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Wrestling / Genichiro Tenryu

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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 Unified Triple Crown Heavyweight Title and the New Japan 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. He might be the trope namer for a pro wrestling version of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki.

"Sky-Rising Tropes":

  • The Alcoholic: He is a known drinking animal, to the extent that in real life "Tenryu Cocktail" is the puroresu slang for getting shitfaced by sake on the rocks.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Riki Choshu.
    • Jumbo Tsuruta. After Tenryu defeated him for the Triple Crown, Tsuruta offered a handshake out of respect, and Tenryu refused to shake hands.
    • With Keiji Mutoh/The Great Muta. It extends to real life, as Tenryu left All Japan in the 2000s mostly because the role of chairman was given to Mutoh and not to him.
    • Tarzan Yamamoto, writer of the Weekly Pro Wrestling magazine, hated Tenryu for leaving AJPW, and had a huge campaign against SWS. many people believe that Giant Baba personally paid him to write against Tenryu.
  • Badass Grandpa/Ring Oldies: His active career came to an end while he was 65.
  • Bash Brothers: with Ashura Hara, Jumbo Tsuruta, John Tenta and Koji Kitao.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: A rumor very popular in Japanese tabloids is that Tenryu had an enlargement surgery.
  • Captain Ersatz: In Fire Pro Wrestling since Combination Tag in 1989.
  • Celebrity Endorsement: He left All Japan Pro Wrestling to become the spokesman for the eye glass company Megane Super. However, MS executive Hachiro Tanaka wanted to run his very own pro wrestling promotion and used Tenryu to help launch what he called Super World Of Sports.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Black and yellow, reflected on his tights and boots.
  • A Father to His Men: Even if he was a cruel trainer, he is described by everybody as a very generous and caring boss, even to people from other promotions and foreign wrestlers. In a time in which going to Japan to wrestle was synonymus of being treated coldly, stuffed money and forced to subsist in bad hotels, people like Lance Storm and Chris Jericho only had good things to tell about him.
  • Finishing Move: Powerbomb, lariat, Northern Lights Bomb (scoop brainbuster, originally adopted from Kensuke Sasaki to taunt him) and 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.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Once broke a beer bottle on Katsuyori Shibata's head.
  • Guttural Growler: He is famous for his raspy and gruff voice.
  • Hard Head: Once challenged Yoshiaki Fujiwara to a headbutt contest while pretty drunk and he supposedly went toe to toe to him.
  • I Know Sumo: Had a sumo career which was discharged by a scandal, and he is nown 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.
  • Improbable Weapon User: His trademark water bottle, which he would throw on his opponent's face with accuracy. He once knocked out Commander An Jo from the other side of the ring this way.
  • Jerkass: Though a respected and venered wrestler, is notoriusly stiff and brutal when working in the ring with young wrestlers or people he doesn't like very much in real life.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Uses stiff soccer kicks when his adversaries are on hands and knees.
  • Licensed Game: Tenryu Genichiro no Pro Wrestling Revolution for the Super Nintendo, based on Wrestle and Romance(which would become WAR).
  • Life of the Party: Known as one of the greatest to party with in Japanese wrestling.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Strong and fast, able to do power moves and surprisingly agile spots.
  • Mighty Glacier: During the last couple years of his career. Kazuchika Okada couldn't so much as turn him for the rainmaker and Tenryu's strikes were every bit as good as always but his steps were labored.
  • My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: Tenryu's signature enzuigiri is actually not a homage nor a parody from Antonio Inoki. He developed it on his own in United States upon hearing Inoki had debuted a new kick finisher in Japan, and it coincidentally happen to be very similar to Inoki's. They are actually not identical moves; Tenryu's version was later adopted by Akira Taue and other wrestlers in AJPW.
  • 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.
  • Odd Friendship: With rakugo comedian Sanyutei Enraku IV, who was Tenryu's classmate.
  • 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).
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue Oni to both of the Road Warriors, usually warming up or stretching in the corner while they made a much more showy entrance.
  • 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 disagreements. It was in fact started partially because Giant Baba felt betrayed be the SWS deal and would not allow Tenryu to return to All Japan.
  • Super Spit: Often does the Asian mist with water from his bottle.
  • The Cavalry: When All Japan lost most of it's roster to Pro Wrestling NOAH they were kept afloat by the return of Tenryu, who brought the wrestlers who would have otherwise been working for WAR with him.
  • Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: His signature Guh Punches, stiff jabs to his opponent's face, are technically illegal strikes in puroresu, but Tenryu normally gets away for being who he is. He is not above other kinds of cheapshots and illegal tactics as well.
  • 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 in their own style. His matches with Nobuhiko Takada and Koji Kitao are worth to mention.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Has wrestled singles matches with joshi wrestlers. Even more, he has done it in his signature brutal style with absolutely zero qualms. After a match with Tenryu, Shinobu Kandori of all people reported having believed she was going to die during his match.