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Grimmas

Genichiro Tenryu

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Tenryu is definitely a wrestler where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. His execution is sometimes flat out horrible, but it almost doesn't matter at all. He usually wrestles like he's in the Tokyo Dome, even when he's working a smaller venue. He's in the Choshu-Hashimoto-Onita group of guys who are so great at projecting themselves as larger than life through body language and facial expressions. I still need to wade through most of his 80s resume outside of the super classics, but I know his rep there is that it took him some time to find his voice. Definite top tier pick for me.

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His major leap forward as a worker comes during Choshu's time in AJPW. 1988 and 89 produced better matches because that's when the AJPW style as we know it really takes form but his personality has already taken shape by the time that the big 1986 tags start happening.

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Anything featuring Tenryu from the 2000s is a great one-time watch. He brings something only he can to all of the matches I watched him in during that project. He was one of the top 5 workers in Japan in the 2000s in his 50s. If that's not worth a vote somewhere in the top 100 I'm not sure what is.

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I love Tenryu, I think he might be my highest ranked All Japan wrestler. One underated thing about him was how great he was working as Flair against Mike Jackson matches, he totally can make you believe that a guy like Anjo or Aoyagi is going to pull off the upset

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Tenryu is the perfect peak + Longevity candidate. Maybe the only peers are Lawler and Hansen for guys who still had more than a handful of standout performances long after their peak. Then again, there are tons of lucha guys who fit this criteria also. Does any Japanese wrestler come close though?

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Tenryu is the perfect peak + Longevity candidate. Maybe the only peers are Lawler and Hansen for guys who still had more than a handful of standout performances long after their peak. Then again, there are tons of lucha guys who fit this criteria also. Does any Japanese wrestler come close though?

I don't think anyone comes close from Japan. Several had a run of 15 good years. Tenryu gets to 21, '85-'05, and I don't think there's a case to say he had any significant dips as a performer during that run. *Maybe* 1997, with WAR heading downhill and minimal interpromotional action. Even then he had matches with Anjoh and Fujiwara to show that he was still Tenryu. Someone like Liger has a peak that kicks in around '88, he had some time off for injury, and his 2005-2008 doesn't have much in the way of high-level quality.

 

If you broke Tenryu's career into '83-'94 and '95-'06, you'd have a top 10-20 career and a top 40 career. Combining them is insane to even comprehend. Going through random '90s comm releases and TV blocks, Tenryu is a guy who you keep finding in hidden gems. His best '80s and '00s work is well known; you could almost see his 1989 leading into his 2000. That's a top 10 career ('83-'89 + '00-'06). Throw in the '90s? Top 5. Even after 2006 there are a handful of compelling 'Tenryu as high-end Baba' outings like the Misawa memorial 6-man from 2009.

 

There are some areas where Tenryu isn't strong. If you value those more, I can see not rating him highly. But I suspect most people will give him a fair shake, which makes me anticipate a top 10 finish for him.

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Tenryu is the perfect peak + Longevity candidate. Maybe the only peers are Lawler and Hansen for guys who still had more than a handful of standout performances long after their peak. Then again, there are tons of lucha guys who fit this criteria also. Does any Japanese wrestler come close though?

I don't think anyone comes close from Japan. Several had a run of 15 good years. Tenryu gets to 21, '85-'05, and I don't think there's a case to say he had any significant dips as a performer during that run. *Maybe* 1997, with WAR heading downhill and minimal interpromotional action. Even then he had matches with Anjoh and Fujiwara to show that he was still Tenryu. Someone like Liger has a peak that kicks in around '88, he had some time off for injury, and his 2005-2008 doesn't have much in the way of high-level quality.

 

If you broke Tenryu's career into '83-'94 and '95-'06, you'd have a top 10-20 career and a top 40 career. Combining them is insane to even comprehend. Going through random '90s comm releases and TV blocks, Tenryu is a guy who you keep finding in hidden gems. His best '80s and '00s work is well known; you could almost see his 1989 leading into his 2000. That's a top 10 career ('83-'89 + '00-'06). Throw in the '90s? Top 5. Even after 2006 there are a handful of compelling 'Tenryu as high-end Baba' outings like the Misawa memorial 6-man from 2009.

 

 

 

What always amazes me even more is that he produced two top-50 careers worth of quality after he turned 35.

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He was so dynamic in his last fews years in All Japan. The moment he tags in he's able to elevate the intensity and drama of a match either through his vicious offense or his ability sell a beating. He makes everyone look good and creates a lot of drama where there otherwise would be none. He's a lock for my top 5, yet every time I go back and watch him I realize I forgot how great he was.

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Others can point to more specific matches from 92 and 93, but basically any and all inter promotional matches from the WAR vs New Japan feud. Tenryu as the supreme mafia boss rounding up his crew of washed up yakuza low lifes to kick the shit out of the rich kids in new japan.

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Tenryu as the supreme mafia boss rounding up his crew of washed up yakuza low lifes to kick the shit out of the rich kids in new japan.

 

I never thought of it that way, but it's an hilarious and very fitting way of presenting things. WAR was such a fun promotion.

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Requesting a list of 90s Tenryu recommendations.

 

Don't have my spreadsheet handy, but you will not go wrong starting in '92 with everything in the Match Discussion Archive. NJPW/WAR stuff is the clear highlight, but the Onita match is good, he's paired with Flair on a WWF tour, and that's even before getting to the later decade run with NJPW and his matches in the G1. Then you have his turn of the century stints in AJPW and NOAH. His body of work reads like a top 10 GOATer.

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Here are some. The ones that are underlined I either thought were very good or great. A lot of these can be found on Ditch's site.

 

Jumbo Tsuruta & Tiger Mask II vs Genichiro Tenryu & Ricky Fuyuki AJPW 1.14.90

Genichiro Tenryu & Toshiaki Kawada vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Isao Takagi AJPW 1.20.90

Jumbo Tsuruta, Kabuki & Mighty Inoue vs Genichiro Tenryu, Toshiaki Kawada & Ricky Fuyuki AJPW 1.25.90

Genichiro Tenryu vs Isao Takagi AJPW 1.28.90

Genichiro Tenryu & Tiger Mask II vs Riki Choshu & George Takano NJPW vs AJPW Tokyo Dome 2.10.90

Genichiro Tenryu vs Randy Savage WWF/AJPW Summit 4.13.90

Jeff Jarrett & Bob Orton vs Genichiro Tenryu & Kabuki SWS 10.10.90

Genichiro Tenryu vs George Takano SWS 10.11.90

 

 

Genichiro Tenryu & Koki Kitahara vs Shiro Koshinaka & Kengo Kimura WAR 10.23.92

Genichiro Tenryu, Takashi Ishikawa & Koki Kitahara vs Shiro Koshinaka, Kengo Kimura & Masashi Aoyagi NJPW 11.23.92

Genichiro Tenryu vs Shiro Koshinaka NJPW 12.14.92

 

 

Genichiro Tenryu, Takashi Ishikawa & Ashura Hara vs Keiji Mutoh, Shinya Hashimoto & Akira Nogami NJPW 2.5.93

Genichiro Tenryu, Takashi Ishikawa, Ricky Fuyuki, Tatsumi Kitahara & Ashura Hara vs Riki Choshu, Tatsumi Fujinami, Osamu Kido, Hiroshi Hase & Takashi Iizuka 5 on 5 NJPW 2.16.93

Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami vs Genichiro Tenryu & Takashi Ishikawa NJPW 3.23.93

Riki Choshu vs Genichiro Tenryu NJPW 4.6.93

Shinya Hashimoto vs Genichiro Tenryu WAR 6.17.93

Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs Tatsumi Fujinami & Masa Chono NJPW 7.14.93

Genichiro Tenryu, Takashi Ishikawa & Ashura Hara vs Shinya Hashimoto, Masa Chono & Tatsumi Fujinami NJPW 8.2.93

Tatsumi Fujinami & Jushin Liger vs Genichiro Tenryu & Koki Kitahara NJPW 8.3.93

Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs Shinya Hashimoto & Masa Chono WAR 10.1.93

Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs Tatsumi Fujinami & Osamu Kido WAR 10.11.93

 

 

Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs Atsushi Onita & Tarzan Goto WAR 3.2.94

 

 

Genichiro Tenryu vs Tatsumi Fujinami NJPW 4.29.96

Tatsuo Nakano vs Genichiro Tenryu WAR vs UWFi 5.26.96

Naoki Sano vs Genichiro Tenryu UWFi 8.17.96

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1997 - vs Fujiwara

 

1998 - vs Araya, vs Hashimoto

 

1999 - vs Hashimoto

 

1995 -w Ultimo vs. Kandori & Fuyuki

 

I'd be shocked if there was a Tenryu match not worth watching.

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A few favorites from what I had handy. Can highlight some choice selections if you want, but THE MAN deserves a full examination. TENRYU!

 

Ric Flair vs. Genichiro Tenryu (2/3 Falls) (SWS 9/15/92)

Genichiro Tenryu & Koki Kitahara & Masao Orihara vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Kengo Kimura & Masashi Aoyagi (WAR 10/21/92)

Genichiro Tenryu & Koki Kitahara vs. Shiro Koshinaka & Kengo Kimura (WAR 10/23/92)

Genichiro Tenryu, Takashi Ishikawa & Koki Kitahara vs. Shiro Koshinaka, Kengo Kimura & Masayo Aoyagi (NJ 11/23/92)

Genichiro Tenryu vs. Shiro Koshinaka (NJ 12/14/92)

Genichiro Tenryu vs. Riki Choshu (NJ 1/4/93)

Genichiro Tenryu, Ashura Hara & Takashi Ishikawa vs. Keiji Muto, Akira Nogami & Shinya Hashimoto (NJ 2/5/93)

Tenryu & Takashi Ishikawa vs Tatsumi Fujinami & Hiroshi Hase (WAR 2/14/1993)

Riki Choshu, Tatsumi Fujinami, Osamu Kido, Hiroshi Hase & Tayayuki Iizuka vs. Genichiro Tenryu, Ashura Hara, Takashi Ishikawa, Ricky Fuyuki & Tatsumi Kitahara (2/3 falls) (NJ 2/16/93)

Genichiro Tenryu & Takashi Ishikawa vs. Riki Choshu & Osamu Kido (WAR 3/3/93)

Genichiro Tenryu & Takashi Ishikawa vs. Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami (NJ 3/23/93)

Riki Choshu & Shinya Hashimoto vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Takashi Ishikawa (WAR 4/2/93)

Genichiro Tenryu vs. Riki Choshu (NJ 4/6/93)

Tatsumi Fujinami & Shinya Hashimoto vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Takashi Ishikawa (WAR 5/24/93)

Riki Choshu, Shinya Hashimoto, Tatsumi Fujinami, Masa Chono & Hiroshi Hase vs. Genichiro Tenryu, Ashura Hara, Takashi Ishikawa, Tatsu Goto & Strong Machine (Elimination Match) (WAR vs. NJ 6/15/93)

Genichiro Tenryu vs. Shinya Hashimoto (WAR 6/17/93)

Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs. Masa Chono & Tatsumi Fujinami (NJ 7/14/93)

Tatsumi Fujinami, Masahiro Chono & Shinya Hashimoto vs Tenryu, Ashura Hara & Takashi Ishikawa (NJ 8/2/1993)

Genichiro Tenryu vs. Shinya Hashimoto (NJ 8/8/93)

Hiroshi Hase vs. Genichiro Tenryu (NJ 9/23/93)

Shinya Hashimoto & Masa Chono vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara (WAR 10/1/93)

Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Osamu Kido (WAR 10/11/93)

Genichiro Tenryu vs. Ashura Hara (WAR 11/11/93)

Genichiro Tenryu & Masahito Kikahara vs. Keiji Muto & El Samurai (WAR 1/5/94)

Genichiro Tenryu vs. Shiro Koshinaka (WAR 1/14/94)

Genichiro Tenryu vs. Shinya Hashimoto (NJ 2/17/94)

Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs. Atsushi Onita & Tarzan Goto (WAR 3/2/94)

Genichiro Tenryu vs. Atsushi Onita (No Rope Explosive Barbed Wire Cage Death Match) (FMW 5/5/94)

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I'd be shocked if there was a Tenryu match not worth watching.

 

A very good point. Won't always produce a classic, but almost always manages to cobble *** together and rarely disappoints. Really unique wrestler with an absolute ton of diverse performances.

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Tenryu and Misawa had a pretty awful singles match for two guys who will make a lot of top 10s. Sure they were old, but even so, it was bad.

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