Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only
Sign in to follow this  
Loss

[2001-06-08-AJPW-Super Power Series] Genichiro Tenryu vs Keiji Muto

Recommended Posts

All Japan Triple Crown Champion Genichiro Tenryu vs Keiji Mutoh - Budokan 6/8/01


Slow and steady wins the race. One wrestling cliche that I feel is misappropriated for many wrestlers is "no wasted motion". In this match, there was no wasted motion. Every single move mattered, was milked and was given time to breathe. At one point, I popped for a dropkick to the knee like it was a frigging Burning Hammer. That is pro wrestling. On the surface, this match is about Mutoh's hyper-focused strategy: the knee, the knee, the knee and Tenryu's consequent retaliation. However, perhaps buried in this match is Tenryu's masterful performance working underneath and selling Shining Wizard from the first minute of the match to the transition to finish. That is pro wrestling. Mutoh comes out all guns blazing and is looking to end it early. Tenryu, off-guard, catches Mutoh's foot who uses it as a step stool to hit a Shining Wizard. He hits his backbreaker, but Tenryu powders before the impending moonsault. The headshot Tenryu suffers prevents him from mounting pretty much any offense in the first ten minutes of the match. When Tenryu is able to string together three moves punctuated with a powerbomb, Mutoh hits a kappo kick to the head sending him reeling to the outside. Mutoh follows up with a plancha and his knees strike Tenryu's head. When Tenryu is climbing back into the ring, Mutoh pounces at the opportunity with two dropkicks to the knee. A desperate Tenryu hits a brainbuster on the apron and a diving elbow through the middle ropes. That is the price you pay for the All Japan Triple Crown. Unfortunately, It is too little too late as Mutoh grabs his leg and dragon leg screws him off the apron and immediately hits a dropkcik from the apron to the knee. Tenryu does his best to try avoid Mutoh's relentless onslaught on the knees, but ends up in the figure-4. After a rope break, Tenryu lands a punch, then a dragon leg screw and then the Ultimate FUCK YOU Dropkick to the knee. I have never popped so hard for a dropkick to the knee. After all the NOAH matches with their constant strike exchanges, we get a shot basement dropkick exchange, which is bitchin'. Tenryu wins with a dragon leg screw and he get his own figure-4. He applies a Texas Cloverleaf, but his knee gives out. Tenryu, feeling in control now, is comfortable to start hitting his big bombs to put away Mutoh. SPIDER GERMAN~! and falling reverse elbow (a combo someone has to crib) get two. Mutoh gets his hope spot with an out of nowhere Frankensteiner. Tenryu blocks the follow-up Shining Wizard. He hits a brainbuster for two. Frustrated, he hits a top rope Frankensteiner for two. He goes back to the well one more time with the brainbuster and eats a knee to the head. He just collapses calling back to the initial Shining Wizard at the outset of the match. They square off once more, but Mutoh hits a bicycle kick and you can feel the end is nigh for Mr. Puroresu. Mutoh hits two Shining Wizards, but neither puts him down for three. Mutoh hits his trademark backbreaker/Moonsault combo to win the Triple Crown and become only the third wrestler to have won both the IWGP Heavyweigh Title and Triple Crown title (Vader and Genichiro Tenryu are the other two who preceded him). ****3/4 (I am not a huge fan of star ratings, but I need something to keep track of all these matches. With that said, I could see me giving this five stars)


Mutoh and Tenryu delivered near perfect individual performances that intertwined to deliver one of the best matches I have seen from 00s Puroresu. Tenryu gave one of the best resilient, sympathetic underneath performances ever. Mutoh was on point with every transition making sense, his strategy was worked to a tee, and he sold well. The whole match Tenryu was hitting home run shots because Mutoh got him off-balance early and even though he recovered by giving Mutoh a taste of his own medicine. Mutoh was able to hit him in the head twice to finally set up for the finish stretch and still Tenryu did not go down without taking 2 Shining Wizards and a moonsault. The only criticism (you have to nitpick when you are trying to determine the best match of the decade) is that it is worked on the slow-side with lots of downtime. I can see other NOAH matches when put together as well as this plus the pace they work edging this out. I think this is a definite MOTDC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty sure this is the only Mutoh match that will make my ballot. The deliberateness of the work keeps me from being gaga for it, but it's smart for the most part, has that big-match feel and layout, and has about as much action as one could ask for given their respective ages. I have no problem with people who praise this to the hilt, though MOTDC does seem a bit much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The key to this match is right from the outset Mutoh rocked Tenryu with the knee and everything follows in place. It is probably slowest worked of the MOTDC I have seen, but it is so well-executed both from a layout and action perspective that it is hard to deny. It is definitely one of my favorite matches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This match fucking rocked. I loved the simplicity of the work as well as the slow build to not many nearfalls at all. Tenryu gets rocked early and never quite recovers. He chips away at whatever Mutoh leaves him, hitting a few big, BIG spots along the way until he hits the low dropkick. The second low dropkick was possibly the best , "FUCK YOU!" move I've ever seen in terms of how it was built to and executed. You wouldn't think something so simple could qualify, but it's the spot of 2001 in the 4 or 5 matches I've watched from that year. Tenryu works over Mutoh's leg for a bit and we hit the finishing stretch. After Mutoh recovers from the legwork (which makes sense given match length and the amount of time Tenryu spent on it) enough, he starts to mount his comeback. Tenryu can't quite stay away from getting cracked right in that same spot on his skull and it is his eventual downfall. The level of work here is absolutely incredible. Tenryu is the perfect candidate for long, long legwork because he's not really all that much of an athletic wrestler in terms of what he does. He sells the leg really well here also. Mutoh's offense looks great in this match, everything seems to happen when and where it ought to. The SWs need some work on looking impactful, but that's a small complaint. As is each of them briefly going to an arm early. I get the Tenryu armwork right after the initial shining wizard, just to buy himself some time. But the Mutoh attempt at a Kimura is out of place. It's gonna be in my top 20 or 30 I am thinking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's that Mutoh legwork I hate again. Tenryu's selling isn't even enough to make me care about that stuff. This isn't as strong as the Kawada match and I don't think that'll even make my ballot. At least Tenryu's big offense is cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is about Mutoh legwork you hate? I love the urgency of it. It feels like a full court press.

Rewatched this match because I fucking loved it the first two times, but it had been like seven months since I last saw it (can't believe that) so I wanted to know if it held up. I found something new to love. After Mutoh hit an out of nowhere Frakensteiner, Tenryu actually baits Mutoh to hit the Shining Wizard setting up his big bombs. That's fucking awesome. Everything I said holds true the key is Mutoh's full court press early throws Tenryu for a loop and when he eats a Shining Wizard early Tenryu has to spend most of the beginning shaking the cobwebs loose. The apron work is enough to make Taue jealous. It is so dramatic as wrestlers are flying over the ropes, through the ropes, on the apron and off the apron. I just love how much these guys are putting on the line to be the Triple Crown Champion. In 2001, Mutoh brought the dropkick back in all its sexy glory. The Fuck You Dropkick to Mutoh's knee is just amazing. I have popped for it every time. Tenryu is amazing on offense with his knee work, but his knee gives out on the Texas Cloverleaf. I loved how Tenryu would keep Mutoh at bay with his nasty closed fists to set up his big bombs. However, on the coup d'grace Mutoh knees him in the head and it is just academic, Mutoh takes shot after shot at his head with his knees and then a moonsault takes the Triple Crown Championship. I am a transitions mark. To me there is nothing more important than the transitions in a wrestling match. These are the critical moments that move the plot along.

 

1. Right off the bat, you have Mutoh flash Shining Wizard and then the kappo kick that ends Tenryu's first resurgence and brings the match to the outside.

 

2. You really felt who came out from the war on the oustide/apron would win and Mutoh was able to get the Dragon Leg Screw as Tenryu looked to take the high ground.

 

3. However not to be outdone Tenryu Fuck you Dropkicks to the Knee put him in the drivers seat

 

4. Tenryu baits Mutoh into a Shining Wizard that he blocks to hit a brainbuster.

 

5. Mutoh knees him in the skull calling back to #1 and sets up his victory.

I was wary of going the full monty before, this match is truly a Top 5 match of the decade and a definite ***** match in my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Damn, this looks like the total death warrant of All Japan. Keiji Mutoh, bald and all after he got traumatized in RussoWCW and sick of Inkoism turning New Japan into a pit of MMAlite crap, comes as the brand new savior of the dying company to reclaim the Triple Crown (you know, Jumbo, Misawa, Kawada, Kobashi, Taue...) against redeemed Tenryu in the most Mutohesque fashion ever. By that I mean, a match where he moves at a snail pace from the very start, does a whole bunch of legwork for a long time that will ultimately amount to exactly zilch and then do a bunch of bomb throwing at the end because, why the fuck not. Tenryu does bust out a powerbomb after only five minutes because, ya know, it's gonna be one of these matches. So yeah, Mutoh does his deal, low dropkick then figure four. Tenryu's selling is really good as usual. When Tenryu bust out his own kneecap dropkick (best spot of the match) we get a "now it's your turn" figure-four spot, like in any good ol' Ric Flair match, with about the same results : none. Then fuck the leg selling because we don't have time for this anyway, despite spending the first half of the match (after five first minutes of nothing though, where Tenryu is more than happy to follow Mutoh's "let's do nothing" lead) on this shit. Yes, there are some cool moments. Yes, Tenryu does some crazy looking spot for a 51 years old guy. It's still basically your must okay New Japan heavy main event circa 1995. I'm not sure I'd even call it "very good" to be honest. Ok, let's be generous, it's a "very good" (about ***1/2 in snowflake language) match. I'm being way generous. I could deal with "Fuck me, Mutoh, are you serious ?" too, but's that for the insane Kawada match (from memory only, I've not seen it in ages).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the most part, a great match. I liked the convulsive start before the match sort of hiccups along. The ground stuff is filler but I liked the in-between stuff: the pacing around, the wincing, the missed dropkick attempt by Mutoh, the snap backdrop from Tenryu. Mutoh starts going after the leg but Tenryu’s able to counter a suplex attempt into an apron brainbuster and follows up with a tope. Then, of course, Mutoh hits the dragon screw from the apron to the floor to return to the legwork. Look, I love Mutoh’s legwork, even when it goes nowhere: the dropkicks to the knee, the endless dragon screws, the double stomps. Tenryu’s legwork…eh, not so much, though I do adore the Texas cloverleaf. But the finishing stretch is really good stuff, with Tenryu hitting a spider German suplex, a brainbuster, a frankensteiner, and plenty of punches and chops. The knee from Mutoh to counter the Northern Lights Bomb was sold so well by Tenryu, and it takes two Shining Wizards and a moonsault to put the champ away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×