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[1998-07-31-NJPW-G1 Climax] Genichiro Tenryu vs Keiji Muto


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  • 2 months later...

In preparing for the 1999 set, I watched a couple of Tenryu-Muto matches (one from May and one from December) and loved both. Then I remember the really good Tenryu-Muta brawl in WAR in 1996. So these two really had some strong matches against each other through the years, but it's not really something people think of when recalling either guy's best opponents. This was another excellent addition to the series. They go for broke with the drama and big moves, wrestling like they are at the Tokyo Dome instead of Sumo Hall. This had small patches where things were a bit off, like Muto standing on the top rope for what seemed like an eternity and throwing the heat off for a few minutes, but what's good - that crazy Ace Crusher from the apron to the floor, Muto's leg work on Tenryu and the hot crowd - is more than enough to offset any flaws. A promising start to the G-1, even though the crowd hates the finish.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm starting to really like the feud between these two. Tenryu's punches were super and the build to the big spots on the outside were teased throughout. This match had nothing to do with speed but was all about what was performed in the match and the emphasis each move was placed on. Finish was perplexing and takes this down slightly but I thought this was a good appetizer for the G-1 action coming up featuring Tenryu. (***3/4)

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Awful finish. I don't know if they were going for a controversial count or if somebody just botched it, but that left a bad taste. Very good match overall, though. Mutoh never seemed to do his lying around shit with Tenryu. And the sequence that led to Tenryu eating an Ace Crusher to the floor was pretty great.

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  • 1 month later...

A superb big match atmosphere with the fans firmly behind Mutoh. The first few minutes were scouting before Tenryu gained the advantage due to his superior strikes. As it progressed the quick, slow, quick tempo of Mutoh's offence caused lots of problems for his veteran opponent. Combined with the finish this made GenTen's victory look somewhat fortuitous. It was quite a long bout with lots of dramatic selling. Both men were physically well past their prime but knew how to work around any limitations. The heat, drama and importance combined to make this really good. The 80's finish brought it down a little.

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  • 1 year later...

The finish was WTF-worthy both for me and the crowd--at first I thought it was a time limit draw. Anyway, both these guys are starting to break down (18 years before the end of either man's career!) so they're content to milk the drama and big moments for all that they're worth, and they do so successfully. Muto targets Tenryu's knee with his dragon screws to set up the figure four and Tenryu throws punches, and lots of them. Both guys hit Super Ace Crushers but Muto does his to the *floor* in a holy-shit moment that nonetheless looked to be about as safe of a bump as you could ask for in that situation. For the most part, an example of smart work tending to trump hard work.

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  • 3 months later...

Charles, Mutoh being perched on the rope annoyed the fuck out of me as well. Do something!

 

Genichiro Tenryu vs Keiji Mutoh - NJPW G-1 Climax 98 First Round

 

Never seen late 90s NWO Mutoh before. Thought he gave his usual uneven performance albeit the good outweighed the bad. Tenryu was pretty awesome in this. Very dickish. Like the short stuff kick Mutohs face when he releases hold or drops down with his body weight on Mutoh's legs on a drop down. People complain about Tanahashi's strikes but at least he has good form he just doesn't hit very hard. Mutoh has atrocious form on some of these strike exchanges. Tenryu looks in common toying with Mutoh then ramping up violence. Mutoh finally uses his one big advantage speed and hits a drop kick. They end up on the outside with Tenryu using strength to win the day. He is going to something off top rope onto Mutoh laying on the floor. Mutoh stops him and SUPER ACE CRUSHER!!! This mistake by Tenryu allows Mutoh to target the leg 2001 style. Really good usual Mutoh leg offense that leads to the figure-4 and just like that Mutoh looks poised to win. At some point Mutoh just sits perched on the top rope waiting for Tenryu to get up forever. So infuriating. Really takes you out of it. Mutoh goes for his patented back handspring elbow but gets chopped in the back of the head. Great spot to get Tenryu back in it. Liked Mutoh flash Frankensteiner as a retort. Then Mutoh gets weird laying around not doing much just letting Tenryu do stuff. Tenryu selling on first Powerbomb is good. Mutoh last hope spot is a Frankensteiner out of a Powerbomb and does put up a fight before what I think is the final Powerbomb.

 

So my video cut out on what looked like a kick out by Mutoh before the 3 but every review I have read cites a controversial finish. So I'm guessing this is it.

 

Nowhere near their 2001 match. I thought it told a pretty good story of Tenryu being a dick and controlling match early. He makes mistake of going to top and Super Ace Crursher was a great turning point. Mutoh looked inspired to work leg. Finish felt tacked on with not much in the way of transitions or good selling. Majority was pretty great. ***1/2

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  • GSR changed the title to [1998-07-31-NJPW-G1 Climax] Genichiro Tenryu vs Keiji Muto
  • 3 years later...

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