Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

1993 Match of the Year

Riki Choshu/Shinya Hashimoto v. Genichiro Tenryu/Takashi Ishikawa 4/2/93 WAR

PAS: Tremendous, tremendous match. Three of the all time great asskickers in professional wrestling history kicking major ass, and Ishikawa desperately trying to hold up his end. Really spectacular performance by Ishikawa, he was excellent as the burly, lumpy overmatched guy who was going to jump right into the fray. He was constantly cheap shotting the NJPW team from the apron, running in and stomping then in pins, clubbering them from behind. He both absorbed and delivered a beating worthy of the other three guys in the match, which is an all time bar to clear. We get an awesome opening Tenryu v. Hashimoto scramble with both guys working crazy fast to grab an arm or leg. The match hits another gear when Choshu gets posted and starts bleeding, Tenryu may be the greatest "blood in the water" wrestler of all time, he just lasers in on the cut, punching and kicking Choshu right in his bloody head. Then we get a spectacular Hashimoto hot tag where he just splits guys in half with kicks, ending in a super hot finish run. I though this was par with your high end All Japan tags of this period. Same level of heat and drama, just replacing the headrops with lariats and kicks to the eye and throat, which is a trade I will always take.

ER: Not much original to add to this one. I really liked the teamwork of Tenryu/Ishikawa, not in a double teams kind of way, but in the way they came off like brothers who had each other's back. Ishikawa wasn't hesitant to jump right in the fire, and if Tenryu had either of the NJ guys near the ropes then Ishikawa was going to reach over Tenryu to punch them in the neck. Both guys were willing to get booed if it meant saving their boy before real danger kicked in. When Ishikawa misses a plancha and you're waiting for him to take a beating while rolling around prone in streamers, Tenryu jumps into action and saves his boy, administering a floor beating of his own. That early scramble with Hash and Tenryu was awesome, really didn't see much like that in 1993. We obviously had UWF, but this wasn't clean and smooth mat wrestling, this looked like a portion of a bar fight where they rolled out the door and onto the sidewalk. Choshu was in prime badass form here, and I love the old wrestling visual of a guy with blood around his eye. Thankfully, once Riki was busted open Tenryu made sure that that visual happened for me, whipping the toe of his boot into Riki's eye far too many times, really mocking him in painful fashion. The whole time he's doing this I imagine Ishikawa thinking "every time that cut gets kicked, the lariat I'm gonna take towards the end of this gets harder and meaner." Hashimoto is a guy I've been watching for well over 15 years now, and I think he's the only guy who still goes up a notch on my "all time greats" list, every time I see him. He's never dipped, but he just keeps getting higher and higher and higher and every match of his I watch it becomes more and more believable that he can pass up Lawler or Funk or Fujiwara or Hansen. He's so good, and always manages to look like the peak of wrestling cool, even while having the same body as Lena Dunham. He's such a cool asskicker, able to show vulnerability while just being a total monster, adding in neat selling and strategy (I love how he sells Tenryu's enziguiri, he's really one of the only ones who does it properly, crumbling down to a knee in pain instead of the traditional clumsy faceplant), and he's just so damn good. This is a total classic, filled with great story in a nicely succinct fashion, just total 100% surliness pummeling its way off the screen the whole match.


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