NJPW: Riki Choshu vs. Genichiro Tenryu (January 4, 1993)

I want to try to review all the Wrestle Kingdom main events while they’re free on New Japan World.

I liked this one, too. The theme of the bulk of this match is, “How dare you?” That’s what both guys’ faces seem to say throughout.

“How dare you challenge me for my title?”

“How dare you strike me?”

“How dare you kick me with such a weak enzuigiri?”

“How dare you avoid my elbow drop?”

Speaking of the elbow drop, there are a few spots that seem like they’re intentionally ugly-looking. Some strikes appear to only glance their respective targets. Both of Tenryu’s elbow drops look like they barely connect with Choshu’s head. One of Choshu’s lariats looks like it misses, but Tenryu sells it like his eye got hit. The penultimate powerbomb by Tenryu seems botched, or almost so, but the crowd reacts like it’s a big deal. I think these bits might have been done on purpose to make the fight look…maybe not “dirtier,” per se, but less refined.

It’s not a fast-paced match, but it’s definitely more emotionally charged than the previous year’s main event, and the crowd responds accordingly. In that respect, it’s better.

Oh, and Tenryu wins with a pinning powerbomb. And then Antonio Inoki comes in and foreshadows the following year’s main event, I guess.

Winner – Genichiro Tenryu

Rating – Good


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