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Found 16 results

  1. For a match that wraps up in under 10 minutes, there is a lot do it. Funaki is wrestling his fourth match for UWF 2.0 and already has losses to Yoshiaki Fujiwara and Yoji Anjo, plus a DQ loss to Bob Backlund on his record sheet. Nakano came up through the original UWF and while by no means a star, is positioned as both the veteran and fan favorite against Funaki. There is very much an “our guy” versus “this other guy we are unsure about” vibe from the fans throughout. The match has excellent heat form the start. Just that total anticipatory shouting and yelling type of heat. Hakata Star Lane only holds a few thousand fans (and it shows) but man, those fans made a lot of noise. An awesome big fight atmosphere that is made even more remarkable by the fact that these fans just sat through a 30 minute draw between Mark Rush & Minoru Suzuki. You would never know that this match was coming of the heels of a 30 minute draw and was positioned second on a five match card by the crowd reaction. They take advantage of that anticipation by going at it right away and cutting a remarkable pace. This is a brawl in every way possible. They throw hard kicks and slaps in a reckless but still skilled manner. There is almost no separation between the two wrestlers, save for few times the times when one is trying to answer a ten count and a couple of timeouts for the doctor to check on Nakano. The doctor looks at Nakano because he gets a busted up and has his nose bloodied early. The blood adds another dimension to the match and heat, as blood tends to do. Nakano and Funaki had a better pro wrestling brawl by staying in the ring and not using any weapons than most guys who lean on those gimmicks do. The mat work is overall very good. They were able to take the intensity from the standup stuff and transition it the ground, which is not always easily done. There was a real struggle and stiffness to the mat portions of the match, with both guys constantly in motion trying to counter and escape. There are shoot style matches that have higher level submission attempts and escapes, but given the intensity they were wrestling with it didn’t make an ounce of difference. They fell into the somewhat common shoot style trap of getting tied in dual leg locks, but got out of it quickly without losing any of the momentum they had built. In fact, they only gained crowd momentum as the match wore on. As hot as the crowd was at the start, they only got louder in throwing their support behind Nakano. One the blood starting flowing, the crowd threw all their weight behind Nakano by chanting his name and screaming during his comebacks. Nakano lifting his fist towards the crowd after the doctor decides that the match can continue was a great moment and only served to get the crowd even more behind him. Funaki jumped right back on top him after that. Funaki never allowing Nakano to gain much space was a big factor in the match working as well as it did. Nakano’s low-to-the-mat suplexes are great. I loved how he teased one signature snap suplex only for Funaki to half-block it in this really realistic manner. Funaki didn’t just put on the breaks or get on a knee like you would normally see. Rather, it came off like he was holding his weight back as much as he possibly could, but still ended up being driven halfway into the mat on his head. When Nakano pulled off the same suplex cleanly later in the match, it got a big reaction. I could see the argument that they could have used a couple more high level near-submissions for Nakano near the end, but the ones they had felt like more than enough. It would have been difficult for them to draw more heat for a near-victory than what they were already drawing. The finish felt like it came at just the right time, plus Nakano milked it just long enough before giving up that it had time to sink in. It is a cliché, but this was one of those matches where both winner and loser came out looking strong. My first thoughts after watching this was “that’s what some people think Ishii matches are” and “that’s what Ishii matches should be.” I am not picking on Ishii or at least I don’t intend to. But this was a hard hitting, super intense brawl of a match that never let up and got there without burning through a bunch of stuff or going long. I read a lot of people talk up matches from Ishii, Sekimoto and the like because they gravitate towards matches where two guys take a lot of punishment and go down swinging. That is fine, but matches like this are an example of how that can be done without resorting to no-selling, burning through moves, or going long. A match like this is potentially appealing to a far wider offense because it doesn’t do those things, while keeping the positive elements (drama, intensity, the feeling of a throw down brawl) of an Ishii-type bomb fest. Awesome match overall and probably one of my favorite sub-10 minute matches of all time. It is quick, heated, and hits almost all of the right notes. http://www.crossarmbreaker.com/masakatsu-funaki-vs-tatsuo-nakano-uwf-2-0-07241989/#more-3100
  2. This was pretty much a shootstyle brawl with plenty of bitchslaps and stomps. So, exactly what it should be. Man, did Funaki just treat everyone like garbage then? It brings out Anjoh's inner dickhead tough to even things up. The grappling was fine enough and they kept things going for the entire 20+ minutes which ain't easy, but the highlight was clearly them kicking the crap out of eachother. Funaki's time in europe had clearly rubbed off on him as he went for stuff like mid section headbutts or cravate holds which he executes like a WoS wrestler. He sure loved his spin kicks, but the thing I most dug were his short low kicks. Really entertaining match.
  3. Man, I forget what a great fight this was. Crazy UWF grappler Backlund was so cool to watch. Easily the best stuff he ever did. Basically Backlund irritates Cool Guy Funaki a bunch so Funaki tries to beat him to a pulp, including knife edge chopping him in the face. Supposedly the UWF people didn't like Backlund's pro style spots (altough Funaki starts working more pro stylish himself), and it almost felt like Backlund was being intentionally goofy to piss Funaki off. He even seemed to be smirking for a few moments. The best part is that Funaki can't seem to crack Backlund. I loved how Backlund would take a beating, but seemingly toy around and then fuck Funaki up with a single blow. Also dug how easily he threw Funaki off and reversed his holds. The non-finish is a bummer, but I can't really imagine a proper finish for a match this bizarre.
  4. This is a UWF showcase on a SWS card and not particularly one I thought was great. A lot of the matwork just seemed there and they didn't seem to do much to advance it and it just felt transitional. Funaki does put on a great job at constantly nailing Sano with palm strikes and he also demonstrates great head movement avoiding Sano's palm strikes which were the highlights for me. Aside from that, I thought this was rather forgettable.
  5. Pretty much the UWF equivalent to the later RINGS grappling matches. Funaki in his shoes is hilarious. Really enjoyed the early amateur style work especially the toe holds. Then, after some slick but strugglesome grappling Suzuki goes on a tear against Funaki with tight submission attempts only to be caught by surprise. Little too short and sudden to amount to much but I always enjoy a fun undercard match like this.
  6. Really cool seven minutes. Funaki was the heir to Inoki and Suzuki is a 2010s Billy Robinson, so you knew you'd get some neat matwork, and while it didn't last very long it most certainly was neat. Funaki is more than a decade Suzuki's senior but you couldn't tell from how he moves. He's still super quick in the scramble, rolling through and grabbing armbars like it was 1996. The last couple minutes were just great. They burst into a frantic race to either score the submission or drop the other with a bug suplex and the slickness with which they were reversing and countering was pretty impressive. Wish it were longer, but you take what you can get.
  7. The first shoot style match of the show! This was something like a RINGS match with a more focused narrative-some nice matwork at the start before Funaki catches Aoki with a HUGE leg kick, after which Aoki's leg becomes a target and Funaki uses it both for direct attacks and feints. Funaki's dominance lasts until he goes for one his more pro-style moves (the Penalty Kick) which Aoki uses for a counter and they end up in a whirlpool of lightning fast hold counters. It really is saying of both man's talents (but especially Funaki's-since he's the one that's done them regularly for many years) that a mostly methodical short match can be this good. ***1/4
  8. New Exciting Wresting presented its first show this month and I couldn't wait to see what it would look like, I'll jump at any opportunity to see any new shoot style or hybrid shoot style. The opening was kinda dull, reminding me off the dull HARD HIt matches I'd give up on halfway through, just them exchanging weak middle kicks and some pointless matwork with no sense of urgency. Once they moved back on standing it got pretty good, as they started laying in shots, with Funaki's head kicks in particular reminding me of the kind of violence I really missed from this style, and the match was short enough that it more than made up for the pedestrian matwork. ***
  9. I imagine Taichi would be universally loved if he worked 1973 WWWF since all he does is stall and cheat. The opening was fun and Suzuki's willingness to stooge was crucial to it. Mathc lost steam in the middle with the Liger in peril section, attacking the mask might get heat but it's boring and somewhat pointless when it goes for a while as you understand they're pretending to try to take it off instead of actually trying to take it off. Finish was fun with the face team clearing the ring with lots of doulbe/triple team moves and the Funaki-Aoki finish was more dramatic than I'd expected as they set up the nearfalls very well and I bought into them. Aoki's frog splash looked amazing and got a big pop as did Suzuki's apron kneebar. ***
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