Born Genichiro Shimada
in 1950, Genichiro Tenryu
is a Japanese
sumo and Professional Wrestler
and promoter. He started as a sumo wrestler at the age of 13 and competed for 13 years. All Japan Pro Wrestling
's Giant Baba sent Shimada (Tenryu
was his Shikona,
or ring name,
in Sumo) to train with the Funk Brothers (Terry
and Dory Jr.) in their Amarillo, Texas promotion. Tenryu debuted against Ted DiBiase
in 1976. After some time in the AJPW undercard and a brief run in Jim Crockett Promotions, his career started picking up in the 1980s. He is the second wrestler (Big Van Vader
was the first) and the first native-born one to win both the All Japan Pro Wrestling Triple Crown Heavyweight Title
and the New Japan Pro Wrestling IWGP Heavyweight Title
. He also held the NWA World 6-Man Tag Team Titles
with The Road Warriors
. Tenryu and fellow former sumo wrestler Koji Kitao defeated Demolition
(Smash and Crush) in the team's last-ever PPV match, at WrestleMania VII
in 1991. Tenryu also was in the 1993 Royal Rumble
and, as a hired gun for Mr Fuji
, was one of the ten wrestlers who attacked The Undertaker
during his casket match
with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Yokozuna
at Royal Rumble 1994.
(He also competed in the Rumble match itself.) He was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Hall of Fame in 1996.
His list of symbolic achievements is pretty long: he is the only Japanese wrestler who ever pinned both Giant Baba AND Antonio Inoki
, the only wrestler in being a consistent top draw player in almost all the known puroresu promotions (hence his nickname "Mr. Puroresu"), the only founder whose wrestling promotion closed by itself and not due to money troubles, and finally one of the oldest wrestlers in active.
As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki
- Arch-Enemy: Riki Choshu, Jumbo Tsuruta, Keiji Muto/the Great Muta. In the case of Tsuruta, after Tenryu defeated him for the Triple Crown, Tsuruta offered a handshake out of respect, and Tenryu refused to shake hands. In the case of Muto, it extends to real life, and Tenryu left All Japan in the 2000s mostly because the role of chairman was given to Muto and not to him.
- Badass Grandpa/Ring Oldies: He's 63 and still competing.
- Bash Brothers: with Ashura Hara, Jumbo Tsuruta, John Tenta and (in real life) Koji Kitao.
- Finishing Move: Powerbomb, Lariat, Northern Lights Bomb, 53 Sai (a snap brainbuster which he started using it after turning 53 years old).
- Good Is Not Soft: Face or heel, Tenryu is always very brutal and stiff in the ring.
- Guttural Growler: Tends to growl while wrestling.
- I Know Sumo: Had a sumo career. Known as a friend to all sumo pro wrestlers.
- Identity Impersonator: Donned a mask as "Hayabusa" to team with the original (who had renamed himself "H") for a win over GOEMON and Kodo Fuyuki at FMW's June 16, 2000 show.
- Lightning Bruiser
- Non-Indicative Name: His shikona and ring name "Tenryu" literally means "Heaven Dragon", whose benign connotations are somewhat dissonant for a characteristically callous wrestler like Tenryu.
- Power Stable: Revolution in All Japan, New Japan and Super World Sports (SWS), which also included Toshiaki Kawada, Hiromichi "Samson" Fuyuki, and Yoshinari Ogawa.
- (in New Japan): Pirates Gundan
- (in New Japan and WAR): Heisei Ishingun
- (in AJPW): Kensuke Family
- (in Dramatic Dream Team): TKG48
- (in HUSTLE): HUSTLE Army, Monster Army and RIKI Corps
- Red Baron: "Mr. Puroresu", "Fuun Nobori Ryu" (Japanese for "Sky-Rising Dragon"), "HUSTLE General" and "Monster General" (as a member of Generalissimo Takada's Monster Army in HUSTLE).
- Sadist Teacher: A harsh trainer. It's said that Tenryu instructed foreign wrestlers to be stiff against the WAR rookies.
- Start My Own: First SWS, then WAR, both defunct. Notably, WAR remains as the only defunct puroresu promotion that folded by practical reasons and not for monetary problems or dissacords.
- True Companions: With disgraced yokozuna and pro wrestler Koji Kitao. Tenryu befriended him for their similar sumo backgrounds and made him the second star in SWS, only to Kitao and his anarchistic tendences cause the company to fold. Even so, Tenryu remained his friend and brought him to his next promotion, WAR, where Kitao finally redeemed himself to the puroresu world. One can't help but admire Tenryu's patience.
- Worked Shoot: Tenryu's wrestling style is just traditional puro, but he works notoriously stiff, to the extent that he can comfortably face shoot-style users. His matches with Nobuhiko Takada are worth to mention.