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[1991-05-10-UWFi-Moving On 1] Kiyoshi Tamura vs Masahito Kakihara

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And the UWF has now ceased operations, with three promotions (UWFI, RINGS and PWFG) rising from the ashes. The matwork was really engaging, but what made this stand out more than anything was the feel of two young guys really laying it all out to try to make a name for themselves. Some people look at this style as its own animal, but the character work here proves that despite any other difference, this is still just pro wrestling.

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This was a good bout with some neat work on the ground. A highlight for me in this bout was when Tamura was in the mount position . Kakihara exposed his ribs to Tamura, and Tamura just beat on the area with strikes. Man that looked nasty. These guys have to have some serious cardio to work this style .

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This is a total war, and one that's far more theatrical than most UWF matches. There are a lot of "near-falls" here and Tamura even throws in a Samoan drop/Death Valley driver-looking thing. Coincidentally this is right where I come on-board with shoot-style and hopefully have fewer and fewer bitchy comments to make as we go through the rest of 1991 and beyond.

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Liked this one as it was two guys really going at it and putting up a good fight. There was one point where one of them missed a jumping spin kick and then tried to do it again which felt a bit too staged for this type of match. But otherwise it was pretty good with the strikes and when they got on the mat they were always moving and trying to finish the other off.

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These guys were definitely hungry and cut a tremendous pace to have a very good match. The action was slick and gritty and the strikes and moves at the end were stiff as hell.

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Not much body fat between these two. Ka-ki looked quite raw at times but made up for it with his fighting spirit and aggression. They certainly weren't holding back much with the strikes. Tamura looked more experienced and balanced, so was always the likely winner. Not great technically but spirited and fiery.

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This looked pretty good, from what little I could make out of it. Having two guys in there I'd never seen before took away from this a bit, as did having to get used to a new scoring system. Both guys seemed excited to be at the forefront of a new promotion, and that's always good. I'll have to watch more to form a better judgment, both of these workers and of UWFI as a company.

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I enjoyed the offense from Tamura more than Kakihara. His striking looked good, particularly his knees, along with the leg submission work he did on Kakihara. Tamura came across as the seasoned professional and Kakihara seemed like he was hoping to get a lucky blow in and pull out an upset. He almost seemed to be fighting afraid to me. It's like he's throwing everything he can out, and hoping something sticks. He misses with one wild kick, but connects with another. He gets pretty excited about that. But, Tamura quickly settles him back down. The leg work pays off for Tamura and he eventually gets the win with it. It was worked pretty stiff, but I felt the match was just okay.

 

#481 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-500-451/

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Loss' #481. Tamura was still a little raw here and really hadn't had that many fights under his belt up until this point. I'm guessing that's the reason why it was such a scrappy affair. The mat stuff was okay but the stand up portions weren't as good as in later Tamura fights. Things got a bit loose down the finishing stretch and I disliked that Samoan drop thing Tamura did. Overall, it was better than anything I can remember Tamura doing in the UWF, so it was likely his best match to date, but like most novices they were a bit too ambitious down the stretch and lost their way a bit.

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I liked how even when things got heated during exchanges Tamura was still far more surgical with his strikes instead of just throwing stuff out there. And he had a definite plan of attack, really attacking the leg throughout. Kakihara looked more like a guy who was, as mentioned above, just hoping something landed instead of putting the right strike in the right place to land.

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A cool little match-up. I loved how Kakihara faked like he was going to just grapple with Tamura before he unleashes his traditional flurry of strikes. Tamura shows off some skill on the mat but again, Kakihara’s hands are all over him like fly swatters. When he does get some breathing room, Tamura’s in-ring awareness is shines through, as he’s constantly grabbing limbs, settling into holds and avoiding the bigger blows from Kakihara to get a takedown. When Kakihara misses the big spinning heel kick, Tamura stays on him with knees to the ribs and a nasty shot to the face. When he starts swinging for the fences, missing wildly, Tamura coolly takes him down with a belly-to-belly slam. Kakihara finally grazes him with another spinning heel kick and follows up with another that squarely hits the mark. He then applies a front necklock, deadlifting Tamura with almost a brainbuster. The exhaustion faction plays into the finish of the match, as Kakihara is sluggish, trying to trade kicks with Tamura, and Tamura catches a leg for a takedown. Kakihara’s able to counter with a leglock of his own, but Tamura re-counters and Kakihara taps out.

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I loved the sense of urgency from both guys, namely from Kakihara, namely when he got locked in that kneebar by Tamura and he quickly scrambled for to grab onto Tamura's ankle with an ankle lock and Tamura not even bothering to strike with Kakihara in some instances and just throwing him to the ground and going for submissions. Also loved him continuously going for the flying spin wheel kick as he knew it would hurt Tamura if he was able to land it and when he did indeed land it Tamura was rocked and had to rely by going to the ropes to have the ref. count as a down. That flash back take by Tamura into the rear naked choke was great and Kakihara did a fantastic job of trying to scramble to the ropes to break the hold as quick as possible. Also loved how both guys were packing heat in this and not holding back one bit. The palm strike exchanges were somewhat sloppy, but these guys were slapping the taste out of each others mouths regardless and those corner knee strikes from Tamura were brutal. Tamura also threw a Superman palm strike which maybe the oldest footage I have ever seen someone throw one in. I wouldn't have minded the final big Death Valley Driver if Kakihara at least tried fighting it off, but he just let Tamura lift him up and them dump him without trying to fight it off. The crowd was really into this as well constantly cheering on Kakihara. This was on its way to being a classic in my opinion, but both guys were visibly gassed near the finishing stretch and they had to drop the intensity and go for the finish. Really good match though regardless of that.

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This is was at it's best when both guys were throwing bombs. Tamura hit Kakihara with a DVD that looked like the one that Velveteen Dream does, can't say I was expecting to see that in a shoot-style match! The matwork felt hyper realistic , but it lacked flavour. Being a the first ever match under the UWFi banner, this gave you a taster what to expect and to introduce to two wrestlers who would be very important to the development of the promotion. 

★★★

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Fucking awesome. Really set the tone for what UWFI was going to be. Great mix of strikes and grappling. Tamura being really assertive and dominant throughout the match. Leading the nasty strikes, being snug with the submission, even simple things like cranking the neck on the headlock. Kakihara trying to absorb everything, blocking the submission very well and doing some lovely counter striking. All in all, great match. ****
 

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