Jump to content
DVDVR Message Board

Matt Watches 1989 AJPW on a Treadmill


Matt D
 Share

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, Ryan said:

No, that's right. Penguin taxes were a big deal at the time. Tenryu had too much influence.

Thanks for starting a new page with that.

Bonus: 12/4/87: Jumbo/Yatsu vs Tenryu/Hara: When I'm reviewing the French stuff, I usually take notes to keep the narrative in check. These are long matches with a lot of momentum shifts and I don't want to forget things, especially if I can't watch it in one sitting. I am not doing that with any of this project, mostly because I'm on a freaking treadmill but also the bonus matches tend to be just that and I want to keep it light and loose. That's tough with some of these 30+ minute tags though. Here's the stuff to know here. Jumbo was again the aggressor, especially in the first ten minutes. Tenryu just refused to get in there with him even as he was running in and smacking him on the apron. On paper, it seems like chickenshit heel stuff, but it made Tenryu seem the more mature one in some ways, even if he was being a dick about it. More stoic at least, even though you'd expect Jumbo to be so. So it made for an interesting dynamic. Some really hard shots (especially clotheslines) in this one. There was a moment just passed the middle which, to me, really showed the nature of this style. It's so hard hitting and physical that you buy the selling as such a tangible thing. It draws you in and creates a reality which isn't about being real but is about being "real," consistent and all-encompassing instead of being what would really happen in a fight, with the reactions aligned with the actions.

Jumbo and Hara had been going at it. Hara was able to block a pile driver/power bomb from Jumbo (he ate a head knocker instead) and make it to the corner, but he's too trained to double team. Jumbo and Tenryu go at it, some really good stuff with hundred hand slaps and ducking and huge clotheslines and running back brain kicks and a belly to back and a beautiful small package. Tenryu finally pulls Jumbo back to the corner, but he's too exhausted to double team. Hara's still hurting from before and when he whips Jumbo and puts his head down (and gets kicked instead of hitting a shoulder throw), you don't get the sense it was a guy just being stupid or time for a transition or anything else. You get the idea that Hara was just that exhausted that all he could do, on offense, was toss Jumbo and keel over and hope he could get the back body drop. That the full immersion. That's the level of atmosphere and meaningful and consistent worldbuilding they were creating here. Likewise, there was a moment where Tenryu is down when Yatsu is able to make the tag and it's clear that he's vulnerable and Jumbo's coming in. Jumbo screams to the crowd, the crowd reacts, and even though it's futile, you can see Tenryu scrambling to get back to his feet before Jumbo walks over and kicks him. Whenever I go out of my way to point out stuff like that, it's not because I think it's necessarily groundbreaking or exemplary on its own, but because 98% of wrestling you see simply doesn't do it. Everything is so polished and honed and has developed in such a way that so much is done for the sake of doing it without that sort of believable, tangible connective tissue of engaged emotion. 

The back stretch of this had Tenryu taking a lot of damage and getting opened up. I get all the talk from the summer about Tenryu going heel but these matches all seem 65/35 with Jumbo as the heel to me, and the crowd chants for Tenryu and he's able get a hope spot pop out of just ducking a clothesline at high speed. They're working towards the RWTL draw and while Hara and Yatsu keep trying to get the win in the last few seconds, it never really feels like it'd be close. Post match, they go at each other, with Tenryu dodging the knee, but going over the top as Yatsu pulls back Jumbo. 

This was a lot to keep track of but I'm glad I have a bunch more of this pairing ahead of me over the next couple of weeks.

Bonus match: 8/21/87: Jumbo/Kabuki vs Tenryu/Hara which became in short time Jumbo/Kabuki/Fuyuki vs Tenryu/Hara/Kawada. Missed this one. The idea here is that pre-match, Kabuki mists Tenryu, who goes flying out of the ring and Kawada, cornerman, gets pissed and rushes Jumbo in the ring. Fuyuki, who wasn't with Revolution yet, jumps in to counter him and Jumbo says they're making it a six man. It's a very cool moment. The match itself is fun, but not super notable. In the end, Kawada pays for his hubris, but it's all an engaging and welcome deviation from the norm. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bonus match: 1/2/88: Jumbo/Yatsu vs Tenryu/Hara: This one was more of the same to me and didn't have the clearer focus of the previous match. I do think Tenryu was a little more aggressive, having sort of turned a corner from just goading Jumbo. It's important that while Jumbo won here, it was because they were able to keep Hara from getting back into the ring at the last second. Still no decisive victories. I had a ton to say about the last match and very little to say about this one.

Bonus match: 1/24/88: Jumbo/Wajima vs Tenryu/Hara: I wanted a look at Wajima, ok? Actually, I'm glad I stopped here because this was pretty great. They go at it with the jackets still on and Jumbo opens Tenryu up on the post outside almost immediately. Wajima looked rough at points when it came to being in the right place at the right time, but at other points he just headbutted Tenryu's wound thirty times in a row, so it was a wash. Nasty chair shots, dominance by Revolution for most of the match, and the best sort of hate-filled, table and chair assisted double count-out finish you can have. I wanted to see Hara and Wajima headbutt each other more, but what are you going to do? This was probably what it should have been.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bonus Match: 2/24/88 Jumbo/Kabuki/Fuchi vs Tenryu/Hara/Kawada: This was a few days ago and I really don't remember it all too well. I probably have gone too far afield in these bonus matches. It was a HH though so that's neat. But it got hard not to watch EVERYTHING I could with Jumbo and Tenryu here. I just want to understand the shape of all of it. Jumbo teaming with Kabuki and Fuchi makes for a really fun trio. Tenryu's out of this for a good chunk at the beginning. Kawada's really good at running into Kabuki's kicks but Kabuki seemed a bit clunky at other times. Yeah, not a lot to say here. I saw this a few days ago and a bunch of stuff since.

Bonus match: 4/22/88: Big Bubba vs Jumbo: Yeah so I had some time to kill after the other match. This wasn't good and it was on Bubba. He wasn't what he'd be even a year later. The spots where he didn't fall down for the knee were good, but in general, he was just a step behind where he ought to be for a lot of the match. The finishing heelhook style submission was cool but kind of came out of nowhere. Not one of the better sub-ten minute random Jumbo matches.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bonus match: 5/14/88: Rip Rogers/Dan Spivey vs Tenryu/Hara: I didn't have enough time for something on my list and i wanted to see Rip interact with these guys. It wasn't great. Whenever you get a great stooging heel, it seems like they can excel in the comedy stuff vs Baba but just get eaten alive by anyone else. Some arm control stuff was ok but Rip just didn't do a lot interesting. It was nice to see Hara get a win, as it should be in a match like this.

Bonus match: 5/24/88: Jumbo/Kabuki vs Tenryu/Hara: See, I skipped BOTH a Wajima tag and a highly touted Revolution six-man that didn't have Tenryu. I'm showing some discipline, finally. Kabuki's kick is one of the great cut offs in wrestling history. This started with a Revolution advantage, shifted into them taking a beating after Jumbo got the better of a clothesline collision with Hara (hierarchy!), and then pivoted on Jumbo taking the Ultimo Guerrero knee bump in the corner over the top and Tenryu tossing a table at his leg. All good stuff. It's so funny to me how much of these matches are clotheslines because I think in the states around this time and especially a few years after, people like Duggan who did a lot of them got ridiculed. Larry Z was always derisive of matches with too many. Of course, they weren't clotheslines like these.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bonus: 6/4/88: Jumbo/Yatsu vs Tenryu/Hara: Look, I've been sitting on this for days now, but Hara both looks and wrestles like a guy with a lot of gambling debt, ok? He just does. I'm ideally streamlining things until I can get back to 89, but I'm going to hit these tags. This is great because it built off of the Kabuki tag. Jumbo's leg is vulnerable, which is a problem when your best weapon is the jumping knee. That lets Revolution get an early edge but Yatsu takes offense and goes after Tenryu's leg for revenge. Key moment of the match is Jumbo hitting the knee towards the end and just powering through it, because that's the kind of guy he is, and they have a teeter totter at the end where Yatsu is trying to hit a German on Hara and Jumbo and Tenryu keep getting shots in. I realize they weren't having matches every day but after a year, this is the first clear and clean decisive finish, but it's still not Tenryu or Jumbo pinning each other, so the build continues.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bonus match: 8/29/88: J/Y vs T/H: Great finishing stretch here. This was a handheld but also a title change or something? I don't know. It was a little far off but I know these guys by now so I can tell them apart from a distance. The beginning was fairly formless. A lot of that animosity from 87 seems to be missing here. They hit hard but Jumbo's calmed down a bit. The middle section had Yatsu as an offensive dynamo. Then Jumbo ate the knee bump in the corner again and we were off to the races. This time, when he hit Hara with the jumping knee anyway, Hara recovered in time to attack the leg, but little moments like that don't always add up to a bigger picture in these AJPW tags. That was the case for Jumbo getting a foot up on a Hara charge only to realize Yatsu had been taken out on the outside so he wasn't there for a tag. He just got the tag a minute later so it was less than the sum of its parts Anyway, despite that, great finishing stretch. Where this differs from a few years later is that 1.) anything can end a match and 2.) there isn't the same need to repeat a bunch of the same spots. Part of that is because 1 drives 2. Jumbo hits a Thesz press towards the end and that could have 100% been the finish. Right before that, Tenryu caught him off the top with sort of a power slamming roll up but Jumbo turned it over and that could have been the finish. Felt like a really triumphant moment here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Matt D said:

Bonus match: 8/29/88: J/Y vs T/H: Great finishing stretch here. This was a handheld but also a title change or something? I don't know. It was a little far off but I know these guys by now so I can tell them apart from a distance. The beginning was fairly formless. A lot of that animosity from 87 seems to be missing here. They hit hard but Jumbo's calmed down a bit. The middle section had Yatsu as an offensive dynamo. Then Jumbo ate the knee bump in the corner again and we were off to the races. This time, when he hit Hara with the jumping knee anyway, Hara recovered in time to attack the leg, but little moments like that don't always add up to a bigger picture in these AJPW tags. That was the case for Jumbo getting a foot up on a Hara charge only to realize Yatsu had been taken out on the outside so he wasn't there for a tag. He just got the tag a minute later so it was less than the sum of its parts Anyway, despite that, great finishing stretch. Where this differs from a few years later is that 1.) anything can end a match and 2.) there isn't the same need to repeat a bunch of the same spots. Part of that is because 1 drives 2. Jumbo hits a Thesz press towards the end and that could have 100% been the finish. Right before that, Tenryu caught him off the top with sort of a power slamming roll up but Jumbo turned it over and that could have been the finish. Felt like a really triumphant moment here.

In my opinion, they have a much better match the very next day. Looking forward to hearing your take on it.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/20/2020 at 11:39 PM, El Gran Gordi said:

In my opinion, they have a much better match the very next day. Looking forward to hearing your take on it.

Bonus match: 8/30/88: J/Y vs T/H:  For gordi's sake I went through this twice, once on the Treadmill and once at 2x speed this morning so I could jot down some things. I am going through these matches without annotation which may not seem like a big thing for most of you but I'm generally taking notes while watching all of these 30 minute French matches, for instance, because in them, a lot like the AJPW tags, there aren't really defined periods of shine/heat/comeback and trying to find a narrative through the momentum shifts can be tricky. Just knowing myself, I'm sure I'd get more out of the AJPW tags with some annotation/keeping track, but that's not what I'm generally doing. I don't anticipate going back through another match like this. Maybe the one that I'm building to (6/5/89). It impacts how I write this stuff up. I think my main message was going to be "the return of violence," caused by the fact Revolution was no longer chasing Jumbo/Yatsu but were now the champs, highlighting Tenryu's dickishness with his early slap on Jumbo (since he was in control of the scenario), the table shots/camera shots on the outside, and the brutality of the finishing stretch. That probably would have been fine for this project but it doesn't really do the match justice.

The key moment in all of this, which I probably would have not fully absorbed on a first watch, was a callback, but it can be so hard to find these things as so much happens in any one of these matches. Here's what you need to know. After a fairly violent and spirited early back and forth (including introducing the theme of belly to back suplexes out of nowhere by the guy getting beaten on and Jumbo both trying to take things back to the beginning in response to Tenryu's slap by grounding him with a headlock and going over the top with dropkicks) and some learned psychology with a twist (Yatsu rolling through the Revolution double clothesline only to get double dropkicked), they play with the element introduced over the summer, the leg focus, and T/H get an advantage on Jumbo after Tenryu outscraps him. During this segment, Tenryu catches the knee, gets killed by Yatsu while holding on to a half crab, and this is where they take Jumbo out and whack his back/leg with the table.

(I'm not to the key moment set up yet, bear with me; these matches are dense) That segment ends with Jumbo winning a hierarchy double clothesline collision against Hara and sealing the transition with the spike piledriver, which is its primary use in these matches: to tie off a transition. Here we get where J/Y shine the most, probably, this mid-match offensive control. Yatsu just has so much stuff. Ok, so after Hara gets the crap beaten out of him, inside and outside of the ring, Jumbo knocks him into Tenryu who gets the tag and bursts in. That's the set up moment, Tenryu coming in full of fire on Jumbo after Hara gets knocked into the corner. Jumbo ultimately reverses it to hit the knee (and then the Olympics double knee), before Tenryu is able to jam Yatsu on a powerbomb/pile driver attempt and Revolution takes over. That lasts until Hara gets caught on a bulldog attempt and Yatsu hits him with a belly to back (another one of those ones out of nowhere, which is a theme of the match). Then it's time for the payoff moment: Jumbo knocks Hara into the corner again but this time, he's ready and wails on Tenryu on the apron. That lets him knock Tenryu to the floor and whack him with a camera on the outside. That's what they were setting up and building to, Jumbo learning his lesson, jamming Tenryu on his way in, and getting revenge for the table shots. Even though he comes close a couple of times during the finishing stretch, in no way, shape, or form does Tenryu recover from that. He's always staggering and selling and hurting.

The finishing stretch, especially once Hara and Yatsu go back and forth a bit on the floor (Hara wins), is Jumbo killing a broken Tenryu with knees (including off the top) and three belly to backs. Meanwhile, Hara keeps breaking it up until Yatsu is able to come in and shatter him after every break-up, first with a power bomb and then with a belly to back, so that ultimately, all Hara can do is lay upon Tenryu to try to protect him and they both get pinned.

But it all hinges on Jumbo unloading on Tenryu and not letting him in the ring. That's the narrative keystone to the match. So much of these matches are controlling the damage done and getting sufficient damage upon both members of the team to allow for real advantages, which meant that everything hinged on that. There's just so much going on and so much to keep track of within the match and from match to match. Here you had the opening role reversal bit of the slap and grounding which was reminiscent of the first tag between Jumbo and Tenryu, the legwork built from previous matches, the clothesline collision hierarchy, the belly to back transition moments, etc. You can watch these and just enjoy four guys beating the crap out of each other but there's a lot more going on underneath the hood.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, El Gran Gordi said:

Great analysis. I wish I still had a copy of that match available. I'd love to watch it again, keeping what you wrote about it in mind.

Check your PMs. That goes for anyone really. If anyone wants to watch something I cover here, let me know. I'm not going to the level of curation necessary to post anything publicly and I keep it off my main channel which exists for other purposes, but I'm getting all of these from a source or two and I'm happy to share with any of you.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yikes! I was clearly conflating 8/29 and 8/30 when I did my write up for the old GME project. That dramatic moment when Jumbo goes to tag Yatsu but he's not there took place in the earlier match. 

Speaking of dramatic moments, I kind of think that my personal #1 dramatic storytelling moment in all of pro wrestling - Kobashi laying on Misawa to protect him on 6/9/95 - was inspired by the ending to this match (8/30). I feel even more strongly about that now, considering Kobashi and Kawada are clearly two of the young boys at ringside.

The sheer beautiful brutality of the moment to moment violence and stiffness here really can make it difficult to keep one's eyes on the big picture. I think you are absolutely correct that the camera box attack on the outside was the turning point here.

I'll have to watch 8/29 again with this one fresh in my mind to try and get my memory straight. Thanks again, @Matt D

Edited by El Gran Gordi
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That goes back to what I was saying about taking notes. There's a lot to conflate here! 8/30, to me, was more violent (though not necessarily more hard-hitting) than 8/29, if that made sense. 8/29 might have had a more exciting finishing stretch but maybe not a more dramatic one. Obviously that moment of Yatsu not being there stood out to me as well, but I thought that maybe they didn't milk it for as much as it was worth, not in the way they would have a couple of years later. At the same time, it was strengthened by the fact that almost anything was a believable finish, like I said. I'm a rare breed that doesn't like to rate matches or really even compare matches in a list (I'd much rather try to compare wrestlers, which again, makes me an outlier), but I do love looking at these and see how they decided to do things differently on different nights, and how things evolve and develop as the series goes on. I could have just as easily gone into that level of detail on 8/29 if I wanted to, both the good and the things I might not have liked quite as much.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, El Gran Gordi said:

I think it says a lot about all four guys that they wrestled two very different matches on consecutive nights. It maybe says even more that we naturally just expect that from them.

So much is it is based on the stakes.

What changed from night one to night two? Tenryu and Hara won the titles. That flipped the entire world in some ways. It meant that Tenryu could show attitude in a different way and lit a new and different fire under Jumbo. What hadn't changed? The lingering leg-damage on Jumbo. Yatsu's offensive power. The fact if Jumbo and Hara collide with clotheslines, Jumbo's going to win (But likewise, if Hara and Yatsu get in a slugfest, Hara's going to win, etc.).

Because these are such strong characters who care about what's happening in the ring at every moment so much, everything matters. There's almost never a sense that they're working "spots" too. Even something sort of elaborate like Yatsu rolling to dodge the tandem clotheslines and getting double dropkicked feels pretty natural and like reactions in the moments.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bonus match: 9/15/88 J/Y vs T/H: This was at Korakuen and in some ways it was like a greatest hits of the spots (like the Jumbo dropkick/baseball slide) and themes (like Jumbo's leg) that they'd worked elsewhere over the last couple of matches. In others, it makes me wonder about the rep of "Lazy Jumbo." I always thought that referred to earlier in his career, before he was changed by Choshu's influence, and more prone to do long headlock NWA Title style wrestling, but he had extra pep in this one, and I wonder if it's not just unrealistic expectations based on how he worked here. Not sure. He certainly wasn't slumming it in the 87-88 tags elsewhere, but he had more relative oomph here. I liked the finish a lot, where Yatsu had Hara's number allowing Jumbo to hit the multiple belly to backs on Tenryu, only for Tenryu to turn his body and damage Jumbo's already weakened knee for one. Revolution needed to get their heat back after losing the titles and Tenryu getting DQed for demolishing Jumbo's knee against the post with a chair was a great way to do that. I'm almost back to 89.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bonus match: Tenryu/Hara vs Tenta/Takagi 10/31/87: I watched this after watching the other match the other night because I had time to kill. Not much to say here except for that Tenta didn't have it figured out yet. He shouldn't have been going down early in the match, not even to three Hara collisions.

Bonus match: Tenryu/Kawada vs Yatsu/Tenta 10/3/88: I had to stop with this one along the way even though it's not a Jumbo vs Tenryu match. I just really wanted to see Tenta in the mix and I loved the idea of these four together in one match because it's just so out there on paper, if I wasn't immersed in all of this. Some thoughts:

1. Kawada was such an exceptional talent. Look, I know you know this, but I'm talking about October 88 Kawada. Transitional Kawada, the sort we'd see more and more in 89. That's been one thing striking about 89 so far. Misawa shows up now and again as Tiger Mask, but he's not a player. He's more of an attraction. Taue's in comedy matches with Baba. Kobashi is scraping the very bottom of cards. I've only seen him once and that was a handheld. These guys feel like non-entities for the most part. Kawada's front and center. Yes, that's to do with circumstance and Hara getting fired, but he was already an interesting entity and ambitious force in 88. It's easy to think of him fully developed and stoic or as part of Footloose but this is different. There's a sequence here where he tries to slam Tenta. And of course it's ridiculous and played for laughs and all about this young pup with bigger eyes than strength, but after two attempts, he actually gets one of Tenta's feet off the ground, and there's a hush that goes over the crowd. Tenta crushes him with a slam a moment later, but it doesn't matter. They saw that he came closer than should have been possible and they would not forget. That goes on top of him taking it right to Yatsu at the start.

2. Yatsu vs Tenryu. Not much to say here but how thoroughly Yatsu was willing to step up in the absence of Jumbo. If Jumbo went down with an injury at this exact point, I think Yatsu could have been 1a, no questions asked. Here, to start, after Kawada tries him, he chucks him into the corner and whacks Tenryu to get him to come in and it feels completely on the level.

3. Tenta got it much, much more a year later. He was a great force of nature for Tenryu and Kawada to throw themselves against. Tenryu was especially good in selling the size and presence, by retreating back from lock-ups and being very careful how he engaged. That sort of restraint is a narrative language all its own.

4. While we'll occasionally see Kabuki with a big kick here or there in these matches, the sort of kicking Kawada does is completely different from anything in the J/H vs T/Y matches and really does stand out. It'd be much more commonplace and integrated a few years later, but it added a different flavor to things just as thoroughly as the size of Tenta did.

5. I think this match showed me that there's a lot of interesting stuff going on in the margins that I'm not catching because of my necessarily focused view. It makes me feel better about 88. I don't think I'll be going back to random Hara/Revolution Member vs Yatsu/Jumbo's Team Member matches though. There are limits.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Comparing Taue and Kobashi with Kawada at that point is not fair, Kawada started in 82 while Taue and Kobashi started in 88. 94 Taue / Kobashi vs. 88 Kawada would be a better comparison, though obviously also flawed (considering that Taue and Kobashi got spotlight (and even main event) ring time much earlier than Kawada did, so they were pushed to grow faster than Kawada did).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah,  I think I was mainly highlighting how surprising that we're just not seeing the other pillars so close to the time when they end up in the spotlight. It's not a slight on them, just a surprise for someone coming into this fresh.

10/26/88 - T/H vs J/Y: Last match with these four and I'm sad to see it go, but I also don't remember a ton about this one. Olympics got the immediate advantage with a belly to back and then we had a cut, which is part of the problem. These matches have a lot of little things, like Hara hitting a first clothesline on Jumbo but then much later missing a second. Finish was Revolution beating the crap out of Yatsu and Jumbo getting pissy and tossing the ref around. Still switching things up but not an auspicious finish.

I had time to kill after and hadn't uploaded more stuff (which is a shame as I have some fun 10 minute matches ahead of me for November/December 88 beforeI get back to 89) so I watched old prime time wrestling.

Including this moment of Gorilla calling Brother Love as honest and sincere as Heenan:

Spoiler

AN4qQl.gif

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bonus match: 10/28/88 Jumbo vs Tenryu: This was a HH but I think there's a pro shot of this too. They certainly didn't give away a singles match between these two often, but I don't think there were too many surprises here. It followed a lot of what was happening in 88 vs 87. Jumbo had Tenryu's number but Tenryu was hard to keep down and harder to put away. It's obvious why our circle traditionally loved grumpy Jumbo as opposed to the more traditional style that he made his legacy on. There's a moment right at the start where Tenryu reverses a whip on the outside to a guardrail (after having just done a whip of his own a minute before), and he starts to casually walk back into the ring. Jumbo's immediately upon him like a force of nature, like the coming storm. That lightning intensity wasn't something he'd unleash too often, but when he did, it's probably top 5 of pure presence in the history of wrestling. We'd see it once or twice more in this match, especially in response to strikes from Tenryu. Otherwise, this had a lot of what you'd expect, belly to back cut offs out of nowhere, the pile driver as a move to cement the transition, Tenryu going for Jumbo's leg down the stretch. Jumbo getting pissed off/frustrated as he couldn't put away Tenryu and almost tossing the ref around. The difference here was that at the end Tenryu had enough and started going for low blows.

Hara leaving and Kawada being inserted instead changed the dynamic, making Revolution more sympathetic by far, but I'm wondering if they wouldn't have gone the other way with things if he stayed. The finish here had a feel of CM Punk's heel turn on Cena to retain his title after his big babyface run.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bonus match: 12/10/88: Jumbo/Yatsu vs Tenryu/Kawada: Not the match I was expecting. Kawada brings a lot immediately. The kicks alone are a different feel and I swear Tenryu does more kicking in this one than in any match I've seen over the few years previous. Kawada's able to hold the offense for longer than you'd think but not indefinitely. There are swaths of him getting beaten on, of course, but they elevated him here big. Look, the finish is him keeping BOTH wrestlers from getting back into the ring so Tenryu can get the countout win. That's how you get someone over as a top guy in this setting. He'd be demolished much more in the Hansen tag that followed this and in the February J/Y tag, but as an outsider, this felt like it made him enough that they could get away with that.

Bonus match: 11/28/88: Tenryu/Kawada vs Tommy Rich/Dick Slater: Indulging myself here. Not much to say. Tommy Rich didn't quite cut it. He was better than some other guys. He did 60% of the right stuff, but just without the presence he needed. His stuff wasn't strong enough. He gave away a tag, etc. Even when he was in control, he wasn't in control. He was a lanky babyface pretending to be a heel in a world of monsters. There were places in the world he could get away with it, even thrive, but this wasn't one. Now, Slater was another story. His stuff looked great. He was in the right place at the right time. He was a killer and a star and could have been Hansen's partner and no one would have blinked.

Bonus bonus match: 5/9/94: Tenryu vs Yokozuna: Yeah, this was a sub 20 minute video that was posted recently as a HH on this channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDuTorTliM-zzBuf3tFKSig) I shouldn't be spending time here but ah well. It made me want to watch a bunch more WAR but that's not for now. This was great. Totally great. The opening exchange: Tenryu can't chip away at Yoko. Yoko slams him. Tenryu chops him right in the face. Yoko's retaliation in this was the stiffest I've ever seen him and this is a guy who'd crush jobbers in the corner on the regular. Likewise, Tenryu's back brain kicks were able to hit in a way that would have just been impossible against a normal opponent. Obviously, Yoko knows exactly what to give and what not to at this point and the two or three kicks just stagger him so Tenryu can hit the first Russian Leg Sweep I've ever seen him do. Later on it's three clotheslines with the last one flying, etc. Anyway, I'm used to these things going an extra 5-10 minutes and this doesn't. Once they hit the floor and get the weapons involved, it's over, right when it was getting good. Excellent match up though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bonus match: 11/19/88: Jumbo/Yatsu vs Crusher Blackwell/Phil Hickerson: I wanted to see how J/Y dealt with the problem of immobile Blackwell mainly. He was a center of gravity and they worked around him, using him as an effective prop. Hickerson took the bumps. It was a quick and entertaining match with some novelty.

It made me go back and look at...

Bonus match: Jumbo/Tenryu vs Blackwell/Garvin: 8/26/84: This was short and in some ways most notable for Precious yelling at Jumbo and Yatsu on the outside. Blackwell was much more mobile. Garvin had a long chinlock. Tenryu did an inverted surfboard, survived the monster splash off the ropes, and hit a russian leg sweep just as I said I'd never seen him do it. Blackwell bumped big for Jumbo.

and.... back on track.

4/20/89: Jumbo vs Tenryu: by this point, it had to feel very special to get to see a singles match between these two. Everything in the last 24 hours is a blur due to lack of sleep but ... This was very good. They had some opening fire/bombs (including Jumbo's full extension dropkick which is always amazing) then moved into Jumbo trying to ground and grind down Tenryu. Towards the end, Tenryu came back with a huge boot and playing king of the mountain, including with his rare but always great tope. When Jumbo came back he just launched a ton of big boots in revenge and after Tenryu survived a few things and they did a slam off the top into a roll up spot, Jumbo blocked Tenryu's powerbomb and unleashed the most horrific powerbomb imaginable of his own for a clear and clean win that will set up the next match.

E84y2k.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now that right there, ladies and gentlemen, is a head drop! Text book example of the most important story that can ever be told within a wrestling match! Namely the story of: "Holy mother of God! He dropped him RIGHT on his F'n head! How on earth is he not dead?!" Other stories pale in comparison.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...