A veteran to the squared circle, Jushin Thunder Liger is no stranger to the world of Professional Wrestling having made a name for himself with the New Japan Pro-Wrestling. In town for the recent Japan Park Singapore, we chat with the veteran wrestler how he got started and his favourite memory here in Singapore.
How did you first get started with professional wrestling and why pursue it as a career?
I was a very shy child and was in an extracurricular club where we planted flowers and vegetables. Most of the club members were girls. I first encountered pro-wrestling when I spotted a pro-wrestling magazine at a bookstore. Tatsumi Fujinami was on the cover page and I remembered being intrigued by his muscular physique. Also, since I didn’t do any sports, I looked extremely frail in comparison. So I thought to myself that one day I will look like that, which sparked my journey towards being a pro-wrestler.
Are there any other wrestlers that you look up to? And why?
I really look up to Antonio Inoki and Kotetsu Yamamoto. I went to Mexico to chase my dream as a pro-wrestler since Japan had a minimum height requirement of 185cm, while I was only 170cm. Yamamoto-san really encouraged me and urged me to join competitions. He is without a doubt, my life benefactor. As for Inoki-san, I had the privilege of being his attendant and he brought me to many matches and gave me a lot of advice and tips. My foundation as a pro-wrestler is built on his teachings, which I will eternally be grateful for.
Since your debut in 1984, has there been that one dream match that you would like to have?
A match was scheduled back in March this year in Los Angeles. But it got cancelled due to my opponent’s injury which was a pity. So I hope to fulfil that match someday.
As someone who has been to Singapore before, what is your most interesting memory here?
It has got to be finding durians in the supermarket! Even though it was slightly pricey, I bought some and had a hell of a feast back in my hotel. I also once watched a TV programme where the durians were falling off trees and people just cut them open and starting eating. I really want to try that!
Is there something you would like to say to your fans here in Singapore?
I’m really glad that pro-wrestling is gaining recognition internationally, and that people are watching matches on TV. But I hope that everyone can watch pro-wrestling live at the ring too!
Thank you, Jushin Thunder Liger, for your time and we look forward to seeing you again in Singapore!
By Kenneth Wong
© POPCulture Online 2018