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Genichiro Tenryu

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If that match didn't have the two or so botches it does no one would be calling it awful. It was fine.

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If that match didn't have the two or so botches it does no one would be calling it awful. It was fine.

 

When you're talking about a dream match between two all-time greats and the best you can say is it was fine but for some ugly botches, well, that's the epitome of feint praise.

 

I'm not saying that match matters to either guy's legacy BTW. I love them both. It was just my instinctive response to the suggestion that every Tenryu match is worth watching.

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Of all of my really hilarious blindspots and areas where I just know nothing, I think Tenyru is the most hilarious.

 

He's a different human being than Tenzan right? It's not a Mutoh/Muta thing.

 

(It's nice to finally have a post where the Bobby Davis avatar pays off)

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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)

 

It's on my wrestling fan bucket list to watch this WAR vs. New Japan stuff, so I knocked off a few over the last couple of days. They were fun matches, but I don't know that I'd call them great even accounting for the spectacle. Koshinaka and Kimura's brawling reminded me of cartoon wrestling. They weren't laying their shit in at all. Aoyagi was by far the best worker on the New Japan side, but the least prominent of the three and barely featured. The Tenryu exchanges were badass, but there wasn't enough Aoyagi. The crowd heat was amazing, especially the 10/23 Korakuen Hall show where Tenryu's female fans were losing their shit, but Tenryu didn't do much other than stand around and make faces. The 11/23 match couldn't match 10/23 for heat, but the work was better. I have a feeling going ahead that this stuff is going to be sloppy and heated, but there's plenty of theatre to it even if Choshu reaction shot was hokey.

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

 

Okay, now this was good.. Very simple and direct, but they sold well and it built to a tremendous finishing stretch with a great nearfall that everyone bit on. Koshinaka gets shat on a lot, but he was excellent here both on top and underneath. His blade job turned things up a notch by creating the illusion that it was hard way, and his selling was beautiful. Tenryu was also fantastic in this. Lariats, elbows, chops and powerbomb attempts, but it was extremely focused and he kept his opponent in his sights the entire time. When he wrestles like this, I can believe the things people say about him. Mowing people down from behind, sticking the boot in. But what about that finishing stretch? I bit on that nearfall along with the rest of the crowd. I love it when 20 year old wrestling can do that. The sequence after the false finish was extremely well done and the finish came on the right beat. Great match. Easy four stars.

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I think once the feud transitions from lower end New Japan and Koshinaka to higher end with Choshu/Hashimoto, it really takes off. I did like those 10/92 more than you OJ but they do feel like a solid chapter 1 in the overall story arc.

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I think once the feud transitions from lower end New Japan and Koshinaka to higher end with Choshu/Hashimoto, it really takes off. I did like those 10/92 more than you OJ but they do feel like a solid chapter 1 in the overall story arc.

 

I'm with soup here on just about everything, but OJ, glad you dug Tenryu/Kosh as things do pick up once some bigger NJ reps get going. That being said, perhaps I fell hard for the heat and atmosphere as I was all in on the early multi man tags in the feud. Crazy heat, felt like huge, special deals 20+ years later and I thought the NJ mid carders held up their end of the bargain a lot better than would be expected. Plus Tenryu's lieutenants are no slouches either and more than capable of keeping things stiff and hot.

 

The best is still yet to come.

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Wow. He had a good match with Mil Mascaras. I should probably stop joking around.

Mascaras was a good worker in All Japan.

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

 

I thought this was pretty good to begin with as it was two hosses fighting and scrapping for a takedown, which is exactly how a match of this sort should be worked, but it all went downhill when Tenryu sold that lariat. It's easier said that done, but he should have played it like he avoided the move by ducking out of the way. As soon as Choshu took over, the match became a Choshu-style match in the worst sense of the term. Nearfalls and teased finishes are great, but when that's all of you've got things tend to drag. And to make matters worse, Tenryu was having a poor night on the offensive end. His execution issues are unfortunately the predominant image I have of him, and not that awesome worker from the Koshinaka match, and here they raised their ugly head. The finish was also weak. It wasn't so much because he had to repeat the powerbomb, as you could forgive the first one not being executed properly, but rather that the powerbomb put Choshu away at all. That didn't seem at all well built to. Pretty stark contrast between this and the Koshinaka bout.

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Mil's motivation could vary, to be nice.

 

I certainly didn't like him in the Blue Panther/Arkangel de la Muerte match from 01 and I downright loathed him in the Brody/Hansen match from 83. That's one of my least favorite performances by a single wrestler ever. There are parts of the Abby match I like, but they're all Abby.

 

I've never actually seen the Destroyer matches. I should at some point.

 

I see Mascaras as a wrestling problem. He's interesting to watch wrestlers wrestle against to see how they deal with him, kind of like RVD, though for different reasons. You don't wrestle Mil Mascaras, you cope with him.

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The 1/8/93 Tenryu/Hara vs. Aoyagi/Kabuki handheld is really good. Four older guys stiffing the heck out of each other while the feud rages on. Ditch called Aoyagi limited, but if anybody knows a guy who does a better karate gimmick let me know. Tenryu vs. Aoyagi is a thing of beauty and the best thing about the Mew Japan feud so far. They absolutely pelt each other every chance they get. Tenryu is a colossal prick and busts Aoyagi open with the heel of his boot, and there's a killer spot where Hara is holding Aoyagi's leg up and Tenryu does this running elbow strike that almost sends Aoyagi's leg two rows back. Tenryu was the goods in this. Momentum swings back in his favour after the ugly Tokyo Dome match.

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If that's the handheld I'm thinking of it was so much better than I expected going into it. Totally with you on Aoyagi -- feel like the book on him is that he's incredibly limited and not capable of delivering for more than a spurt here or there. But that's a guy who has his routine down and stays within himself to always keep things interesting and wild. Like a better, more focused but perhaps less charismatic Murakami.

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

 

 

The New Japan side were way too peppy in this. Tenryu's team looked like he brought his poker buddies along while the New Japan guys were bouncing around playing to the crowd and reveling in their early-nineties-ness. I don't know what Mutoh thought he was doing on the apron, but evidently a blood feud was the last thing from his mind. That spot where the New Japan guys all dropped elbows on Tenryu was the lamest thing I've seen in forever. Ostensibly, the bout was an excuse for Tenryu and Hashimoto go at it, but only one of them was acting badass and it wasn't the New Japan guy. Tenryu punting Nogami was about the only thing I dug here. Which isn't to say it was a bad match, it just wasn't that cool. Who will step up to the plate and match Tenryu for charisma?

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Interesting take, I thought Hash was always pretty consistent in his intensity and going toe to toe with Tenryu in the badass department. Will have to see if it stood out to me anywhere.

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I watched Hash vs. Tenryu last night from 93. I had a review written out but didn't post it, because I had to take a phonecall in the middle of it, and was distracted during the match.

 

I did think that Tenryu looked kind of sloppy and scrappy in the match though. Tenryu is like the ultimate "I'm not an execution guy", but it can be jarring at times when things don't connect where you expect them to and when the timing is thrown because of his strange positioning. I wasn't going to mention anything but then he was like that ten-fold in that Ivan match I just watched. Something I will have to think about as I explore more Tenryu in the 90s.

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Interesting take, I thought Hash was always pretty consistent in his intensity and going toe to toe with Tenryu in the badass department. Will have to see if it stood out to me anywhere.

 

The problem is they stuck him in there with Mutoh, who was more popular than him but wasn't taking this Tenryu thing seriously. They should have paired him with another lower tier guy like Nogami so that he stood out head and shoulders above his partners; the way Tenryu's poker buddies are only ever there to have Tenryu's back. Hashimoto came across as second fiddle to me despite the bout having little to do with Mutoh. It didn't help that he left his feet so often. I don't think Hashimoto trying to bowl Tenryu over with leg lariats is the most bad ass way to kick start their rivalry. You'd expect to see them go nose to nose or something. There was a cool spot where Tenryu was beating on Nogami and Hashimoto broke it up with a kick to the jaw, but after that they flubbed Hashimoto and Mutoh making the save and the War team stopping them a second time. The finish was weak compared to the usual Japanese tag finish because of the mistimed interference, but they didn't coil the Tenryu/Hashimoto issue around it either, which is kind of a running theme with these WAR vs. NJ tags so far in that they're not that sophisticated. Fun and heated, but not that clever. So far, anyway.

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

 

This was fairly simple, but you expect that from a house show match. There were some resoundingly big chopping sounds throughout, and the fans were into the finishing stretch in a big way, but nothing special otherwise.

 

 

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)

 

This was a classic 5 on 5 New Japan tag, albeit 2/3 falls instead of elimination, and the first match that looked comparable with the contemporary style in Japan at the time as seen in high end All Japan and Joshi tags. I guess it's a conservative opinion but I preferred this to the faux Memphis brawls they were having in 1992. I also liked the booking of Choshu in this even if it stopped the bout from being an outright classic. Tenryu's side looked hopeless outmatched during the intros. Again it was though he'd brought his poker buddies to the fight; or gotten a few of the dads together to help their sons take on the school from the next district. Hara, in particular, looks like he was right at home behind the BBQ grill before Tenryu enlisted him to take up the fight. WAR punches above their weight in this and it's cool to watch.

 

 

 

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

 

Okay, this was about as awesome as it possibly could be. Tenryu and Hashimoto squared off exactly as you would expect and their exchanges gradually build from violent stares to nose busting strikes. I love the way Tenryu busts a guy open by just kicking away at an eye or a nose. The fact that both Choshu *and* Hashimoto ended up bleeding here was beautiful. The hot tag to Hashimoto where he unloaded on Tenryu was beautiful. And Tenryu beating on Choshu mercilessly while Hashimoto got the pin on Ishikawa was beautiful. Tenryu going after Hashimoto after the bell, shitty talking them on the mic and throwing the microphone at Choshu's face made this a hell of a lead-in to the Choshu rematch. This was another case where Tenryu seemed overwhelmed by the odds (Hashimoto and Choshu?), but didn't give a shit. I liked this a lot as a lead-in bout.

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

 

This was more pragmatic than their first encounter, but although it was less sloppy, it took a long time for the hook to come. It wasn't until Choshu hit the superplex and followed it up with the diving knee to the head that I really got into this and that was late in the match. The stretch run had plenty of bombs, but Tenryu's execution on his enzuiguri, powerbomb and diving back elbow drop was poor. I've really enjoyed Tenryu in these matches, but he keeps flubbing those big moments. The powerbomb he can kind of get away with because of fatigue and Choshu's weight, and he was still selling the head knock from earlier, but Choshu's execution down the stretch was markedly better and that's crucial in a match like this where it's two big lugs duking it out. Choshu didn't really give him that much, either. It looked as though Tenryu was going to reopen the cut at once stage, but I guess Choshu didn't feel like bleeding. He didn't rub Tenryu out, but he was owed a win and set about collecting. It was pretty emphatic considering the build, but that's politics for you I suppose.

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The 6/14 Hashimoto/Ohara vs.Tenryu/Ishikawa match is another fun handheld. It was basically designed to ratchet up the heat between Hashimoto and Tenryu, which was this festering boil of animosity. Hashimoto lifted his intensity to the next level and I thought it was the best he's looked to date. The other two were punching bags and mostly ignored as Tenryu and Hashimoto kept having a go at each other even when they weren't in the ring together, but they played their roles effectively. Tenryu squaring Ohara up after the bout and punching him for no good reason was a dick move out of the top drawer. His mannerisms in this were great, as you'd expect from a Tenryu match that was all about heat.

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

 

I thought this was extremely good for what they set out to achieve. It was a much more minimalist, stripped back style than the wrestling that was in vogue at the time, and the beginning was largely masochistic with both wrestlers challenging each other to hit them as hard as they could. That might not be to everyone's tastes and was a precursor of a lot of the modern forearm exchange spots, but Tenryu and Hashimoto tend to be a lot more violent. The complexion of the match changed when Tenryu became injured. I thought the commentators did a good job of foreshadowing the knee injury and Tenryu sold it pretty well except for the spot where he was struggling to reach the ropes. Not really a natural spot for Japanese wrestlers that. The crowd was super hot for his comeback which made for a fantastic atmosphere and though some of the stagger selling was weak, this was a much better example of how to do a Cena/Owens match well. Hashimoto was even using Tenryu's moves ala Owens. I really liked how Hashimoto bled from Tenryu's tsuppari attack, and even though in isolation Tenryu's big spots are ugly as sin, with that crowd behind him, the knee injury to overcome and the difficulty in keeping that fat man down you couldn't help but root for him.,

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