NJPW Destruction in Kobe Results: Tetsuya Naito vs Jay White for the IWGP Intercontinental Title

NJPW Destruction in Kobe Results
September 22, 2019


A battle of the Dojo Grandpas with the four Young Lions not competing in the final two tournament matches. The two legends started things out, and it was interesting watching them work through basic sequences, and then seeing the Lions immediately incorporating variations of those sequences – only much faster – into their work. Coughlin has the look of a young, slightly bulkier Prince Devitt and came off great here. Tsuji ended up getting the win with a Giant Swing into the Boston Crab on Coughlin, bringing the hold back to the center of the ring twice to get the submission. Nothing new here, but a solid 10-minute opener.

2. CLARK CONNERS (8) def. REN NARITA (10) in a Young Lion Cup Match

As you might expect, lots of basics here with some gorgeous chain grappling and amateur-style takedowns. How many ways can you work a headlock and/or wrist lock? We’ve really found out during this tournament, and I mean that in the best way possible. Lots of impressive fireman’s carry throws while maintaining wrist control from Conners, working his opponent’s arm when possible. Eventually they graduated to throwing heavy shops back and forth, and then forearm strikes. Narita nearly got it with a quick dropkick and a belly-to-belly suplex, but Conners caught him with a spear and locked in the Boston Crab to win. Good stuff.

3. KARL FREDERICKS (12) vs. SHOTA UMINO (10) in a Young Lion Cup Match

Lots of early pin attempts from both guys before Fredericks realized he was fighting a losing battle and locked in a headlock. Umino kept on with lots of dropkicks and quick pin attempts, and at one point rolled into a cross armbar out of nowhere. That nearly got it, but Fredericks barely managed to get in the ropes. Umino almost got it again with a stunning German suplex bridge, but it still wasn’t enough. Finally Fredericks comes alive with a back suplex right on the neck, delivers a big spinebuster and locks in a single-leg crab. Umino nearly gets to the ropes but he pulls it back to center, stomps away at the back of his head and applies the hold even deeper to win.

And with that, a surprise win from both of the U.S. Dojo boys here at Kobe World Hall, with Karl Fredericks taking home the 2019 Young Lion Cup.


Honma hit an early Kokeshi, but it just pissed off Bad Luck Fale even more than usual and he cleaned house taking out everybody. Honma made the mistake of trying to lift the big man and got squashed. Eventually Makabe was able to chip him down to size and take Fale off his feet after a half dozen shoulder tackles and a lariat. Henare tagged in and did his own version of the Forever Clotheslines on the other two guys, but Owens caught him with the Package Piledriver to win.


Liger led the charge on Suzuki-Gun before the match even started, leading to a wild brawl with the rest of the competitors fighting all around the arena. The bell technically rung at one point, but I don’t think it mattered. Suzuki broke a chair over Liger’s head and set up a table in the corner. He tried to rip off the mask again but Liger kicks him in the balls and… he takes his own mask off! KISHIN LIGER IS HERE! The demonic final form of the Beast God sprays poison mist into Minoru’s eyes and then drops the referee for good measure. He grabs a metal spike and charges the corner, but Suzuki rolls out of the ring and the spike actually goes through the table. The members of Suzuki-Gun gather and escape to the back, while Kishin Liger continues to take out everyone – Young Lions, officials, and even his own partners as he rampages through the arena and finally takes his leave.


This started slow but the second half was excellent. Lots of moving pieces. Early on there was a lot of Big Tom Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI trying to get some revenge on GoD after their tag team title loss earlier in the tour. On top of that you have tension between Ishii and KENTA coming off their Royal Quest title match, plus Ospreay’s upcoming IWGP title match against ELP and all their drama in recent months, and in case all that wasn’t enough, Roppongi 3K have been trying to push themselves into a heavyweight tag program with the champs. So needless to say, tensions were high. Once Ospreay tagged in around the halfway point the pace totally changed. He had a great sequence with Phantasmo and even got in a few double team moves with Big Tom in a new duo I didn’t know I need more of until right now. Lots of nearfalls with GoD doing everything to put away Roppongi, including hitting SHO with a Magic Killer. YOH made the save and rolled up Tanga Loa out of nowhere to win.

Everyone went crazy for Roppongi 3K beating the champions for a second consecutive major show, having just done it Kagoshima as well. GoD attacked them after the bell and used kendo sticks to send a message. Looks like our King of Pro-Wrestling title match to me!


Loud dueling chants for Okada and SANADA at the bell, so close that referee Red Shoes couldn’t say who won the exchange. EVIL ended up manhandling Eagles for a few minutes until Ibushi got the hot tag, and the two beat the absolute hell out of each other. EVIL’s chops got the better of the Golden Star’s kicks and he hit a big splash in the corner, struggled forever to hit Darkness Falls but Ibushi nailed him with a spin kick to the forehead nearly knocking him out. Okada and SANADA tagged in and did their thing. The champ took it to him with lariats and a shotgun dropkick, but couldn’t hit the Tombstone and EVIL returned to make the save. Okada at one point completely whiffed a dropkick, which may be a first. I’d say the best part of the match was actually the exchanges between Eagles and SANADA – they’d have a really great match together if allowed. In the end SANADA made him tap out to the Skull End after all three LIJ members dropkicked him at the same time.


This was exactly what you’d expect. Two incredibly similar athletes – right down to the look, attire and even the moveset in some cases – beating the absolute stuffing out of each other for a little over 20 minutes. This reminded me of some of the really great 2015-16 hoss fights over the NEVER title. If you saw their battle in the block finals of the G1 last month, I don’t know if this was better but it was probably just as good. Goto kicked out of everything thrown at him including some nasty headbutts, Welcome to Japan and the Pumping Bomber. Shingo kicked out of multiple GTRs and Ushigoroshis. In the end they traded huge lariats, bouncing off each other, then traded headbuts until Goto was able to hit a modified Ushigoroshi, followed by another GTR to win an incredibly hard-fought battle.

9. JAY WHITE def. TETSUYA NAITO (c) to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship

Naito refused to take his opponent seriously for the majority of the match. He took an eternity just getting to the ring, then an even longer time to take off his 3-piece suit while White just glared at him in the corner. Things started slow with some good offense on both sides that eventually spilled outside, with White hitting a powerbomb onto the edge of the ring in the first really big spot of the match. They traded some nasty forearm strikes until collapsing, until an errant strike from White accidentally took out the referee. Gedo attacked the champ with a steel chair and White hit the Kiwi Krusher for two-and-a-half. He couldn’t hit Bladerunner so instead just stomped Naito’s face about a dozen times. Gedo got back on the apron, but Naito ended up using him as a kickpad to hit a Tornado DDT for a nearfall. They went back and forth looking for finishers over and over again, with Naito kicking out of a Dragon suplex and another Kiwi Krusher, and White kicking out of Gloria and even the Destino. After another rapid trade of counters, White finally hit the Bladerunner to win!

After the match, the new Intercontinental Champion got on the mic and asked the fans why they were all leaving. He continued to mock Naito and did the Los Ingobernables gimmick where he listed off every single member of Bullet Club, “y White, nosotros Bullet Club fa- fa- life!”  Some of the crowd popped for this, while others booed him. He talked about ending Naito’s destiny and bringing in the new era of the Switchblade, until…

Hirooki Goto marched to the ring fresh off a big win over Shingo Takagi. White was screaming at him that he refused to allow his moment to be stolen, and that he refused to defend the title against him. Goto just decked him and the two brawled until Gedo pulled White from the ring and the two left up the ramp, screaming obscenities. Goto got on the mic and said that he beat Jay once already, and after tonight he might feel like doing it again, and becoming the new Intercontinental Champion.

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NJPW Road to Destruction Results (9/20): Bullet Club & LIJ Battle in Final Build to Kobe

NJPW Road to Destruction Results
September 20, 2019
Kyoto, Japan

This is the final night of action ahead of Sunday’s big NJPW Destruction in Kobe event. The new Young Lion Cup matches are available now on NJPW World. The show was headlined by a 10-man elimination tag team match, pitting the top stars of Los Ingobernables de Japon against Bullet Club to preview Tetsuya Naito’s upcoming IWGP Intercontinental Championship defense against “Switchblade” Jay White.

1. Alex Coughlin def. Yuya Uemura in a Young Lion Cup match

2. Yota Tsuji def. Michael Richards in a Young Lion Cup match

3. Ren Narita, Shota Umino & Yuji Nagata def. Karl Fredericks, Clark Connors & Manabu Nakanishi

4. YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto def. Toa Henare, Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe

5. Roppongi 3K, Tiger Mask & Hiroshi Tanahashi def. DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.

6. Robbie Eagles, Will Ospreay, Kota Ibushi & Kazuchika Okada def. El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori, Chase Owens & KENTA

7. Yujiro Takahashi, Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Jay White def. BUSHI, Shingo Takagi, SANADA, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito in a 10-Man Tag Team Elimination match

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New Japan Destruction In Kagoshima

Night Two of Destruction sees another title match, a briefcase defense, and several more Young Lions Cup matches.

Yuya Uemera (0-4, 0) s. Clark Conners (3-1, 6) with a Boston Crab – Uemera is winless and mathmatically eliminated, but he could serve as a spoiler. The match started with traditional holds and takedowns, but escalated to fisticuffs and suplexes. Finally, Uemera hit a double-arm release suplex and locked in a Boston Crab for the submission

Ren Narita (3-1, 6) p. Michael Richards with the Belly-To-Belly Suplex – This match was much faster paced throughout. Narita hit a dropkick and his Belly-To-Belly for the pin.

Manabu Nakanishi, Toa Henare, Karl Fredericks, & Alex Coughlin b. Yuji Nagata Rysuke Taguchi, Shota Umino, & Yota Tsuji when Henare pinned Tsuji with a Uranage – Tsuji erupted at the sound of the bell and went after Coughlin. Umino and Fredericks did likewise. Umino got cut off and worked over until Taguchi tagged in and rallied for his team. Nagata went at it with Nakanishi, and even hit an Exploder Suplex. A multi-man brawl broke out that left Henare and Tsuji as the legal men. They traded blows which saw Henare hit a spear and a Uranage to get the win for his team.

CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI, Sho, & Yoh) b. Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, & Chase Owens w/Jado) when Yoh pinned Tonga – This time around, the babyfaces attacked the heels before the bell. after a multi-man brawl GOD set up Yoh for the Magic Killer. Sho managed to chop block Tonga, and Sho rebounded with a roll-up for a flash pin in a surprising upset.

After the match the heels beat down Roppongi 3K and hit the Magic Killer anyway on Yoh,

Jyushin Thunder Liger, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, & Tomoaki Honma b. Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, RevPro Heavyweight Champion Zack Sabre Jr., Yoshinobu Kanemaru, & DOKI) by DQ – Once again the heels attacked before the bell and the action spilled to the floor. Honma and Kanemaru remained in the ring to become the legal men. Suzuki pummeled Liger in the crowd with the ring barricades. Meanwhile, back in the ring, Sabre and Kanemaru worked over Tanahashi. A double tag out to Makabe and Suzuki gave a good hossfight moment. At last, Liger tagged in to finally be the legal man in the ring with Suzuki. Of course, the heels still tried to cheap shot him. That led to a multi-man brawl where Doki and Liger battled in the ring. Liger tried to lift Doki for a brainbuster when Suzuki blatantly stepped in with a chair. He struck Liger several times with the chair, causing the DQ.

Suzuki then ripped the mask off Liger to gasps from the audience. He held the mask aloft like a severed head. Fortunately all the Young Lions rushed the ring and covered Liger’s face. Liger took the mic, with his face still covered in shirts, and vowed revenge against Suzuki.

CHAOS (IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, & Rocky Romero) b. Los Ingobernables De Japon (Shingo Takagi, SANADA, & BUSHI) when Okada pinned BUSHI with a Rainmaker – Goto and Takagi started out by immediately getting in a battle of strikes. The heels cut off Romero and Sanada put him in the Paradise Lock. Okada got the tag and went back and forth with Sanada. BUSHI helped Sanada cut Okada off. Goto and Takagi traded lariats. Okada reversed a Skull End into a Tombstone and still managed to dropkick Bushi. Okada then dropped the elbow and hit the Rainmaker to get the pin

Jay White & Yujiro Takahashi of Bullet Club IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito & EVIL of Los Ingobernables De Japon – Bullet Club tried to attack before the bell, but LIJ was ready for them and everybody brawled into the crowd. Byt the time the match got back in the ring Bullet Club was in control and worked over Naito. EVIL got the tag and rallied against White, who quickly tagged out. He and Takahashi double-teamed Evil. In the ensuing brawl, Naito kept White at bay so Evil could pin Takahashi with Everything Is Evil.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori The Birds Of Prey (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay & Robbie Eagles) when Phantasmo pinned Eagles with a CR2 – As expected, the match started off in high gear with some high flying an agility moves. The heels cut off Eagles and double-teamed him until Ospreay got the hot tag and ran wild. Bullet Club hit a variation of the Best Moonsault Ever for a near fall. A four-way broke out that led to Eagles doing a hurricanrana on Ishimori while he was atop ELP’s shoulders. A Tower Of Doom spot saw both Ospreay and Eagles landing on their feet and hitting a top rope Sliced Bread. Phantasmo made the save and brawled with Ospreay on the floor. Eagles used the Ron Miller Special on Ishimori. Ospreay placed Phantasmo in an Octopus Hold to keep from the hold being broken. That failed and Phantasmo powered out and broke the hold. ELP then tagged in and went back and forth with Eagles. Ishimori clobbered Eagles with a title belt but still couldn’t get the pin. An assisted Bloody Cross knocked out Ospreay, leaving Eagles alone. Both Bullet Club members hit their finishers and pinned Eagles. An amazing tag team match where the babyfaces looked strong even in defeat.

Kota Ibushi KENTA – Kenta attacked before the bell and clobbered Ibushi with the briefcase. Kenta cut a promo saying the case is now his. The opening bell rang and Kenta immediately struck again and went for an early pin. Ibushi kicked out, so Kenta repeatedly tossed him to the outside and knocked him around on the floor. Ibushi made his way back into the ring at the 17 count. Back in the ring, Kenta continued his assault. Every time Ibushi tried to make a comeback, Kenta cut him off. Again Kenta took the match to the floor, this time Kenta smashed Ibushi’s knee on the announce table. When the match returned to the ring, he started focusing on Ibushi’s knee. At the 20 minute mark, Kenta slapped on an inverted Figure Four. Ibushi made the rope break and started his comeback. However, Kenta was able to tie up Red Shoes so GOD could interfere. GOD hit a Magic Killer and lifted Ibushi for a Super Powerbomb. Ishii and Hashi ran in to make the save and chase them off. Kenta hit a PK for a near fall. Kenta followed up by hitting a Kamagoye. Ibushi kicked out, so Kenta went for the kill with a GTS. Ibushi escaped and hit a Kamagoye. Kenta kicked out, but before Kenta was able to fight back, Ibushi hit a second Kamagiyefor the pin.

After the match, EVIL came to teh ring and issued a challenged. Ibushi accepted, so presumably that match will be a King Of Pro Wrestling next month.

What’d You Do, Minoru Suzuki?

Did Suzuki make a mistake by removing Liger’s mask?
Photo Credit: NJPW1972.com

Minoru Suzuki is one of the most feared men in wrestling, not just New Japan Pro Wrestling, but all of the industry. He acts like his reputation allows, attacking his targets at will, bending the rules, assaulting referees, intentionally disqualifying himself to make a point. Whether he’s in the right or the wrong morally, he knows that in what he can get away with, he’s untouchable because might equals right in the lawless jungle that is pro wrestling. While he doesn’t conquer every challenge put in front of him, like his failed IWGP World Championship attempt at Kazuchika Okada in England, nothing in his path is something he necessarily feels the need to fear.

However, should he act like he has impunity? He may have no reason to fear his latest feud partner, fellow old man wrestler Jushin “Thunder” Liger in his normal form. However, at Monday’s Destruction in Kagoshima show, Suzuki may have bitten off more than he could chew. In an eight-man tag match where he teamed with fellow Suzuki-gun members Zack Sabre, Jr, DOUKI, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru against Liger, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, and Tomoaki Honma, he tempted fate. He removed Liger’s mask. While it seemed like he had the last laugh, sitting besmirked with Liger’s iconic mask in his hand while the soon-to-be-retired legend of the ring crawled away, flanked by Young Lions and towel over his head, he might have sealed his own destruction.

Liger has a rarely-appearing alter-ego that comes out when his mask or hair are damaged or removed. Kishin Liger, with a face painted like he was a member of a black metal band and armed with the poison mist of the first person who dared cross him, Keiji Mutoh, is a far more violent incarnation of the legendary wrestler. You would think that Suzuki would have learned, because the last time Kishin came out, it was at the goading from members of his stable, Taichi and TAKA Michinoku to be specific. Taichi is still around. Michinoku hasn’t left as much as he’s nursing an injury. You’d think they’d have strenuously urged their boss not to cross Liger with extreme measures. Yet here they are, ready for a hellish demon to come for them.

The action ensures that the eventual match between Liger and Suzuki will be violent, potentially bloody, and most likely cathartic. Whether it happens at King of Pro Wrestling in October or if they delay it out to the Tokyo Dome on January 4 and 5, it will not be for the faint of heart. To be honest though, it should happen sooner rather than at WrestleKingdom. I don’t think Liger wants to go out as Kishin. Jushin is how he should retire against someone on friendlier terms, meaning the bloodbath might happen at King of Pro Wrestling, the same show that’ll also have Okada defending the title against SANADA. All in all, New Japan is fixing to have a hot end of the year.

Jon Moxley Calls G1 Climax the “Most Difficult Thing He’s Ever Done”, Confirms Plans to Compete at Wrestle Kingdom 14

IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Champion Jon Moxley recently sat down with New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s official English website – NJPW1972.com – to discuss his participation in one of the most grueling tournaments in professional wrestling history, the 2019 G1 Climax.

“G1 Climax 29 was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. The intensity never let up. There’s no peaks and valleys in the G1, no ‘go hard tonight, relax tomorrow’. It’s just full throttle constantly for four or five weeks.”

“A lot of times when you have a blow away performance, and win, you’re on top of the world. You kinda want to have a cigarette and then go and raid the fridge, just relax, y’know? But there’s five, six, seven matches left with the top talent in the world that are trying to hurt you and take you out. I know that everybody brought a certain level of intensity, where they wanted to be the guy that took me off the map and out of NJPW. Guys wanted to make their names off of me. I had a target on my back through the whole tournament, and I proudly brought the fight to them before they brought the fight to me.”

Moxley also confirmed that he “100%” plans to be at the Tokyo Dome for Wrestle Kingdom 14, so it looks like the All Elite Wrestling star – at least at this point – wants to stay in New Japan for at least a little while longer.

“100% I plan to be at the Tokyo Dome. I don’t know who I’ll be facing, whether I’m still US Champion. But I’ve been in Wrestlemania, in the G1, and this is the next step. Anyone who’s anyone in Japan has competed in the Tokyo Dome, so I absolutely plan on being there.”

Check out the complete interview with Jon Moxley at NJPW1972.com, including a far more in-depth rundown of his time participating in the G1 Climax, his thoughts on his upcoming rematch with Juice Robinson, his relationship with Young Lion Shota Umino, and more.

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NJPW Road to Destruction Results (9/18): Naito & White Battle Before Kobe

NJPW Road to Destruction Results
September 18, 2019
Matsue, Japan

1. Ren Narita (10) def. Yuya Uemura (2) in a Young Lion Cup match

2. Alex Coughlin (6) def. Clark Connors (6) in a Young Lion Cup match

3. Shota Umino, Yuji Nagata & Yota Tsuji def. Karl Fredericks, Manabu Nakanishi & Michael Richards

4. Bad Luck Fale, Guerrillas of Destiny & Yujiro Takahashi def. Henare, Tiger Mask, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI

5. Kota Ibushi, Robbie Eagles, Togi Makabe & Will Ospreay def. Chase Owens, KENTA, El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori

6. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Honma & Roppongi 3K def. DOUKI, Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr.

7. EVIL, SANADA & Shingo Takagi def. Hirooki Goto, Kazuchika Okada & Rocky Romero

8. BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito def. Jay White & Gedo

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Minoru Suzuki Removes Jushin Thunder Liger’s Iconic Mask – But Has He Awakened ‘Kishin Liger’?

Ever since Jushin Thunder Liger announced that he would be putting his career to bed after more than three decades as arguably the most important junior heavyweight wrestler of all time, he has been plagued by the masochistic evil emperor of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Minoru Suzuki.

The two have crossed paths in tag team matches numerous times over the past few months, and even when not across from one another in the ring, Suzuki has gone out of his way to terrorize the masked icon at every available opportunity.

Their back-and-forth rivalry reached a fever pitch during the Road to Destruction tour, and at Monday’s show in Kagoshima – the last time Liger would ever wrestle in the building – Suzuki actually ripped the legend’s mask following an 8-man tag team match; an unforgivable act that has seemingly done exactly what New Japan’s final boss intended.

After being unmasked at Destruction in Kagoshima, Liger got on the mic to say goodbye to the local fans and used the opportunity to send a message directly to Suzuki: “I’m coming for your neck!”

“Listen close and make sure you tell that bastard Suzuki. You crossed a line you shouldn’t have. That punk. Why rip off my mask? To make me upset? You want to fire Liger up? Idiot. Is this the only way you can do it? You’re that crappy of a wrestler, with no power? Today was my last show in Kagoshima. I won’t be coming back here as a wrestler. You embarrassed me in front of this crowd. You have – you crossed the line. You have no idea what I’ll do to you. You press guys know what happens when Liger gets pissed? This is not an empty threat. I’m dead serious. Watch me.

Liger concluded the interview by calling Suzuki a “worthless punk”, demanding to know whether or not the two would face each other in Kobe – presumably at the September 22 NJPW Destruction in Kobe event. Currently they are scheduled to compete against each other in another 8-man tag team match, but Liger made it very clear that he wants the Suzuki-Gun leader one-on-one in a “straight up fight”.

What’s potentially very interesting here is that there may be a hidden layer heading into this inevitable collision. Liger himself has talked about what happens when he gets really, really angry, and Suzuki made it very clear in his backstage comments that he wants to bring out the real “soulless” entity that is hiding behind the mask.

“How much longer will you keep putting this [mask]on? Liger! You soul is masked with this. And that’s how you present yourself? It’s not right. You’re just using this to hide that you’re actually soulless. You’re just a little man wrapped in a nice package. You’re a phony. I’m getting rid of this for you, after 30 years of pretending. I’m doing this for you. Liger… What will you do? Sacrifice your life? My mind is already set. I’ll say it again: Get down on the ground, grovel before me, bow your head and tell me, ‘I’m sorry, I was wrong.’ Kneel down and beg for forgiveness.”

Lace up, because it’s about to get real nerdy in here.

Remember in Dragon Ball Z when Vegeta allowed the wizard Babidi to possess him, becoming Majin Vegeta in order to harness the darkness and evil within him to unleash his true power? Okay, well it happened, and it was awesome.

If Jushin Thunder Liger is a real-life anime character, than Kishin Liger is his final form. It’s only been seen three times in history, when his opponent pushes him so far beyond his limits that he completely snaps – and it always involves his sacred and iconic mask being desecrated in some way.

Kishin Liger is a nightmare. He (or it) is fiercely primal, shows no remorse, and generally bares a resemblance to the Great Muta, who first brought out the demon by removing Liger’s mask in 1996.

And, it would appear, that is exactly who is coming to face Minoru Suzuki…

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