Sunday, January 16, 2011

Straight Shootin with Jushin "Thunder" Liger

The Good
There have not been a large number of shoot interviews done with Japanese and Mexican stars because, by in large, their English is limited, they don't break kayfabe and it just would not work out logistically. Shocker (who is actually from the US), Keiji Muto and a couple others have done interviews for English-speaking media in some capacity, but the results have been mixed. Here, Gabe Sapolsky sits down with Jushin Liger and translator Simon Inoki to look at the career of one of New Japan's most recognizable stars, a junior heavyweight icon and simply one of the greatest workers ever. It is interesting to hear about his brief training in Mexico as well as his extensive training in the New Japan Dojo. He gets into a lot of interesting details about the numerous legends of New Japan and puroresu. Who knew El Samurai was a chain smoker? Or that Keiji Muto was as bizarre as his Great Muta character? Or that tough guy Yoshiaki Fujiwara was real laid-back when he was not beating the hell out of young boys? Jushin Liger gets into some neat details that you'd never hear otherwise, so this interview is worth checking out if you are a puroresu fan.

The Bad
Shoot interviews full of kayfabe can be intolerably bad and Liger gives many responses swimming in it. If this was not such a unique interview, I would certainly say that kills the quality of this. A major downside of this is the time spent translating back-and-fourth. I think, although it would have made this shorter (more like one hour as opposed to two), that dubbing this with subtitles would have been better all around. The documentary, Blood-Stained Memories, did this with Keiji Muto and it preserved a lot of the personality in his responses. It seems like not much ground was actually covered and the questions are pretty generic and dull.

The Rating: ***1/2

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