Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger, British Bulldog the latest inductees into 2020 WWE Hall of Fame class

The 2020 Hall of Fame class for WWE has already been coming together with some big names, but the latest announcements include a staple of wrestling over the past four decades whose name has never been primarily associated with WWE. It was announced early Monday that Japanese wrestling legend Jushin “Thunder” Liger, who retired earlier this year after serving as one of the most influential wrestlers of a generation, will enter the WWE Hall of Fame. 

Liger joins the late “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, whose induction was announced last week, as the latest inductees into a stacked WWE Hall of Fame class for 2020. 

Liger became one of New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s biggest stars, revolutionizing the junior heavyweight division, traveling the world and influencing generations of wrestling between his debut in 1984 until his retirement at Wrestle Kingdom 14 this past January. His WWE involvement was limited throughout his career, taking part in a co-promoted show in Tokyo in 1990 and wrestling a single match with Tyler Breeze in 2015 at the first NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn event. Liger occasionally competed for WCW, notably participating in the first-ever match on WCW Monday Nitro in 1995, where he wrestled Brian Pillman before taking on many of the promotion’s top cruiserweights.

Smith began to make a superstar name for himself as one-half of The British Bulldogs, a tag team with partner Dynamite Kid, with the duo winning the then-WWF tag team championship at WrestleMania 2. He returned to the company in 1990 as a singles star following brief stints with Stampede Wrestling and All Japan Pro-Wrestling, winning the intercontinental championship at SummerSlam in 1992 by defeating brother-in-law Bret Hart in an iconic main event at Wembley Stadium in London. He would return to the promotion again in 1994 following a brief departure, eventually joining up with Hart in The Hart Foundation which led to one of the hottest angles of the era in 1997 when the group tangled with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. 1997 was also the year Smith became the first WWF European champion.

Liger and Smith join already announced inductees Batista, John “Bradshaw” Layfield, The Bella Twins and The New World Order. 

The WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are held annually as a part of WrestleMania weekend, but the status of WrestleMania 36 remains uncertain amid the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. There has not been any indication if the 2020 Hall of Fame ceremony, currently scheduled for Thursday, April 2 in Tampa, would be held at a later date should WrestleMania be postponed or canceled.

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