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[1996-11-09-WAR] Genichiro Tenryu & Nobutaka Araya vs Kazuo Yamazaki & Takashi Iizuka

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I love that this match exists. I'm a mark for the Yamazaki/Iizuka team, I'm a mark for Tenryu, I'm a mark for Araya, and I'm a mark for split NJ/WAR crowds, and I'm a mark for hot action at Korakuen Hall. This match has all those things. I *really* think it's a match any fan of puro can enjoy. I also think it helps show the incredible versatility of Tenryu. Watch him get all kinds of fire out of the oft-passive Iizuka!

 

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I should preface this by saying that I'd be happy if every Tenryu match made every yearbook, but I thought this was really great and kind of a lost classic. The Tenryu/Yamazaki exchanges are all excellent, and I'm not sure if Yamazaki deliberately plays off the IWGP tag title match from June, but the rib injury comes into play again (which Yamazaki also sells great again). Tenryu going fucking postal with a chair while the cameraman almost gets caught in the crossfire was amazing. Iizuka and Araya were both really good understudies here, Araya with his shithousing and Iizuka stepping up to Tenryu in a big way. There's a great sequence towards the end where Iizuka relentlessly goes after a leglock - after ducking a home run chop and an enziguri - while Araya casually comes in and breaks it up to a chorus of boos. This really had everything I want out of a Tenryu tag - hate, the main match-up ruling, every other match-up working, PERIL, bunch more hate, etc. Hell of a match, and definitely something that belongs on a supplemental set.

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Yeah, a million billion stars. Incidentally I loved the ringside camera views we get for the bulk of this match--you're right up there with the action and seeing every Tenryu punch connect full force. To say nothing of Tenryu taking out Yamazaki AND the cameraman with a chair, which is a fantastic visual. Araya's casual shoulder shrugs every time the crowd boos him for making a save were also great--reminded me of Joey Bosa after making a sack (less than 1% of you probably understand that but oh well). The psychotic crowd helps, too. Total lost classic and I could watch Tenryu and Yamazaki go to war with each other all day.

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Interpromotional hotness throughout in a rabid Korakuen Hall. Exciting from the get-go and it never let up. You had Yamazaki and Tenryu building up a singles feud. They were ably supported by their partners in the secondary role. All four men brought it. Tenryu was a truly incredible wrestler, the way he was able to have heated feuds with such a wide variety of opponents. He spent the 90's facing every major or minor heavyweight star across Japan. And he beat them all.

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