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bradhindsight

[1984-09-11-UWF] Super Tiger vs Akira Maeda

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Now we'e talking with the mid 80s shoot style stuff. This is the finals of a mini tournament (Super Tiger over Fujiwara, Maeda over Mark Lewin). Good kicks from both with a slight edge to Super Tiger. The stand-up sequences that led to take-downs got pretty good as this went on. Lot of armbars and rope breaks, as is expected. Both guys do a reversal into a single crab off that submission. Crowd is hot for these big submission take-downs. Super Tiger is the first to break out some wrestling, hitting a somersault senton onto Maeda's back while doing some arm work. Pele kick from Tiger and he goes up for a knee drop but Maeda avoids. Everybody pretty much no-sells anything but the submission work. Things look bleak for Super Tiger but he keeps fighting for the ropes. Finally he just goes "fuck it" and elbows Maeda in the back of the head, works him up for a tombstone and then hits a moonsault (he also works in a beautiful back spin kick to Maeda's head, which was impressive given how tall Maeda is comparably). That'd be your pro-wrestling finish but Super Tiger just goes right back to the arm, which goes nowhere and Maeda is in the ropes. Both guys start throwing some more suplexes but we're only talking one counts here, followed by more rope breaks. Finally Super Tiger works Maeda into the crossface chickenwing and he taps.

 

This match was ranked 20/75 in the Other Japan 80s poll.

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Super Tiger vs Akira Maeda - UWF 9/11/84

 

Just finished watching the match, I cant think of one thing Maeda did stand out to me. He is 0 for 2 thus far. Well, I guess he is taller than Super Tiger. Super Tiger, kayfabe-wise, has the worst strategy. The money is in his kicks and pro-style offense. He consistently gets owned on the mat. Yet, he still goes for takedowns and then ends up in an double wristlock or a cross armbreaker. Maeda was so bland. There was no struggle. He would take Super Tiger down, but with no sense of urgency. Like Fujiwara would take him down at will with power. Maeda just kinda would let it happen. All the pops from the crowd and from my couch were for Super Tiger. He should just stand up and kick because he is great at that. Tries to press his first advantage with a top rope kneedrop, but misses. He does nail a sweet Tombstone/Moonsault combo. That should have been the finish. Double wristlock goes nowhere for him. Maeda wakes up and starts kicking and throws a wicked belly to belly (ok, I remembered one thing). Tiger recovers and belts him with kicks before polishing him off with Crossface Chickenwing! So happy, Super Tiger won. Things did not look good for him at the beginning and Maeda was so dull I was actively rooting for Super Tiger. I did enjoy the ref refusing to count a Maeda bridge because he couldn't get Tiger's shoulders flat to the mat and Maeda was like fuck it I will just go for my eighth cross armbreaker attempt. I think when people complain about boring shoot-style it is matches like this. Hard to call it shoot-style when there is a tombstone/moonsault combo, thought. Super Tiger is a really fun worker in this and Maeda is dull, but hey I like grappling and I thought the finish run was pretty hot. ***1/2

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UWF1 has such a distinct flair-Battlarts may be the closest comparison, but Battlarts was essentially Yuki Ishikawa and friends wrestling in the basement doing cool stuff which came to mind. It didn't really present the revolutionary bridge proto shoot-style did nor it did have actual stars and hot crowds. The orange apron mats quickly stood out as did the fact reaching their area was enough for a rope break-actually touching the ropes or extending one of your limbs underneath them wasn't a necessity. The grappling here wasn't particularly complex-blocking a double wristlock by using a knee, rolling out of armbars, kicking away your opponent's arm to get a full armbar etc. are nice detailed work compared to the average "sit in an illogical hold for a while, occassionally yell", but they're a far cry from the style's peak. The takedowns were more interesting than the grappling-the one Tiger set up with a feint kick was especially sweet. Maeda answered with suplexes you see he did hundreds of squats for, the finishing stretch had lots of fun head kicking and Super Tiger's insistence on using classic prowres offence gave them a clear focus to build around. ***1/2

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Now this is it. Primitive shootstyle with no 10 counts, but everything that makes the style great is already here. Snug, tightly worked, uncooperative and unpredictable pro wrestling, everything counts, and when somebody gets you in a hold you better scramble like mad to get out of there. Sayama looks like the coolest man to ever live here with the lightning fast, credible spin kicks and athletic mat escapes and shootstyle sentons and whatnot. The match is rough around the edges in part, but it never drags and the crowd is absolute white hot for these two killing eachother. Maeda isn't overly expressive, but he keeps it moving on the mat and when he clocks you with a big spin kick it's extra cool because he is huge. I don't get the criticism, that crossarmbreaker can and will end the match so it makes sense to go for it at any chance. Formative work that holds up extremely well today.

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