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

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I may have liked this even more than the February match. The exchanges are faster and more violent, and the maniacal smile on Fujiwara's face throughout this match is golden. This isn't about Fujiwara trying to beat Takada. This is about Fujiwara trying to manipulate Takada to beating Takada. He repeatedly lures him into a false sense of security, and has a smile on his face even when after Takada drills him. He gives him points of offense in the goal of getting him in position 2-3 moves later for something important. There are some amazing KO teases in this, and I am not sure I have ever seen Takada look so tough. Call me crazy, as I may be overrating this, but this felt like an all-time classic and is my #2 MOTY.

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This is definitely one of the all-time great Fujiwara performances, as his opening punches in the corner followed by the headbutts are absolutely awesome. And the grin on his face after every Takada flurry makes him look like the toughest, most masochistic motherfucker in history. A really clever finish too--Fujiwara does his punch-and-headbutt-in-the-corner flurry for a 9.9 count on Takada, but gets a little too complacent with that sequence and when he does it again, Takada's ready for it and floors him with a kick for (what I think is) a rare TKO.

 

This was one of those Ted DiBiase matches with the great opening and maybe a good finish, but with a middle that may as well have been cut out for how boring it was.

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What a match. Fujiwaras expressions were majestic throughout the match. takada for his part had great strikes and more intensity than usual. This is competing with Vader vs. Takada from 94 for me for my favorite shoot style match at this point.

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This was a staggeringly great match. I'll talk about Fujiwara in a sec, but Takada was sensational here -- a focused, stalking badass with a variety of great strikes. And the one time Takada dropped down for his leglock of doom, Fujiwara goosed him through it by selling and then essentially inviting Takada to kick him in the face. Which leads me to Fujiwara's masterful performance. I think this is about as good as a wrestler can be. He did a great job establishing his strategy of luring Takada into corners and countering. His strikes, not just with the head but with the hands and feet, were as good as I've seen them. His selling, from the taunting grins to the way he let his body droop when Takada landed a particularly big blow, was remarkable. I just can't imagine a wrestler doing anything more, on macro or micro scale, to put over a match. Pete, I have no idea what boring middle you were watching, because I didn't see it here. Top 5 for the year.

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Fujiwara fights off an anklelock but doesn’t like his positioning so he just headbutts Takada in the face twice. Well done. Fujiwara gets on top later and drops more headbutts. Takada does his laying on the mat until 7 and then pops up like he’s fine. Fujiwara gives up his body to the kicks but you know he’s just waiting to catch one to try to get the anklelock. Oh no Fujiwara. Normally when Takada spends time on the mat I drift off but Fujiwara makes things interesting.

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A captivating contest that had my full attention throughout. Fujiwawa for once came out with real aggressive intent and took it right to Takada, who seemed taken aback by this change of tactics. Unlike their previous bouts he was the one having to ward off attacks and fight defensively. Yet halfway through the veteran went back into his shell as his natural instincts took over. He backed into corners and counter-attacked. Fascinating viewing. Everything that happened revolved around Fujiwara. I was rooting for him at the end. After 23m both were hurting and it went down to the wire at 4-4. Up until then it was more cerebral than exciting, so that rounded it all off nicely.

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I've never seen one of these actually end on points before, so this was something new. I liked how the match was built around each man avoiding the other's best weapon: Takada's feet and Fujiwara's head. Takada is knocked down twice by Fujiwara's head early, and it gets to the point where he locks up with one hand on Fujiwara's head to stop any more lethal headbutts. Nice touch. It's a shame no "normal" wrestlers used the headbutt to the side of the head and neck the way Fujiwara did here; they always clashed forehead to forehead, which might have looked more impressive but no doubt left fans wondering why you'd take a chance on hurting your own head by clashing it full force with your opponents' head.

 

Fujiwara may have the most twisted grin I've ever seen on a professional wrestler. This man enjoys his work for sure, probably too much for his own good.

 

I know all wrestlers sweat to a degree, but it's really noticeable with these guys, especially since there's so much of a struggle for each hold. Unfortunately, while we saw plenty of sweat and underarm hair, we missed several major strikes and at least one knockdown that I remember. The people filming these matches need to stay on the ball at all times.

 

Speaking of which, I'm not sure if it was a slip on the ref's part or fast maneuvering by Fujiwara, but Takada clearly knocked him down once and received no credit for it, and Fujiwara clearly grabbed the ropes at least once to break a hold, then let go. I guess if you make your way up before the ref can start his count or take your hand off the ropes, as Fujiwara did, it's not really a knockdown or a rope break.

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Great match. Two masters going at it. Everyone is gushing (rightfully so) about Fujiwara, but Takada was at his best here too. The way he milks the rope escapes and the KO's are fantastic, from his body language to his facial expressions, both the care which he tends to approach his opponent with because he knows shit is coming if he gets caught on the mat or in a corner, and the urgency he puts into his flurries of offense. Both Maeda and Takada had their best matches, and MOTYC, with Takada in 90, while their match together just didn't reach that level. Just sayin' ;)

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This is definitely better than the February match. I kind of hold the 7/24/89 Fujiwara/Yamazaki match as the gold standard for this era, but this might be better. Fujiwara is so conniving here, always luring Takada into different situations, always with a smile on his face. I didn't participate in GWE, but I was reading something, maybe the reaction thread, and someone was talking about how fake Fujiwara's headbutts look. Clearly that person had only seen the pro wrestling stuff. Very good headbutts here, right from the start. Takada's selling on the knock downs is so great. Great finish too, Takada finally wises up to Fujiwara's tricks and catches him for a TKO! Top 5 match for me for the year.

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A classic and a truly fascinating match, especially if you take their february match into account. Fujiwara comes out swinging early which sets the pace of the match-he rocks Takada with brutal punches and headbutts and establishes dominance early on. Takada is extremely cautious in his attacks against him having already been reversed in their february bout. The majority of the knockdowns don't really serve as nearfalls, rather their point is to establish who is in control off the match and set the stage for the finish. The exception to this is the last time Takada is knocked down as he falls down before just making it to his feet at the last second. That moment completely changes the atmosphere kicks off the finishing run. Takada's selling is crucial to the match quality-the way he wobbles after Fujiwara's Leglock and slowly falls down after a standing knock down in the corner keeps the crowd on their toes. Fujiwara's downfall is his character-whenever he goes for his usual quirks it costs him. Him laughing about finally getting Takada in a dangerous Leglock allowed Takada to counter it by palm striking the shit out of him and thus gaining one of his first openings in the match. Takada's strategy is to kick through Fujiwara-and he varies his kicks and strikes a lot due to Fujiwara's amazing defence. If he kicks too high too early he'll get reversed and leglocked. If he doesn't time a low kick well it's getting checked. That creates and unparalleled sense of struggle giving everything that happens importance, and the action itself is just epic-Takada kicking Fujiwara in the face is an amazing spot on its own but context allows it to truly bloom. *****

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Finally got to see this and it completely lived up to the hype.

 

Takada was absolutely fabulous here. He shrugs off Fujiwara's initial aggression in a cool, stoic manner but then is phased by the Fujiwara mind games and then tries to weather the storm using logic and his famous kicks. His selling, KO teases and urgency are all top notch.

 

Fujiwara, not sure what to say, maybe the most cerebral performance in wrestling history. He came out extremely aggressively and when that doesn't work, he tries to out-think Takada. Repeatedly luring Takada into a false sense of security, thinking 2-3 moves ahead, temporarily absorbing damage so he can place himself in the advantageous position at the end of the exchange. He gets a little too complacent and it costs him at the end.

 

The violence of the headbutts, kicks, palm strikes, etc. is immense. A great sense of struggle throughout the match. Builds off their 2/90 match extremely well. An all time classic for sure. **** 3/4

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Loved this match! Takada seems motivated throughout, which is truly his major weakness in most matches. Might have been Fujiwara keeping him off-balance that kept Taada so involved this time around.

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Loved this.Takada doesn't do a whole lot for me, especially on the mat, but when he's paired against Fujiwara, I find myself more invested in him as a performer. He sells Fujiwara's awesome lunging headbutts like a million bucks and sells the danger of Fujiwara on the mat, at times, freaking out when Fujiwara's able to reverse a hold. Fujiwara's as methodical as always with that classic grin, brushing off Takada's kicks and hanging out in the corners, which he utilizes as a home base when Takada comes striking. Such a fantastic visual when Takada's strikes get to be too much and Fujiwara slumps to the canvas, still managing a smile when he makes it back to his feet but ultimately, running out of options.

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This is the complete opposite of the February match. That match had slow build and very little points used. This has one of the hottest beginnings I've seen in a shoostyle match as Fujiwara immediately goes to pound the living shit out of Takada. Fujiwara was a grinning madman here out to teach Takada a lesson with his fists and cranium. Some people have pointed out that Takada was more cautious here than usualy, which I don't quite buy - to me it looked like Lazy Takada was in full swing for much of this match, to the point where it looked like Fujiwara vs. a dummy at times. They use up all their points equally, altough the actual finish was not quite as epic as what they seemed to be hinting at. I still like the February match better than this, but this was tremendous regardless.

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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? 

Second Half: Has Takada ever looked better on top? He was a stone cold killer in this. The kicks always look phenomenal, but in addition his palm strikes and kneelifts were brutal. Fujiwara really withstood quite the barrage before going down. Takada was just blitzing him. When Fujiwara did finally go down that look of dejection was just sad. He popped back up, but you knew Takada was rolling. I thought Takada's big mistake was going back to the ground. I get changing it up and using the the stand up game to set up a submission, but he kept getting countered. He got caught twice taking Fujiwara to the ground both times it ended a rope break. Guess what Fujiwara was up 3-2 when it felt like Takada had all the momentum. Takada only had himself to blame. The ultimate sequence when in the leglocks Takada just starts mercilessly kicking Fujiwara in the face until the ref is forced to call a down. I actually felt bad for Fujiwara. Even though earlier in the match he pulled the same shit in the match where he headbutted Takada into a submission, I felt bad for Fujiwara. Then all of sudden in the corner, Fujiwara came alive body blow after body blow forcing Takada to protect CRACK! Wicked headutt fells Takada...fuck this prick Fujiwara and fuck him for making him feel sympathy. I was hook, line and sinker at that point. Takada looked like a world beater but is down 4-3. I loved the selling after this. Fujiwara had his shit-eating grin and Takada is doing a great knocked loopy sell. Takada just keeps kicking, just keep kicking. Kidney kick has Fujiwara reeling and a kick to the bad leg AND IT IS 4-4! NEXT KNOCKDOWN WINS! Can I stop to stay how much I LOVE THIS POINT SYSTEM! It makes the matches so dramatic and it really creates drama down the stretch. Fujiwara has this MASSIVE GRIN on his face as he is luring Takada into the corner. Takada takes the bait...Fujiwara reverses position...he is working...fuck I cant believe Takada is going to lose...Takada kneelifts...Fujiwara body shots...BIG LEFT KNEELIFT TO THE HEAD ROCKS FUJIWARA...HUGE RIGHT KNEELIFT...DOWN GOES FUJIWARA! DOWN GOES FUJIWARA! Takada beats Fujiwara at his own game and much more definitive finish than their October 1989 classic makes this an easy ***** and one of the best shoot-style matches of all time. 

 

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Fantastic match. They used the point system to perfection here. The striking is clever and the grappling is excellent. Some good subtle extra work by Fujiwara with his facial expressions too classic. ****3/4

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Takada throws some strong strikes, but this is the Fujiwara show. He's the crafty veteran who wants to school the new kid on the block. He's like fights like a scrappy pit bull, throwing some stiff headbutts to Takada. He was great at selling fatigue, as it looks like he's starting to struggle to keep up Takada, who has cardio for days. This started to lose me when they spent too long on the mat. It's a stylistic preference, I know, I just prefer to see more strikes and less grappling. 

★★★½

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