In this episode we pick up pretty much where we left off in Chapter I. Genichiro Tenryu is the new AJPW Triple Crown Champion, but his feud with Jumbo Tsuruta continues. How does it end and where do we go from there are the big questions we answer in this outing. The Four Pillars of Wrestling also make their first appearances in our story and we chart Mitsuharu Misawa’s life up until May of 1990. What elements of his upbringing drove him to wrestling greatness? What obstacles did he overcome? And who helped him along the way? All of these things and much more are covered in Chapter 2 of King’s Road: A 90s All Japan Retrospective.
In addition to the context and background information discussed, we also take a look at the following four matches:
* Tenryu vs Tsuruta 10/11/89 - Triple Crown III
* Tenryu vs Tsuruta 4/19/90 - Final Outing
* Tiger Mask II & Toshiaki Kawada vs Fuyuki & Yatsu 5/14/90 - The Mask Comes Off
* Misawa, Kobashi, & Taue vs. Jumbo, Kabuki, & Fuchi 5/26/90 - New Generation Emerges
Missing Pieces -
Genichiro Tenryu left AJPW after his defeat in April of 1990 at the hands of Jumbo Tsuruta to be the spokesmodel for Megane Super - an eyeglass maker in Japan. However, the company seemed to have a dual motive in hiring Tenryu as they would launch a wrestling company shortly thereafter - Super World of Sports. The SWS was founded with the motto “Straight and Strong”. Megane threw a ton of money around to recruit wrestlers - mostly from All Japan - in an attempt to form a legitimate threat to the other big two - NJPW & AJPW. They even had a short-lived partnership with the WWF and promoted 3 shows at the Tokyo Dome with Vince McMahon’s company. SWS would not last and became a victim of both the economic downturn in Japan and perhaps their own overreach. Tenryu would go on to found another company - Wrestling and Romance, better known as WAR. Eventually he found his way back to All Japan and enjoyed quite a bit of success in his late 40s and early 50s capturing both the IWGP Heavyweight title and then the AJPW Triple Crown twice more.
Horst Hoffman was a journeyman wrestler in the truest sense of the word. Born in Germany, he spent most of his early career wrestling in his homeland and honing his considerable technical skills. Hoffman caught the notice of fellow European Billy Robinson and found his way to the AWA for a time where he competed in upper mid-card and main event matches. Hoffman has been described as a shooter and his eventual exposure to a wider audience provided all the evidence one needed to apply that appellation. When he made his Japan debut in 1972 for International Wrestling Enterprises, it’s possible that an 11 year old Misawa first became acquainted with him, though he would go to even wider exposure in Japan when he began wrestling for AJPW in 1975. He competed at the highest level for the promotion notching victories over the Destroyer and Pat O’Connor and engaging in main event contests with Jumbo Tsuruta and Giant Baba. His final recorded All Japan tour came in 1977 when he teamed with Billy Robinson in the precursor to the Real World Tag League. They finished in the middle of the pack with 7 points. A minor figure in pro wrestling history by today’s standards, he was no less incredible in the ring and is highly esteemed by his peers and fans alike. If nothing else, he provided inspiration to a young Misawa when he needed it most and an older Misawa would pay a suitable tribute by adopting his ring colors and tights.
00:10:00 Tenryu as champ
00:11:00 10/11/89 Tenryu v Tsuruta Triple Crown
00:17:00 Where next for Tenryu?
00:17:42 4/19/90 Tsuruta v Tenryu Triple Crown
00:24:00 Sayonara Tenryu
00:24:26 Where do we go from here? Tiger Mask
00:26:18 Mitsuharu Misawa
00:34:43 5/14/90 Tiger Mask II & Toshiaki Kawada vs Fuyuki & Yatsu - The Unmasking
00:36:21 What do I say?
00:36:54 5/26/90 Misawa, Kobashi, & Taue vs. Jumbo, Kabuki, & Fuchi - The New Generation Emerges
00:51:19 Next time on… & Endnotes
Special thanks and shoutouts to Matt Charlton (@ShiningWizardDs), Hisame (@Hi5ame), Cary Silkin (@rohcary), and Filsinger Games (@filsingergames & filsingergames.com).
Be sure to check out:
ROLL UP - The Official Filsinger Games Podcast: https://filsingergames.com/rollup-podcast/
Uncharted Territory: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/uncharted-territory/id1537337233
Last Stop Penn Station: https://laststoppennstation.com
You can find me on Twitter @kopw72. I look forward to hearing your thoughts, comments, criticisms, advice, and everything in between. Thank you so much for listening and supporting this endeavor. Stay tuned for Chapter 3 - Gaijin & the Triple Crown coming soon!