Thursday, 27 October 2016

Tenryu's Been Down to the Bottom of a Whirlpool of Lies, Ain't Lookin' for Nothin' in Anyone's Eyes

Genichiro Tenryu v Mike Miller (All Japan, 1/9/89) - SKIPPABLE

So, Mike Miller. I'm almost positive this is the only time I've ever seen him. The name certainly didn't ring a bell, but then maybe he was/had been semi-prominent elsewhere and Mike Miller was a pseudonym. I've watched enough obscure 80s wrestling that I figured I'd at least recognise him from somewhere if he was getting gigs in All Japan. "Who is Mike Miller?" I wondered? "Did he do anything other than this tour of Japan in January of the year 1989?" My interest was piqued. Then I saw him and did not have a clue. Cagematch tells me he debuted way back in 1977 and wrestled in Portland, Florida and Stampede for a while, which is news to me. He's a tallish, lumpy dude with one of those wispy goatees that's all chin. I'm not really sure what was going on with the hair. It was like a mullet with a bowl cut on top, sloped bangs at the front. He did some okay stuff, though! Some nice punches, raking his wrist tape across Tenryu's eyes, a big club to the bridge of the nose. Tenryu gave him like 80% of the match as well. He'd throw a big chop or hit an enziguiri that Miller would take these goofy delayed somersault bumps off of, but then he'd end up right back on offence. That was the thing with Tenryu. He's one of the best ass kickers in history, but you rarely saw that side of him against the odd foreigner coming in for a few tour dates. In my own selfishness I wish Tenryu would be less selfLESS sometimes and just crowbar the fuck out a white boy.

Genichiro Tenryu & The Road Warriors v Jumbo Tsuruta, Yoshiaki Yatsu & Shunji Takano (All Japan, 3/8/89) - GREAT

Man this was fun. I guess you could say it's mostly spectacle, but I'm a stone cold sucker for a big pro wrestling spectacle so of course I was going to be into this. Crowd just LOVES them some Road Warriors and pop huge for everything they do, big "HAWK-OO" and "AN-I-MOO" chants in broken English. Meanwhile, everything Jumbo and Yatsu did earned them jeers (Takano was exempt from this for whatever reason). Animal flung Jumbo and Yatsu around with gorilla press slams like they were children, which was pretty impressive considering Jumbo and Yatsu are no small men. Hawk was far more involved in things than Animal and seemed to really be enjoying himself. He never sold a ton and at points it looked like he maybe ran out of ideas for things to do, but he got crazy hops whenever he left his feet -- flying shoulder tackles, a jumping fist drop and even a missile dropkick off the top rope. Tenryu's exchanges with everyone were awesome and the crowd were 100% behind him. He shreds Yatsu's chest with chops, has a contemptuous staredown with Takano before cuffing his jaw, and any time he and Jumbo get close to one another sparks fly. At one point Jumbo knees Tenryu in the head as Tenryu is trying to step through the ropes, and that leads to a short heat segment with team Jumbo working the cut. From that point forward Tenryu ramps the stiffness up six notches and just creams people. The lariats, the Adam's apple chops, everything; all done with a little extra force. Honestly, this is probably only GOOD level without the crowd, but unless you watch it on mute I'm not really sure that's much of a criticism. I mean, you can't have a spectacle without the crowd, right? So you get GREAT and like it.

Complete & Accurate Tenryu

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