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[1998-06-05-NJPW-Best of the Super Juniors] Genichiro Tenryu & Shiro Koshinaka vs Masa Chono & Hiroyoshi Tenzan


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  • 2 months later...

This was awesome. Tenryu and Chono are meant to do their thing in big buildings and get plenty of chances to do it here. I liked how lean this was for a big match too - everything they did had purpose and they didn't go overboard with nearfalls at the end, even though there were some strong ones. Just below MOTYC level. I'm enjoying this stretch of matches.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This was very good too although I am less high than Loss and there is one reason why. Shiro Koshinaka. Chono and Tenryu were clearly the highlights here and brought great charisma and emphasis to everything they did. Tenzan won me over by the end and stuff that he does effectively today you could see taking shape in matches like these. Koshinaka did his butt butt and was pretty awkward for the segments he was in. I was happy to see him get the pin and this felt like a big victory for Tenzan on his escalation up the card. (***1/2)

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I agree with Chad that this match crackled with Tenryu in and died a little whenever Koshinaka entered. But I still dug it. It was a match that really demonstrated the importance of hierarchy over face/heel, because the crowd got totally behind Tenzan when he was trying to fight off Tenryu, NWO or no NWO. I loved Chono outdirtying Tenryu with that momentum-stopping low blow near the end. And they really captured the duel drama of Tenzan trying to put away Koshinaka and Chono trying to keep Tenryu out of the ring with the way they shot the finishing stretch. Move for move. no way this was as good as the All Japan tag from the same day. But they did more with less.

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  • 1 year later...

Good match that I may have actually enjoyed more than the elimination tag. The crowd certainly did, in any case. I just dug the big Tenryu-Chono showdowns here--Chono felt strangely absent from the big NJPW-WAR feud and he wasn't Black Superheel Chono yet, so it was cool to see such magnetic personalities clashing with each other. Tenzan is awkward at times but no one can accuse him of not working hard. I didn't mind Koshinaka here and I'm far from a fan of his--this wasn't a super-chaotic brawl on the level of some of the famous Japanese interpromotional fights, but this is still a hateful violent match which is where he's best suited.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 11 months later...

Surprisingly good tag, better than it looks on paper. Felt a little like they were making an attempt at an AJPW style epic with stiffness, big bumps and intricate structure, except 3 out of these 4 guys are middle aged geesers which makes this match even crazier. Good energy early on with everyone laying into eachother, no hands headbutts, chops, the whole deal. My favourite bit was Chono almost being KO'd by a Tenryu punch but firing back with angry punches of his own. Koshinaka had his working boots on, catching Tenzan with a painful looking hip attack to the back of the head and then following up with shots to the same spot. Chono was bringing it too, taking a huge bump to the outside and then getting sent over the guardrail by a big Tenryu flying forearm in an amazing spot which set up the heat section on Tenzan. An almost spent Chono giving his all trying to turn the match over was pretty great and I loved his yakuza kicks and big punch. Because it's the late 90s they bust out all their finishers including Tenryu dumping Chono right on his neck and Tenzan crushing Koshinaka with one of the nastiest moonsaults I've ever seen. Pretty overkill-ish, but the match didn't get too bloated.

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  • 3 weeks later...

nWo Japan (Masa Chono & Hiroyoshi Tenzan) vs Genichiro Tenryu & Shiro Koshinaka - NJPW 6/5/98 IWGP Tag Tourney Final

 

My hot take from this match is that Tenzan is the best possible Nasty Boy. He is a total meathead goon that just hits really hard is best suited to be a heavy second banana goon. The problem is that Inoki tried to push him as a star. He was fine as a heel upper midcarder. My other takeaway (a lukewarm take at best) is that Koshinaka is a pretty mediocre wrestler. First match I have ever seen him wrestle (New Japan is my biggest blind spot). I knew his rep for using his ass as his main offensive weapon and this didn't bother me much. It is that he has no charisma or fire. His portions of the match lacked struggle and urgency. So yeah pretty lame. Pretty straightforward tag with Tenryu/Tenzan in a battle of bulls and Tenryu/Chono in who could be a bigger prick and Koshinaka dragging the match down. This match is for the tag titles after Mutoh had to forfeit the titles due to an injury (he was Chono's tag partner).

 

Tenryu/Chono had some amazing exchanges in this. I am surprised there is not a heralded Tenryu/Chono match because they had great chemistry and they are such huge characters. Tenryu dumps Chono hard on his ass on a suplex outside the ring that looked like it hurt. Then he comes flying off the apron with an elbow out to the crowd that wipes out Chono. This leaves Tenzan to fight for his life. Great moment as Tenryu/Koshinaka beat the shit out of him with tons of power moves and strikes. Tenzan takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'. The Japanese crowds love these underdogs and is lapping it up cheering for Tenzan. Chono's hot tag is great. Yakuza kick for Koshinaka. Then ensuing battle with Tenryu is great. I love him ballshotting Tenryu as he falls from taking a Tenryu punch. Now it is Koshinaka that is isolated and Chono is keeping Tenryu at bay. Flying headbutt, moonsault to a crouched Koshinaka (awesome spot that should have been the finish) and then another flying headbutt gives NWO Japan the tag titles.

 

Besides Tenryu/Chono and the two finish runs (Tenzan's resistance and then his finish run to win), this match is pretty straightforward. Isolate Tenzan, Chono/Tenryu showdown and Koshinaka isolation. Quality tag, but nothing super special, the Chono ballshot and the Tenzan moonsault are worth it as are all the Tenryu/Chono interactions. ***3/4

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  • GSR changed the title to [1998-06-05-NJPW-Best of the Super Juniors] Genichiro Tenryu & Shiro Koshinaka vs Masa Chono & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
  • 3 years later...

NJPW go for an AJPW type of tag epic, and it works pretty good.

The first part is quite dry at times but the Chono/Tenryu interactions makes it woth watching. Then from these exchanges we have Chono trying to help Tenzan being in trouble and gets superplexed to the outside as a counter from Tenryu, he sells it really well and to the end of the fight. In the meantime Tenzan kicks out of a bunch of huge bombs and the crowd rallies behind him big time. Then when Chono comes back we get in that epic feel, even though everything is really good from that point on, I don’t think they built much more.

Eventually the Nwo team gets the win on Koshinaka (who did a cool job during the first part) with Chono blocking Tenryu with everything he has left while Tenzan shines with his biggest moves. I love the attitude of Chono after the match, kissing Tenzan and basically giving him the props, big pop for Tenzan at the end btw. Really brilliant match from the njpw crew, among the best they had in the decade (though it wasn’t their strong suit anyway). 4*+

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