365 matches in 365 days, each from that specific date on the calendar? Challenge accepted. Welcome to 365 Wrestling.
When it comes to sheer longevity and maintaining quality over an extended period of time, is there any wrestler who can match the legacy of Jushin Liger?
Liger spent more than three decades in the character taken from anime. He’s one of the most influential ever in terms of popularizing the cruiserweight style that you can now see throughout wrestling at all levels in all weight classes. His career spanned more than 35 years in total, and while he definitely slowed down in the final years of his time in the ring, he was still going out and having good matches. In fact, just a few months removed from retirement at the Tokyo Dome, Liger had a fantastic match with Minoru Suzki at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s King of Pro Wrestling event in October of 2020.
While other long-tenured wrestlers stand out through their ability to reinvent themselves, it’s the durability and consistency that jump off for the page for Liger. His track record also led to this amazing statistic and graphic that was posted on Twitter back in 2018:
Simply stunning. Liger’s longevity is a major reason why I consider him one of the top 10 practitioners of the craft, ever.
On this installment of the 365 Wrestling project, Liger is in action against another beloved masked wrestler, El Generico. This match went down in 2010 as part of PWG’s Kurt Russellmania event in California.
You can check out this match, along with pretty much the entire archive of PWG and a bunch of other content, on the Highspots Wrestling Network.
Liger keeps wrestling for about another decade after this match, but in terms of getting a major push in his home country, those days are winding down and putting him on a track for New Japan Dad status. At the time of this match, it’s been 10 years since his 11th and final run as IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion — a statistic I found astonishing.
Generico, by contrast, is on the rise. He’s one of the biggest stars on the independents at this juncture, as well as being a fixture for Ring Of Honor. Generico, who was downright skinny earlier in the 2000s, is still lean here but far from a string bean. He’s also yet to put on the mass he accumulated before signing with WWE, which led to him being unmasked and named Sami Zayn.
If you’ve ever been to an independent show with a big name on the lineup, you know you’re going to see said name’s signature stuff. For example, if X-Pac is wrestling, you’re bound to see a Bronco Buster and probably an X-factor, win or lose. Fans come out for these matches to see their star of choice “play the hits” and that’s the way this match starts. Liger runs Generico through some of his better-known mat work and submission holds, like the Mexican surfboard. The crowd is engaged, Generico is a willing foil, everyone seems happy, and nobody’s having to do anything particularly dangerous or crazy.
But that doesn’t last long! This match hits a different gear, starting when Generico clocks Liger with a leg lariat, leading the legend to roll out to the floor. Generico wastes little time, springing to the top rope and off with a picture-perfect moonsault to the floor. I’ve seen this called a Spaceman Moonsault a few places, for what it’s worth.
After that big dive, both guys are still “playing the hits” but at a decidedly different tempo. Generico busts out a Blue Thunder Bomb and multiple running big boots, now known as the Helluva Kick in WWE. In another impressive feat of aerial derring-do, he goes coast to coast on a somersault legdrop across the back of Liger, who’s hung up on the top rope in the adjacent corner.
Liger brings it during the finishing stretch as well: a brainbuster, a release German suplex, a shotei, and a Liger Bomb are all on the menu, with the latter move disrupting Generico’s attempt at the always spectacular and dangerous-looking top rope brainbuster. That sets up Liger to hit a second brainbuster on Generico and end it.
–Some fan named Kirby wins a raffle to do the introductions for this match and he crushes it.
–Seeing Generico here, and how much he was universally beloved by audiences in the gimmick, it’s amazing to reflect on his transformation into the smarmy, scuzzy, conspiracy-theory-spouting heel that Zayn has become on WWE programming.
–I watched this and the RISE match through the Highspots Network on my laptop and the interface is not user friendly at all. Specifically, I miss the ability to rewind back a few seconds. Instead, it’s drag the cursor on the scrollbar and choose your fate. Maybe the Roku app is a little easier to navigate?
Final Rating: 6.2
The opening few minutes are tame and not especially compelling but these two make up for it with a strong finishing stretch. Generico sells everything Liger does well, and the uniqueness of the matchup adds to the value of watching this as well. Definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of either–and I happen to enjoy both.
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