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Clayton Jones

[1986-02-05-AJPW] Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu vs Riki Choshu & Yoshiaki Yatsu

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I generally see the previous match get more praise but this is more my speed. The structure of this match is brilliant and with 20+ minutes of heated, logical and nasty tag action you can see how the next generation of AJPW mastered the art of heavyweight tag matches with this foundation. One of my favorite things about this match is how at multiple points it breaks down to grown men straight up slapping each other in the face, and not at all in the modern "test your machismo" kind of way, but in a "I fucking hate you and want to punk you" kind of way. Any time there's a submission that could be seen as a resthold the opposing team breaks it up before it can become tiresome. The champs do a great job playing to their size and playing up the underdog nature of the match. For someone who is criticized for taking nights off, it's crazy to me how much Jumbo puts of himself into matches like this. The four pillars +Akyiama definitely learned this from him and I love seeing a bigger guy use his entire body language to convey what's happening and not just to get himself over. Loved the finish as well.

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The hate-fueled multiple slaps to the face are awesome. I agree that this match is really good, but it doesn't quite reach the level of the previous match for me. I really enjoyed the focused attack on the ribs from Jumbo & Tenryu. I really like Choshu as the FIP. I think watching the last two matches of him delivering great selling performances have shown me the light in regards to his versatility in the ring. Great finish.

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Jumbo and Tenryu have a reign of two-plus years as NWA International Tag Champs. A week before, on January 28, the champs successfully defended them against Choshu and Yatsu. That match earned a five-star rating (if you’re into that sort of thing). 

This match checks most of the boxes of what I want in pro wrestling:

--It’s a match with tangible, significant stakes.

--It’s got a big-fight feel.

--There’s some real heat and hatred present.

There’s lots to like here, very few lulls, and quality intensity and physicality from bell to bell. This is a hard-fought, well-worked wrestling match that is recommended viewing for both fans and wrestlers alike and one of the better matches I've seen as part of my 365 Wrestling project. Here's my link to a full review of this match.

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