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[1993-06-15-NJPW-Explosion Tour] Riki Choshu & Shinya Hashimoto & Tatsumi Fujinami & Masa Chono & Hiroshi Hase vs Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara & Takashi Ishikawa & Tatsu Goto & Super Strong Machine (Elimination)

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40+ minutes of these guys again? How can this not be awesome?

 

I don't think this is at the level of the February matches, but it's still pretty great. This is really built around Tenryu being a total asshole, and provoking everyone on the NJ team into beating the shit out of him as many times as possible. But he's like a cockroach and the beatings keep going but he doesn't get more sportsmanlike or anything.

 

Fujinami is also awesome. He's selling an arm injury from a previous match and he has the arm taped up, so of course everyone on team WAR goes right after it. In a SHOCKING moment, Fujinami gets a quick inside cradle on Tenryu about halfway into the match and now Team WAR is without their leader. The crowd goes insane, and I kinda have a WTF? moment myself, since so much has been built around him. Between this and the previous WAR tag, Fujinami seems to be taking a more active role in this feud, and I guess this is where they set up the Tenryu/Fujinami match that took place I think a little later in the year if I remember correctly. Awesome stuff, as Tenryu/Choshu had been blown off and Tenryu/Hashimoto was about to start winding down, so they were already planting seeds for the next feud.

 

So Fujinami really becomes a hero the rest of the match. There are many spots set up where he's being double teamed by WAR guys and does a lot of ducking, running, outsmarting, etc., and he's great at it. He doesn't always come out ahead, but he looks good.

 

From here, guys start dropping off. If there's one complaint I have sometimes about this feud, it's that the New Japan guys get the upper hand too much. But I think the same complaint has been made about every single interpromotional feud New Japan has ever done, so I guess it just comes with the territory. Choshu was a star and should have always had some involvement, but his participation in the feud peaked months prior to this, and he really overstays his welcome in this match.

 

As we wind down, it's Choshu/Chono/Hashimoto vs Ishikawa. I don't understand why they wouldn't have the hometown team be the ones fighting from underneath for the whole match. But in some ways, the WAR guys still got put over big in this match because of the way it was worked. Hara was eliminated for example, but made a great showing and everyone sold for him when he was in. Ishikawa was put in the position to overcome big odds as the sole survivor for his team, despite tapping out to Chono's STF. But it's a dynamic that may have worked better in WAR, and while the heat is strong, it's not as strong as it was for their matches in February, and I think part of that is how this match is laid out.

 

And I'll never complain about hearing Choshu's awesome music, but he has a case of bookeritis here, and his music playing despite Chono securing the win for his team and Hashimoto having the biggest issue humors me.

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Tenryu/Hash wasn't winding down. It went all the way through to February of 1994 with Hashimoto finally picking up the win against Tenryu after two previous defeats. Tenryu/Fujinami finished up before that match.

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Tenryu/Hash wasn't winding down. It went all the way through to February of 1994 with Hashimoto finally picking up the win against Tenryu after two previous defeats. Tenryu/Fujinami finished up before that match.

Ah, I didn't realize they had any matches after the G-1. Good to know.

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Hash is the one who gets the win over Tenryu as the NJPW vs WAR feud ended. Basically *the* end. Right after Tenryu got the biggest New Japan scalp of them all.

 

John

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Gotta say, reading about all these NJPW/WAR tags has been the first thing that really made me want to pick up this set. If there's 2 things i'm always easily pleased by it's angry hate filled wrestling and big multi man tags.

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First 20-25 minutes of this has some of the best stuff on the entire yearbook so far and a good example of why these matches can be a shit ton of fun. Everything Tenryu and Hashimoto do together is just outstanding. I'm about to watch their first singles match and I am ridiculously hyped for it.

 

Then...I wouldn't say the match nosedived after the Tenryu elimination (which was really well done), but when arguably the best guy in the match, who is also the unquestionable "ace" of his team and practically the only viable threat, goes down halfway into it, the second half is going to lose something. What they did after the Tenryu elimination was all good stuff (agreed especially with Loss on Fujinami), but the match is basically cut off at the nuts in terms of drama.

 

Tremendous first half, big step down in the second half...still a Hell of a match, but didn't get the chance to reach transcendent territory like it had the potential to.

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I agree with KB8 about the structure of this match, as I also thought that the first 20 or so minutes were fantastic, but as soon as Tenryu was eliminated, so was the bulk of the drama. Speaking of Tenryu, this may be the most dickish performance that we have seen from him so far this year, which is really saying something. His toe kicks in particular looked great, and the way he would bait the NJ guys was so prickish and awesome. Definitely a top 10 guy for the year so far.

 

I kind of liked the Ishikawa end run, with the NJ trio casually reeling of signature moves and getting increasingly annoyed when Ishikawa keeps on surviving. I agree with Loss that this would have played better on a WAR card, as it seemed kind of heatless for the majority of the finishing stretch. There was no point where anyone watching could believe that Ishikawa could overcome the odds, so it was just a matter of seeing what would eventually finish him.

 

Eliminating Tenryu relatively early added to the unpredictability, but in the end I don't think that the way the ending was booked did wonders for the feud apart from putting Iskikawa over as a tough bastard. There were enough key Tenryu vs Hash/Fujinami moments earlier to keep things moving along nicely in regards to building those matches.

 

Very good match with an exceptional first half, but 40 minutes seemed too long for the way the match was put together.

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Finally got to see this, not only lived up to my exspectations but far exceded them. Based on previous comments I wasn't exspecting to enjoy the post Tenryu portion of the match as much as I did. Sure it was a slaughter after then but I dunno, there's just something....noble about the WAR team slowly going down swinging. That they marched into battle only to die a dogs death in a foreign land just adds to their underdog charm.

 

Random pointless side note #1 - Fuckin hell but Choshu is a dick. Like how the fuck did he ever become a beloved baby face? Had that reaction not just during this match but in general watching him of late. Also getting sick of his overused "non decisive win" shit. Every time he gets pinned he has to kick out at the last second to make it look like he got screwed, or if it's a tag and his partner gets pinned he has to break it up just as the ref is hitting 3.

 

Random pointless side note #2 - Did WAR ever have ANY, like even 1 single solitary native heavy weight who wasn't old, grumpy & lumpy? Not that there's anything wrong with that but Tenryu's like bizaro world Vince McMahn with his roster of clones :)

 

Random pointless side note #3 - Am I the only one who can't help but think Ashura Hara should be playing a police sargent in a tv cop drama every time they look at him?

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Love me some big elimination tag matches. I enjoy that these NJPW/WAR matches always seem to have Tenryu start off with either Hash or Choshu. No holding off or waiting around until they match up. Loved Hashimoto going cray with the repeated knees while holding Tenryu in a facelock and then hitting a big DDT. Big surprise with Tenryu getting eliminated so early. WAR guys hung around for a while but it got a bit too one sided in NJPW’s favor with Tenryu gone so early on.

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Glad to see Chono finally facing off with Tenryu and his boys. It's NJPW vs. WAR, and it's a 5-on-5 NJPW match. Two of my favorite things in wrestling. The result? Well...it's a good match, but frankly nowhere close to the classic 5-on-5s we've seen before. There's a big, markout-worthy shock moment early on as Tenryu is the first man on his team to be eliminated, shortly after he takes out Hase. A huge turning point that the crowd goes nuts for (as do I), but I think this was a case of Choshu being too clever by half--with Tenryu out the result is a foregone conclusion. And that dynamic just gets worse as the match goes on, good though the action is. So when it comes down to Strong Machine & Ishikawa on one side facing Choshu, Hash, and Chono on the other, it all adds up to "Yeah, RIGHT. As if."

 

In spite of themselves, they get across a fairly compelling story of Ishikawa showing fighting spirit in taking a 3-on-1 beating, though at times the NJPW side just comes across as bullies, triple-teaming a gassed Ishikawa with no partner to save him. I may be projecting, but I think the crowd really, really wanted to see a big Ishikawa comeback and maybe grab a shock elimination of his own before going down, but it wasn't to be. I sound more down on this than I really am but this sort of comes across as a foreshadowing of how the NJPW/UWFI feud would play out, as WAR was pretty definitively buried here. The crowd was into it, but compared to the nuclear crowds frothing at the mouth through every moment of earlier matches, the heat was noticeably down.

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Agree with most of the posts here. Everything up to the Tenryu elimination was fab. Tenryu vs. Choshu/Fujinami/Hashimoto was fantastic and multi-layered. Him running traffic on the WAR team was great and the elimination of Hase was handled well. On the surface, I can't critique Tenryu's elimination too much as it was done superbly and in an electric way but yeah the WAR team just didn't have enough muscle or threat to continue the match at the fever pace that the first half set up. Chono looked more spirited here than at other portions throughout the decade which was nice to see and Hara gave a nice performance which resonated more in the fresh wake of his passing. Overall, these multi man New Japan matches are always good and this was no exception even if the second half prevents it from reaching the tip top standards that this feud has produced so far. ****

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This really died a few minutes after Tenryu was eliminated. It came back a bit when it was down to just Ishikawa on WAR's side. I really wanted him to take out Hashimoto before going down in flames. As fantastic as Tenryu has been in these matches, Ishikawa has been pretty good too. I wouldn't call him great or anything but he has definitely stepped up and been at the level needed from him.

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First fall: ​As others have said, they waste no time giving the fans the matchup they want to see most in Tenryu-Hash. Much like their singles bout, we start with some purposeful stalling, then get to the lockups. and at one point it seems like neither man is ever going to tag anybody else. Great work by Hash on Tenryu's knee, which was also a focus during their singles match.

 

They didn't devote a lot of time to it, but it's nice to see that the WAR team worked on Fujinami's arm a little, just enough to incapacitate him. Hopefully we see more in subsequent falls.

 

I counted twenty-three revolutions on Hase's giant swing. Poor Goto (I think). He's probably ​still ​dizzy!

 

We had at least three stormings of the ring with all ten guys, including one as Tenryu pinned Hase with a powerbomb. Unlike in North America, order was quickly restored. I notice that the bell didn't ring after the three count, which threw me off a bit. WAR 5, New Japan 4.

 

Second fall: Fujinami in peril was the story here, as he not only absorbed a beating, but lasted through several attempted submissions, mostly centered on the lower back. Almost everyone seemed to get a turn beating on him, which you don't often see in matches like this where eliminations often happen close together and in a hurry.

 

While the elimination of Tenryu is certainly a huge deal, it wasn't exactly clean, as Hash's kick to the back of the neck knocked him silly enough that Fujinami was able to cradle him for three. I actually think this was done in an attempt to get the rest of Team WAR over; everyone knew how much of a badass Tenryu was already, but with the possible exception of Ishikawa at certain times, no one else on that team was seen as anything but flunkies for Tenryu. This was their chance to shine without him, and we'll soon see if they took advantage of it. New Japan 4, WAR 4.

 

Third fall: ​Fujinami pays for eliminating Tenryu, as Team WAR declares open season on his injured arm. The New Japan side takes turns bailing him out, but he's caught in the ring and pinned by Ishikawa with a backslide. I know a couple of people above me said that he was involved in the three-on-one against Ishikawa, but I rewound the disc twice and clearly saw him get pinned. I'm not as young as I used to be, but I don't think I'm going blind just yet. WAR 4, New Japan 3.

 

Fourth fall: ​The eliminations are coming at warp speed now, as after a brief Scorpion sequence by Super Strong Machine on Choshu, Goto tags in for the express purpose of being leveled by a pair of Choshu lariats and pinned. We're down to approximately thirteen minutes left and as many as five eliminations, so don't expect a mat classic from here on out. New Japan 3, WAR 3.

 

​Fifth fall: ​Hash gets his first extended time in the match since the iopening sequence with Tenryu and is immediately imperiled by Team WAR. SSM lives up to his name by blocking a DDT attempt, then lifting Hash by the legs and carrying him back to the WAR corner for some triple-teaming. It doesn't do much good in the end, though, as Hash DDTs Hara and pins him, giving NJPW the one-man advantage. New Japan 3, WAR 2.

 

​Sixth fall: ​The eliminations are coming so fast now that it's tough to describe them. WAR isn't even getting much in the way of offense, as SSM hits a Russian legsweep on Chono at one point, then proceeds to sell like he ​was the one who'd taken the move.

 

I've seen this in joshi before, but never in a men's match: Chono comes in illegally to hit a move while Hash is in the ring, and the referee calls him on it and tells him to leave. Instead of doing that, he "tags in" right in the middle of the ring as if it's supposed to count. It's supposed to be a serious spot, but it looks like something you'd see in the middle of a North American midget match, not a Japanese interpromotional blood feud.

 

Hash's DDT claims its second victim in a row, this time SSM. We're down to Ishikawa against Chono, Choshu, and Hash, and as tough as Ishikawa can be, I don't like his chances even a little bit. New Japan 3, WAR 1.

 

Seventh fall: ​Fortunately the massacre doesn't take long, as after a few brief doubleteam sequences and a Hash DDT, it's time for Chono to pit the lights out for Ishikawa with the STF. I don't think Ishikawa actually submits; it's more like the ref knows that this is a mismatch and puts a stop to it once it's clear that Ishikawa's going absolutely nowhere. Survivors for NJPW: Choshu, Hashimoto, Chono.

 

As others have said, this isn't nearly the epic that it could (and should) have been, but this wasn't meant to be a blowoff or anything close to it either. It was a way to showcase some of the midcarders on the WAR side and establish them as threats in Tenryu's absence, and get every combination that the fans wanted to see out of this feud in the ring at the same time. We'll see other matches from this feud that will be better, just as we have in the past, but this was a ton of fun.

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