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[1983-10-23-AJPW] Ted DiBiase vs Genichiro Tenryu

Superstar Sleeze

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NWA United National Champion Ted DiBiase vs Genichiro Tenryu - AJPW 10/23/83


DiBiase comes in wearing a robe saying "Italian Stallion". I never once thought of DiBiase as an Italian American even though DiBiase is clearly an Italian last name. Just strikes me too much as a country boy.


Jumbo vacated this championship in June 1983 as he graduated to the International Heavyweight Championship. DiBiase was awarded the title via forfeit because Jerry Lawler failed to appear for the match. The announcers namedrop Lawler at least twice during the match. This was DiBiase first title defense as champion. At the time, Tenryu had never won a major singles championship in All Japan.


Match totally snuck up on me. Tenryu had disappointed in his previous pre-Choshu outings. I like DiBiase a lot in brawls in Mid-South; I have never seen much out of Technical ted. I loved this! Tenryu was a beast on the arm and I thought DiBiase sold the hell out of his arm. I really thought the arm work was tight. DiBiase let Tenryu know he was there, but Tenryu was definitely in charge. There was a great exchange where DiBiase went for a spinning toehold and Tenryu monkey flipped him into a pinning predicament. DiBiase would definitely try roughhousing to get out of this jam, but Tenryu was not afraid to throws hands with Ted. Ted was able to get some offense started with a lariat and then his big powerslam. Tenryu sent him out of the ring and SUICIDE DIVE! WOW! MARK OUT CITY! Tenryu totally wiped him out. Been loving this match, strong arm work, everything is snug. Tenryu is in control in the biggest match of his life. Reverse Tenryu elbow gets two! Back to the arm. You feel like Tenryu is wrestling the match of his career to this point. DiBiase is selling really well. Up against the ropes, DiBiase chops Tenryu and throws him out. Great typical heel tactics by DiBiase using the outside to his advantage. Big suplex by DiBiase. Could be swinging his way. Tenryu holds ropes and DiBiase crashes & burns on dropkick attempt. I love how Tenryu is grabbing him by the head and really taking control. Piledriver NO SHOULDERBREAKER ON BAD ARM! AWESOME! Octopus stretch by Tenryu! Awkward position so they both collapse on each other. Feels like this will be a short lived title reign for DiBiase. I think this match set the record for most small packages. Crossbody by Tenryu, floatover by DiBiase, I bit hard on that nearfall. DiBiase throws him out and PILEDRIVER on the floor! Bit on that near countout finish! ENZIGUIRI! CROWD GOES WILD! DiBiase rolls out the ring at the last second. Tenryu is left reaching for him inside the ring. So frustratingly close. They end up on the outside hit a suplex, but it is a double countout. It felt like they left nothing in the ring in this match and the double countout finish feels totally credible.


I am so surprised this did not do well in All Japan voting. It has two really well liked and respected stars having a balls out match. Tons of action and no dull moments. There was limb psychology for those that like that. Great selling from DiBiase. Hard hitting. BIG Finish run. You had the story of Tenryu going for his first major title pouring it on at the end and hits his signature enziguiri only for DiBiase to roll out of the ring at the last second. There were some things that I would have liked. A really big transition for DiBiase, some real big momentum shifts and a nearfall or two more for him. That's stuff that I like, usually that stuff doesn't bother others. Would really like to know why people are low on this match because I thought this was great. ****1/2

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