Genichiro Tenryu v Jumbo Tsuruta (All Japan, 4/20/89) - GOOD
Well this started out with all the hate and ill will you expected, and the first five minutes were just great. Tenryu throws meaty chops and a MEAN lariat and Jumbo responds by dropkicking him right in the face. Tenryu gives Jumbo a clean break in the corner and they have this amazing "I fucking hate you" staredown, then Tenryu slaps him clean across the face. Tenryu punting him in the kidneys after a rope break ruled as well and is reason #269 as to why Tenryu is the fucking man. Match takes a pretty big dip in the middle, unfortunately. They ditch the wailing on each other and Jumbo grabs a sleeper for like 2 hours, and neither guy seems all that interested in doing anything with it. They just kind of lie there. Then Jumbo tries to hit a backdrop and Tenryu blocks it and they sort of hug each other for a good 15 seconds. Then they take it back to THE MAT and oh it's another sleeper. Thankfully they pick things up again when Tenryu makes his comeback and hits an AWESOME beefy tope. Last few minutes have the stiffness and potato shots you want from a Tenryu/Jumbo match (Jumbo hits a few brutal big boots to the mush and Tenryu sells each one like it knocked out another molar), and you can tell they were gearing up for a big finish run before the botched powerbomb. I mean, it looks like it just about killed Tenryu, so for a makeshift finish it sure looks like it'd fucking finish someone, but it clearly cut the match's nuts off before they got where they wanted to go. Probably isn't even a top 5 singles match these guys had together, but the opening and closing stretches rocked while they lasted and definitely set the table for a bigger and better rematch (which we get aaaaaallllllllllll of a couple months later).
Genichiro Tenryu & Magnum Tokyo v Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima (Dragon Gate, 7/3/05) - FUN
I stuck this show on for the Triangle Gate Title match (yeah...I don't know, either) and had no idea this even happened. I watched it for the Tenryu, and wasn't disappointed. Isn't a great match or anything, but Tenryu does his thing and I'll enjoy that no matter what. The way he takes a blindside chop from Sasaki is spectacular. Always dig Tenryu/Nakajima interactions. Any young punk getting chippy with Tenryu is good times, especially when Tenryu gets so pissed off he'll start throwing shit at them. He picks up a chair and walks around the ring to the opposite corner just to chuck it at Nakajima. It's been ages since I watched any DG from this period (as in, going on 8 years), but IIRC this was part of a storyline where Magnum was trying to prove himself to the heavyweights. He tries to hold his own against Sasaki, but he really has no chance. Tenryu is GREAT on the apron firing him up. At one point he comes in and kicks his own partner in the head to wake him up, then when Magnum tries to make the hot tag Tenryu just slaps him across the face and tells him to go fight. Plenty fun, but not essential.
Complete & Accurate Tenryu