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[1991-05-19-PWFG] Wayne Shamrock vs Naoki Sano


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  • 2 months later...

This started off slow, but turned into quite the match around the 10-minute mark. The best thing I can say about this is how much of a struggle everything is. The strikes in this were much better than the matwork, although the matwork was first class too. Shamrock's desperation knees are really something. I thought they both did an amazing job of conveying a *need* to win. I also really like how Shamrock would just suddenly maneuver himself into submissions when it's not immediately obvious what he is doing. The final minute of this may be the most dramatic I've ever seen in this style.

 

With his look, wrestling style and background, it's amazing that Bill Watts wasn't going through fire to sign Shamrock to a WCW contract in 1992. Seeing this match firmly plants an alternate universe in my head where he learns how to combine this style with some good US pro basics to become an amazing pro wrestler and the right guy to get U.S. wrestling out of its post rock-and-wrestling doldrums. Perhaps if he had continued to work with Bret Hart, it wouldn't have to be an alternate universe at all, but he really is a guy wrestling missed the boat on in a big way. Another great match from Naoki Sano's quietly stellar career.

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I was pretty much in shock during this match, I couldn't believe what I was watching. I have never particularly cared for a thing Ken Shamrock has ever done, so I expected nothing out of this match, and it turned out to be as good as anything on the 80's Other Japan set. So much to love about this match, as they pretty much went back and forth from spectacular mat exchanges into awesome slugfest strike exchanges, great takedowns, into more spectacular mat exchanges.__The pacing of this was great, I especially loved how they paced their mat highspots. One guy would get in position and struggle a bit, and their would be a lull, and then super fast move into a choke or a kneebar. The crowd would pop huge for all of the mat spots, and it was the pacing of them which would really do it. Then after the mat near falls they would stand and just lay into each other with big shots, Shamrock's strikes looked way better here then in the previous match, and Sano was drilling him too. This was before Sano went to UWFI so I would guess this was his first shootstyle match ever, and he was a master of it. This was Sano's match, and while Shamrock was game, you could tell Sano was leading him. I also loved how Sano mixed in pro moves, as I actually bought an STF as a shoot submission, and a DDT as a shoot throw. I have never heard anyone even mention this match before and it is a total hidden classic.

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This was before Sano went to UWFI so I would guess this was his first shootstyle match ever, and he was a master of it.

http://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?showtopic=18392

 

EDIT: actually two not that I went back and looked:

 

03/30/91 Naoki Sano vs Masa Funaki (Lynch SWS #4)

04/01/91 Naoki Sano vs Masa Funaki (Lynch SWS #5)

 

Not "shoot" in the sense of one of the shoot promotions, which would be the case with Shammy-Sano. But shoot-ish, and probably the reason why PWFG looked to bring him in for more matches.

 

John

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This is a great match. I loved the mat game early with the ankle picks and such. The work on the mat was so interesting and engaging. Their were so many momentum shifts in the bout. Now the strikes were just as awesome as the work on the mat. Sano really was incredible in carrying this.

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Sano is practically a freelancer now, working for SWS, doing this shot, and soon to show up in UWFI. The stand-up stuff was great and there were some incredible takedowns and suplexes--not to mention shootstyle DDTs! This also had the real feel of a time limit draw, making Sano's dragon suplex and wakigatame for the tapout a genuine surprise.

 

All that said...this is still a 26-minute shoot-style match and my patience was tried a number of times while the guys were on the mat. This is a career match for Shamrock and another feather in the cap for Sano, but I liked the other two good shootstyle matches more.

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They cut a hell of a pace for shootstyle, with very little lying around in 25 minutes. I remember being stunned at Shamrock's performance the first time I saw this. If anything, he was the more dynamic guy for most of the match. It felt like Sano had to dig up all his tricks just to survive this super-athletic attacker. Great finish too with Sano pouring on the offense. I knew this was a favorite, and it didn't disappoint this time around.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Bit on the long side for me but even then I didn't realize it went 25 minutes. They spend a lot of time on the mat but as Loss said it was a struggle between both guys trying to gain any little advantage. I thought some of Shamrock's hand strikes were not as smooth but his knees looked deadly. Surprised by Shamrock's performance as he looked pretty good. Strong performance by Sano and nice to see him get a win as just seems he ended up on the losing side more often.

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  • 2 months later...

May need to rewatch but this felt like a MOTYC as is in my top 7 so far. sano is a guy I have really begun to appreciate as he pops up 2-3 times on every yearbook and has a good performance. Shamrock was really impressive here looking dangerous on the ground but also realizing the pro wrestling dramatic timing. My favorite thing about this match was the struggle and the fact that I didn't realize how long it was and felt it could end at any moment. Nothing was conceded in the entire 26 minutes and my patience was never tested. 1991 has become really endearing to me with the amount of mat work being done in a variety of different areas.

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  • 1 year later...

Well, this match is a fucking beaut. I've seen very little PWFG, basically a few Fujiwara matches and the excellent Sano/Suzuki match, but this right here is the best match I've seen from the promotion, and really rivals the best stuff from any other shoot style promotion. They set the tone early with some real nifty mat work. For the first 10-15 minutes, it was pretty much all Shamrock and he was a total beast. Attacking from everywhere and cracking Sano's turtle position numerous times. Side note, but as a grappler I found myself wanting to yell at Shamrock to go for the seatbelt sweep (lock on the seatbelt underhooks, hook your foot on there's and roll back) and lock on a rear naked choke! Grappling has evolved since 1991 but that's literally a beginners technique nowadays and it was open so many times, lol. Anyways, what really set this match from great shoot style match to holy shit this is fucking brilliant status were the strike exchanges. Whenever they'd reach a stalemate on the mat they'd stand toe to toe and just fucking unload on each other, like something out of Gatti/Ward I or Corrales/Castillo I. Very well done too, and the crowd ate it up. So much to say about the mat work done but it was just beautiful from start to finish. The knockdowns were very well done and each one actually felt significant, like it would in a boxing fight. Sano bought some elite selling and probably lead the way, but Shamrock was a freakin' beast all around too. Finishing stretch was very well done. This match is one of my all time favorites now. So glad I watched it.

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  • 6 months later...

This bored me stiff, and there was a reason why: I never knew who was winning. Most shoot-style promotions will put the scoreboard of the match onscreen so that the viewers will know how close each competitor is to winning the bout, but PWFG doesn't. As a result, we were down to two men hugging each other from behind and tying their own legs in knots, and I can think of few things less exciting. The few strike exchanges raised my interest slightly, but they didn't last long enough to make much of a difference. I found myself wishing for good old Flair/Dusty or Hogan/Andre or something else I could understand and sink my teeth into. (By the way, I'm no MMA fan, so this didn't interest me in terms of seeing how that style evolved, either.)

 

This isn't an indictment of shoot-style altogether; if I know the story being told, I can get into it like anybody else. But I'm no expert, and I at least need to know who's winning in order to make an investment in the match. Hopefully, PWFG will realize this and flash the score onscreen during future matches.

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  • 1 year later...

http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-100-51/

 

#98

 

I think I was just as (or even more) surprised to find this on the countdown as others were reaching it in the YB. This is what I need out of shoot style to truly suck me in. I need striking intertwined with the matwork, and I need some pro wrestling sprinkled throughout. I thought the finishing stretch of this was fantastic. There was some of the matwork that was good, but I stil found myself waiting for them to transition to something else. I fall into to the same boat as garretta here... almost becoming bored a few times. Overall, this is one of the more enjoyable matches for me that I've seen worked this way.

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  • 8 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...
What I enjoy about Shamrock is how exciting he makes the groundwork look as he slides around the mat and snaps off takedowns and uses his strong quickness to overwhelm his opponent. Naoki, on the other hand, doesn’t do a whole lot on the ground – in fact, it’s more or less him grabbing an arm or a leg and holding it there. This is noticeably evident late in the match when he has control of Shamrock’s leg and doesn’t do shit with it. The matwork wasn't all that exciting but there were some neat moments, like Shamrock using the headscissors to try and get a hold of the arm. Shamrock's strikes are more miss than hit but he's got some great-looking suplexes. And that Sano finish was sweet. Good stuff.

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  • 3 months later...

This is an unpopular opinion, but I'm not buying this or don't like this as much as everyone else and I saw a some glaring flaws in this. Shamrock's flying knee attempt looked really bad. His early palm strikes looked relatively weak, however he increased the intensity in them once they began exchanging and he turnt on the heat and was really catching Sano which was great. His front kicks and takedowns looked bad also. There was also a lot of down time where they were catching a breath and not trying to work in anything even though they were in a favorable position.

 

There was some quality stuff though, such as the rolling armbar attempt from Shamrock, his big belly to belly throw, Sano's deadlift German suplex, their palm strike exchanges and knees in the clinch were pretty neat. I also dug Sano's transition into the STF which I thought was pretty clever with the unexpected drop toe hold setup.

 

With that said, I still think this was a good/very good match, but not an all-time great as everyone else.

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • GSR changed the title to [1991-05-19-PWFG] Wayne Shamrock vs Naoki Sano
  • 5 months later...

Cant believe no one has mentioned Shamrock's mullet yet!

Wayne (Ken) Shamrock vs Naoki Sano - PWFG 5/19/91

Doing a live watch. Shamrock's hair is glorious as they trade kicks in the standup. Shamrock throws a high one, caught by Sano roll through but end up in the ropes. Sano shoots for the single leg and Shamrock comes down and goes for an ankle. Sano ends up on top of his back and scissors the arm. Nice escape by Shamrock. Shamrock looks like Sean Penn with this hair cut. This is generally regarded the best PWFG match. PWFG was born out of the Newborn UWF's dissolution. Lots of struggle on the mat as Shamrock is working a legbar. Everyone is always trying to escape or apply. PWFG was founded by Fujiwara and he was accompanied by Shamrock, Funaki and Suzuki. Really nice top wristlock from Shamrock in the side mount and great verbal selling from Sano to clue you in that something is happening. Sano makes it to his belly. PWFG would later give birth to Pancrase and BattlArts. I know the least about PWFG compared to UWFi and RINGS. Sano is someone I have liked from the Liger and Misawa matches, but had not seen the deep cuts. They are working hard on the mat. Sano is trying for a double wristlock in the side mount. He gets it. Great verbal selling from Shamrock and nice bridge escape. They are doing a great job chaining. Lots of body contact. Lots of smart weight distribution to impede the other from gaining an advantage. Snap takedown by Shamrock sort of a side German suplex. Shamrock is laying on his head, but Sano sneaks out. This is wrestled so differently lots of work from side mounts and from the back. I am surprised there are not more choke. Shamrock almost gets a calf-slicer, but Sano immediately blocks. Shamrock gets an amazing roll (basically he flips Sano using his left leg onto Sano's back) into a cross-armbreaker, but Sano has his hands clasped. Shamrock figure-4s Sano's midsection and here is our first choke attempt. Not as strongly sold as the other holds but Sano gets the ropes. Shamrock I would say won that lengthy exchange. 

Back to stand up and they let the hands fly. Sano catches him with a kneelfit and grabs a front chancery and spikes him on his head. Nice organic DDT. Sano immediately goes for the cross-armbreaker.  Shamrock rolls in and gets on top driving into an armbar, but Sano blocks. Shamrock gets a hammerlock, but Sano gets to his knees. Shamrock seems to have any answer for everything and is getting Sano's back. Shamrock drops back into a choke again. Sano makes the ropes. Wicked double underhook suplex by Shamrock! He looks damn good here! Tries to get a top wristlock from the side mount immediately but Sano scrambles out. Shamrock quashes him and just rides him. Shamrock was thinking Fisherman Suplex, but Sano breaks free with a kneelift. A series of slaps and a roundhouse kick gives us our first knockdown as Shamrock takes a nine count. Shamrock beats the shits out of him with palm strikes and then gets him in the clinch with knees. Sano throws a wild slap. Shamrock gets him in the corner and the ref breaks it. Shamrock takes him down. Some really good stand up. Shamrock has been owning Sano on the mat thus far. Shammy is riding, but seems to have his arm trapped. Shamrock ends up almost getting a double wristlock but Sano escapes. The crowd is very intelligent they are reacting to almost applies submissions and escapes. I feel this is very amateur wrestling based a lot of side mounting on the back. Nice headscissors on Sano while on top of his back. I like how they are organically standing back up. Sano rolls nicely into an STF, but Shamrock is too close to the ropes. That was Sano best submission. Shamrock almost takes Sano's off with a wicked kick. These front kicks by Shamrock the way he flicks his foot look deadly. Sano is selling the midsection. Shamrock comes in with a flying knee and a ton of kneelifts. He takesdown Sano down via a front chancery to get a nine count on Sano. Shamrock comes flying back into the screen with wild palm strikes. Sano tries a back heel trip, but Shamrock rolls through to end up on top. Shamrock has Sano's back again. Sano looks like he doesnt know to shit or wind his watch. Great organic German Suplex. Shamrock has a waistlock, Sano stands up and Shamrock hoists him and dumps him on his head for a nine count. Great flurry of strikes and Shamrock wins the clinch with a kneelift & front chancery. Sano finally gets Shammy's back when they go to the mat. Not much happening right here. Shamrock definitely is doing more of the moving in this match. Shamrock wriggles out and looks for a toehold, Sano has a waistlock. First time, this match has dragged. I cant believe Shamrock is out wrestling Sano. Shamrock pops out with a deep legbar. Sano makes the ropes. Shamrock is outclassing Sano. 

Sano catches the kick, but Shamrick tries for a legscissors. Nice block by Sano who has his arms figure-4'd around Shamrock's left leg, but again cant do anything. Shamrock gets a kneebar and Sano makes the ropes. Thank God for the Ropes if you are Sano. Sano gets a double underhook takedown. Both guys are working incredibly hard. This is such a physically demanding match and style and to be going 20+ minutes is insane. They are struggling against each other so much. I know I said it before, but the weight distribution and balance is so impressive here. They are both doing so well to keep a wide base. The defense here is top notch. This is a defensive wrestling fan's dream. Are there defensive wrestling fans? I am pretty traditionalist, but I dont even like defense that much. Really great rolling ankle pick, but again Sano gets a great facelock to pry Shamrock off his ankle. Nice, nice defense. Let it fly, boys! Shamrock shoots in for the double, but Sano pancakes him. Shamrock has a waistlock, but Sano picks the ankle rolls through into a kneebar and Shamrock gets the ropes. Shamrock comes up swinging. SOME BRUTAL SHOTS! Wicked kneelifts. He is swinging for the fences. DRAGON SUPLEX~! Sano applies a Fujiwara armbar immediately for the tapout. 

The struggle was definitely real in this match. The standup was excellent. Shamrock hit some big boy shots in this match. He was letting it fly. I thought the matwork was very tight. Some really cool setups for the application of a wide variety of submissions. I thought Sano was good on defense but was lacking on the mat during offense. Some of the matwork did long in the tooth without any immediate payoff. I thought Shamrock was the most dynamic and explosive wrestler here. Surprised more of his shoot style work is not more heralded as he looked great here. ****

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  • 1 year later...

Young Shamrock looks a bit like Henry Rollins. I've said before that I'm put off by any shoot-style that is too realistic, but this match is the exception to the rule. When these two are grappling, you could convince me this was a shoot! There's a struggle in everything they do and they keep everything moving at a frantic pace to stop the action from stagnating. The stand-up strike exchanges are even better. They wail at each other and Korauen reaches fever pitch. You don't see many shoot style matches go 25+ minutes, and this looked like an absolute war. 

★★★★

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