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Superstar Sleeze

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  1. Superstar Sleeze

    [1990-10-25-UWF-Atlantis] Nobuhiko Takada vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara

    Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Nobuhiko Takada - UWF II 10/25/90 I love Fujiwara! I love Takada! Does it live up to the hype? First Half: Fujiwara is a genius. Best defense is a good offense. Takada definitely relies on his stand up game and especially his kicks to establish his offense. Fujiwara takes that away by being so damn pugnacious. From the opening bell, he is lunging at him headlong with headbutts and attacking the body. Takada is covering up as best he can and just trying to weather the storm. Takada is going for holds more out of defense and trying to break Fujiwara's momentum more than anything else. The double wristlock out of the German and the heel hook was to save himself from the barrage of headbutts. It was almost like Takada was trying to get his wits about him. The leg work which i usually find boring as hell in Takada matches was great here because of how much struggle there was. Fujiwara's snarl and labored breathing added so much as did Takada's facial expressions. My favorite moment of the match thus far was when Fujiwara had one hand on Takada's throat and then started throwing headbutts to break the submission. Great selling from Takada. I brought this up in October 25, 1989 match is how well the drama was built in the application of the holds. In the next ground grappling session, once Fujiwara locks in a kneebar Takada is scrambling for the ropes and selling it upon standing up. That puts over the move and invests everyone in the match. Also, I really loved how Takada was not completely overwhelmed. An important point in the match was when Fujiwara had him in a wicked toehold. Takada's first instinct was rope break, but he stands up and blasts Fujiwara in the ear to earn a knock down. Thats a huge swing from losing a rope break to knocking your opponent down especially a head shot. Takada came to fight. That really sold me. Fujiwara roared back. He got a knockdown in the corner with a series of WICKED palm strikes, I mean brutal. Then he got on top of Takada on the ground not to apply a hold, but rather just butt him with his head hard many times. Until the ref called him off and started his count. Thats when the match really changed. Takada had his bell rung, but so did Fujiwara it looked like to me at least. You can only deliver so many nauseating headbutts before the damage takes a toll on you. Fujiwara could no longer follow up and here came Takada with the same strategy from last October lay in those wicked kicks to the left hamstring. Fujiwara is trying to block and go on offense but as we go into the second half, Takada has built a lot of momentum targetting that leg with his patented kicks. Can Takada complete the comeback or will Fujiwara hit that miracle headbutt for the win?
  2. Superstar Sleeze

    [1989-08-19-UWF] Akira Maeda vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara

    Wow, I guess I am way off base here, thought this was great, but nothing super special. Definitely preferred Fujiwara vs Takada. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Akira Maeda - UWF II 8/13/89 To me this is always the most interesting matchup because it is the intriguing and personable Fujiwara vs the ice cold load, Maeda. I love to see what Fujiwara can pull out of him. I thought the beginning was the best part, it petered out and then picked back up. Fujiwara just RAMS his head into Maeda's three times hard right in the corner. I was expecting a real humdinger of a match after that raucous start. He was lunging and leading with the head brutal. That ended up being his only knockdown. Maeda came back with a kick to the leg and head to score his first knockdown in brutal fashion. After that, it was a pretty strong shoot-style match but nothing special. It was weird seeing Fujiwara dominated like this after watching him dominate Yamazaki. Maeda was the one winning on the ground, forcing rope breaks and getting another knockdown. Fujiwara is trying to lure Maeda into the corner but he ends getting taken down at will. Nice German from Maeda and then a nice double underhook bridge. On the mat, everything is struggled for. The match picks back up when Fujiwara is able to get an ankle cross on a sloppy Maeda rear naked choke. Volk Han fans will know he often used this as an escape from chokes in his matches. Maeda sells this well and here comes the Fujiwara barrage. Body shots and he butts Maeda out of the ring. They dont count this as a knockdown. It is too little too late as Maeda is able to recover without penalty as the ref backs off Fujiwara. Maeda is able to use a series of stiff kicks to put Fujiwara down three times in a row in the corner. Fujiwara was definitely the best part, but I have seen better individual performances. This is the type of match that I enjoy, but it doesnt feel sticky like I am going to forget most of it. Still one of the better Maeda matches. ****
  3. Superstar Sleeze

    [1990-04-15-UWF-Fighting Area] Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Kazuo Yamazaki

    Hmmmm, I guess I am breaking from the crowd, thought this was great but not elite level UWF II stuff. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Kazuo Yamazaki - UWF II 4/15/90 Fujiwara tools on Yamazaki hard for the first sixteen minutes of this match. Fujiwara forces six rope breaks and one knockdown on Yamazaki. It was not that Fujiwara was taking him down at will and then applying the submission. Yamazaki more often than not was taking Fujiwara down and applying submissions. Fujiwara was countering every single submission and it was Yamazaki was the one needing the ropes. That is just depressing as hell. There was one point when the crowd "Ooooooohs" a Yamazaki deep toehold, but Fujiwara kinda just smiles and stands up and counters. That was just a microcosm of the match. This was a major league ass whuppin. With each rope break, Fujiwara had more bounce in his step and Yamazaki looked more dejected. Then it changes around the 15 minute mark. Yamazaki counters out of a Fujiwara armbar and then in another mat sequence he actually gets the better of Fujiwara when Fujiwara surprisingly rolls to his stomach in a toehold leading to a single leg crab and the first Fujiwara rope break. Fujiwara pulls his socks up as if to say "You aint nuthin, kid". The finish is great. Fujiwara clearly shaken by the single leg crab unleashes that signature Fujiwara barrage of strikes to the body and head. Yamazaki is on jelly legs, but Fujiwara does not have that killer instinct. When he goes back to finish the job, GERMAN SUPLEX! Yamazaki with a swift kick to the back of the neck. Yamazaki taking a page of out of Sayama's playbook and the ref admonishes him for hitting the neck. Fujiwara get back up and BANG! Beautiful head kick sends him down for the ten count. Basically a pretty good 15 minute squash match with 3 minutes of insanity at the end. Pretty unique layout, I dug it, not as good as the one man Fujiwara show from 1989, but this is interesting. ****
  4. Superstar Sleeze

    Pro Wrestling Love: Greatest Match Ever Project

    Thanks brutha, I totally agree. Business may have been in the toilet, but the product was awesome! This has to go down as the most controversial Pro Wrestling Love Volume yet! Not because what made the list, BUT what did NOT make the list! It is the best of WCW 1991-1994, the Top Six! https://ridingspacemountain.blogspot.com/2018/10/pro-wrestling-love-vol-17-best-of-wcw.html
  5. Dangerous Alliance (Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko, and Bobby Eaton) vs Sting's Squadron (Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Nikita Koloff, Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes) - WrestleWar '92 WARGAMES We all have those opinions. That just dont jive with the rest of the crowd. That one movie, that one song, that one TV show that everyone else loves, but you think yeah it is great but there's a hundred or so movies or sings or TV shows that are better. It is not that you think it sucks. It is just you think it is great, but it is not the best thing ever. Everybody kinda looks at you like you got three heads when you say it. Wrestlewar '92 Wargames is that match for me. It is a great match, 100%. But match of the decade in the US. Nope. Match of the decade for WCW. Nope. Match of the Year for WCW. Nope. I am not ever sure it is my Match of Night, I really like that Steiners vs Fujinami&Iizuka match. What makes this so weird for me is that I am usually the dude with the opinions in the opposite direction. Like this match totally rocks, why does no one talk about it. I am not the guy who cries about things being overrated. What is also weird is this is like the least polarizing match of all time. Like everyone loves it. So there is one big thing I inherently don't like about WARGAMES is that you miss a lot of stuff. I don't like missing stuff. This is why I dont like three ring circuses. I want all my attention invested so I can understand the plot and action/reaction. I will say this WARGAMES does better with plot than most stuff. You have Larry Z as the only wrestler who did not turn the tide in the favor of his team and ultimately screw the pooch at the end. Also, they have the Sting/Koloff hug which got a big reaction. WARGAMES are more about action than plot. Another thing is the universe of gimmick matches, I prefer street fights to cage matches. Dont get me wrong there are many great cage matches that I will vote for my GME but overall I think it is a restrictive, claustrophobic atmosphere that wrestler has to overcome compared to the freedom of a street fight. Now add ten men instead of 2-4 and you have only increased the claustrophobic nature and thankfully someone was smart to add a second ring or they really would have been fucked. WARGAMES follows a great formula. It is basically a string of hot tags. People love hot tags. I thought Steamboat, Dustin and Arn really stood out. I find that there is always a 30-60 second lull before the next entrant though. I remember watching Larry Z was in a figure-4 towards the end of the match and I just was not moved at all. Like why should I care? I feel like in a single or tag match they would have built so much ground work for me to care. I have given WARGAMES '91 and '94 high ratings. '94 was really carried by the Rhodes family reunion. '91 I thought Brian Pillman and Barry Windham gave outstanding performances. Here a lot of people bled when did the cuts happen. I am pretty observant person I cant even tell you when half bladed. In a way that match almost feels incomplete. There are things I loved I remember really liking Rude tearing at Steamboat's nose. I really liked those hot tags. I think I know what it is. There is a lack of connectivity. It feels like a collection of exciting one minute spurts rather than a great match as a whole. I am sticking with that. ****1/4
  6. Superstar Sleeze

    15 Smackdown Matches To See Before You Die

    YES! YES! YES! For the Greatest Match Ever Project, I am about to jump back into WWE 2000s. I just need to watch three more UWF II matches. This is perfect for me as a couple of these I have never heard pimped before (a good Cena vs Big Show match?!?!). Your Masters vs McIntyre is a very Stacey pick.
  7. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Nobuhiko Takada - UWF II 10/25/89 I have preached this so much and I think this a perfect example of the mantra "The drama should be in applying the hold not escaping the hold". This front half of the match just drips with struggle. It has a huge fight feel. Two equals taking each other very seriously. There are so many quick, sudden movements on the mat as they each are trying to gain the most advantageous position for a finishing submission. Takada ends up in a legbar and he is immediately selling and lunging for the ropes and gets the break. Thats great psychology. There were so many holds exchange that were half-applied, but once one was fully applied the mood changed. It became very serious. You can see how Takada's game plan changed immediately. He started throwing kick after kick to the left leg of Fujiwara. Takada's forte is stand-up. There is another great moment on the ground. Takada has his hands clasped and Fujiwara is just on top of him. To the untrained this looks boring, but God is it tense. As soon as Takada breaks his clasp, Fujiwara will pounce. Takada has to break his clasp because Fujiwara is in control. In a shoot fight, Takada is fucked. Since this is shoot-style, we can suspend our disbelief and believe Takada knew that Fujiwara would try for a double wristlock and thus could counter into the cross armbreaker. Takada's move was fully applied and Fujiwara's was not and thus it is Fujiwara scrambling for the ropes. Again the tension and the drama is in who can apply the hold, once the hold is applied it is a mad dash for the ropes. That is how you respect the hold. Takada goes back to work on the legs. Fujiwara tries to throw his own kicks, which was never his forte. If he is going to throw a strike, it is a headbutt BANG! Thats what we get, it is a delayed register, but Takada goes down in a heap for the first knockdown. The symmetry in this match is incredible. Takada responds by finally chopping down the old cherry tree with his kicks as Fujiwara is forced to take a knee from a flurry of kicks for his first knockdown. Fujiwara tries to scissors the legs but Takada sits outs and now Fujiwara has no leverage. Single leg crab, great labored breathing from Fujiwara he struggles to ropes. Amazing selling from Fujiwara and he is easy pickins for Takada who cracks him in the leg again for a second knockdown. Takada opens a big lead as a wild roundhouse kick to the midsection and then one to face sends Fujiwara reeling into the corner. Takada overwhelms him with kicks to the head for the third knockdown. Takada falls prey to another headbutt in a knucklelock. Why would you ever knucklelock with Fujiwara? Especially this has been his most successful strategy. Takada goes for a knucklelock, but then thinks the better of it crosses over such that his right hand will be linked with Fujiwara's right hand which should take some of the power away from a headbutt. Takada gets another wild roundhouse kick, but this time cant follow up in the corner. He cups Fujiwara in the ear on a lock up which is a receipt for the headbutts in the lock up. It is now 4-2 Takada! Do or die time for Fujiwara! You know what that means! Kidney punches and body shots! 4-3! Takada tries to use the ref as a shield as he knows Fujiwara is lying in wait, but to no avail. Takada weathers the storm and almost has Fujiwara off his feet...only the ropes are holding Fujiwara up when...Fujiwara lunges forward and butts him with his head! IT IS 4-4! Next knockdown wins! Takada kicks out Fujiwara's leg for the close victory. The ref seems uncertain to call it a knockdown, but to be consistent has to and Takada wins via TKO. The crowd is a bit confused because it was a judgment call. Based on the calls earlier in the match it was definitely a knockdown, but it was NOT a definitive knockout blow. Clearly that was on purpose these are two of your three biggest stars and you want rematches so there has to be some protection. The opening matwork was engaging and compelling for the reasons I outlined above. The stand up portion of the match was intensely dramatic. Great selling from Fujiwara, awesome strategy from Takada and then Fujiwara mounting a massive comeback using basically just headbutts and kidney punches was crazy. Definitely one of the best shoot-style matches ever that had pro-style elements (Fujiwara's leg selling and Takada targetting a body part) and I think it was those pro-style elements that made me like this so much. Maybe Takada's best match ever ****3/4
  8. Superstar Sleeze

    [1989-07-24-UWF] Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Kazuo Yamazaki

    Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Kazuo Yamazaki - UWF II 7/24/89 I was kinda dreading this because it is 30 minutes and I dont think shoot-style should go more than 15. I know, I know who am I to doubt Fujiwara? First Half: Really fun front half. When we discuss shoot-style we dont use the word "fun" that much but this was fun. The best spot was Fujiwara feigning a knockdown as if to say "You really think you had me down for a nine count from what little kick to the midsection?". Fujiwara was such a jackass. After being a dick about faking a knockdown, he lures Yamazaki into the corner and headbutts him instead of giving him a clean break. Then he just unloads a barrage of stiff body shots that puts Yamazaki down. Yamazaki gets back up and only takes a couple more body shots before he is down again. I know that was just the last 3 minutes or so of the first half, but what an incredible three minutes. I enjoyed the work prior to that. Fujiwara delivered a nasty headbutt in the opening lockup. Destroyed Yamazaki in the kick game. There was a great moment when Yamazaki had a kneebar and Fujiwara thinks about a rope break. He thinks better of it. He puts his forearm on the throat of Yamazaki and cracks him with a palm strike. What an asshole. Guess what, he counters into his own leg lace and Yamazaki has to use his rope break. Delivered a badass Fisherman's suplex. So was this a squash? No. Yamazaki was able to counter a Fujiwara armbar and attempt his own. His best moment came when Fujiwara hit the a Fisherman Suplex and didnt know what to do next. Yamazaki was able to get a double wristlock then choke, Again, Fujiwara proved to be better as he was able to get a really deep toehold. When Yamazaki tried to use his free leg to free himself, Fujiwara grabbed that and put Yamazaki in a really deep toehold. I hate, hate the term carryjob. But man reflecting on what I watched and writing this, it does feel like a Fujiwara carryjob, but damn if it hasnt been fun as fuck so far. Second Half: Yamazaki looks like such a tool in this match. He is throwing spinwheel kicks that barely connect and Fujiwara just looks down on him like "What the fuck is wrong with you?" Fujiwara is able to get back to back leg submissions that force rope breaks and so he scores another down. I literally say out loud, "Yamazaki you suck, do something" at this point. I finally realize he is throwing the axe kick as feint to set up a roundhouse kick. He finally connects with one to mush but Fujiwara is back up at nine quickly to say that one didnt phase me that bad. Yamazaki kinda spooks Fujiwara with a couple kicks and you can tell these actually affect Fujiwara because he roars back and a couple swift body shots for the fourth knockdown. Fujiwara is such a cocky prick. He announces he only needs one more knockdown and holds out one finger. Yamazaki has such body language at this point. He looks like a man that is defeated and has no fight left in him. At one point, a firefight breaks out and he catches Fujiwara with a kneelift that stuns Fujiwara and scores a knockdown. I am rooting hard for Fujiwara at this point and would hate to see him choke. Yamazaki delivers a brutal headbutt and pops Fujiwara in the mouth so hard he bloodies him. OH SHIT! It is on! Fujiwara just starts leading with his head. He is a fucking Yamazaki-seeking missile. He cracks Yamazaki hard under the eye, I think drawing blood and a TKO victory. Wild finish! If someone says Yoshiaki Fujiwara is the greatest pro wrestler, I wouldnt bat an eye. This is the Fujiwara show and just enjoy it. What knocks this down from the tippy toppy and thought Yamazaki was just a load in this match and didnt contribute much. Fujiwara was glorious in this match. Watch him work! ****1/2
  9. Superstar Sleeze

    [1990-10-25-UWF-Atlantis] Akira Maeda vs Masakatsu Funaki

    Akira Maeda vs Masakatsu Funaki - UWF II 10/25/90 Been loving the Funaki I have been watching, now is a real test can he drag a great match out of the load, Akira Maeda. The answer is yes he can! Great story it is the frenetic energy of Funaki vs. the grind of Maeda. Funaki is always trying to jumpstart the match and get Maeda off his rhythm in the stand up. Maeda is looking to catch a leg and drag this down to the mat. Funaki acquits himself well on the mat is able to counter most of Maeda's submissions on his own. I love that Maeda does not give Funaki a clean break at one point because in his mind Funaki was being a prick. So Funaki did not give Maeda a clean break on a rope break and just rifled him. Then held up one finger each to say we are even. I think UWF II changed their rules as there is a German suplex with a bridge which gets a one count and Funaki gets an absurd number of rope breaks and should have lost the match based on how many rope breaks he gets based on the rules from 1989. Funaki's kicks keep getting countered into submissions and while Funaki is countering he cant really make in-roads on the larger Maeda. Maeda knocks the wind out of Funaki with a massive kick and then a knee totally knocks him loopy. Funaki is using all these extra rope breaks to basically try to restart the match on the feet. Theres a great flurry from Funaki after one of his rope breaks where he tries to overwhelm Maeda with a barrage of strikes and Maeda just spikes him on his head with a wicked capture suplex. Funaki keeps coming and when he goes for a throw Maeda just squashes him. That was a great sequence. Funaki goes a for a single leg and the larger Maeda is able to wrap his arm around his throat to get a quick choke submission. I actually thought this was pretty squash-y. Funaki wanted to use his energy and stand up game to win the match, but Maeda was thwarting him at every turn and never really looked in trouble. Funaki was not bad on the ground but with the extra rope breaks would just use them to restart the match. It was on a takedown attempt he got owned. It was interesting to watch but not a Funaki classic. ****
  10. Superstar Sleeze

    Pro Wrestling Love: Greatest Match Ever Project

    "When you are a follower, the view never changes" - Dusty Rhodes There was nobody like The American Dream, if you will BABY! I absolutely love this era and it may be my favorite era of pro wrestling period. I have watched hundreds of matches from this era and have written reviews for over a hundred. I had NINETEEN honorable mentions and even that was excoriating for me as I was leaving off favorites. It is just amazing Southern-fried wrestling and wrestling I love to promote. Cactus Jack & Jushin Liger innovate two completely different styles that are commonplace now! WARGAMES! "He's just a man! He's just a man!", Ricky Steamboat returns! Of course, in on of the most emotionally moving moments in pro wrestling history, Ric Flair wrestles for the World Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina against the Mastodon, Vader! WOOOOOOOOOO! This volume puts the LOVE in Pro Wrestling Love! WCW 1991-1994 https://ridingspacemountain.blogspot.com/2018/10/pro-wrestling-love-vol-16-best-of-wcw.html
  11. Superstar Sleeze

    [1989-07-24-UWF] Masakatsu Funaki vs Tatsuo Nakano

    Masakatsu Funaki vs Tatsuo Nakano - UWF II 7/24/89 Funaki should have been a massive star in puroresu in the 90s. Funaki vs Tenryu, Funaki vs Takada, and Funaki vs Hashimoto should have been huge draws. Holy shit! What a match, I thought the Anjoh match was great, but this was superb. Balls to the wall for ten insane minutes. It is just a wild shoot style brawl. Nakano is a huge favorite. The crowd is red hot and they are chanting for Nakano throughout. The first three minutes are brutal and electric. Funaki explodes Nakano's face with palm strikes. Funaki gets cut right under the eye by a vicious knee and it looks like he is crying blood. It is unconformable. Funaki gets spiked on his head because he refuses to go over a take down at one point. The trainer has to tend to Nakano. Nakano is the first one to score a knockdown as he escapes a leg lace and blasts Funaki in the head with a kick. Funaki is one of the best shoot-style sellers I have ever seen. He comes up woozy. Who knows if he was selling? Funaki's matches always incorporate really cool organic throws. I love him not letting Nakano complete a Dragon Leg Screw and just stomping on his head. Yes! Yes! Yes! Pro wrestling needs more of this. Pro wrestling should not be easy. Funaki gets a wild spinkick that pops me and then a back drop driver for his first knockdown. That spinkick would make Kawada jealous. He nailed it. Nakano is a bloody mess in the single leg crab. Nakano is kind of a humpty-dumpty looking muthafucka. Trainer is back in. Nakano says he is ready for more punishment. This has been a war. I could see Inoki absolutely loving this. This is Inokiism at its finest. Funaki attacks the knees once the trainer leaves. Nakano thrust kick creates separation and then a roundhouse kick to the head downs Funaki. Wicked suplex/DDT from Nakano. Funaki EXPLODES~! Palm strikes, headbutts and in his furious flurry he leaves himself open for Nakano counterattack who pops him with a knee. This is an insane ending just a wild brawl. Nakano throws a snap German Suplex into a Single Leg Crab and Funaki writhes out. Funaki picks Nakano up and just does a wicked Somersault Alabama Slam! WOW! DEEP BOSTON CRAB! Liontamer-esque and Nakano has to tap out. WOW! I am speechless. A shoot-style brawl that just delivers in spades. ****3/4
  12. Superstar Sleeze

    [1989-06-14-UWF] Masakatsu Funaki vs Yoji Anjoh

    Masakatsu Funaki vs Yoji Anjoh - UWF II 6/14/89 Cool to finally get a feel for some of the UWF II midcard after much pretty much nothing but combinations of Maeda, Yamazaki and Takada. The energy of this match is off the charts. Funaki bitchslaps Anjoh at the bell and IT IS ON! Amazing stand up fight brawl ensues. Anjoh hits some crazy kicks in this. There is a mule/spinkick that catches Funaki flush at one point that looked just nasty. There were some wicked headbutts too. It really should have been scored as a knockdown. This was some really great catch wrestling as you can see how they are taking down one another and positioning them for submissions. Everything is fought for and earned. I loved how many strikes there were in the mounts and the holds. They were constantly whacking each other in the face on the mat or kicking out the legs during standup takedowns. There was plenty of good pro wrestling too. Like Anjoh doing a half crab but standing on the other knee. I forget which one I think it was Anjoh kicked out of a deep heel hook by using his free leg to kick Funaki in the face. Thats how more people should have gotten out of the Anglelock. At one point Anjoh was going back for the single crab and Funaki's free foot just flies up and catches him flush in the face for a knockdown. I loved how Anjoh on a rope break for Funaki forced the ref to count Funaki down even though Funaki had already run out of rope breaks and it was going to be scored as such. It was a psychological thing. Funaki comes roaring back. Gets a Butterfly suplex and I mark out for the Butterfly Lock as that was my finisher growing up. It is actually a legitimately painful hold if you dont believe me my younger brother will attest to it. I would put my younger brother over like 90% of the time, but the couple times I would go over, it was with the Butterfly Lock so it was cool to see Funaki apply it here. We even get a Samoan Drop! The finish is insanely quick. Funaki gets a wicked legsweep. I am a mark for legsweeps, but as they go to the mat, Anjoh is able to apply a hammerlock or chickenwing it is unclear to garner the submission victory. As much as I like shoot style and now that I have watched a good amount, I still find myself having trouble rating it. Conventional pro wrestling, I am rating on narrative, character development, energy and emotion. Here I still dont have much in the way of a criteria. I find these matches are not as sticky. Conventional pro wrestling is easier to remember because it is a story. So point A causes point B causes point C so it becomes easier to remember because there is a logic. I dont want to say this devoid of logic, it is just clear to me. That being said I really enjoyed this because of the energy, struggle and ferocity. I am giving it a monster rating of ****1/2
  13. Superstar Sleeze

    [1989-05-21-UWF] Akira Maeda vs Kazuo Yamazaki

    Akira Maeda vs Kazuo Yamazaki - UWF II 5/21/89 I was dreading this because I found their '88 match so dull, but this was phenomenal. Best Akira Maeda match ever even better than the November '88 match with Takada and I hate Maeda. I think he is boring as piss, but this was great. Tons of great stand up exchanges and throws. Very little time on the mat which suits these guys well. I knew this was going to be great when Yamazaki caught a head kick and just threw Maeda down and starting kicking the shit out of him. The throws were organic and felt like each was earned. The string of four knockdowns in a row were amazing and compelling. Yamazaki was working that leg and blistered it with kicks. Maeda roars back with head kicks. Yamazaki hits that spinwheel kick and then as Maeda gets back up kicks out the plant leg for another knockdown. Maeda spikes Yamazaki on his head at one point with a capture suplex. This was insane. The holds down the stretch were tight and well worked. Yamazaki forced another rope break so Maeda down to his last knockdown. He pulled it out by the skin of his teeth with a tight triangle choke. For a lack of better term, this was an amazing shoot-style spotfest but unlike a conventional spotfest it felt like everything was earned. For me, this is a contender for best UWF II match of all time. ****1/2
  14. Nobuhiko Takada vs Kazuo Yamazaki - UWF II 5/4/89 First Half: Well this is not the most exciting 15 minutes of wrestling ever. I found myself zoning in and out. The match picked up at the first rope break when Takada needed to escape a kneebar. Good selling from him. Interesting that Yamazaki went back after that leg not always a strategy in shoot-style. Bundle of legs where both guys are working leg laces is my least favorite hold. My favorite part of the match thus far is when Takada catches a kick and headbutts Yamazaki and then powerslams him. So pro wrestling, but great. Takada cant capitalize and Yamazaki armdrags and applies a sleeper. There is an escape and Yamazaki tags Takada good with a kick and scores a knockdown. Takada comes roaring back and gets a knockdown of his own with well-placed kicks. This match would be a lot better if it was all stand up. Takada works a single crab and then a kneebar that Yamazaki sells really well forcing a rope break. It is all even now. Second Half: Takada loses the momentum and needs a rope break to escape a single leg crab after Yamazaki kicked out his plant leg. The match gets a lot better as they do some really nice stand up with both men earning knock downs. More interesting and they are just better at it. Takada goes for a cross armbreaker and Yamazaki needs the ropes to escape. Takada goes for a Fujiwara armbar but Yamazaki escapes. Yamazaki hits three massive kicks to the head to score a knockdown. Takada responds with a choke attempt that Yamazaki ferociously struggles against. Here we go! Picking up now. Yamazaki makes this rope and this is scored as a knockdown. Maybe he ran out of rope breaks. Yamazaki applies a Boston Crab and Takada is down to his last knockdown. There is a lot more throws in this than I expected as Takada starts throwing Yamazaki all around. Takada picks Yamazaki back up to knock him down with kicks. I would consider that lame in a normal pro wrestling match never mind a shoot-style match. It is down to whoever knocks down the other first wins. Takada has the momentum, but it turns into one big last knockdown drag out stand up slugfest which Yamazaki wins with a big kick. Too many long stretches of dullness to call this great, but there is enough material to check out. It feels oddly pro-style at times. ***1/2
  15. Dangerous Alliance (Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton & Larry Zbyszko) vs Ricky Steamboat, Dustin Rhodes & Nikita Koloff - WCW Saturday Night 5/23/92 A bittersweet match for me is this the last hyped WCW match from the 90s I have never seen. First Fall: You wanna see a wicked fun babyface shine check this match out. Eaton, Zbyszko and Anderson are stooging for the babyfaces big time. Eaton eats Steamboat's offense like a champ. Zbyszko is hollering in pain. Anderson is the King Stooge. He makes Dustin's punches look like a million bucks. They build really well to Nikita's entry. The no sell of Eaton's suplex is great. I loved the finish so much. Nikita tags out. He does a drop down on a criss cross that forces Larry Z to focus on that only to have Steamboat fly into the screen and wipe him out for three. Red hot start to this one. Second Fall: The babyface team is a runaway freight train. This feels like one of those super fun blowouts where the home team is just demolishing their archrivals. Larry Z cant do anything right. He lost them the match at Wargames one week prior. Here he loses the first fall and then the knucklelock battle with Steamboat. Arn does not fare much better against Steamboat and Dustin. I love how they are limiting Koloff. Triple figure-4 spot. A melee ensues and Dustin wraps his arm around the post. This is the first sign of life for the Dangerous Alliance. Hammerlock slam and Arn is in his wheelhouse. A PERFECT TOP ROPE ELBOW DROP FROM EATON! O how I missed Bobby Eaton! I loved Dustin's comeback with punches and Eaton bouncing off the ropes to eat more punches. This is a great match on how heels should feed a babyface. When a babyface eats, the crowd goes home full! Eaton wants the phone and Zbyszko that fucks up the phone transfer. Eaton gets clipped. Dustin smashes the phone into Larry Z triggering the DQ. Even in victory it feels like the Dangerous Alliance come out like losers. Zbyszko cant catch a break. Third Fall: Ok, believe the hype! This match is amazing! The babyfaces look to continue their fast break. Dustin punishing Eaton. I love how pissed Arn is when Koloff escapes a possible triple team. He knows that was his chance. Steamboat shakes the ropes causing Arn to crotch. This is so much fun. Then it happens...DDT by Arn. Changes the complexion of the match. Steamboat's nose had been busted. He is wearing tape. Arn drives Steamboat's nose into the knee of Eaton. Wow! The selling from Steamboat! This is A+ selling of the nose by Steamboat. Eaton is punching the nose and driving the face into the turnbuckle pad. This is incredible. Eaton reluctantly tags in Zbyszko lets see if he screws this up. Not really actually as it is Eaton when he gets back in that allows Steamboat to make the hot tag to Koloff. Great finish. Anderson holds Nikita, but Larry Z blasts Double A. Then as they are talking, Koloff is revving up for the Russian Sickle and Larry Z who was screening Anderson, ducks and Nikita nails the sickle for the win. I love how the finish of every single fall saw Larry Z fucking it up for his team. They drive it home in the post-match that Larry Z is pretty much gone from the Dangerous Alliance. I love how the work combined to advance the angle thats great pro wrestling. Insanely fun match with the babyfaces looking like champs and the Steamboat FIP is one of the ages. Check this one out! ****1/2
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