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John Tenta and Yoshiaki Yatsu vs Tenryu and Kawada (AJPW 10/3/1988)

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The most enjoyment I have had watching a pro wrestling match this month. By far. This is exactly what I was in the mood for when I went poking around the All Japan Archives.

It's not an epic, not a great match. They aren't going for five stars, they are just trying to hurt each other and win the match. This is zero filler, 100 per cent big hoss clubbering action. Exactly what you'd hope for based on seeing those names lumped together like that.

Worth watching * just * for the chop Tenryu lays in on Big John to save Kawada from the Canadian Back Breaker.

Also: Tenryu and Yatsu do NOT go easy on each other.

John just towers over Kawada. Kawada does not back down.

Tenryu no-sells John and enrages the big Canadian.

Everyone Just throws bomb after bomb all match long.

Yatsu's suplexes are insane.

Kawada in Peril.

There is a clean and awesome finish.

I'd say it's a 3 or 3.5 star match, technically, but I sure as hell enjoyed it more than any of the "six-star" epics that are going to be in this year's MOTY discussion. This is what I want out of my pro wrestling on a day like today. It's cold outside. I did my job (Christmas ain't a holiday in Japan), played with my kids, had a nice meal and a good drink, and went looking for a Christmas present for myself. Found something close to perfect, here.

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Just finished this, great recommendation & merry Christmas! This match was just so much fun to watch and is probably why this time period in AJ is my favorite.


Tenryu and Yatsu hating each other, Kawada trying to prove himself, and a person not typically associated with great matches or work rate just fitting into the mix seamlessly like

a later Baba, Rusher Kimura, or Great Kabuki. In this case, John Tenta. He was so good here that you'd think he and Yatsu were regular partners. They looked like quite the force here.


This is the type of wrestling that doesn't demand you set aside an hour of your time, doesn't require that you buy into the flash, hype, or gimmicks. It is just there. A simple story with straight forward action. Most importantly, it puts a smile on your face :)

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I am really glad someone else took the time to watch this match and add their comments. Glad you enjoyed it, too. Thanks!


One other thing I forgot to mention: Big John's Elbow Drop is a thing of beauty, here and in his other '88 AJPW matches.

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