Genichiro Tenryu

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Genichiro Tenryu
GenichiroTenryu2008.png
Tenryu in December 2008
Birth name Genichiro Shimada (嶋田 源一郎, Shimada Gen'ichirō)
Born (1950-02-02) February 2, 1950 (age 68)
Katsuyama, Fukui, Japan
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Genichiro Tenryu
Tenryu
Hayabusa
Big Hayabusa

Hustle General
Billed height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)[1]
Billed weight 124 kg (273 lb)[1]
Trained by Dory Funk Jr.
Terry Funk
Giant Baba
Debut November 13, 1976
Retired November 15, 2015

Genichiro Shimada (嶋田 源一郎, Shimada Gen'ichirō, born February 2, 1950), better known as Genichiro Tenryu (天龍 源一郎, Tenryū Gen'ichirō) is a retired Japanese professional wrestler and professional wrestling promoter. At age 13, he entered sumo wrestling and stayed there for 13 years, after which he turned to Western-style professional wrestling. "Tenryu" was his shikona. He is best known for his two stints with All Japan Pro Wrestling, where he spent the majority of his career while also promoting Super World of Sports (SWS), Wrestle Association R (WAR) and Tenryu Project.

Sumo wrestling career[edit]

Tenryū Genichiro
天龍 源一郎
Personal information
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 112 kg (247 lb)
Career
Stable Nishonoseki
Record 393-355-0
Debut January, 1964
Highest rank Maegashira 1 (January, 1974)
Retired September, 1976
Championships 1 (Jūryō)
1 (Makushita)
* Up to date as of Sep. 2012.

As a sumo wrestler, Tenryu was ranked as a sekitori for 27 tournaments, 16 of them in the top makuuchi division. His highest rank was maegashira 1. Upon the death of his stablemaster at Nishonoseki stable he wanted to join former stablemate Daikirin's newly established Oshiogawa stable, which had just broken off from Nishonoseki, but the Japan Sumo Association insisted he stay at Nishonoseki whose new stablemaster, Kongō, he did not get along with. He finished one more tournament, and even though his career still showed promise, he decided to leave the sumo world at the young age of 26 in September 1976.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

All Japan Pro Wrestling (1977–1990)[edit]

Scouted by Giant Baba, the All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) owner, Tenryu was sent to Amarillo, Texas to be trained by Dory Funk Jr. and Terry Funk, and debuted in Texas in 1976, against Ted DiBiase. After returning to Japan, he stayed in the undercard until about 1982 when he began to get a slight push in that year's Champion Carnival tournament. In 1983, following a brief stint in Jim Crockett Promotions, his push began in earnest when Jumbo Tsuruta pursued the NWA International heavyweight title, now the main title in the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship.

1984 saw Tenryu winning the NWA United National title, now also part of the Triple Crown, as well as the NWA International tag team title with Tsuruta. Their combination was called "Kakuryu" ( = kaku = tsuru (the "tsuru" in Tsuruta) + = ryū in Tenryū). The team feuded with Riki Choshu and Yoshiaki Yatsu, who were the leaders in an "invasion" angle by the Japan Pro Wrestling promotion, an All Japan satellite made up of former New Japan Pro Wrestling talent.

In 1987, following the departure of the Japan Pro talent, Kakuryu broke up after losing the tag team titles to The Road Warriors, which led to Tenryu forming his own stable, "Revolution", with former International Pro Wrestling wrestlers Ashura Hara and Hiromichi Fuyuki, as well as All Japan rookies Toshiaki Kawada, and Yoshinari Ogawa; Tatsumi Kitahara would join the group upon his debut in 1988. Tenryu and Hara feuded with Tsuruta and his new partner Yatsu over the Pacific Wrestling Federation World tag team titles and later with their replacement, the World Tag Team Championship (a combination of the PWF World and NWA International tag belts). Hara was kicked out of the promotion in late 1988, and Tenryu replaced him with Stan Hansen, with whom he held the World Tag Team Championship as well.

1989 was Tenryu's banner year. Tsuruta became the first Triple Crown champion on April 18 of that year, and just two days later Tenryu became his first challenger. The Tsuruta-Tenryu series that ensued set the standard for all Triple Crown matches and feuds to follow. When Tenryu won the belts on June 5, the match was so spectacular it was deemed Match of the Year by major Japanese publications. The same year saw him finally pin his mentor Baba, albeit in a tag match - but still a major success for a Japanese wrestler. Only Mitsuharu Misawa would duplicate this feat. In addition, Tenryu was chosen to be one-third of the NWA World 6-Man Tag Team Champions with the Road Warriors after the Road Warriors turned heel against their former co-holder of the title, Dusty Rhodes. However, the relationship between All Japan Pro Wrestling and the NWA was significantly strained when Tenryu and the Road Warriors were scheduled to compete in a match Baba had advertised to his Japanese audience, but American booking decisions prevented the match from taking place. This created an uncomfortable situation where Giant Baba had to apologize to his Japanese audience for a match he had promoted not taking place, and was a key factor in All Japan Pro Wrestling's ultimate withdrawal from the NWA. This also resulted in the six man championship being vacated and abandoned until 1991, when it was temporarily resurrected as a World Championship Wrestling championship.

Tenryu's most high-profile North American match was for the World Wrestling Federation in 1991 at WrestleMania VII, where he teamed with Koji Kitao to defeat Demolition.[1] He also appeared in both the 1993 Royal Rumble and 1994 Royal Rumble;[1] in the latter he made it to the final five but was eliminated by eventual co-winners Lex Luger and Bret Hart. An angle had he and The Great Kabuki hired as mercenaries by Yokozuna's manager, Mr. Fuji, to attack Luger and prevent him from winning.

Super World of Sports and WAR (1990–1999)[edit]

In April 1990, Tenryu left All Japan to form Super World of Sports (SWS). After its collapse in June 1992, Tenryu, aided by Masatomo Takei (brother of his wife Makiyo) formed Wrestling and Romance (WAR). WAR became his base from where he would take on top wrestlers from other promotions, such as Atsushi Onita, Nobuhiko Takada, The Great Muta, Shinya Hashimoto and Masahiro Chono, all of whom he defeated. He also traded victories with Tatsumi Fujinami and Antonio Inoki, thus becoming the only Japanese wrestler to defeat both Inoki and Baba by pinfall.

In 1998, as WAR went into decline, Tenryu began an earnest comeback, this time in New Japan. He first joined Heisei Ishingun, allied with its leader Shiro Koshinaka, and they won the IWGP Tag Team Championship from Team Wolf, Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan. In December 1999, Tenryu made history as the first native to win the top two distinctions of professional wrestling in Japan (All Japan's Triple Crown and New Japan's IWGP Heavyweight title) by beating Mutoh for the IWGP title. (The first man to win both titles was Big Van Vader, an American.)

Return to AJPW (2000–2004)[edit]

In 2000, following the near-collapse of All Japan due to the Pro Wrestling Noah split, Tenryu closed WAR and rejoined All Japan, eager to test his mettle against the remaining ace, his former disciple Kawada. Tenryu beat Kawada in the subsequent tournament for the vacant Triple Crown, winning the belts for a second time. In his second stay in All Japan, he would capture the belts a third time and also the World Tag Team Championship with former WAR-UWFI feud rival Yoji Anjo.

Late career and retirement (2004–2015)[edit]

In 2003, he joined Fighting World of Japan Pro Wrestling for a few matches, but as it declined rapidly, he switched back and forth aimlessly between New Japan and All Japan.

In 2005, he entered Noah, and began feuds with Misawa, Kenta Kobashi, and other wrestlers he knew from his first All Japan stint, as well as new faces he's never met in the ring before, such as Jun Akiyama. Tenryu has also been with the HUSTLE promotion and was a part of the main heel group led by Generalissimo Takada. During this time, he teamed with Toshiaki Kawada mainly. At HUSTLE Aid 2007, however, Tenryu was defeated by Razor Ramon HG and joined the main face group led by Razor Ramon HG, HUSTLE Army.

In December 2009, following the folding of Hustle, Tenryu began running his own Tenryu Project promotion. He still makes forays into other promotions, still active even past age 60.

On February 7, 2015, it was reported that Tenryu had decided to retire from professional wrestling with his final match scheduled to take place later in the year.[2] Tenryu held a press conference two days later to confirm the report, announcing that his retirement event would be taking place in November and would feature participation from All Japan, New Japan and Noah.[3] On August 16, Tenryu made a surprise return to New Japan, having a confrontation with Kazuchika Okada to set up his retirement match on November 15.[4] In the meantime, he embarked on a multipromotional "Retirement Road" tour, including matches in Kyushu Pro Wrestling, DDT, BJW, Wrestle-1 and Pro Wrestling FREEDOMS.[5] On November 15, Tenryu was defeated by Okada in his retirement match.[6][7] Tokyo Sports named Tenryu's retirement match the 2015 Match of the Year.[8]

Other media[edit]

Tenryu appears as a gang member in the 2017 video game Yakuza Kiwami 2, alongside Keiji Mutoh, Masahiro Chono, Riki Choshu and Tatsumi Fujinami.[9] Tenryu is also a regular guest on the annual 24-hour comedy special, Gaki no Tsukai - No Laughing Challenge, often appearing as a character who occasionally (and intentionally) speaks unintelligibly to cause the contestants to laugh.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Sumo career record[edit]

Tenryū Genichiro[26]
Year in sumo January
Hatsu basho, Tokyo
March
Haru basho, Osaka
May
Natsu basho, Tokyo
July
Nagoya basho, Nagoya
September
Aki basho, Tokyo
November
Kyūshū basho, Fukuoka
1964 (Maezumo) West Jonokuchi #22
5–2
 
West Jonidan #96
4–3
 
East Jonidan #67
3–4
 
West Jonidan #87
5–2
 
East Jonidan #38
4–3
 
1965 East Jonidan #13
5–2
 
East Sandanme #64
3–4
 
West Sandanme #77
5–2
 
West Sandanme #33
4–3
 
East Sandanme #22
2–5
 
West Sandanme #47
3–4
 
1966 West Sandanme #58
3–4
 
West Sandanme #63
4–3
 
West Sandanme #51
5–2
 
East Sandanme #14
4–3
 
East Makushita #95
4–3
 
West Makushita #75
6–1
 
1967 West Makushita #43
3–4
 
West Makushita #46
3–4
 
West Makushita #58
2–5
 
East Sandanme #12
3–4
 
West Sandanme #20
1–6
 
West Sandanme #50
5–2
 
1968 East Sandanme #22
4–3
 
West Sandanme #11
3–4
 
West Sandanme #26
5–2
 
East Sandanme #5
5–2
 
East Makushita #43
4–3
 
East Makushita #36
3–4
 
1969 East Makushita #39
5–2
 
West Makushita #24
3–4
 
East Makushita #29
5–2
 
West Makushita #18
3–4
 
East Makushita #24
4–3
 
West Makushita #20
3–4
 
1970 West Makushita #24
6–1
 
East Makushita #7
3–4
 
West Makushita #9
3–4
 
East Makushita #14
3–4
 
West Makushita #19
6–1–P
Champion

 
East Makushita #4
3–4
 
1971 West Makushita #7
3–4
 
West Makushita #12
4–3
 
West Makushita #10
5–2
 
West Makushita #3
6–1
 
West Jūryō #11
6–9
 
East Makushita #2
3–4
 
1972 West Makushita #4
4–3
 
West Makushita #3
3–4
 
East Makushita #7
6–1–P
 
East Jūryō #13
8–7
 
West Jūryō #8
10–5–P
 
East Jūryō #3
10–5
 
1973 East Maegashira #13
8–7
 
East Maegashira #10
9–6
 
West Maegashira #5
6–9
 
West Maegashira #9
6–9
 
East Maegashira #13
9–6
 
East Maegashira #7
9–6
 
1974 West Maegashira #1
5–10
 
West Maegashira #5
6–9
 
West Maegashira #9
6–9
 
East Maegashira #11
8–7
 
West Maegashira #8
8–7
 
East Maegashira #7
5–10
 
1975 East Maegashira #12
5–10
 
West Jūryō #3
8–7
 
East Jūryō #2
4–11
 
West Jūryō #10
13–2
Champion

 
West Maegashira #13
6–9
 
West Jūryō #2
8–7
 
1976 East Maegashira #14
4–11
 
West Jūryō #4
10–5
 
East Jūryō #1
7–8
 
West Jūryō #2
10–5
 
East Maegashira #13
Retired
8–7
x
Record given as win-loss-absent    Top Division Champion Top Division Runner-up Retired Lower Divisions

Sanshō key: F=Fighting spirit; O=Outstanding performance; T=Technique     Also shown: =Kinboshi(s); P=Playoff(s)
Divisions: MakuuchiJūryōMakushitaSandanmeJonidanJonokuchi

Makuuchi ranks: YokozunaŌzekiSekiwakeKomusubiMaegashira

Video games[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d PWI Staff (October 1, 2004). "Pro Wrestling llustrated 500 - 2004 :90 Genichiro Tenryu". Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, USA: Sports and Entertainment publications LLC. p. 27. December 2004. 
  2. ^ "天龍源一郎 現役引退を決意". Daily Sports Online (in Japanese). Kobe Shimbun. February 7, 2015. Retrieved February 7, 2015. 
  3. ^ "天龍引退興行に主要3団体が全面協力". Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). February 9, 2015. Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  4. ^ "11・15天龍引退試合でオカダ戦"決定"". Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). August 17, 2015. Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  5. ^ Axel Saalbach. "Wrestlingdata.com - The World's Largest Wrestling Database". 
  6. ^ 天龍が引退試合で凄絶負け「負けたぁ」. Daily Sports Online (in Japanese). Kobe Shimbun. November 15, 2015. Retrieved November 15, 2015. 
  7. ^ "11/15 Tenryu Retirement in Tokyo, Japan: Tenryu vs. Okada, Funk & Hansen appear, more". Pro Wrestling Torch. November 15, 2015. Retrieved November 15, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b 【プロレス大賞】ベストバウトは天龍引退試合 天龍の意地と心意気評価. Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). December 8, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2015. 
  9. ^ "『龍が如く 極2』武藤敬司・蝶野正洋・長州力・天龍源一郎・藤波辰爾 VS 桐生一馬・真島吾朗が実現!?【TGS2017】". Famitsu (in Japanese). September 21, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Misc. All Japan Events". 
  11. ^ a b http://prowrestlinghistory.com/
  12. ^ http://www.purolove.com/ajpw/history/carnival82.php
  13. ^ http://www.purolove.com/ajpw/history/rwtl81.php
  14. ^ http://www.purolove.com/ajpw/history/rwtl82.php
  15. ^ http://www.purolove.com/ajpw/history/rwtl83.php
  16. ^ http://www.purolove.com/ajpw/history/rwtl85.php
  17. ^ a b http://www.purolove.com/ajpw/history/rwtl87.php
  18. ^ http://www.purolove.com/ajpw/history/rwtl88.php
  19. ^ http://www.purolove.com/ajpw/history/rwtl89.php
  20. ^ Nikkan Sports Awards - 1999. wrestlingscout. February 13, 2016. 
  21. ^ "PUROLOVE.com". 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h "東京スポーツ プロレス大賞:選考経過(1980~1989)". 東スポWeb - 東京スポーツ新聞社. 
  23. ^ 【プロレス大賞】天龍に特別功労賞 受賞総数「22」は鶴田さんと並ぶ最多タイ. Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). December 8, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2015. 
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h "東京スポーツ プロレス大賞:選考経過(1990~1999)". 東スポWeb - 東京スポーツ新聞社. 
  25. ^ "東京スポーツ プロレス大賞:選考経過(1974~1979)". 東スポWeb - 東京スポーツ新聞社. 
  26. ^ "Tenryū Genichiro Rikishi Information". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 

External links[edit]