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[2001-06-30-AJPW-Summer Action Series] Genichiro Tenryu & Masa Fuchi vs Toshiaki Kawada & Nobutaka Araya

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Genichiro Tenryu & Masa Fuchi vs Toshiaki Kawada & Nobutaka Araya - All Japan 6/30/01


So what happened to this Araya guy? It sure as hell felt like a star-making performance for him in a way that he had not succeeded yet with Satoshi Kojima (he was already a relatively big star from New Japan) and Taiyo Kea. I had never heard of Araya so I read that he was a WAR stalwart before coming in post-split All Japan. Post-split All Japan is a combination of Mutoh & his crew and Tenryu & his crew since Mutoh became the president it is not surprising that Araya did not go further based on this information.


Fuchi and Araya started off with a pretty good mat exchange, which Fuchi seems to get the better of this. Araya backs Fuchi into his corner. I just watched the New Japan tag match with Kawada and Fuchi on the same team and actually got confused when Kawada and Fuchi were squaring off. The double writslock is a favorite these four. Kawada and Tenryu squared off to a big reaction with some chops and kicks thrown. Araya comes in and promptly gets punched in the head. Araya is bleeding. Tenryu big chop to him on the outside. Fuchi works the cut with closed fists. Tenryu comes in and just keeps punching him in the head even though Araya tries firing up. Araya is finally able to get Kawada for a not so hot tag seemed too early for me. Kawada comes in and heads are gonna roll. Kawada spinning heel kick to Tenryu and big boot to Fuchi. Fuchi punches Kawada in the head and you get that great Kawada sell. Kawada takes an enziguiri whilst in the corner with that great selling. Kawada punches Tenryu in the neck to tag in Araya. Araya and Tenryu just go at it and in a great vicious segment. Tenryu wins and Fuchi kicks him in. I am just loving these old bastards beating the piss out of this plucky undercarder and while Kawada is trying to clean up. Fuchi hits him with two back drop drivers and Tenryu hits with the running chop in the corner. Araya finally bowls Tenryu over and hot tag to Kawada.


Kawada kicks Tenryu's head off, but Tenryu punches him in the head. Tenryu enziguri gets Fuchi in, but Kawada jumping kick blocks Fuchi's German. Araya is just killing everything. Araya urnage on Fuchi and goes for moonsault. Fuchi dumps Araya off the top. Kawada kicks Fuchi's head off and Araya wins with the moonsault.


Watching the match develop, I never once expected Araya to be on the winning team, never mind getting the pinfall. I am a sucker for Japanese veterans torturing undercarders. I thought the blood added a lot to this. I loved how Araya was not somebody to take this lying down and just kept coming. I will say what keeps this from being an all-time classic is because the could have really added a lot more drama to at least one of those face in peril segments. I thought Kawada had some great moments in this, but the match was all about Araya versus the cocky Fuchi and the ornery Tenryu. It is a shame they never really capitalized on this. ****1/4

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Araya continued to be a solid midcarder, even beating Kojima during CC 2004, but floundered after that and got fat. He spent years as a comedy guy.

 

This will probably be in the bottom half of my ballot. Wonderful story, everyone does their part, and it ends just how you'd want it to, though the work isn't quite strong enough to contend with matches that were top 5 in better years.

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This was not a great wrestling match. It was lots and lots of fun with really great work from all four, but it was not a great match. The opening segment was kind of weak with some of the matwork going nowhere. Fuchi transitioning everything to a neck hold on Araya was good. Kawada and Fuchi fighting over every positional change was also good, but the arm stuff needed to go. Araya running straight into a big Tenryu right hand starts the good stuff. He's bloodied up and Tenryu is smart enough to tag in Fuchi, who concentrates all of his offense on the bloody eye. Araya gets the tag to Kawada after a short in-peril segment and Fuchi starts selling a Kawada beating like a champ. Not to be outdone, Kawada sells the Fuchi comeback punch and Tenryu beating like a champ. Araya gets another face-in-peril segment, this one a bit longer and takes a big Tenryu beating. Kawada hits a massive punch on Tenryu. Araya goes on offense big time for revenge on Fuchi, but makes the mistake of hitting Tenryu on the apron. Tenryu cuts him off with another punch when he goes for the finish, so Kawada takes care of Tenryu and Fuchi to set Araya up for the win. Really solid stuff. Give me an extra 5-10 minutes for those Araya in peril segments and this is top 20 easy.

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Outside of the AJPW vs Zero-One feud the best stuff post split All Japan gave us was Tenryu murdering the next generation. Tenryu vs Araya is always fucking awesome. Their clipped WAR bout from '98 looks awesome and they have some fun singles in AJPW but this match gives us the fullest picture of what these two could do. Araya fights back against the old man and earns the rub he gets in this match. dawho5 is right, the rest of the match isn't at the same level as those exchanges but fuck if I haven't gone back and watched this match a few times just to see those two go at it again.

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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-] 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.

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This had its moments for sure. Fuchi schooling Araya on the mat, Tenryu busting open Araya with the punch and Fuchi taking advantage, the fired up Araya trying to get retribution against Tenryu but failing -- great selling from Araya as he eats lariats and chops and punches. Their last exchange with Tenryu being a total dick until Araya shoulderblocks him down was great. Some weird pacing issues though and the stuff between Kawada/Tenryu was disappointing.

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