of a legitimate cultural icon on a WrestleMania-level stage was an unpopular move. Super Liger was met with overwhelmingly negative feedback and retired overnight. Jericho has said on multiple occasions that his mask obscured his vision and caused him to screw up several moves, basically sealing Super Liger’s fate from the get-go. Even if you’re the man of 1,004 holds, you can’t win them all.