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Superstar Sleeze

[1989-7-11-AJPW] Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu vs Genichiro Tenryu & Stan Hansen

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AJPW World Tag Team Champions Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu vs Genichiro Tenryu & Stan Hansen - AJPW 7/11/89

Question for @KinchStalker why did they isolate Tenryu from Revolution and Hansen from the rest of the gaijin? Why did they make this superteam? When Tenryu/Hara or Tenryu/Kawada and Hansen/Gordy feels so natural?

This match did not make the All Japan DVDVR set, rather it was a nomination of the GME Project forum which you can join here gweproject.freeforums.net and the link for the nomination is here: https://gweproject.freeforums.net/thread/699/hansen-tenryu-jumbo-yatsu-ajpw

No stream of consciousness because I have to watch this on my computer instead of the TV, but this one is easy to review because the heat segments last a little longer, which I like. Tenryu who defeated Jumbo the previous month for the Triple Crown tries to goad Jumbo into starting the match. Yatsu tries to persuade him. Hansen gets involved. The ref doesnt give a fuck and rings the bell anyways with all four men in the ring. I liked the chaotic start. Jumbo big boots Tenryu to win the first segment and quickly raises his arm to win the small victory because here comes Hansen. Nothing too memorable until Tenryu comes back in. I think Hansen had won the advantage and Tenryu consolidated with an Enziguiri. My recollection is Jumbo tags out and Yatsu double legs the shit out of Tenryu. Yatsu looks like an amateur stud. Hansen ends up attacking Yatsu illegally I believe which allows Tenryu to regain the advantage. Yatsu fights out of a Figure-4 headlock. When faced with Hansen, Yastu tags out to Jumbo. This when the match kicks in for me. Jumbo immediately grabs wrist control and does the over the shoulder armbreaker on Hansen. Hansen powders and Jumbo gives chase and wraps the arm around the ring. In a lot of the workrate-heavy All Japan tags, moments like this are missing. Yatsu follows up with a cross-armbreaker on Hansen which I enjoy. Hansen eventually scraps his way out and Yatsu immediately bulldogs Tenryu which I liked. Next up is Jumbo who cant negotiate the Powerbomb on Tenryu. Tenryu tags out and Hansen injured Jumbo's side. Usually it is Hansen selling his side. Tenryu is able to hot the Reverse Top Rope Elbow drop for two. Jumbo follows up with a Back Drop Driver to get himself out of trouble and tag in Yatsu. I think up until thus point Jumbo & Yatsu have always been the Super Team. Now that Tenryu & Hansen have ditched their junior partners and teamed up, Jumbo & Yatsu finally feel outgunned here and they are more surviving. Yatsu does pretty well against Hansen slamming him aroung and throwing some Enziguiris but a nasty reverse elbow gets Tenryu in. Yatsu beats up Tenryu in corner. Jumbo/Yatsu go for the Footloose spot and Jumbo is whipped in to do his customary High Knee, but he is too overzealous and goes careening over the top rope and injuring his knee. At the end of 15 minutes or so of action, we are left watching Hansen and Jumbo pick apart Jumbo's knee. I have liked this match moreso than most All Japan tags from this era because they are letting things breathe more.

Next five minutes rock! Hansen & Tenryu are relentless on the knee/leg. Yatsu saves more and more frequently as the heat segment wears on and as the situation looks more and more dire for Jumbo. Tenryu works a legbar which he had been throwing out randomly in a lot of matches in the late 80s but makes a lot more sense here. Then an inverted figure-4. A mini-climax in all this is Tenryu hits Jumbo with a Powerbomb! Jumbo kicks out and Yatsu saves simultaneously. I love how Jumbo is always looking for the tag and keeps getting cut off. I love how Yatsu starts interfering as soon as a hold is applied after the Powerbomb. No time to waste! The best one is Yatsu attacks Tenryu who is legal. Hansen walks right over them and literally drags Jumbo out of the ring by his injured leg and goes to town with a chair on it all the while Tenryu & Yatsu are scrapping. Hansen clubs a young boy who is trying to pry him off Jumbo. Yatsu sees red and just snaps with the chair attacking Hansen jabbing into his throat only for Tenryu to make the save. That was just glorious. It was raucous mayhem at its finest. Tenryu ends up sitting in a Single Leg Crab on Jumbo after all that. Hansen directing traffic says lets up the ante. They do a Double Team Powerbomb! Yatsu is in full Kobashi mode trying to save Jumbo as best he can but keeps getting swatted away. He comes in and CLOBBERS Hansen with a chair while he is sitting in a Single Leg Crab. Hansen & Tenryu walk him out into the crowd. Weird spot as there is literally no highspot. Jumbo fires up! He hollers to the crowd and lets him know he is making his comeback. He foolishly hits a High Knee on Hansen. This causes a momentary hesitation and BANG~! WESTERN LARIAT! He who hesitates is lost. NEW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS! Tenyu has all the gold!

Really enjoyed this one and shocked it didnt make the AJPW DVDVR Set. Was it not available at the time? The reason it stands out is that it less workrate-oriented and more focused on narrative-building and the characters. The leg work on Jumbo really gives you something to sink your teeth into and it is paid off so well! The finish surprised me as I thought Jumbo & Yatsu were World Tag Team Champions all year so I wasnt expecting the title switch! Thanks @Boss Rock for the recommendation, loved this! ****1/2

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5 hours ago, Superstar Sleeze said:

Question for @KinchStalker why did they isolate Tenryu from Revolution and Hansen from the rest of the gaijin? Why did they make this superteam? When Tenryu/Hara or Tenryu/Kawada and Hansen/Gordy feels so natural?

I can't find any direct answer on who made the call. It's clear that the superteam was necessary for hierarchical purposes; if Jumbo vs Tenryu is your main program, you need Tenryu to have a good chance of beating him in tag title matches as well as singles, and they just were not going to book Kawada that strong. That being said, the original card for the 1988 Budokan show that became the Bruiser Brody Memorial Night came to the fan-voted dream tag of Jumbo/Brody vs. Hansen/Tenryu, and I see the decision partially as a way to make at least half of that a reality.

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So follow up question, what happened to Ashura Hara? His last match for All Japan was against Taue on 10/28/88. Then he doesnt wrestle again until 1991 for SWS? What happened there? Now understanding Hara was out of the picture, the Hansen being Tenryu's tag partner makes more sense.

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He got very publicly kicked out of the company the night before the RWTL began. As I wrote in my Hara biography on my puro history thread:

Spoiler

The common story behind Ashura Hara’s dismissal from All Japan depicts him as a man deep over his head in debts incurred from gambling. This has been the story told in Western narratives for many years, but it’s not quite the full story. Hara was generous to a fault, and it appears that hanging out with the famously giving Tenryu was a bad decision for his financial health. As I wrote on DVDVR, “Tenryu was in a position where he could afford to, for instance, stuff an envelope filled with ¥10,000 bills into Shiro Koshinaka's pocket as a parting gift after personally convincing Baba to let him start a new life in New Japan. Hara's pockets, however, weren't that deep, and all the drinks he bought for the younger guys hit his wallet hard.”

Whatever the reasons, it became too much to handle. Shady debt-collector types started hanging around All Japan events, eventually getting bold enough to show up at major shows where network executives were present. Baba had already been writing Hara’s paychecks out to his wife in order to try not to be as much of an enabler, but as you all know, he eventually had to cut him loose. The night before the 1988 RWTL, Baba announced Hara’s dismissal during a press conference at the Hotel Pacific Tokyo…to which Hara was in debt.

 

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