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[1994-12-04-WAR] Genichiro Tenryu vs Koji Kitao

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This was like the best possible version of a rounds-system RINGS fight between an old disgruntled ex-sumo wrestler and a younger, fatter ex-sumo wrestler. I mean I've watched a stupid amount of matches comprised of five three minute rounds the last few years. Some from RINGS, some from UWFi, some of them shoots, some of them not, but none of them this much fun. Tenryu looked every bit as great in 1994 as he did in 1993 and some of his selling was absolutely phenomenal. He sells Kitao's first flurry of Vader-ish soup bones likes he's been concussed, rolls out the ring grimacing after a leg kick, eats shots like he very much did not expect to be eating shots; he's one of the best sellers ever and always brings an awesome, subtle hint of realism to things. Of course he also wallops the dogshit out of Kitao. At one point he had him in the mount throwing forearms and punches, rasping his displeasure at Kitao having the audacity to cover up, so he just started choking him with the collar of Kitao's own gi. I liked how they started incorporating more of the pro-style elements round to round as well. In round one the closest thing to your pro wrestling was a Tenryu chop. In the second round he thumped Kitao with an absolute bastard of a lariat, a koppo kick that connected with both heels straight to the cranium, and Kitao hit a huge uranage. By the third round you had Tenryu trying to powerbomb him and Kitao hitting a fucking Michinoku Driver! Kitao's ax kick at the end about had me on the floor and Tenryu selling it like it shattered his clavicle is why he is the very greatest of them all. If Kitao has a match that's better I'll be surprised because this was just absurdly fun.
 

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