Jūshin Thunder Liger
|Jūshin Thunder Liger|
|Ring name(s)||Yamada Keiichi (1984 - 1989)|
Flying Fuji Yamada (1986 - 1987 in England)
Jūshin Liger (1989)
Jūshin Thunder Liger (from 1990 onwards)
Kishin Liger (1996/10/20; 2006/7/30)
Masked CTU-G (2001 - 2007)
|Real name||Yamada Keiichi|
|Nickname(s)||Raging Beast God|
Symbol of Juniors
|Billed height||170 cm (5 ft 7 in)|
|Billed weight||95 kg (210 lb; 15.0 st)|
Yamada Keiichi (山田恵一) (born 1964/11/30) is a professional wrestler. He is best known as Jūshin Thunder Liger (獣神サンダー・ライガー Jūshin Sandā Raigā).
Yamada Keiichi wanted to train as a professional wrestler, but he was considered too small by New Japan Pro Wrestling and that is why he went to Mexico. Eventually, New Japan Pro Wrestling decided to give Yamada a chance after all and Yamada was allowed to train at the New Japan Pro Wrestling dojo. Yamada made his pro wrestling debut on 1984/3/3 against Kosugi Shunji in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Yamada once again battled against Kosugi on 1985/4/18 in the final of the first ever Young Lion Cup. Yamada lost that match to Kosugi. In 1986/3, Yamada defeated Gotō Tatsutoshi to win the second edition of the Young Lion Cup. Yamada idolized Dynamite Kid and he managed to develop a style similar to Dynamite's. Yamada became like a Japanese version of Dynamite Kid.
Yamada worked in England under the name "Flying" Fuji Yamada. In All Star Promotions, he won the World Heavy Middleweight Championship in 1986/9 and 1987/3. He won the championship from Mark Rocco on both occasions and lost the championship back to Rocco on two occasions.
Yamada went to Stampede Wrestling in Canada in 1987/5. Yamada trained at the famous Hart Family Dungeon in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
During the late 1980s, Yamada invented the shooting star press. He debuted the move on 1988/1/11 in a match against Funaki Masaharu (later known as Funaki Masakatsu). It was a match in a 12-man tournament held from 1/4 through 2/7. It was the first edition of the Top of the Super Juniors tournament. Yamada finished sixth in the final standings.
Yamada challenged Koshinaka Shirō for the IWGP junior heavyweight championship on 1988/12/9. Later that month, Yamada went to England and supposedly (in kayfabe) did not return. Yamada also returned to Calgary for a while.
Beast God Liger
On 1989/4/24, Jūshin Liger made his debut. He defeated Kobayashi Kuniaki at New Japan Pro Wrestling's first ever Tokyo Dome show.
On 1989/5/25, Liger won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the first time. He defeated Hase Hiroshi.
On 1989/7/13, Liger defended the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against Sano Naoki. The match ended in a double knockout. On 1989/8/10, Liger lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship once again versus Sano. On 1989/9/20, Liger unsuccessfully challenged Sano for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
Beast God Thunder Liger
In 1990, Jūshin Liger transformed into Jūshin Thunder Liger. This was an upgrade similar to the upgrade of the Liger character in the anime series.
In 1990/1, a tournament was held to decide the #1 contender for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Jūshin Thunder Liger defeated Owen Hart on 1990/1/30 in the final match of the tournament. On 1/31, Liger defeated Sano Naoki to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
On 1990/8/19, Pegasus Kid (Chris Benoit) defeated Liger to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Liger won the championship back from Pegasus on 1990/11/1.
Liger vacated the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in 1991/4 so that the championship could be decided in the Top of the Super Juniors II tournament. In the final of the tournament, Honaga Norio defeated Liger to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Liger defeated Honaga on 1991/6/12 to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for a fourth time.
On 1991/8/9, Liger lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship to Nogami Akira.
On 1991/12/25, Liger defeated Brian Pillman in Atlanta, GA to win the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship.
On 1992/2/8, Liger won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Chamionship from Honaga Norio.
On 1992/2/29, Liger lost the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship to Brian Pillman at WCW SuperBrawl II in Milwaukee, WI.
On 1992/4/30, Liger defeated El Samurai in the final match of the Top of the Super Juniors III tournament. On 1992/6/26, El Samurai defeated Liger to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
Liger won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the sixth time when he defeated Último Dragón on 1993/1/4.
Liger finished sixth in the Top of the Super Junior IV tournament. He had to forfeit his place in the quarter finals because of an ankle injury.
On 1994/4/16, the first ever Super J Cup was held. New Japan Pro Wrestling hosted the tournament at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tōkyō. Liger was the booker for this tournament. Liger defeated Hayabusa in the first round and Ricky Fuji in the second round. The semi final match between Liger and Great Sasuke was the match where Liger put over Sasuke. Sasuke defeated Liger and this turned Sasuke into a star. Sasuke and his Michinoku Pro wrestling promotion had been relatively unknown up until that point.
Liger won the Best of the Super Juniors tournament on 1994/6/13 after defeating Super Delfín in the tournament final. Delfín showed up with an outfit similar to Liger's with a mask that was half Delfín-like and half Liger-like.
On 1994/7/8, Liger defeated Great Sasuke.
Liger suffered an ankle injury in a tag team match on 1994/9/24. Liger returned to in-ring action on 1995/8/11.
On 1996/4/1, Liger defeated Kanemoto Kōji to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for a seventh time.
In 1996/8, Liger announced that he would have to undergo an operation because of a brain tumor. Fortunately, Liger returned to the ring soon because of the successful operation. In his return match on 1996/9/20, Liger faced Wild Pegasus.
On 1997/1/4, Liger defeated Último Dragón to win the J-Crown Championship.
Since the 2000s, he has remained one of the most recognizable names in wrestling and continues to be a respected veteran.
Demon God Liger
Jūshin Liger only appeared as Kishin Liger on two occasions. The first time was during a match against Great Muta on 1996/10/20. Kishin Liger returned for a match against BADBOY Hidō on 2006/7/30.
Luchas de Apuestas
In Mexico, a lucha de apuestas, which is a match where a worker puts either his mask or hair on the line, is a big match. Occasionally, a mask or hair match takes place in Japanese wrestling.
1991/7/04. NJPW. Jūshin Liger defeated Pegasus Kid in a mask vs. mask match. Pegasus was revealed as Chris Benoit. Pegasus lost his mask a second time when he lost a mask match to Villano III in Mexico on 1991/11/3.
1994/1/04. NJPW. Jūshin Thunder Liger defeated Tiger Mask III. Tiger Mask III was revealed as Kanemoto Kōji. This was not a match with a mask vs. mask stipulation, but Kanemoto removed his own mask after losing the match.
1986/9/26 World Heavy-Middleweight Championship
1987/3/03 World Heavy-Middleweight Championship
1989/5/25 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
1990/1/31 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
1990/11/01 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
1991/6/12 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
1991/12/25 WCW World Light Heavyweight Championship
1992/2/08 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
1993/1/04 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
1996/1/04 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
1996/6/17 British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Championship
1996/7/20 WAR International Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (w/ El Samurai)
1997/1/04 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
1997/1/04 NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship
1997/1/04 British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Championship
1997/1/04 WAR International Junior Heavyweight Championship
1997/1/04 WWF World Light Heavyweight Championship
1997/1/04 UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Championship
1997/1/04 WWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Championship
1997/1/04 NWA World Welterweight Championship
1998/2/07 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
1999/4/11 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (w/ Great Sasuke)
1999/10/11 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
1999/12/06 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
2001/3/06 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (w/ El Samurai)
2002/5/02 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (w/ Tanaka Minoru)
2003/1/26 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (w/ Kanemoto Kōji)
2003/2/01 Osaka Pro Wrestling Tag Team Championship (w/ Murahama Takehiro)
2004/1/04 NOAH GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship
2007/3/25 Dragon Gate Open the Dream Gate Championship
2008/2/17 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (w/ AKIRA)
2010/5/03 CMLL World Middleweight Championship
2010/12/10 JAPW Light Heavyweight Championship
1986-03 Young Lion Cup
1992/4/30 Top of the Super Juniors III
1994/6/13 Best of the Super Juniors
1995/12/13 Super J Cup
2000/4/09 Super J Cup
2001/6/04 Best of the Super Juniors VIII
2001/11/25 G1 Junior Tag League (w/ El Samurai)
2001 Naeba Cup (w/ Nagata Yūji)
2010 CMLL Universal Championship