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[1989-02-23-AJPW] Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu vs Genichiro Tenryu & Toshiaki Kawada

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This is a great match with a captivating story. Yatsu & Jumbo are out to get Tenryu. The plan is to beat the living daylights out of Kawada and to sucker Tenryu in for the save. When Tenryu comes in, Jumbo will sprint across the ring to try to get his shots in on Tenryu who is more focused on saving Kawada. Kawada does a fantastic job as the FIP. And, you can really see that Tenryu absolutely hates seeing Kawada getting torn apart. Yatsu has Kawada trapped in submissions, and he is continuously taunting Tenryu from the mat. He's enjoying slapping Kawada in the face, while he has him trapped, looking up at Tenryu and pointing at him... daring him to come in. It really sucks you in to the moment. Kawada will not die. At one point, he eventually does draw blood from the eye of Jumbo. Another great moment is Jumbo getting tagged in, and he decides he's done playing the game. He just throws Kawada down in their corner and starts attacking Tenryu on the outside. Kawada's revenge on Yatsu is sweet. Rapid Fire kicks that look super ruthless. Eventually, Kawada has shown them they can't use him to draw Tenryu in, or they might lose. Jumbo and Yatsu focus the attack on Kawada until they weaken him enough to pull out the win. Great stuff.

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I think this is the most under appreciated All Japan match in history.

 

The pacing is out of this world, Yatsu is at his peak, Kawada breaks out in a tag that isn't a Footloose match, and Jumbo & Tenryu have unparalleled chemistry. Perfectly executed and a beautiful display of violence. It's been probably a year since I've watched it and it's something I'd like to go back and watch again. *****

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I think this is the most under appreciated All Japan match in history.

 

The pacing is out of this world, Yatsu is at his peak, Kawada breaks out in a tag that isn't a Footloose match, and Jumbo & Tenryu have unparalleled chemistry. Perfectly executed and a beautiful display of violence. It's been probably a year since I've watched it and it's something I'd like to go back and watch again. *****

I'm with you. And, you should definitely revisit!

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I had this at 4 stars and ranked at #23 for the 80s AJ set. Maybe time for a revisit.

 

I did a little 10 minute podcast on tag-team specialists this past Monday on which I mentioned that the Jumbo / Yatsu team are one of the most super-underrated ever. I think they even had a nickname like "The Olympians" or some such. The tag scene in 89 is just incredible in AJ.

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I had the same thoughts coming out of the 80s AJ set. It seems like some of the other tag teams from that era are talked about more, but I loved the relationship between Yatsu and Jumbo. I think you'll probably be higher on this one when you go back to it. I would have to think about the order, but It would be in my top 5 from the set. I also have it at *****.

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22 hours ago, Brian Elliott said:

Watched this today. A fantastic tag team dynamic at a perfect pace. @InYourCase had it right about being an underrated classic.

Glad you checked it out. Watching it back last week, I was so stunned by the pacing of this match. There's no dead space. It feels like a 2020 match with the stiffness and intensity of an 80's All Japan match. It's a thing of beauty. 

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All Japan World Tag Team Champions Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu vs Genichiro Tenryu & Toshiaki Kawada - AJPW 2/23/89

Fun fact: Jumbo & Yatsu had just recently won the titles back from Hansen & Gordy in Kansas City of all places. Central States was long gone. Says it was at a World Wrestling Alliance card. Who was running that? So I did some research, Geigel tried to stage a comeback it sounds like after selling to Crockett and tried to go National under the name World Wrestling Alliance card using Mike George as his champion. Jesus. The Mike George vs Dick Slater match to crown the inaugural WWA Champion has piqued my interest.  

Kawada in the leopard print never gets old, imagine if he tried to carry that into the 90s selling out the Budokan having the greatest matches in pro wrestling history looking like that. Kawada was wicked over in this match. Besides the one Jumbo singles match, it feels like Kawada is getting way bigger opportunities than Misawa in the 80s.

Kawada & Yatsu to start but the heat is on the big boys of course. Tenryu grabs Yatsu when he backs into the wrong corner. Jumbo takes exception to that.  Before you know it they are put tagged in (Jumbo did feed for a Kawada reverse crossbody to set up the tag out) and they just go at each other like two fucking rams. Jumbo wins that battle with a High Knee followed by a Spike Piledriver! I love when Jumbo hollers to the crowd.  The Tenryu vs Yatsu firefight is wicked. Mack Truck Lariat to escape and tag in Kawada. Yatsu stops Kawada dead in his tracks with a wicked thrust kick. The are definitely establishing a pecking order. Jumbo quashes the Kawada Crucifix Pin dropping back. This is when it was hard to make out if the crowd was chanting for Tsuruta or Kawada. Kawada used the out of control Lariat to escape and tag in Tenryu. Kawada shows shades of Footloose when he lets Tenryu whip him for a crazy lariat into the corner. Tenryu licks his hand for a CRACKING CHOP IN THE CORNER! Not very sanitary but the result were effective! All the heat is on Jumbo vs Tenryu with Kawada being that crazy spark plug that you are just wondering if he will be ab asset or a liability in the match. 

Kawada loses control of the advantage to Jumbo who wriggles out of a hold and counters into a toehold. He tags out to Yatsu who takes Kawada on a ride with two bulldogs. Back Drop Driver on the 3rd Bulldog attempt brings Tenryu in. Tenryu BRINGS THE PAIN! Wicked chops! I have been watching a ton of New Japan vs UWF so when Tenryu drops down into a straight kneebar I am wondering what promotion I am watching. Goo struggle from Yatsu to make the hold more exciting. Tenryu goes ful mount and unleades a brutal ground& pound punctuated by RIFLING HIM WITH A COWBOY KICK! Kawada eager to prove himself drops the Senton and goes back to the leglace. Kawada does not have it tight enough and Yatsu tags out in the hold. Which I think should be illegal. Jumbo not to be outdone...COWBOY KICK! Jumbo has murder in his eyes. HIGH KNEE! Whips Kawada into the rails. Abdominal stretch, Yatsu comes from across the ring to drive the knee into the trapped Kawada. Three times we have thought Kawada was going to be in peril and it looks like it finally happening as Yatsu has targeted the knee out of revenge for what happened to him. Yatsu vulnerable as he has Kawada in a leglace eats some of the most brutal stomps to the head I have ever seen. Yatsu break and glares at Tenryu. Yatsu powerslams Kawada and goes to the Inverted Figure-4. Jumbo plays watch dog. Tenryu dives with a dropkick and this leaves him open to being attacked by Jumbo. JUMBO VS TENRYU BRAWL BREAKS OUT ON THE OUTSIDE! Yatsu applies the Inverted Figure-4, if the brawl continued I would have bit on this as a finish. The crowd is chanting for Kawada thunderously this is when I noticed he was wicked over. Jumbo continues to beat on the knee. Kawada even in 1989 is a champ at selling the knee in how he later his rope running. Jumbo sets too early, kick and tag out. ENZIGUIRI! GERMAN! 1-2-NO! Jumbo Death Lariat for two! It is All Japan baby! SLASHING CHOP FROM TENRYU! Kawada tags back in. Seems way too soon. He eats a High Knee right to the face! Jumbo High Knees Kawada right in front of Tenryu which was a bad idea as Tenryu just swings for the fences and connects with a lariat! Tenryu and Jumbo on the floor! Yatsu and Kawada join them. TENRYU HAS A CHAIR! I definitely thought we were getting the double countout. Kawada closed fist to Jumbo in the ring! Jumbo is bleeding! Kawada gets a nearfall on Jumbo. Tenryu tags in. Tenryu Mack Truck Lariat! Tenryu working the cut with stomps! Tenryu's chops in this match are otherworldly. Tenryu tags back out. Kawada spinning heel kick! Kawada Back Drop Driver! Jumbo tags out after punting Kawada.  Yastu pummels Kawada in their corner. FLESH ON FLESH! MAN ON MAN! Jumbo throws Kawada into Tenryu, before Tenryu can enter the ring, Jumbo MUGS HIM!  JUMBOS HAS HIS FOOT ON TENRYU'S FACE! After all that heat, going to the abdominal stretch is a letdown. Kawada breaks it up. Tenryu Enziguiri! He attempts the Powerbomb for the first time. TENRYU POWERBOMB!!!! Yatsu saves! Tenryu is pissed! Jumbo nails him from behind with a wicked elbow! High Knee Tenryu Sandwich! Tenryu has the best chops ever in this match. Yatsu powerbomb but Kawda saves. Kawada barrage of kicks to Yatsu BEATS HIM BACK WITH OVERHAND CHOPS! Yatsu misses a charge... KAWADA Bridging German for two but Jumbo saves. Yatsu bridging German and Tenryu saves. Nice symmetry. Yatsu tags out and Tenryu comes charging across ring with Lariat. Top Rope Sunset Flip! Jumbo hotshots Tenryu for three!!!!!! WAIT NO HE KICKED OUT!!!! WHAT THE FUCK! Tenryu Enziguiri after a bunch of nearfalls. Kawda missile dropkick, Jumbo tags out. Yatsu headbutts! Kawada schoolboy for two gets huge heat. Yatsu throws him down on his ass on the Spinning heel kick. Yatsu German broken by Tenryu who says not on my watch. Jumbo tries to kick Kawada head off his body REPEATEDLY! DANGEROUS BACK DROP DRIVER! 1-2-3! WOW WHAT A MATCH! 

Three all-time classic performances, Tenryu was insane in this match. He was a Man Possessed. His chops were sick and brutal. You need to watch the match just for those chops. He was a surly, ornery bastard. He was in total fight mode. Kawada crushed it as Young Lion in over his head, biting off more than he can chew, but coming back for more. Jumbo as the Ace, protecting his yard and ripping into Kawada & Tenryu when ever he could. Yatsu was great dont get me wrong, but he didnt have that clear defined role. He was just throwing hands and throwing bodies. I had never heard this match talked up but JK and In Your Case are right, this is an all-timer hiding in plain sight. It is 1989 All Japan and it is hard to believe anything is left that has been talked to death, but this ruled and is definitely harbinger of the matches to come! ****3/4

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