written by Zedi and Kevin Wilson
WAR (originally Wrestling and Romance but later changed to Wrestle Association R) was founded in 1992 by Genichiro Tenryu. In 1990, Tenryu had left All Japan to join SWS, and when he did so Giant Baba said that Tenryu would never be welcomed back into All Japan. Baba stuck to his word, and after SWS went out of business Tenryu had no home. Soon thereafter, Tenryu started WAR as the promoter and booker. Masatomo Takei, Tenryu's brother-in-law, helped Tenryu in starting the promotion and was also the first WAR president.
Most members of the initial WAR roster were former SWS wrestlers, but many international stars also participated on WAR shows, including Abdullah the Butcher, Rey Mysterio jr, Lance Storm and Chris Jericho (working as Lionheart). Tenryu also kept a limited working agreement with the WWF, leading to some WWF stars coming to WAR and also allowing Tenryu to compete at WrestleMania. WAR also ran a lot of interpromotional shows, with wrestlers from New Japan, Tokyo Pro Wrestling and UWF. WAR never had a significant number of contracted wrestlers, so in order to keep things fresh with the promotion Tenryu lead his limited faction against other promotions. In fact, Tenryu was the last wrestler to ever pin Antonio Inoki, doing so at the Tokyo Dome on 1/4/94. Over the years, as the leader of WAR Tenryu faced such wrestlers as the Great Muta, Nobuhiko Takada, Atsushi Onita, and Shinya Hashimoto among the others.
WAR did have some wrestlers that had WAR as their main battleground, however, including Kakihara, Orihara, Araya, Hirai, Ishikawa, and others, but none of them were close to the draws that Tenryu was. Unfortunately, after WAR had feuded with New Japan and UWF their attendances began to decline as the promotion was simply unable to run a profit without help from other promotions. In 1996 WAR attempted to run joint shows with FMW but the partnership wouldn't last. Unable to draw on their own, WAR events decreased in number as Tenryu began working on other interests.
After feuding against them as a promotion, in 1996 Tenryu started wrestling more for New Japan and promoted less seperate WAR events. Even though the promotion was still active, Tenryu became more focused on wrestling as a Freelancer then working as a promoter. Following Giant Baba's death and All Japan's decline after the NOAH split, Tenryu rejoined All Japan Pro Wrestling and stopped promoting WAR altogether. A farewell show was held in July 2000 to celebrate the 8th anniversary of the promotion and to announce its closure.
WAR briefly revived for a one night stand event in 2006 at the Korakuen Hall, when several companies joined to promote the last WAR card. Dragon Gate was the promotion more involved in this event, capturing with its wrestlers both the revived WAR International Junior Heavyweight Championship and International Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. The singles title was later abandoned, while the tag team title was unified with the Dragon Gate Open the Twin Gate in late 2007. Even though WAR never drew the attendance of the larger promotions, it did succeed in lasting far longer then most independent promotions and played an important part of puroresu with its feuds against other larger companies.