Genichiro Tenryu & Yoshinari Ogawa v Jumbo Tsuruta & Kenta Kobashi (All Japan, 8/19/89) - GOOD
I never knew Tenryu and Ogawa ever teamed together. Ogawa wasn't an obnoxious wee prick yet so they weren't quite the pair of assholes they'd be a decade later, but if nothing else it's cool that it actually happened. As you'd expect, this is mostly about Jumbo/Tenryu, but that was never a bad thing in '89. They start out working some basic holds, but they hit each other real hard and that leads to them dropping the kneebars in favour of going toe to toe. Their exchanges were always on that cusp of breaking down into a brawl, so even if the matwork wasn't great it at least had an edge to it. Jumbo tags out a couple times and Tenryu tells him to man up and get back in, so Jumbo obliges and Kobashi has to wait a little longer for his turn. Kobashi and Ogawa are super raw at this point and most of what they do looks pretty ugly, but they try hard and I don't have any problem with young guys overreaching a bit. Their interactions with the opposing Big Dog were great. You had Ogawa stepping to Jumbo and bloodying his nose so Jumbo would flatten him with nasty forearms. Kobashi would go at Tenryu and Tenryu would just waste him with upward angle chops right to the throat. Ogawa v Kobashi was the weak point (understandably), but there was this amazing spot where Tenryu back body dropped Ogawa right onto Kobashi's face. This was eleven minutes long and it had plenty of neat stuff.
Complete & Accurate Tenryu