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Found 42 results

  1. Now we'e talking with the mid 80s shoot style stuff. This is the finals of a mini tournament (Super Tiger over Fujiwara, Maeda over Mark Lewin). Good kicks from both with a slight edge to Super Tiger. The stand-up sequences that led to take-downs got pretty good as this went on. Lot of armbars and rope breaks, as is expected. Both guys do a reversal into a single crab off that submission. Crowd is hot for these big submission take-downs. Super Tiger is the first to break out some wrestling, hitting a somersault senton onto Maeda's back while doing some arm work. Pele kick from Tiger and he goes up for a knee drop but Maeda avoids. Everybody pretty much no-sells anything but the submission work. Things look bleak for Super Tiger but he keeps fighting for the ropes. Finally he just goes "fuck it" and elbows Maeda in the back of the head, works him up for a tombstone and then hits a moonsault (he also works in a beautiful back spin kick to Maeda's head, which was impressive given how tall Maeda is comparably). That'd be your pro-wrestling finish but Super Tiger just goes right back to the arm, which goes nowhere and Maeda is in the ropes. Both guys start throwing some more suplexes but we're only talking one counts here, followed by more rope breaks. Finally Super Tiger works Maeda into the crossface chickenwing and he taps. This match was ranked 20/75 in the Other Japan 80s poll.
  2. This was quite the clash of the titans style match. Picture it like the scene in a western where a big gunfight breaks out and lots of stuff breaks and lots of people get shot. Takada is kind of a slug, but Maeda carries him fine on the mat, and both guys go into standing exchanges as if ready to die. Not the most pure or artful fight, but brutal and dramatic to the max.
  3. One of my favourite matches of the style. The grappling in this match was amazing. Everything looked tight and out right gnarly at times. One thing I loved in this match was everything lead into each other. For example, Maeda's suplexes almost always lead to a submission attempt on the arm. But the focus of the match was Maeda constantly going for the legs. As great as Maeda was, Takada was the star with his all time great underdog performance. His selling of the leg was fantastic and his defence of the grappling from Maeda was great. He got in some great strikes to gain the advantage in parts of the match. Great battle, filled with struggle and top notch grappling. ****3/4
  4. This was my number one match in the Other Japan Best of the 90's voting, and truly a beautiful piece of professional wrestling. It is paced differently then any of the other matches in the Top 15, and I am guessing the odd pacing may have been a reason it finished low on some peoples ballots. Fujiwara, especially in the late 80's and 90's does this really stop-start almost Fugazish pacing, where you have big exchanges or moves, and then lulls, where both guys would circle or feint, before the next attack. I really like this kind of pacing, it is the kind of thing you often see in shootfights or boxing matches, really brings drama to the moments of action. The first part of this match, Fujiwara is really not taking Yamazaki seriously at all. Like he is almost contemptuous, imagine Flair v. Scott McGhee or Ricky Steamboat in their first match. He throws in a cheap shot headbutt, dancing around mugging, puts on a knee bar while reclining with his head resting leisurely in his hand. At one point Yamazaki throws some kicks which miss, and Fujiwara responds with some really assholish thrown kicks of his own. Almost like the Jock Football player taunting the Asian kid with fake Karate. Fujiwara has some of the greatest facial expressions in wrestling history, and he really gets across contemptuous prick. Yamazaki finally gets some respect when he hits Fujiwara with a nasty kick to the stomach for a down. Yamazaki tends to be kind of hit and miss with his kicks, and Fujiwara only sells the ones that land big, unlike a lot of other guys who will sell intent not result. Fujiwara also is always trying to catch the middle kicks, although even when he does, he will sell the shot if it is solid enough. The last ten minutes of this match really bring it over the top. Fujiwara has gotten four downs on Yamazaki so he just needs one more knockdown for a technical decision. So Yamazaki has his back against the wall. He gets fed up with the abuse and you almost get the sense he has decided to dish out some receipts even if he is going down. Like many Fujiwara matches ring positioning is very important, Fujiwara had been trapping Yamazaki in the corner and punishing him with bodyshots. Yamazaki kind of bull rushes Fujiwara in the corner, and just unleashes body shots of his own, seemingly aiming right for Fujiwara's sake soaked kidneys. The downs get close to even, and they announce five minutes remaining. They then go right to the corner with both guys now throwing with abandon and trying to maneuver the other into the corner, Yamazaki gets the final turn and cracks Fujiwara with a knee lift for a nine count. Now UWF2 had booked a ton of 30 minute draws, including one in the opening match of this show. Really the only reason to book so many undercard 30 minute draws is for a main event finish like this. So we are at 28 minutes and Yamazaki unloads with nasty headbut right to Fujiwara's mouth. Now this is a clearly a receipt for the headbutts earlier in the show. Fujiwara comes up with blood dripping from his mouth, and this look on his face "So were throwing headbutts now, Motherfucker," and he just unloads with three nasty headbutts including one right to the eye for the TKO at 29 minutes 30 seconds. Yamazaki was technically fine here, but this was the Fujiwara show. Just an artist at telling a story with smirks and eye rolls and sneers. Every action had a reaction, great great stuff.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. Just a notch below their 1984 matches but still really really good, which tells you about the general quality of the series. It continues the theme of Fujiwara the superior grappler vs. Tiger the superior striker. Snug matwork, good strikes and great selling. Terrific finish as well. **** 1/4
  8. This is my favourite Fujiwara/Super Tiger match. They work it with Fujiwara having the upper hand on the mat and Tiger being the dominant striker but the gaps aren't huge and both can hang and fire back in both departments. Fujiwara is awesome here, busting out awesome takedowns, countering Tiger's strikes, reversing his holds on the mat etc. but he also has all time great punches and just rocks Tiger with them when they're standing. There's a really great moment when Fujiwara starts choking Super Tiger with a Sleeper and Sayama sells it with this disgusting cough. Finishing stretch is just unreal with Sayama killing Fujiwara with brutal kicks seemingly forever and his knee drop is also up there with the best there have ever been. Fujiwara is the master at blocking kicks and reversing everything so you can buy he could come back at any time but Sayama just keeps on kicking him in the head and destroying him and it's this super dramatic struggle and then one time when Fujiwara finally gets a comeback in he gets cocky and throws a headbutt that knocks HIM down. That spot played up so many things, from Fujiwara's arrogance to the damage of Sayama's offence neutralizing a spot that I don't think had ever been neutralized before. And he just keeps on killing him and pretty much invents the shoot style KO/TKO finish in the process. FIVE STARS.
  9. UWF Heavyweight Champion Terry Gordy vs Hacksaw Duggan - UWF TV 8/3/86 Watts looks to go national and has positioned Hacksaw Duggan as his lead babyface and the Fabulous Freebirds as his lead heels. I think of Duggan as a sort of Northern version of Dusty Rhodes. He is a tough everyman and more no nonsense than the Dusty. I was definitely looking forward to this hoss battle and it did not disappoint with Hayes & DiBiase (awwwwwww they made up!) sent to the back, it was mano y mano. There is a fucking MASSIVE shoulder tackle to start that sends Gordy flying through the ropes out to the floor and you just know this is going to be a straight up badass power match. Duggan is here to win the championship and he is gets a hot cross body for two. He just keeps pressing his advantage. He is overzealous and misses that three point stance wedgebuster into the turnbuckles and Gordy promptly applies the Oriental Sleeper, but Duggan rakes the eyes. Duggan misses a kneedrop and Gordy does not miss a beat working the leg in logical fashion: wrapping it around the post and then the figure-4. Duggan is selling like a champ including a one-legged sunset flip! Now Gordy misses a kneedrop and it is time to taste his own medicine. Gordy nails a piledriver and this is just a badass hoss spotfest. Gordy hits his Asiatic Spike into the Oriental Sleeper, but Duggan will not be denied. The TV time is winding down as they are about to go off the air and Duggan starts rallying with his big three point stance and the crowd is rabid for a Duggan championship victory as the screen goes to black. The next episode shows the finish with Buddy Roberts saving the match for his running buddy, Bam Bam and triggering the DQ. DiBiase in a mask saves the day. Besides the shitty finish, this was one helluva power struggle, basically, a bonafide hoss spotfest that just never let up. You could feel how bad both men wanted it and how much the crowd was behind Hacksaw. Wicked entertaining. ****
  10. 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.
  11. This was quite the shootstyle main event. A little long and directionless at times, but the matwork was good enough and when they threw kicks, they just sliced through eachother. A seemingly gassed Yamazaki nearly kicking Maeda's head off was such a spectacular moment. Yeah I don't have much to write about this. Solid in the first 20 minutes and pretty dope violent stuff in the last.
  12. G. Badger

    Assorted NJPW from 1987

    No one really seems to talk about the 1980's Japan anymore. That ship has sailed and people have moved on to other stuff, I suppose. A few years ago...maybe 5 years...I can't remember, NJPW, AJPW, and essentially UWF were being watched in depth and ranked by a good handful of folks. Pretty awesome stuff. I've got the lists saved on a USB drive. I'm not going to even try to recreate or resurrect the 80's projects with my Saturday posts but, I love the 80's Japan stuff. 1986-1988 NJPW is one of my favorite periods in puro. Even in posting these, I realize how much more I need to check out in 1987 NJPW. Nobuhiko Takada & Akira Maeda vs Keiji Mutoh & Shiro Koshinaka (03/20/87): Oh my goodness! This match was awesome! The UWF team was soooo stiff and the NJ team was just totally exciting yet, looked good taking a beating. Maeda wasn't going to kick somebody unless he could kick them in the head. This seriously was bell to bell fun. There were moments where the excitement ebbed but then bam! It flowed right back to where it was before. A true lesson in crowd control that frankly you only witness in the finest of wrestling matches. This stuff is timeless. Takada & Maeda vs Mutoh & Koshinaka (03/26/87): Damn these guys can really go! In six days these guys delivered another must-see tag match. Surprisingly it's in a different vein than the earlier one although there are some similarities. Both teams just have great chemistry and put over each others moves so well. Fast paced action throughout & certainly the stuff tag fans like myself can never see enough of. Not as good as the first but, still really great stuff. The abrupt finish is the only thing holding it back from being an all time classic match. ****1/4+ type scenario. Takada & Maeda vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kazuo Yamazaki (05/25/87): I'll have to re-watch this as I was a bit tired but, still this was a very good stiff match. I didn't really appreciate Takada killing the momentum in this match with leg locks or arm-breakers when it wasn't really called for. Match was really something with the other 3 guys though as Maeda's perfectly OK with getting kicked in the head. Takada vs Kuniaki Kobayashi (08/20/87): The '87 IWGP Jr title finals. This took a damn long time to warm up as it was Takada's usual stall job. He uses cross-arm breakers and wakigatame as rest holds! Come on! He's a good worker but doesn't know how to use his submission moves to build heat, he just throws them out there. Kobayashi is pretty cool here but sorta lets Takada go which hurts the match until the final stretch which is pretty top notch. Selling of damage would really help in this setting. ***1/2ish perhaps... Takada & Maeda vs Fujiwara & Yamazaki (09/01/87): I felt this was better than the 5/25 match because Takada wasn't in too much to kill the momentum. His time killers were ok because he was in just for a little bit. Still the other 3 were much better and Fujiwara really brought his B+ game here especially with Maeda who continues to be one of my favorites because he strives for realism. Case in point he had a Kobashi mouse on his cheek...take your pick which head shot did that! The big downside with these UWF only matches is that the exciting aspects like double team moves and drama generators like saves are eschewed in the pursuit of a "pure" athletic competition. Re-watched: Saw this a day or two later with my Dad who's pretty critical & he really liked it. That's the confirmation I needed this is a damn good match. I wish the ending was better but, still good and more natural than I thought. Plus it helps push Yamazaki forward. Takada & Yamazaki vs Keiichi Yamada & Shiro Koshinaka (10/25/87): I strongly feel that the best showcase for the UWF guys in NJPW is against regular workers. It lets them work their submission against "trained" sellers so the drama and importance is really played up. Also the UWF guys are really good pro-wrestlers too so they have no problem taking the pro moves as well as incorporate some of their own. This really helps the variety of the match. In any case the best guys to face the shooters are Fujinami, Koshinaka & Yamada. I also liked Mutoh in '87...anyhow...this was another really great match...which I've forgotten the ending of but, I just love how these guys work together Koshinaka, Yamada & Yamazaki vs. Hiro Saito, Kintaro Hoshino & Kensuke Sasaki (12/03/87): This was an all action 6 man match. It really was a showcase for the stars. I cant say it was back and forth as 5 minutes were skipped ahead. Nonetheless this was a fun action packed match. I dont think there was much drama but, that doesn't take away from how enjoyable this was.
  13. Tamura is wildly outmatched but comes out all guns blazing out of defiance. Maeda is stunned but quickly counters with a leglock and brutal knees to the face. Tamura's selling is amazing. A 2 minute, 19 second match that almost hits the great mark. Tamura and shoot-style are the best. *** 3/4
  14. Miyato is usually terrific in the underdog role but here he excels at playing a bully as well. Typical awesome matwork and Tamura's selling in the final stages was masterful stuff. ****
  15. I believe this was the second show of UWF 2nd stage and so they did this match as a bit of strong style in it's stiffest format. For example, they picked one another up, there was a snap mare and a large number of rope breaks instead of escapes. So with that said, it's totally understandable that they opted to do this. They had to ease people back into the U-style and not discredit everything they did in '86, '87, and the first half of '88. That's wild when you think about it. There was a three year gap and three years in wrestling is a long time...basically a seachange from 1985 to 1988. Ok so we take this more as a NJPW match. If that's the case then this is awesome! The submissions aren't as believable until later but the kicks are vicious. Even the submissions were very dramatic because you never knew the one Takada was going going to tap to & Maeda was eating kicks. Really cool brutal stuff. The stiffness didn't take this over to the level of violence that was shown in 7/24/89 & that was beautifully teased in the Yamazaki/Fujiwara match. Not quite the same type of match though so it's hard to reconcile where this fits in the shoot-style paradigm. A classic for a strong style match but not up to credibility standards for UWF or shoot style...got to rate it more as straight pro-wrestling.
  16. Really strong storytelling here as Fujiwara comes across as the stronger, more-seasoned wrestler, who is content on grinding Super Tiger down at all times. It's a great dynamic for the entire match. He starts the match by grabbing Super Tiger and giving him a huge atomic drop, and then catches his first kick and just releases his grasp. Good dickhead type stuff there. Fujiwara grabs a triangle choke and, while it appeared Super Tiger tapped, the ref breaks the hold and the match continues. I'm not sure what happened there, he didn't seem to be under the ropes. Fujiwara catches a second kick, and turns it into a dragon screw takedown and we're back to the mat. Any time Super Tiger can get a break from having a limb worked over, he fires off exciting kicks which really gets the crowd going. Twice he lands these and goes up for a big move (knee drop was one of them) but Fujiwara moves out of the way. While nothing from the top is executed, there is a payoff later in the match when Super Tiger drops a vicious knee on Fujiwara's skull. Fujiwara hits the first piledriver but Super Tiger's follow-up tombstone later is fantastic, with Fujiwara selling it like death and staying balanced on the top of his head for a slow fall. When Fujiwara fights for another later, there's a great subtle touch of him locking the leg with his arms to be able to lift Super Tiger up for the move. The finish sees another kick caught and we get the big payoff with a huge back spinning kick from Super Tiger. A couple other kill shots are laid in and he locks in an arm and neck submission and Fujiwara gives up. We get a handshake and show of respect post match. This match really resonated with me when I reflected back on it. Lot of connected pieces here that told a good story. This match was ranked 7/75 in the Other Japan 80s poll.
  17. 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.
  18. The infamous shoot. I searched j-web too but this 4 minute JIP seems to be the most complete video of the match there is online. There are some nice potatoes in there and Maeda's final blow is vicious.
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