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[1985-06-21-AJPW] Genichiro Tenryu vs Riki Choshu

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NWA United National Heavyweight Champion Genichiro Tenryu vs Riki Choshu - AJPW 6/21/85

 

Choshu takes the UN Championship and just throws it away like yesterday's garbage. Oooooooooooooooooo!

 

They take a couple swipes at each other before the ref even checks them. Things are definitely chippy. Choshu definitely got under Tenryu's skin as Tenryu starts off red hot, but makes the mistake of trying to go up top early and Choshu is able to chuck him off. Choshu was definitely in favor of grinding this out and looking for opportunities to put on the Scorpion Deathlock. Tenryu was revved up with the focus being on taking away Choshu's lariat by targeting the right arm with wristlocks and punches (good punches). It was nice tit for tat with Tenryu supplying the energy and Choshu focusing on the Scorpion Deathlock. Lots of meaty struggle. I liked the symmetry of back suplexes changing the complexion of the match. Tenryu hits his out of a headlock. He goes after the arm, but also looks to end with a bulldog (never him use that) and his powerbomb. He goes for a second bulldog, but Choshu stops him in his tracks and BACK SUPLEX! Big pop! It was a nice one. Choshu hits a wicked lariat. So Im torn, it was clear that was Tenryu's strategy to dismantle the arm, but it was not like he made serious in-roads. What bothered me more was Choshu finally gets the Scorpion Deathlock in the middle of the ring and lets go after a minute or so. I hate that. You hold that until you win. Tenryu has a couple desperation enziguiris in him, but Choshu is just relentless with the lariats and stiff chops. He brutalizing Tenryu and Tenryu's loopy selling Is great. LOVED THE FINISH! Choshu slams Tenryu's head into the metal turnnuckle and draws blood. Then just relentlessly targets the open wound with fists and keeps throwing the ref off so finally he has to call it.

 

Match was awesome in a totally different way of their awesome Clash of Titans sprint. Everything felt big, but it as firey. Loved the dueling strategies early. Neither one is particularly great on the mat so the first half dragged in parts but I thought it made sense. After the first Tenryu back suplex, the finish run was just excellent! Big bombs with a great momentum shift with Choshu's back suplex. The ending was hot as hell and really sets the mood for the next year and half. ****1/4

 

What was up with Hara coming out to defend Tenryu and then beating Tenryu up??? Russo booking AJPW in 1985? Just weird. I thought Hara & Tenryu are inseparable.

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Loved this a ton. A large portion of it was the two battling out on the mat struggling for either the cross arm breaker or sasori-gatame with sporadic on the feet slaps and high impact offence. It was pretty engrossing to watch, I thought. Tenryu twisting Choshu's wrist as a defence for the sasori-gatame is my type of wrestling. 

The little slap fests were fun. They really added to the intensity both radiate. Tenryu hitting a quick folding powerbomb and dropping Choshu on how neck was awesome as well. The finish was classic 80s Puro Wrestling with a bloody Tenryu, selling it all in the process, being pummpled by Choshu who snaps and pushes the ref causing the DQ. 

What isn't typical Japanese wrestling is Hara coming out and attacking both Choshu and Tenryu. Weird. ****1/4

 

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I really liked the mat work transitioning into the scorpion deathlock attempts in the early stages of the match. They also did a nice job of transitioning into the closing stretch of the match and building to the successful scorpion attempt. Unfortunately there was some utter stupidity - a nasty, nearly botched Tenryu powerbomb that was just blown off, Choshu letting Tenryu out of the scorpion for no reason, some confused sloppiness with some of the lariat/enzuigiri spots, generally poor selling from Choshu, and other spots where Choshu was in control and let Tenryu up, putting the match back on even footing for absolutely no good reason. Plus the typical 80's fuck-finish. It was looking like a really good match until that stuff so it's a shame. ***

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New user here. This is a great match, and I concur with the ****1/4 (although I think that their September 1986 match is superior), but I'm posting here because, as a longtime lurker who has some info, I would like to give some context regarding the postmatch angle. Hara attacking Tenryu as well as Choshu makes more sense if you have some background.

So, on April 3, Hara made his first appearance in six months to attack Choshu during a singles match against Takashi Ishikawa. Hara's prior absence had been under some quite sketchy circumstances, which may give more context to Baba's decision to ultimately cut him loose in 1988, but I'll relegate those to a footnote so as not to derail the story.* Anyway, this was to lead up to a tag match at the end of the tour, with Hara teaming up with Tenryu to face Choshu and Animal Hamaguchi. However, if I've understood it correctly this match fell apart due to Tenryu's frustration that Hara had not discussed this with him beforehand, and when the match itself happened, Hara lost his temper, attacked Tenryu with a chair, and abandoned him. Motoshi Okuma took his place, and thus the match became a 90-second squash. (Editing this one day after the fact to link an interview segment with both Tenryu and Hara pertaining to this angle.)

See, parallel to the AJPW/Ishingun feud was another, way less interesting interpromotional faction conflict: AJPW vs Kokusai Ketsumeigun. In other words, the ghost of the IWE propped up Weekend at Bernie's-style. They didn't have Hara join his fellow ex-company men right away, but they were definitely teasing it here, and sure enough, he would join them later that year.


*As I understand the story, Hara had been given the responsibility of promoting an October 1984 show in Nagasaki. This show was to feature a Tenryu NWA United National title defense against Michael Hayes, and a defense of Hara and Ishikawa's All Asia tag titles. Hara had entrusted "a friend" to handle the promotional duties, and had given him the money forwarded to him by All Japan to do so. However, this "friend" disappeared, and Hara did in turn. The result was disastrous; no tickets were sold, and there hadn't even been any posters put up.
 

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I'm somewhere between World's Worst Man and the consensus ****1/4 here. Choshu getting up in the middle of the scorpion, especially in one of his matches where he fights to apply it for such a large portion, really drives me nuts. That said, the presence these guys bring is huge, I loved the opening, and I liked the finishing run. I'm curious to watch more of their matches because it does seem like the potential is there, and Tenryu is particularly great here.

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