Defrost Reviews…Genichiro Tenryu vs Shinya Hashimoto

1

On Sunday, the 15th Day of November in 2015, the near 40 year professional wrestling career of Genichiro Tenryu will come to an end. Coming from the world of Sumo to All Japan, and working everywhere from WCW to WWF to every Japanese Indie to New Japan to everywhere Tenryu has made more than a mark in his chosen profession. His return to All Japan is the template by which every grumpy old wrestler has come to be compared to. In his prime he was amazingly athletic who had all time matches with Jumbo Tsuruta before taking that sweet eye glass manufacturing money. His promotion WAR was where the likes of Chris Jericho, Lance Storm, and Ultimo Dragon got their big breaks in Japan. As the ace of the WAR promotion he was obviously a focal point in the WAR vs New Japan feud. New Japan at the time was full on into the era of the Three Musketeers. Of those three the man most associated with the New Japan vs WAR feud is Shinya Hashimoto. Their singles matches are what we’ll look at today.

WAR The First Anniversary of Revolution (Tokyo Nippon Budokan)

Genichiro Tenryu vs Shinya Hashimoto

NJPW 8/8/93 (Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan)

Genichiro Tenryu vs Shinya Hashimoto

NJPW 2/17/94 (Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan)

IWGP Heavyweight Champion Shinya Hashimoto vs Genichiro Tenryu

G1 Climax 1998 (Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan)

G1 Climax 2nd Round

Genichiro Tenryu vs Shinya Hashimoto

Best of the Super Juniors Final 1999 (Tokyo Nippon Budokan)

Genichiro Tenryu vs Shinya Hashimoto

2

I don’t like matches where one guy is utterly dominant to the point where his opponent barely makes anything resembling a comeback only to lose to a brief flurry at the end. Maybe this is not a thing that bothers anyone else. Maybe it is a taste thing. I like movies, but would never watch a romantic comedy. There are people who like them though. Comparison fits too since the plots of those movies make about as much sense as a match being 75% leg work and then an all kicks comeback.  This is to say I am probably the world’s lowest marker on the first singles match Genichiro Tenryu had with Shinya Hashimoto. Taking place in Budokan Hall, which in both matches reviewed here in that building was much quieter than Ryogoku, it was the main event of the WAR Anniversary Show. It being in WAR and not NJPW means Tenryu is the babyface. Boiled down this is the match. They circle each other for quite a bit. Then there is a gimmick where Tenryu breaks clean, but Hashimoto doesn’t. Tenryu takes this out on Hash for a short amount of time until the leg kicks start in. What follows is 10 minutes of Hashimoto leg kicks and various leg holds with nary a Tenryu comeback. A common theme of these reviews is that I hate longer stretches without a babyface comeback. Finally in the last minute or so a flurry of kicks, that’s right kicks, from Tenryu and a Powerbomb gets him the win. Meh.

3

Interestingly their last singles match, also in Budokan Hall, plays a lot like their first singles match. Tenryu starts hot and even stops to cut a promo. Then Hashimoto just dominates for the rest of the bulk of the match including going for the legs again, but thankfully he sticks to more bomb throwing than anything else. Tenryu does a much better job at keeping and ebb and flow going. Again the Budokan is not that hot for it though. Which when you watch a match, and are sorta half asleep that hurts. The finish is bizarre and out of nowhere. A lot of stuff near the end is sort of off kilter. The match ends with a running chop. Nothing special just a regular chop. A bit anticlimactic that. On a final note that will make more sense after the next paragraph the peak of this match is when Hashimoto starts throwing punches.

4

Their G1 match in 1998 is just the best part of their other matches as the whole match. I love the G1. It forces matches between main eventers into focus. It’s like a movie where the director has to find ways around budget and schedule as opposed to a movie that has every available resource and gets overindulgent as a result. During the 1998 G1 Climax Tenryu and Hashimoto had both their shortest and best match. Hands down the best part of these matches is when the veil of athletic competition would come off, and all that was left was two dangerous men who were pissed off at each other. Tenryu is a total heel, and you can see the grumpy old man version of Tenryu that would tear it up in the early aughts with Muto and Kawada and others. The NJPW fans in Sumo Hall were especially incensed by Tenryu’s punches. As was Hashimoto who comes back throwing bombs, and the back and forth between the two is beautiful. There are some amazing highspots too. Tenryu comes off the top rope leaping right into a Hashimoto Spinning Heel Kick. There is an Avalanche DDT that Tenryu kinda no sells that got me to pop. However, I have a complaint. Watching the match what I wanted more than anything was for Hashimoto to throw a punch back at Tenryu. I did not get that punch until the next match. That sounds like a nitpick, and it is my one and only problem with that match. Why are you even reading this? Go watch this match now.

5

That leaves their last two matches. One which takes place a month before Hashimoto would defeat The Great Muta to win his first IWGP Heavyweight Championship and the other the month after Tenryu handed Antonio Inoki the last loss of his career. It is very odd that match was not for the IWGP Title. Also odd that a Hashimoto vs Tenryu title match wasn’t held off for a bigger show. Both matches are in Sumo Hall. Both matches are in front of hot crowds filled with NJPW fans. Both matches are more or less the same. They start off very wary of each other. A lot of circling each other and being very cautious to engage with their opponent. Then once they do the match slowly goes from a clean wrestling match to not breaking for the rope, tossing around poor Tiger Hattori, and throat chops. Many many throat chops. I prefer the match from August 1993. That match especially toward the finish feels like such a struggle for both wrestlers. I love a good struggle. Where one guy strings together a series of big shots and the question because whether or not there will be a comeback. Tenryu lays the bombs in on Hashimoto, but Hashimoto won’t stay down, and keeps firing back. By the end even though Tenryu is victorious he looks like he has been through a war. That presses all the right buttons with me. The two August matches in this list are the best coincidently. Check those out.

Results and Ratings

WAR The First Anniversary of Revolution

Genichiro Tenryu defeated Shinya Hashimoto via pinfall at 18:23 with a Powerbomb (Star Rating: *)

NJPW 8/8/93

Genichiro Tenryu defeated Shinya Hashimoto via pinfall at 21:25 with a Powerbomb (Star Rating: ****1/4)

NJPW 2/17/94

IWGP Heavyweight Champion Shinya Hashimoto defeated Genichiro Tenryu via pinfall at 15:04 with a Jumping DDT. (Star Rating: ***3/4)

G1 Climax 1998

Shinya Hashimoto defeated Genichiro Tenryu via pinfall at 13:13 with a running DDT (Star Rating: ****3/4)

Best of the Super Juniors Final 1999

Genichiro Tenryu defeated Shinya Hashimoto via pinfall at 14:11 with a running chop (Star Rating: ***)

Average Rating:  ***1/4

Farewell Mr Tenryu. Next Week we return to the shores of the USA and look back to the Attitude Era. Next Time: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Triple H.

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