Perhaps the most inexplicable mainstream match ever is set to take place on January 4.
The legendary Jushin 'Thunder' Liger is set to finally retire from the industry he revolutionised with the sort of jaw-dropping aerial work that remains astonishing to this day, in spite of such advancements in athleticism. A day later, Liger will, you'd expect, go out in the time-honoured tradition: on his back to put over a rising star of the Junior Heavyweight division.
But NJPW, with Liger's input, has booked something decidedly less traditional as the first phase in a two-part celebration: an impossible eight-tag team bout that traces Liger's storied history throughout the promotion. Liger (54) will team with Tiger Mask IV (49), The Great Sasuke (50), and Tatsumi Fujinami (65) to take on Naoki Sano (54), Shinjiro Otani (47), Tatsuhito Takaiwa (47) and Ryusuke Taguchi (40).
And it will be brilliant: an ultra-heated, emotional, sentimental and fun match worked with the keen, building intelligence of a field of beloved masters. It's NJPW's endearingly earnest approach to the recent "banter match" trend; as the wrestling world expands in imagination and shrinks in inaccessibility, it collides and pings chaotic scenarios directly into our incredulous eyeballs.