Genichiro Tenryu, Ashura Hara & Ultimo Dragon v Jim Duggan, Kamala & Jerry Estrada (SWS, 6/16/92) - SKIPPABLE
Holy hell, would you just look at that outsiders team. Has there ever been a more random mash-up of wrestlers? A jovial Glens Falls caveman, a Ugandan cannibal and the Mexican Keith Richards. This...wasn't very good, but it had its moments and you know, how am I not gonna watch a match with Tenryu AND Jerry Estrada in it? I never even dared to dream something like that existed. Jerry looked fairly sober in this, which sort of disappointed me. He was the best guy from his team, though. Duggan was in full on "HOOOOOOO" mode, chest puffed out with hands high on hips, but nobody in the crowd felt like playing along. I always feel a bit sorry for guys coming into a Tenryu fed for the first time, because unless they've wrestled Flair or Garvin or Wahoo they've probably never before been chopped like they'll be chopped in a Tenryu fed. Hara chops the painted stars off Kamala's tits and I do not think Harris expected to be hit like that.
Genichiro Tenryu, Atsushi Onita & Bam Bam Bigelow v Chris Jericho, Vampiro & The Warlord (WAR, 7/17/94) - FUN
Like this is any less random. This is probably the most I've enjoyed Chris Jericho in a long time. Going through the '96 yearbook he's been super spotty and his offence looks pretty bad most of the time, but he does everything with a kind of reckless and sloppy stiffness that I figured might at least lend itself to a Tenryu fed. Sure enough he recklessly flung spin kicks at peoples' heads, and if nothing else the guy always tries to make a compelling contest of it so the exchanges with Tenryu were really good. Tenryu made him look killer. Tenryu also made Vampiro look halfway passable for a minute there, which is like pissing in a plastic bottle and managing to convince someone it's a thirty year old single malt. Tenryu is pretty much the master of making much lower ranked guys who on paper have no plausible shot of hanging with boss look like they could actually hang with the boss (sometimes he might even be TOO giving in that respect). I wondered if this was the match Jericho talked about in his book where he accidentally rings Onita's bell, and yeah, he Lionsaults him right in the face and Onita's lights are definitely out.
Genichiro Tenryu, Takashi Ishikawa, Ashura Hara, Koki Kitahara & Ricky Fuyuki v Riki Choshu, Tatsumi Fujinami, Hiroshi Hase, Osamu Kido & Takayuki Iizuka (New Japan, 2/16/93) - EPIC
Epic match, chock full of hate and bad intentions and pretty much everything else you want out of something like this. It's 2/3 falls and goes 40 minutes, so everybody really gets a chance to strut their stuff and there's a million awesome moments as a result. First fall is pretty even Stevens, but we do get an extended beatdown on Fujinami where the WAR guys just tear into him and work over his KIDNEYS. Fuyuki cheapshots him from behind and team WAR paint a bulls-eye on the lower back; Kitahara rifles off a bunch of nasty kicks, Hara and Ishikawa are a couple of school bullies and they stomp him like a discarded cigarette, and Tenryu naturally punts him up and down place. Couple amazing Tenryu moments in the first fall. Hell, my favourite part of the whole match might be when Iizuki strolls up to him and, with NO FEAR, slaps him dead in the face...and FUUUUCK does Tenryu just fucking beat the motherfucking shit out of him. I mean this was straight up HARROWING. Finish to the first fall is great, with Ishikawa turning his attention away from Fujinami so he can beat up some other pussy boy (think it was Iizuka...was probably Iizuka) and winds up getting clipped by a pair of enziguiris. He manages to absorb them and stay on his feet, but Fujinami's already tagged out and Choshu's ready to steamroll somebody. Ishikawa ducks the first lariat, but Choshu keeps on truckin' and as Ishikawa turns around he gets fucking blitzed by a follow up lariat. I'm talking paraplegia-inducing. Second fall has just as much brutality, but you also get to see guys like Kido and Hara, who were quieter than some of their teammates in the first fall, really shine. Kido is just spectacular down the stretch, Hell bent on ripping someone's arm out the socket, and even though he doesn't score a decision, he winds up taking Tenryu out of the equation late on. That leads to an AWESOME moment where Choshu, like a fucking BOSS, just randomly decides to get in the ring and walk over to the WAR corner so he can stomp on Tenryu a bunch of times while he's in the process of having his arm bandaged up. Felt like a real "So I haven't hit anybody in a little while. Well fuck that" moment and it was why that guy is the best. A bunch of other great shit happens, but I'd be here all day if I tried to touch on all of it. Honestly feels like one of the best multi-man matches ever -- I thought it was fucking with pretty much all of the multi-man matches on the New Japan 80s set and I had two of those in my top 5 with another just outside it. The New Japan/WAR feud is the fucking pro-wrestling.
Complete & Accurate Tenryu