Aside from the range of styles Jumbo Tsuruta and Genichiro Tenryu showcase what Dave Meltzer might have valued when giving this bout 5 stars is the circumstances surrounding the match. It was a high stakes battle as Jumbo was the first ever AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship holder. He did this after beating Stan Hansen for the PWF Heavyweight Championship and NWA United National Championship. Since Jumbo already held the NWA International Heavyweight Championship he unified them all hence the Triple Crown.
The match starts off with a slugfest that Jumbo looks to have won until Tenryu nails him with a German suplex. Tenryu’s control of the match does not last long as Jumbo gets him in a submission hold for about a minute. When Tenryu finally escapes Jumbo hits a big boot and clamps the hold back on.
With Jumbo firmly in command the action spills outside, but this allows Tenryu to turn things around when he hits a running clothesline from the ring apron to the floor. Back inside Tenryu goes after Jumbo’s leg, stretching it all sorts of ways. Yet, Tenryu’s offense is not limited to the leg as he also gets in some stiff shots to Jumbo’s face.
Jumbo’s dominance surfaces again as he gets in some good combinations of moves. A little past halfway through the encounter Jumbo pulls off a belly-to-back suplex, two running lariats and a bulldog. Jumbo gets a two after each, but no cigar as Tenryu just keeps kicking out! That’s when Jumbo decides to go up top! Jumbo punishes Tenryu with three stomps to the face from the ropes. He also manages a Lou Thesz press, but no dice.
Despite being slowed down by a stun gun from Tenryu, Jumbo goes back up top for a knee to the face. Tenryu finally gets back in control when Jumbo misses a running knee into the corner. Tenryu then attempts a powerbomb, but Jumbo sandbags. Tenryu then goes for a top rope maneuver of his own, but misses an elbow drop.
Jumbo is unable to firmly get back in control and Tenryu blasts him with a powerbomb and goes for the pin…Jumbo kicks out! Yet, after a second powerbomb Jumbo cannot take anymore and Tenryu pins him to earn his first Triple Crown!
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