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SWS, WAR and Tenryu in the 2000's

G. Badger


This past summer I took the time to learn about the SWS promotion in Japan. I also branched out from the non Tenryu matches of WAR. I was pleasantly surprised. I'd like to go back and revisit those two companies here in my blog. Plus, see what good old Tenryu was doing in the 2000's as a freelancer. Here are some oldies but goodies:


Ashura Hara, Tenryu & Takashi Ishikawa vs. King Haku, Shinichi Nakano & Yoshiaki Yatsu (08/05/91 SWS): Fast paced and stiff as a starched shirt. Very reminiscent of the 6 mans in AJPW late 80s & '90 just with most punches to the face. Highly recommended.


Naoki Sano & Samson Fuyuki vs Tatsumi Kitahara & Tito Santana in Super World Sports also from 08/05/91. Joined 5 minutes in, I believe...this is an all-action bout. Everyone was working fast and with a purpose. Kitahara brought the stiffness with his blue and pink tights, Fuyuki was still fast, there were some sick piledrivers and, Sano & Tito were going non stop. The finishing segment was great with guys all over the place including a Sano tope that apparently erased Tito from this plane of existence. Highly recommended for fans of quick action tags.


WAR-FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF REVOLUTION show from 6/17/93. Haven't watched the Hash vs Tenryu match yet and opted for the less herald matches. (Still haven't!)


Hase vs Fuyuki is a great one which has some buzz but, I took a chance on Masashi Aoyagi vs Takashi Ishikawa and wow! Grumpy dudes beating each other up for 5 minutes, I'm game! So also checked out Koki Kitahara vs Masahiro Chono which was more like a mid 80s strong style match. More evenly fought despite Chono being in there, I dug it. Plus the Jr match of the card, Ultimo Dragon vs Norio Honaga. First Honaga match for me but, was impressed. He kept the craziness in check so when Dragon busted out the fancy shit it was meaningful and impressive... Still I thought Honaga's running neck breaker drops were the best move in the match. Looked like he decapitated Mr. Asai.


Highly recommended show and I haven't even seen the big Tenryu match yet. Its been a pleasant surprise. On paper, every one of the above matches had the potential to be a massive time vacuum but, were great in their own way.


Genichiro Tenryu & Masa Fuchi vs Toshiaki Kawada & Nobutaka Araya (06/30/01 AJPW): A very stiff yet frenetically paced match. I'm not sure that worked in these guys' favor...there never was too much of a simmering hate period. It was more warming up, face punch, lukewarm action, boiling potatoes, finish.


The issue is that it lacked an internal story of note. This was made worse by having poor pacing. I feel like T., F. & K. wanted to take it back to 89-90 and have a fast paced action match with a straight forward story and scrub the Kings Road escalation of violence style. Or in simple terms, make it more WAR and less NOAH.


It just didn't come off right. Moves weren't sold as they should be, drama wasn't built, and this was really counter to their objective. It was too simple...here we'll run around and hit each other.


It seemed like they were trying for a updated classic approach but, it needed refinement. (Akiyama led AJ [2013-2015] may be this style that K. & T. were going for here and in their other bouts around this time).


Nevertheless, it was pretty good and the stiff as a board shots were very respectable...for 15 minutes, its a good watch.


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