33-year New Japan Pro Wrestling veteran and Suzuki-gun member Takashi Iizuka is retiring next month.
The news was announced by NJPW Chairman Naoki Sugabayashi during the post Wrestle Kingdom press conference. His retirement date is February 21, when an official ceremony will take place at Korakuen Hall. As of now his final opponent has not been confirmed.
The 52 year old is a product of the NJPW dojo, having come through the ranks in the mid-80s. Iizuka debuted in 1986 and spent the entirety of his career with New Japan, although he did also wrestle for the likes of WCW, AAA, AJPW, NOAH and RevPro in that time.
Iizuka was not the most decorated performer in singles competition but he did enjoy success in the tag team ranks, holding the IWGP Tag Team titles three times alongside Riki Choshu, Kazuo Yamazaki and Toru Yano and NOAH’s GHC Tag Team titles with Yano.
He kept his career going in 2008 with a gimmick transformation, shaving his head and becoming a wild man in the vein of The Missing Link. He was a member of CHAOS for years before turning on them and joining Suzuki-gun in 2014.