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[1993-04-06-NJPW-Magnitude X] Genichiro Tenryu vs Riki Choshu

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Fantastic match! Tenryu just sells his ass off for Choshu the whole time and gives everyone the payoff they've been waiting for in dramatic fashion. A lack of back and forth toward the end that would be tempting to criticize, but I think it made this unique, in that Choshu's victory felt really decisive. Good stuff.

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A satisfying conclusion to the feud in a good ol' hometown hero goes over finish. It took a few minutes to get motoring before getting hot down the stretch and ending the right way.

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Sort of slow to start considering the background of this feud and the fact that Choshu's involved, but like the previous match the closing stretch was A+ stuff. Choshu winds up for the Lariat but when Tenryu ducks, Choshu levels him with a DDT, then just Lariats him over and over again until Tenryu keels over, and that gets Choshu the pin. Color me a bit surprised at that result--I thought Hash would be the one to stop him.

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It's more a case of Choshu getting his win back from the Dome and then letting Tenryu move on to Hash. I don't think they felt Tenryu had to be undefeated to keep his heat.

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After the progression through the first quarter with back & forth matches in the feud, this feels bigger than the 1/4 match. Choshu with a slap as ref separates them in case you forgot they dn't like each other. Basic Struggle over strikes and control in the corner feels tense and important. It slows down a little as Choshu works a for scorpion, slightly reinforcing that Choshu looks better in tags. Nice lunging elbow from Tenryu, then working his kicks and foot scrapes for good heel heat. Choshu struggles to block but eventually eats a powerbomb, only to take a diving elbow from Tenryu on the floor. Choshu is busted open and they blow the spot flipping Tenryu to the floor but recover nicely. Choshu superplex for a big high spot. Riki Lariato and backdrop suplex for near falls aplenty. Awesome top rope knee to Tenryu's back. Powerbomb for near fall, then Tenryu hits an enzuigiri and another power bomb while continuing to sell. He's incredible at mixing in selling while controlling. Tenryu hits his top rope back elbow, but Choshu comes back with a backdrop suplex. Tenryu kicks out of another lariat. DDT and 3 lariats finish Tenryu. I can see why some don't like it because its not as quick as some others in the feud, but it was a lot of fun. Kojima looks so young at ringside here.

 

Big win for Choshu, and didn't knock Tenryu down or reduce my interest in Tenryu vs. Hash.

 

****

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No issues with Choshu winning here as it provides more intrigue instead of feeling like them just trading wins. This tightened up the sloppiness from the Dome match and kept up the intensity and nastiness to craft a great match. I like all the matches between these two but I think this match may be their best. Give me more of this feud please. ****1/4

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This was more pragmatic than their first encounter, but although it was less sloppy, it took a long time for the hook to come. It wasn't until Choshu hit the superplex and followed it up with the diving knee to the head that I really got into this and that was late in the match. The stretch run had plenty of bombs, but Tenryu's execution on his enzuiguri, powerbomb and diving back elbow was poor. I've really enjoyed Tenryu in these matches, but he keeps flubbing those big moments. The powerbomb he can kind of get away with because of fatigue and Choshu's weight, and he was still selling the head knock from earlier, but Choshu's execution down the stretch was markedly better and that's crucial in a match like this where it's two big lugs duking it out. Choshu didn't really give him that much, either. It looked as though Tenryu was going to reopen the cut at once stage, but I guess Choshu didn't feel like bleeding. He didn't rub Tenryu out, but he was owed a win and set about collecting. It was pretty emphatic considering the build, but that's politics for you I suppose.

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For the amount of buildup this pairing got, this match was very disappointing. Choshu's been positioned as NJPW's leader, just like Tenryu's been positioned as WAR's leader, so the heat for this one should have been off the charts........but it wasn't. This felt like Choshu telling Tenryu he needed his win back and Tenryu giving it to him in the most grudging way possible. Tenryu sold his neck injury beautifully, but other than that there's really nothing to recommend this match at all. It's slow, boring, and almost completely one-sided in favor of Choshu.

 

Why would Choshu want to move Tenryu into a feud with Hash? Was it a way to elevate Hash into "franchise player" territory or a way to demote Tenryu, however slightly, from the top of the cards? You would think that Hash would be better served as a roadblock for Choshu to throw in front of Tenryu to prevent him from getting too close to his final target, which should have been Choshu himself.

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Choshu was pretty unselfish when it came to building up the next generation, a quality that set him apart from a lot of the stars who also booked.

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