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[1993-08-13-UWFi-Fight of Champions] Yoji Anjo vs Naoki Sano

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Is this the best UWFi match ever? Sano is wrestling on the same level he was working at in 91 for PWFG and Anjoh is one of the best, if not the best worker in UWFi. Sano is one of the best at throwing in pro style offense into his shoot style matches and here is no exception where he goes for an great looking fisherman's suplex that doesn't feel out of place even though he can't really capitalize on it. The mat wrestling was intense and Anjoh dicking it up and complaining to the ref made it even better. The awesome finish is icing on the cake.

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Yeah, this was outstanding. One of the best matches of the year. Not sure what else I can add. I struggle with commenting on UWFI matches because even when they're great, I find it hard to explain what made them work. "Great matwork" gets a little old. But this connected with me.

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Hot start-o as they showed some skilled techniques in the early skirmishes. Always nice to have a bit of spice to the rivalry too, which wasn't hard to create when Anjoh was in there. They settled into a groove with a nice balance to the work. The quality remained good but 20m was a bit too long. It drifted in and out with intermittent excitement. I wouldn't put this with the best UWFI matches, but it was the best bout of this excellent show. I certainly wouldn't object to seeing a rematch.

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Big difference on the mat between these two and Takayama/Lydick that was shown before. Couple minor stuff I didn't like such as Sano letting go of the STF even though Anjo hadn't reached ropes yet. Pretty good overall though and I love the cross face chickenwing as a finisher.

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Funny how Sano constantly turns up in my favorite shootstyle matches. This ranks among one of the better ones I've ever seen, with lots of crazy leg dive takedowns from Anjo and some great counterwrestling. Basically a more technically advanced version of the previous match--without that match's killer ending but with greater depth to it.

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I was eagerly anticipating this one and it didn't disappoint. First Anjo and Sano start off with an intense segment. Everything here is a struggle and there is a ferocious pace to what all is going on. Anjo clapping like a prick to Sano's attempts was amazing heeling on his part. Anjo then flips him up like a pretzel and we again get another restart. Sano taking control and uses his whole body weight to maintain control capped by him driving his elbow into the side of Anjo's face. This chess match continues with good counters, tight mat work with lots of wrenching, and powerful throws when necessary. Anjo keeps using those knees and strikes to effectiveness. Sano giving Anjo a taste of his own medicine with kicks as Anjo applies another hurty, intricate submission was brilliant. Release German has Anjo really winded but he still is able to lock on an STF. Sano escapes this and finally catches Anjo in one thing he can not escape and Anjo is forced to tap. A top 5 shootstyle match of the 90's and great stuff overall. ****3/4

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This one was very good, with lots of pro-style moves like the ones mentioned above. Just when Anjo (who was the superior wrestler for much of the match) looked to be running away with it, Sano stormed back to take the next five points plus the winning submission, which fittingly enough was a pro-style crossface chickenwing.

 

As a fan of pro-style, I found this very accessible, which isn't always the case with shoot-style bouts. Maybe having Sano (who was quite a successful junior in NJPW, as most of you know) had something to do with that.

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Easily the best UWFi match ever and the best men's match of 1993. Incredible matwork, great incorporation of classic pro wrestling throws, Anjoh heeling it up and Sano underdog work are perfect and the build to the finish and the finish itself are terrific. **** 3/4

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I feel like I need to rewatch this and maybe more Sano & Anjoh to get more appreciation for this. I liked the '95 match better actually. 

Naoki Sano vs Yoji Anjoh - UWFi 8/13/93

I loved their '95 bout and finally found their '93 bout and this did not disappoint whats so ever. I think I would have an even richer appreciation for these matches if I watched more Sano and Anjoh matches individually. These are two great matworkers that come up with some really nifty ways to organically apply conventional pro wrestling submissions. Both Anjoh and Sano apply the STF in like the coolest way ever from catching a kick. I think however because they are so evenly matched that it becomes a story of eveness and symmetry. I dont really understand what causes the momentum shifts. However, this is where the point system became super useful as it was a guide to tracking who was "winning". It no longer felt super even. So I may not have understood the "why" I could at least understand the "what". Again, this is with little understanding, but it seemed like Sano had to prove himself to Anjoh early on. Sano is the more famous of the two in my view due to the Liger series. Anjoh was every aggressive early on and Sano kept bucking him off or countering. Anjoh clapped after the second time. Maybe it was just Anjoh being a dick. Sano dominated the early portion of the match first with counters and then with big time submissions like chokes, Boston Crab and an STF. Sano hit a great Fisherman suplex. Really wrapped him up. Anjoh's big break was catching Sano with a kick which earned him a three point knockdown. After that they traded submissions but Anjoh seemed more in a rhythm and was controlling the match. I thought the finish was spectacular and explosive. Sano looking like he was about to bested gets a home run with a Release German that counts as a knockdown evens up the match in both score and in momentum. With the momentum on his side, Sano picks up the win from a beautiful, tight, painful Crossface Chickenwing, which I immediately said thats gotta be the finish and it was. Like I said I liked the '95 match better from recollection, but a lot of people call this the greatest UWFi match of all time. I feel like I might be missing the boat due to ignorance. To me there was nothing super unique about the characters that drove the match in a different direction or unique about the narrative. It was explosive, entertaining catch wrestling, but to me a true classic has a hook either from the narrative or characters that makes it transcend time. Amazing match, highly recommended to watch. ****1/4 

 

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Yeah, this ruled. Both guys are on another personal level, especially Anjoh with his takedowns and matwork, and the crowd is loving every second of Anjoh's sleaze and Sano's underdoggedness (?). Fiery start with the kicks, Anjoh trying to snag the rear choke and Sano tossing him off like "no way, Yoji." Like I mentioned earlier, Anjoh's takedowns are real slick -- the roll up kneebar was dope. At one point,  he's got a hold of Sano's leg and he's just working in every which was he can while Sano is trying to heel kick his way out of it. Plus, that transition into the STF toward the end ruled. Sano has some great suplex throws, of course, and he gets the fans behind him as he fights back, ultimately tapping Anjoh with the crossface chickenwing. As mentioned by others, one of the best matches in UWFi so far. 

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