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

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Not a Fujiwara classic, but match of the show for sure. This is Yamazaki’s big win, so Fujiwara worked from the top more. This also had a lot of dueling leg work, with Fujiwara really struggling and cranking for each submission. Yamazaki was landing a lot of body blows which Fujiwara sold with some of his awesome drooling sells. Still this was a match with a similar story to Nakano v. Maeda and Nakano was way more demonstrative and energetic then Yamazaki. I liked the post match show of emotion by Yamazaki, but it felt like I needed more of that in the match.

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Fantastic match, and yeah, the best match on the show for me. There is an aggression here, and a sense that something worth fighting for that is missing from the other matches on this card. Both guys are pretty aggressive and the match has quite a few big momentum swings, with both guys dominating at times and both guys looking like they aren't going to make it much longer at times. I wish I had more to say about it at the moment, but other than calling this the match of the night, I'm not sure what else to add.

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And here I thought there was far more aggression in Anjoh/Takada. I'm getting to the point where I don't even know what I'm watching anymore when it comes to the UWF. The upset finish was nice but this was clearly the #2 match of the night and only marginally better than Maeda/Nakano, which is not a knock per se, I just liked the other two matches a lot.

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Best match on the show, thought it wasn't as dramatic as the Fujiwara-Yamazaki matches from the 80s Other Japan set. The matwork here came off as really hard-fought, which isn't surprising for a Fujiwara match but distinguished it from the other 4/15 stuff. They also staged the knockout quite well.

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I really liked this a good deal from the dueling legwork to dramatic knockout with Fuji not being able to get up in time. Yamazaki also looked really genuinely enthusiastic to have won the match.

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Fujiwara getting his leg kicked but able to turn an off balanced Kazuo into an armbar was sweet. Fujiwara adds some foot biting when he has the knee bar on. Guy is really growing on me. Lots of putting a leg lock on only for the other guy, usually Fujiwara reversing for his own. Fujiwara gets German suplexed but the referee is not counting. Don’t know why but it doesn’t matter as he takes a head kick for the KO. Nice surprising result here.

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I liked this. Fujiwara systematically destroys Yamazaki, and Yamazaki powers through it, beats the odds, and knocks out Fujiwara with a nice kick. Now the near upsets lower on the card make sense, as they got the crowd lathered up and ready to see one guy pull it out, and finally Yamazaki is the guy. Nice way to build the card to lead to this moment.

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Quite the show here. I dug both main event matches. This one saw a fine array of techniques utilised and also had some superb selling, particularly from Fujiwara. The way he fell after the final KO shot was a thing of beauty. I can see why people love this guy and I'm a fan too. Yet he always has these strange moments during matches where he does wierd stuff. Everything is going along great and I'm loving the match but then he'll do something slightly odd and disconcerting. It's hard to put into words, but there's always something holding me back from total enjoyment.

 

Joyous celebrations from Yamazaki after the upset. It's always great when they look genuinely happy after a big win.

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God, if I must. Let's try to keep an open mind then.

 

On the one hand there was quite a lot of intensity here. The kicks in particular seem pretty stiff, and the whole thing was heated. On the other hand, I'm an insomniac and this match seems to have cured me because I can't keep my eyes open and am off to bed. Was bored rigid for most of it -- which ever way you dress it up, a half crab is still just a half crab.

 

I will admit that I enjoyed the moments of explosive fisticuffs, especially in the finishing stretch. And when the German suplex hit it was with so much struggle and had been so fought for that it felt like a real high spot. Pretty good underdog story told as well. B-

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This is the UWF's equivalent of The 1-2-3 Kid beating Razor Ramon. Yamazaki fights hard, but still gets squashed for the most part until one kick stuns Fujiwara and the next one knocks him out for good. The post-match celebration was a genuine feel-good moment, as there was a joy here that can only come out of utter shock. This win alone ought to make Yamazaki's career for quite a while, and it'll be interesting to see if it does.

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I appreciated the subtle aggression here, and the way it came through in the struggles for holds, especially on Fujiwara's part. Really enjoyed Fuji's strike sequence towards the end, and a very cool finish that I wish modern companies would use variations of. I guess the flash rollup is similar but this has much more impact with Fujiwara still looking strong. He looked like a literal old dog while getting punched in the guts. Yamazaki had some good fire here. Cool match.

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Here's what I love about Fujiwara so far in 1990. He's like an old martial arts teacher. He is clearly physically declining and not able to stand toe-to-toe with the Maedas, Takadas or even the Yamazakis of the world. But he's got this massive bag of tricks that nobody comes close to matching. So he'll use his body and head movement to make stuff miss the mark. And he'll do that to bait guys into bigger things and make themselves more off-balance. And he's patient on the mat, he'll take a little pain to find a counter-submission that sticks. Also, he's very good at controlling his opponent's momentum. Yamazaki is really good at mixing trying to get in on Fujiwara with strikes and trying to catch him with a submission, finally getting one that Fujiwara has to go to the ropes for. Fuji comes back swinging, which plays into Yamazaki's strength and it pays off for Yamazaki. But not before Fujiwara takes a powder to slow Yamazaki's momentum, even if it didn't work. I really dig Fujiwara as this formidable guy because he can catch you off-guard in so many different ways. He's not going to wow you with big anything. He'll just sneakily get you into a spot where you are all of a sudden in trouble when it looked like you were in charge.

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This is amazing, surprised this never gets talked up. Excellent underdog vs. wily veteran story with classic Fujiwara facial expressions and mannerisms (watch his smug look as he reverses a Yamazaki hold and casually applies a knee bar), slick mat counters, super violent strike exchanges and a superb finish. Yamazaki's best singles match ever for me at this point and Top 5 for Fujiwara. I can't believe Fujiwara somehow fell out of my Top 10 for GWE. He should have been an easy lock. Anyways, **** 1/2 for the match.

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This rules. You had Kazuo Yamazaki throwing strikes where he can, with the wily Yoshiaki Fujiwara weathering the storm to snag a limb and bend. He keeps turning the tables on Yamazaki, escaping his holds or countering with a hold of his own to force Yamazaki to the ropes. There are plenty of swanky takedowns from both men but the patience and experience of Fujiwara proves to be an advantage over the more aggressive Yamazaki. At one point, Yamazaki is just kneeing the fuck out of Fujiwara's head to try and shake him off the arm but it's Fujiwara, dude, he headbutts for a living. Yamazaki's finally able to grab something, a single leg crab, but Fujiwara breaks the hold and unloads on Yamazaki in the corner with a flurry of pissy old man strikes. Awesome finish and Yamazaki's post-match celebration is the icing on the cake.

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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. ****  

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This was fine. I'm not a huge fan of shootstyle matches with a ton of leglocks, altough Fujiwara is one of the few wrestlers who can make it somewhat interesting. He basically outclassed Yamazaki here with amazing fast submissions and counters left and right. When Yamazaki finally starts to unwind it's somewhat pedestrian as he's reluctantly beating on Fujiwara with elbows and knees in the ropes. Though I did love the little kick he belted Fujiwara with when he went down, a nice touch of taking out built up frustration. Fujiwara blasts him with those awesome body shots though a seemingly punch drunk Yamazaki hits a lucky suplex and quickly puts the old man away for great reaction. Parts of this were great but the overall structure and Yamazaki being Yamazaki didn't draw me in as much as it possibly could've had.

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