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[1988-11-10-UWF] Akira Maeda vs Nobuhiko Takada

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This was quite the clash of the titans style match. Picture it like the scene in a western where a big gunfight breaks out and lots of stuff breaks and lots of people get shot. Takada is kind of a slug, but Maeda carries him fine on the mat, and both guys go into standing exchanges as if ready to die. Not the most pure or artful fight, but brutal and dramatic to the max.

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I thought 6/11 was better overall. The only tremendously stiff kick was the one that put Maeda down. Maeda's shots were pretty good but loose as if he's afraid that he'll hit Takada full force and blow the finish of the match ala 6/12/86. This was shoot-style though with no pick-ups or snap mares etc. but they didn't bring the stiffness like the June match. Still it was good in building to the equality of the two men. Takada has got his kicks yet is credible on the ground as his three submission attempts toward the end showed. Maeda is credible with his kicks but they lack the strength (at least here) but, he is deadly on the mat, opting to slide out of holds rather than use precious rope breaks. What's special about this match is that they use the new rope break/downs system to maximum dramatic effect. Knowing the outcome may have hurt my opinion: Great match but, not a classic encounter.

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They’re back at it, this time with a little more seriousness and a little less umphs behind the strikes. The slower-paced matwork dominates the opening of the match, with Takada being dominated by Maeda. Takada’s looking for an answer to Maeda’s holds and kicks but can’t find it as Maeda overwhelms him with strikes and keeps him going back to the ropes with the wakigatame. There’s some really terrific selling from Takada in these moments, crumbling from the heavy blows as he desperately tries to fight back, exhausting his outs between the rope breaks and the falls. There’s a glimmer of hope as he levels Maeda with a big kick but Maeda’s able to take back control on the mat, once again forcing Takada to his home away from home with a leglock. Something seems to snap inside Takada as he comes back swinging and kicking, knocking Maeda down with a solebutt and high kick, slamming him with the belly-to-belly. There’s a great little moment when Maeda tries to trap Takada’s arm for the crossface chickenwing and Takada counters with the single leg crab hold to force the rope break. The final minute or so of the match was awesome, as the score is tied and they’re just unloading with big ass kicks. Takada lands a high kick, Maeda collapses, quickly trying to stand on rubber legs but failing as the fans go nuts for Takada’s TKO victory.

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Akira Maeda vs Nobuhiko Takada - UWF II 11/10/88

 

With Fujiwara and Sayama not in UWF, this is their money match. This is touted as the best shoot style match of the 80s.

First Half: Pretty dull. The kicks are great most are misses or glancing blows but they are sold well. The matwork is boring. Takada tries to counter a wrist lock and ends up being in a more painful armbar and ropebreak. Takada tries his hand on top. Wow! What a snooze fest. He just lies on top of Maeda for a minute. Maeda casually stands up from a leg bar. Starts rifling with kicks! Takada tries body punches but it is too late Maeda knees and kicks put him down! First ref count for ten. Then Maeda takes him down and starts going for pins. What!?! Since when is that legal? Takada has Maeda pinned earlier forever. Maeda has him in a Fujiwara armbar at the half way point to force rope break. Maeda wins on points. Usual story stand up is good, matwork is boring as hell. But it is starting to pick up.

Second Half: Ok now I get it. This is one of the all time best stand up exchanges in UWF history. They go to town on each other for ten minutes. Maeda has Takada on the ropes literally and figuratively. Maeda is rifling him with kicks. Takadas selling was tremendous. Great teetering. Great discombobulating. Maeda is up 3-0 and as he goes for the KO blow. Takada gets the best kick of the match with a counter kick to the face. We got a match on our hands. The pace and struggle was great both men were kicking and throwing each other. Takada drives me nuts going for a heel hook and giving it up to Maeda and going for ropes. This counts as a down, must have used all his breaks. He is down 4-1. He comes roaring back. Great reverse roundhouse kick! That was the best kick of the match! 4-2 baby! Takada unleashes more hellacious kicks in short order to make it 4-3! These stand up exchanges are great. Takada gets a Crossface Chickenwing forces a rope break! 4-4! What a comeback! Next down loses no matter what. The fists and kicks are flying. Maeda catches Takada with a left...Takada stays up...Takada kick combination and down goes Maeda! Takada win! 

This both an amazing comeback story literally (Takada comes back from 4-1) and figuratively (the first ten minutes of this match absolutely sucks.) The timekeeper made a ten minute call and they literally started trying harder. So they they were clearly phoning in the first ten minutes. I can't think of a match that started so boring and ended so great. Fujiwara/Super Tiger from 84 are clearly better matches but if you watch this JIP you could be fooled that this is on that level. ****1/4

 

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The grappling at the start of the match wasn't the most exciting, sure but I think it did its job of establishing that Takada needs to take to the feet and go for the striking in order to beat Maeda. Maeda may be a prolific striker, but it's all Takada has. And that he does. When they go to feet, this match takes off in an upward trajectory. Some of the strike combinations were cheer out loud great. Nasty stuff strikes mixed w/ desperation and urgency by Takada. Great dominant performance by Maeda controlling most of the match but selling excellently for Takada. I think their 1989 Jan match was better but this was still a classic. ****1/2

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