WAR Chronicle Volume 1
A 5 disk set each around 4 hours a piece that covers the history of Tenryu's follow up to SWS, WAR. Covering most of the bigger or important shows with highlights and full matches, it's a great introduction to this absurd promotion. A lot of one of a kind, interpromotional matches as WAR has a working relationship with WWF, NJPW, FMW, CMLL, UWA, and more.
The Undertaker vs King Haku 9/15/92
A rare Taker in Japan match, as even with the Tenryu/WWF partnership, he only did 3 matches for WAR/SWS, this being a rematch from about 6 months prior when the company was still SWS. Taker has a very interesting entrance, being brought out in a casket by druids with crucifixes everywhere, and a dubbed theme that actually sounds more ominus than his real theme. Haku attacks as he's getting his coat and hat off in the ring. Taker did not appreciate it. Haku had been out of the WWF long enough to forget Taker is unbeatable and won't sell any of your shit. Luckily for everyone, Taker remembered you actually have to work in Japan, so this match isn't 90% chokes. Still, Taker pretty easily wins in about 5 1/2 minutes with the tombstone.
Genichiro Tenryu vs Ric Flair WWF CHampionship 2/3 Falls 9/15/92
A match Flair had been pushing for for about 5 years. He actually wanted the main event of Starrcade 1988 to be Tenryu vs Flair. And because wrestling is weird, Flair ended up getting his match...as contracted performer of the WWF. It's not a big deal since I've seen this match before, but it is kind of sucky that this DVD quality version is chopped up a bit. Much of the first fall is them no selling each other's chops and Flair working the arm. After a while, the chops add up. I love Tenryu's delayed sells. Shit is never not hilarious. I also love Flair's awkward as hell bumps and selling of Tenryu's super stiff and then super weak offense. Tenryu wins fall one with a powerbomb.
I swear, every few minutes they both will chop each other 4-5 times and then one falls or hits a cheap shot. This is definitely very much a throwback to almost 70s AJPW style, mixed with the more fast paced late 80s AJPW style. Certainly nothing Flair would be doing in the WWF or even NWA/WCW the past few years. Eventually, Tenryu's leg becomes Flair's main focus, which is a lot better than him working the arm and doing chops for 40 minutes and then doing leg work in the last 5. This leads to Tenryu getting pinned while in the figure four.
Lmao at Ric's dog shit STF. It's basically just leaning on Tenryu's leg and doing a chin lock. And at one point, on arm is around his head, and the other is below the shoulder. That ain't doing dick, Ric. In this fall, Ric's leg becomes the focus, with Tenryu repeatedly trying to win via knee bar. In keeping with 70s/80s tradition, the match ends in a double count out. Ric definitely seemed to be really enjoying himself getting to do this kind of match after a year or so of working WWF style. Just some food for thought, Flair's match before this was against Randy Savage in a cage in Ohio. The match after this was against the Ultimate Warrior in Indianapolis. This dude's schedule really took him from Ohio to Japan to Indiana in a fucking week.
Ultimo Dragon vs Owen Hart 10/21/92
Bless Vince and Tenryu. You know, it's curious to me that Vince never picked Ultimo up after him working on basically all of the Tenryu/WWF shows, including against WWF talent. You'd think if he trusted him enough to work WWF talent and knew WCW was after him that he'd at least make the attempt. Owen is in his High Energy gear, aka the best gear. A lot of borderline indie RESPEK shit to start the match. Not quite stand offs, but more showing that they're equals. They aren't. Lettuce not pretend that Owen wasn't better than Ultimo the botchy Dragon. I wish I could tell you this was some hidden classic, but it's a pretty standard junior match for the era. Wow, fuck Ultimo for putting Owen in the sharpshooter. What a cunt. What's really striking to me is that Owen is SO much bigger than Ultimo. Probably 50-60 pounds bigger. For whatever reason, people seem to forget that Owen was thick as hell. Dude was clearly powerlifting for most of his career. In a lot of ways, this is a traditional Stampede match, including using the tombstone as a regular move. Owen misses a top rope elbow drop and gets pinned with a magistral cradle.
Riki Choshu vs Ashura Hara 2/14/93
Things are getting real for WAR now that they're getting top NJPW stars to do guest shots. Hara hits Choshu with a lariat to start the match, which of course does nothing but piss him off. And then through 4 or 5 of his own. In fact, there are 14 lariats between the two in the first 3 minutes. And it's only a 5 minute match. Very much an "oh yeah, fuck you" type of match. A SOLID 90% of this match was lariats. And I'm not exaggerating. It was probably more than 90%. Choshu won with a front to back combo.
Genichiro Tenryu/Takashi Ishiwaka vs Hiroshi Hase/Tatsumi Fujinami 2/14/93
Tenryu had pretty much established himself as a NJPW regular by this point, having worked every semi-major NJ show since November, including the 1993 dome show, where he defeated Riki Choshu. And he'd pretty much spend the whole year of 1993 in NJPW, working around 20 major shows, then working Inoki himself at the dome in 1994. Tenryu and Dragon being, and Dragon is eager to defend NJ. Ishiwaka and Hase have a LOT of hatred for some reason. Way more than Tenryu and Fujinami. Lmao at Fujinami countering a kick to the face by just leaning in and headbutting the leg. Tenryu's leg ends up being the main focus for the NJPW team after that. Meanwhile, the WAR team tries to keep Hase in the ring as much as possible. Man, I'd love to know why Hara and Hase hate either so much, but lol. They're constantly sniping at each other and taking cheap shots. Oh shit, Fujinami doing the Robinson/Eaton backbreaker. Hase hits one of his brutal uranages on Tenryu. Way to not get booked again, dawg. Tenryu pins Hase with a powerbomb. After the match, Shinya Hashimoto hit the ring and talked some shit, causing a NJPW/WAR stand off.
Shinya Hashimoto vs Samson Fuyuki 3/3/93
Oh boy, Fuyuki is about to get the shit beaten out of him. Within seconds, the ref is trying to pull them apart. Seconds later, Hashimoto is trying to stomp Samson's brains out. Weirdly, this actually takes a while before Hashimoto gets pissed and tries to kill his opponent. I mean, it does happen, but it takes longer than expected. Yet, unlike Choshu in interpromotional matches, Hashi actually gives Fuyuki quite a bit of offense. Hashimoto wins with an enzuigiri.
Tatsumi Fujinami vs The Great Kabuki 4/2/93
This sounds like a tremendous clash of styles that can only happen in Japan. Kabuki mists Fujinami literally seconds in. What a shit bag. Red mist, which is not as deadly as green or black, at least. That mist inspires the Dragon to be much more vicious than normal, taking things to the floor and using the announcing table. However...it doesn't work out for him at all. Kabuki has been doing this shit for years. Is that fucking SILVER KING at ringside as young boy? There's brawling in the crowd, around ringside, and in the ring, but Kabuki doesn't seem to give a shit at all. His idea of selling is staring. Fujinami wins with the dragon sleeper, after Kabuki sprayed out his green mist.
Riki Choshu/Shinya Hashimoto vs Genichiro Tenryu/Isao Takagi 4/2/93
I just want to point out that this show also had Haku vs Dick Slater and Earthquake vs THE RENEGADE. That's right, The Renegade got his big break in WAR as Rio Lord Of The Jungle. In fact, he only has one match on record before working for WAR, which was an indie match against Ax in January 1993. Fucking weird. Anyways, Hashimoto and Tenryu start the match, and shit is hot. I've always wondered what it's like to be in your 40s and still putting on a pair of trunks to fake fight in front of a few thousand people. I've actually met a few times a local Indiana indie dude who has been at it for years (Dice Man Ronnie Vegas), but I've never brought that specific question up because it seems rude. Of course, Tenryu would still be doing this for another 22 years, but that's besides the point. What I can tell you is that Hashimoto does not seem to like having to work with Takagi. I forgot to mention that Red Shoes was the man SWS/WAR ref and was wearing his red boots even back then, as tribute to the American ref Red Shoes Duggan. Not to be confused with DOOGAN. Tenryu busts Choshu open on the bost. Of course, he continues to kick the open wound repeatedly because he's a dick head. Even when he;s on the apron he's throwing kicks. Tenryu might be my all time favorite needlessly dickish piece of shit. Dude always goes overboard to be an asshole. He's being such a dick that the WAR crowd is chanting for Choshu to make a big comeback. I love it when Tenryu does normal selling and then HOLY SHIT THIS DUDE JUST HIT ME TOO HARD FUCK selling, which you get to see when Hashimoto hits a series of kicks that end up hitting him in the mouth. Hashimoto pinned Takagi with a DDT while Tenryu was busy punching the shit out of Choshu on the mat. Tenryu and Hashimoto would eventually have their first big singles match a month later at WAR's first anniversary show, and a rematch later in the year in the 1993 G1 Climax tournament.