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Found 62 results

  1. G. Badger

    WAR You Might Have Missed

    In the grim darkness of the the near past there is only WAR! Yes, I'm back to Tenryu's playground to check out more wrestling that I may have missed or just forgotten. Takeshi Ishikawa vs Great Kabuki (09/15/92): Oh man, so I was hoping this would be a very good match but, eh it was just sluggish. There was no build to a climax just a lot of sleeper work and bleeding. It was OK but, I was disappointed. Let's get this back on track! Same show... Ultimo Dragon vs Negro Casas (09/15): This was 15 minutes of perfectly executed lucharesu. This was a real joy to watch. It wasn't super dramatic with a deep story (now maybe I'm wrong since they had a program going in Mexico at the time) but, sometimes wrestling doesn't have to be more than a contest between two competitors. Add the fact that Ultimo and Casas wrestled fast and smart - and you've got a great match! Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs Masa Chono & Shinya Hashimoto (10/01/93): Ten minutes of solid ass-kicking. Hash (IWGP champ) gets on the mic before the bell and talks some trash which kicks off this intense sprint-fight. As much as I love a smooth wrestling match (like above), I love a rough non-cooperative slobber knocker just the same. All four guys use their simple offense and great selling to put on a near classic match. Don't believe me? Watch for Tenryu's chops on Chono...that should get you going... Tatsuo Nakano vs Genichiro Tenryu (05/26/96): Don't think Nakano was safe with Tenryu & don't think Tenryu was safe with Nakano. Five minutes of trying to hurt each other wrestling at its finest. If you need a quick Tenryu fix - this is your match Thanks!
  2. 4 tubby guys beat the fuck out of each other and it rules, what else is new? The opening minutes were really fun logical pro wrestling. Fuyuki was fired up, ready to take down Tenryu and kick Kitahara's ass. He also looked shockingly good doing sympathetic selling as he got awkwardly kicked in the chin and face repeatedly etc. Kitahara loves demolishing other dudes with kicks but ends up having his leg taken out in a simple spot that looked great. His leg selling was very good as his kicks became mostly useless. Tenryu's hot tag was really fun and different as Fuyuki just bitchslapped him out of the ring and proceeded to kick Kitahara's ass some more. Tenryu then hands out some Necro level chairshots only to get brained himself. Super Strong Machine is not a very charismatic dude compared to the others but he is really fun here blindsiding guys, just constantly ramming people in the back of their necks with lariats and chairs when they would least expect it. Tenryu kind of played the role of the megastar who looked like he was on the verge of defeat, always looking like he was gonna go "Damn now I'm REAL fed up!“ and then he would get bonked in the head again. Really cool finish. I'd say this isn't quite up there with the high end WAR material but for the genre this is must watch anyways.
  3. Absolutely brutal, blood drenched spectacle. The early going sees Kitahara establishing himself as a dangerous striker by chasing Ishikawa around some with his kicks. Ishikawa makes the mistake of running the ropes and gets brained with a high kick. To add insult to injury, Kitahara puts him in the Scorpion Deathlock (something Ishikawa used to do to piss off Choshu himself). Pretty stiff opening, but it's tame compared to what's to come. Ishikawa gets the advantage when he hits his great sumo charging shoulderblock. Soon Ishikawa goes to town on Kitaharas bandaged eye, hitting some punches that felt like they were intended to draw hardway blood. Ishikawa proceeds to just demolish Kitahara with some of the most brutal stomps, punches and kicks ever filmed. Kitahara is someone who can both dish out a beating and sell very well, and soon he is limping around with his vision clearly impaired like a beaten dog. The ending run is actually pretty hot with Kitahara making a big comeback kicking Ishikawa in the face repeatedly and hitting a huge moonsault aswell as narrowly avoiding a dangerous piledriver. However he soon falls to Ishikawas swatting lariats and gets brutalized even worse with PRIDE level stomps and knees. The finish felt like something that should happen in more matches. Brutal brutal match.
  4. Slow paced match, but I'd say there's enough of two tubby guys cracking eachother hard to keep this entertaining. The early exchanges here are pretty fun as obviously these two work really snug, and Ishikawa also hits the worlds greatest plancha early on. There were also some nasty suplex bumps from these big guys. The submission stuff was filler, but it lead to a transition. Both guys would use these nasty short kicks, very pro wrestling style, looks hurty and nobody really does those anymore. By the end this gets pretty epic with Ashura Hara selling the beating he took huge. He would hit a suplex, but be unable to continue because he was too beaten up. So he would just rely on Ishikawa coming too close and then brutally clock him with lariats and headbutts. Obviously there are lots of great lariats in this bout. Hara launching himself around ruled including just flying out of the ring, totally unexpected and looked great. This largely worked because it was built around Ishikawa being really great at brutalizing someone and Hara being really great at putting over a beating. Credible finish. This kind of „bloated guys stiffing eachother“ has become en vogue again recently with the BJW roidheads and WALTER so forth but I'd say this was better than 99% of those matches.
  5. See the problem with 1998 WAR is that there's so little of it. This was realy clipped, showing 8 minutes out of 13, however what was shown was some insanely violent, pissed-off scrappy pro wrestling. 1998 Ishii is just as brutal as during his more famous New Japan run, but in 98 he didn't do any overly long strike exchanges and was slightly more athletic, hitting a beautiful dropkick. Yamada always looks good giving and taking a beating, he is a deathmatch guy so he can totally do savage headbutt trading and has creativity for huge but not overly elaborate spots. He sure gives Ishii the business in this one, busting his nose with a spin kick, dropping some mad DDTs and just killing him with one of the most dastardly kneedrops ever caught on film. He was also not having Ishii's macho bullshit, shoving a chair in his neck when he tried blowing off a chairshot. Not a mindblowing match by any means, but I always get a kick out of a savage violent spectacle like this.
  6. I would have to think that Tenryu's WAR promotion has the most love themed name. Wrestle and Romance...ah yes, that is passion!! I feel like they were also Wrestle and Roses too. I could have made that up, I dunno. I love it anyhow! Other Valentine appropriate wrestling names in my opinion are the AJW tag teams Tokyo Sweethearts, Crush Gals (crush like a school boy not as in skulls) & Honey Wings. That was just an aside. Here are some of my favorite Romance matches: Tenryu, Kitahara & Masao Orihara vs Koshinaka, Kengo Kimura Aoyagi from 10/21/92 War vs NJ. Orihara's awesome opening...hell Orihara's awesome performance overall. The dude made the match. All of the Tenryu vs Koshinaka interactions...straight up windpipe chops. I love both of these guys' enthusiasm/hatred. Kitahara vs Aoyagi kicking the crap outta each other is good. Would like me to see more...The violent chaotic finish...I mean Kimura is eating chops to the face...how is that not fantastic!? Women are crying, men are shouting, Ishikawa comes out, streamers...oh yeah!! The main event to WAR's 02/14/93 show: Tenryu & Ishikawa vs Fujinami & Hase. This was a dream match for me. Marky Mark for all four wrestlers but, this wasn't some exhibition or feud transition match. This was fiery and exciting as heck! All four guys were quick and on point all match with that WAR gang rumble pace. Everybody really impressed me...this was a great match. Then when Hashimoto came out after the bell, it sealed the deal. This whole segment, or whatever you wanna call it in today's terms, was classic! WAR 05/05/97 Tenryu, Kitahara & Jun Kikuchi vs. Abdullah The Butcher & Tarzan Goto & Ryo Miyake Cage Match. Pandemonium from the get go with the heel team waiting with chairs by the WAR team's entrance. Tenryu nearly falls thru the cage at one point, he & Abby have a nifty strike exchange, Goto brings glass into the mix, Kitahara is rocking camo pants and ups his manliness quotient by 10% (like he needed it), and this is random awesomeness.
  7. 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.
  8. G. Badger

    Spotlight: Naoki Sano in SWS

    Naoki Sano is one of those guys I'll always make an effort to check out if a match comes my way. His feud with Liger was one of the first puro arcs that I watched so, in a way he helped shaped my early opinions and preferences. OK whatever but, here I am with a new batch of unseen (to me) Sano whilst exploring proto-Wrestle and Romance...SWS. Two I'd recommend straight up are Sano vs fellow Indy journeyman Masao Orihara and vs Rick Martel. The Orihara match is bananas with the dives and fast paced offense...for the most part...there is a submission section in the middle. Sano goes for broke and destroys Masao at the end though. Snaps his rear suplexes so hard Ori's toes touch the mat. The Martel match is the shorter of the 2 that I found online. I believe its 8/9/91 and is roughly 5 minutes of pedal to the metal 80s technical junior offense. I loved it, it was short and to the point and put over the power of a technical pinning predicament. Naoki Sano & Samson Fuyuki vs Tatsumi Kitahara & Tito Santana in Super World Sports from 8/5/91. 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 (OK SWS) is about the hate, and guys taking punches to the mush, etc. so I wanted to get one of those type of matches with our man of the hour in there. And here we have the beaut that is Fuyuki, Ishikawa & Kitahara vs Sano, Shinichi Nakano & The Great MFing Kabuki. Sano brings the junior offense, Kabuki keeps drilling jaws with his punches, Ishikawa hits lariats and a hell of a plancha but, its all about Fuyuki and Nakano trying to beat the shit out of each other. Watch out for Nakano's pinning piledriver. Rabid pace, blood... wanna watch this again right now
  9. This was, admittedly, fairly brief and felt a bit like a prelude to a conclusion we never got to see. On the other hand, this was also absolutely brutal and classic WAR material. Araya still absolutely hate Tenryu and their interactions are gold as you expect, but you also Koshinaka not giving a damn and treating everyone like garbage. Kikuchi is a schlubby looking barefoot guy with manbreasts and he just gets murdered. Some of the stiffest shots I've seen Tenryu throw in this one and Araya remains the King fo the Moonsault as he connects one to the back of Koshinaka's head in this one. Not a high end WAR tag – it's just a little too short for that – but two crusty vets beating the bricks off of a couple young punks.
  10. I was surprised to see how this match actually looked like, since I remembered it just as a couple of minutes of awesome striking. On a rewatch the almost five minutes were still awesome, but their content and what made it work quite different. It's true that there were strike exchanges-and they worked for the characters, Nakano is an undercard shoot wrestler overmatched by Tenryu, who uses sumo-style slapping shoves to corner Nakano time and time again. Nakano's only chances are in going for a submission and utilizing kicks-and even in such a short match they'll take their time in Tenryu recuperating from an Armbar and setting the pace for their next show-off instead of just going straight to it, it really makes a difference in how the crowd perceives the match and reacts to it. It's remarkable how much thought they put into the finish of a match like this-Tenryu goes for a Hiptoss, Nakano stops it by palm striking Tenryu's face off, and as he's about to get on top of him Tenryu kicks his leg out from the bottom, injuring it, and then quickly takes care of Nakano with a Half Crab. If you think about it Tenryu's matches vs UWFi guys really were basically Battlarts style. ***1/4