Match Point: Jushin Thunder Liger To Fight Son of Historic Rival for DEFY

Match Point is an on-going series at Last Word on Pro Wrestling, where we look at intriguing matchups in indie wrestling and beyond. They may be dream matches, first-time matchups, or hotly anticipated rematches. Today’s edition looks at a huge 6-man tag team with DEFY Wrestling in Tacoma, Washington, where legendary NJPW star Jushin “Thunder” Liger leads a trio against the son of one his early rivals, Brian Pillman.

On Friday, August 23 in Tacoma, Washington, DEFY Wrestling is hosting an event as part of New Japan legend Jushin “Thunder” Liger‘s farewell tour as he prepares to retire from the ring this coming January at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14. At DEFYance Forever, Jushin “Thunder” Liger will lead a trio featuring NJPW Young Lions Karl Fredericks & Alex Coughlin against the trio of Brian Pillman Jr. and former DEFY Tag Team Champions Amerikan Gunz (Ethan HD & Mike Santiago). It’s a match that brings history full circle, as one of Liger’s earliest rivalries was against his father, the late Brian Pillman.


Photo: NJPW

Jushin Liger first encountered the senior Brian Pillman on a New Japan excursion to Calgary, Alberta, Canada in the late 1980s, when he worked and trained at the Hart Dungeon with Stu Hart and Stampede Wrestling. Wrestling under his real name of Keiichi Yamada, Liger was an occasional tag team partner of Owen Hart and Brian Pillman in Stampede. After Liger left Canada to return to NJPW and Pillman left to join WCW, the two would next meet up in 1991 at NJPW Violent Storm in Kokugikan that summer. By the fall, Liger would join WCW through an alliance between WCW and NJPW, and he would resume working against Pillman on WCW House Shows. Four years later, they would meet one more time, as they opened the very first episode of WCW Monday Nitro.


The son of the late Brian Pillman has emerged as one of the top young talents in the US indies the past year, especially when he joined Major League Wrestling (MLW) and tapped into his family heritage by allying with the Hart Family – much like his father did in the 1980s through his run in the new Hart Foundation in 1997 – by joining the latest incarnation of the Hart Foundation with Teddy Hart and Davey Boy Smith Jr. An explosive personality and wild child aura reminiscent of his father, Pillman Jr. has not shied away from his father and familial history – instead, he’s embraced it with full abandon. On Friday, August 23, he will step into the ring against not only a New Japan and Junior Heavyweight legend, but a man who trained alongside his father and who fought together – and against each other – as their own individual stars were beginning to rise.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can catch DEFY Wrestling replays on the wrestling streaming service PowerSlam TV on Roku, Apple TV, and other streaming providers. You can download Powerslam TV for Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, and Google Play.


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