Andy Quildan explains the importance of Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger
Andy Quildan explains, in detail, the importance of Jushin 'Thunder' Liger to Revolution Pro Wrestling and British wrestling in episode 76 of his podcast, the A-Squared Circle Wrestling Podcast with Andy 'Boy' Simmonz.
“The impact Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger had on British wrestling was massive, think about the butterfly effect that had. OSPREAY is perhaps the most talented wrestler, ever, he was always going to rise to the top but Will’s path in terms of going to New Japan, that all started from Liger opening that door if that hadn’t happened that relationship wouldn’t have been built and we wouldn’t have had that knock-on effect, who knows where he (OSPREAY) would have wound up, he might have been 205 live champion? But we can’t underestimate the importance of the role Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger had in UK professional wrestling.
I owe him so much in terms of gratitude, he was always so humble when he came over. The craziest thing is ever, the first time I met him, I went and knocked on his door to just say ‘hello’ after I got to the hotel, the man I presumed to be Jushin ‘ Thunder’ Liger answered the door (it was Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger) it was nothing like I had imagined at all. Really, he’s just a sweet man. The next day at the show, he puts his gear on and instantly transforms, the transformation was amazing. He is someone I always point towards on who could be and should be looked by all up and coming wrestlers how you sell, how you use your body and everyone can learn from that.
Last year at the British J-Cup at the Bowlers Exhibition centre, he was just walking around the exhibition centre, no one stopped him, that is how different he was before putting on his wrestling gear.
He had every right to have an ego but he had none, absolutely none, and a testament to that is how many times I brought him over because he was a pleasure to be around. When we had the TV show, the first match was Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger vs Chris Brookes, its no secret I tried to get Brian Pillman Jr. for the show as I thought it would be quite a cute little take on the Brian Pillman vs Liger match, but the MLW dates clashed so it sadly didn’t work out. The first-ever British J-Cup winner, Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger, he in many ways legitimised that trophy and if you have a Junior Heavyweight tournament with the best Junior Heavyweights in the world, how could you not have Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger. He was the first Japanese wrestler that stood out to me as well, as in the J-Cup, I don’t want to bastardise the year but there is one that is super famous amongst tape collectors and he was the most distinctive wrestler on the show, just because of the costume, you never forget that. He stands out.
He was the perfect guy for our first York Hall show, as not only was he a wrestling legend in terms of NJPW and Japanese professional wrestling and the super juniors and putting that Junior Heavyweight division on the map, in addition to that he had his tenure to WCW, which didn’t set the world on fire as he was always in and out, but he was the first-ever match on Nitro, and that match with Brian Pillman that was miles ahead of its time, very much similar to LA Parka, the costume made him stand out and he was that perfect crossover wrestler in that he had that tenure in WCW he had that first match in Nitro, he had that famous match with Brian Pillman, he had the costume as well as being a bonafide professional wrestling legend, it was the perfect storm.
In a way, it legitimised Revolution Pro to a lot of people and I think a lot of people were sceptical as to whether the show was actually going to happen just that’s what British wrestling was in those days, once he had come over, and there was a big spike in ticket sales that night as we were able to post that he (Liger) had landed in the country as that was British wrestling in those days, we had to rebuild confidence in people. After that, the attendances from that point on, were all up, and that was our lowest drawing York Hall show but it was the highest figure from a British wrestling promotion in a very long time, but the attendances went up from there but that’s where the consumer confidence started to grow back.
There's an incredible moment with Prince Devitt and Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger with Rollerball Rocco holding the Undisputed British Cruiserweight belt and people talk about defining moments and that picture is very much a defining moment in Revolution Pro Wrestling and the three generations of Junior Heavyweight wrestlers stood side by side in one of the most famous combat sport venues in the world.”