Continuing the Tenryu New Japan/WAR project~
Genichiro Tenryu, Ashura Hara & Takashi Ishikawa vs Keiji Mutoh, Akira Nogami & Shinya Hashimoto, (New Japan 02/05/1993)
Oh christ, this right here is what its all about. Everyone bar Mutoh pretty much brings the hate necessary to get over the boiling hot feud, but man oh man is the build to Hashimoto vs Tenryu magnificent here. Both men are by far the two best performers in the match, they only lock up a few times but Hashimoto just beats the crap out of Tenryu with kick after kick and Tenryu bumps and sells like a saint for everything, the moment where he sort of stumbles into the corner reeling off of Hashimoto's onslaught whilst trying to give a bit back only to be unable to stand straight and have Hara and Ishikawa defend him was glorious. Their exchanges afterwards are pretty brief but they pack so much hatred into every blow it doesn't matter, moment where all of the New Japan team lay siege to Tenryu's fallen body on the mat was outstanding and was only bettered by Tenryu being a cocky prick when covering Nogami only to be caught by a fucking tremendous kick to the chin from Hashimoto which he sells like an absolute king collapsing into the corner whilst checking his jaw isn't broken.
Nogami was probably the 3rd best guy in the match, chock full of furry and a relentless babyface energy in defending his company from the invader scum, and he has some really great exchanges against Tenryu where Tenryu sells the audacity of Nogami to try and even touch Tenryu so beautifully. Ishikawa and Hara were pretty much in it for sporadic bursts of offence and to bump for the New Japan team, but Ishikawa in particular was really violent and just comes off as this coked up psycho ready to taste New Japan blood. Post match pull apart again builds beautifully to Tenryu/Hashimoto with Hash having to be restrained by guys who look terrified to be holding a 290 pound monster who's spoiling for a fight. Still, fuck a dumb Keiji Mutoh.
Genichiro Tenryu & Takashi Ishikawa vs Riki Choshu & Tatsumi Fujinami, (New Japan 3/23/93)
Another fine continuation in the ongoing saga here and a match which probably has me convinced this feud can't produce anything less than a good match. Choshu and Fujinami's interactions with Tenryu are the real highlight here, little things like Choshu entering the ring off a tag and taking the time to boot an already downed Tenryu on the apron even when he's not legal just add to the bubbling hatred. Loved the opening with Fujinami taking it to Tenryu and hitting a pretty amazing dive to the floor which had the crowd going bonkers. The bread and butter of the match really revolves around Ishikawa getting isolated and absorbing the onslaught of New Japan's diamonds in the rough and making you feel Tenryu's winning streak may be foiled by the opposition, only for him to hit a beautfiful kick to counter a second Fujinami dive late in the match and which served as a great callback spot to the early dive. Tenryu's selling was again off the charts great and was typified by the moment Fujinami caught him entering the ring to cheapshot him and reels off a string of stiff slaps which forces Tenryu to finally collapse to the mat in agony and looking almost like he was dribbling from his mouth.
There were also some really great subtle touches thrown in to keep the crowd alive, Choshu only going halfway into the spinebuster in order to stop Ishikawa having a clear way to cheapshot him was really bossy as was Ishikawa's heat tactics in stealing the Dragon Sleeper and Sharpshooter to further piss off the already irate New Japan fans. Finishing stretch is pretty fucking stellar, just tease after tease with the highlight being Fujinami countering a Tenryu lariat into an attempted dragon suplex only for Ishikawa to counter with a lariat to the back of the head and Tenryu to soon follow up with the devastating powerbomb which Fujinami never recovers from, and which soon leads to Ishikawa picking up one of the biggest wins to date in his career.
Genichiro Tenryu & Takashi Ishikawa vs Riki Choshu & Shinya Hashimoto, (WAR 4/2/93)
Oh fucking hell, this was just in another stratosphere of greatness, violence and grandeur of hatred. Everyone puts in a stellar performance here, but once again its Tenryu and Hashimoto who shine brightest. The stare off when they enter the ring....fuck me. 6/17 cannot come soon enough in this feud. Ishikawa is excellent as the underdog scrapping for every bit of blood that comes his way, he just has this great ability to pick his spots and be like that scrappy little terrier that just will not quit until he's fully depleted his victim, his flurry of offence leading to Tenryu PASTING Choshu into the ring post to bloody him was incredible and from there the match just went to another level in terms of pacing and sheer insanity. I can't even begin to describe to you just how many fucking excellent moments we got in this match, they just created this perfect blend of chaos and batshit insanity in everything they did, and the continued tease to Tenryu/Hashimoto was just criminal with what they treated us to: that fucking bump Tenryu takes off the spinning wheel kick...just indescribeable how he flings himself at such a reckless pace into the ropes but shit on a stick if it doesn't look incredible everytime.
Tenryu was just a relentless prick going after Choshu's cut with repeated punts and stomps to the wound, and the visuals of the ref having to forcibly cling to Tenryu to get him to stop whilst he still kicked and flung boot after boot to Choshu was just beautiful. Hashimoto was equally destructive whenever he was in the match and they really booked him tremendously as the shining beacon of hope New Japan had in ending Tenryu's ever continuing rampage of destruction. Finishing stretch is absolutely bonkers with people clobbering each other left and right with chops, punches, slaps, lariats, suplexes and all sorts of brutality. Hashimoto finally scoring a win for New Japan in the feud really served as a huge moment in terms of his star rising, and not 5 seconds after the match is Tenryu slapping the piss out of him and engaging in another pull apart fight. Ending visuals of Hashimoto and Choshu bleeding with Tenryu looking on cocky as ever was incredible, Tenryu/Choshu 4/6 tomorrow