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[1989-10-25-UWF-Fighting Art] Nobuhiko Takada vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara


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A swanky little contest that really made the rope break/downs system engaging. The sense of struggle between this two was terrific as they vied for submission openings and fought for takedowns, often in desperation. Once again, Fujiwara's bony old man head is a major factor in this match and Takada keeps chopping out Fujiwara's legs to keep him down. Loved Fujiwara's kneebar takedown but Takada is able to slip out into a single leg crab hold to force him to the ropes. Fujiwara's selling post-single leg crab is awesome. Lots of big strikes in the end as the downs rack up and the final leg sweep finish was the perfect exclamation point to this match.



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  • GSR changed the title to [1989-10-25-UWF-Fighting Art] Nobuhiko Takada vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara
  • 1 month later...

Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Nobuhiko Takada - UWF II 10/25/89

I have preached this so much and I think this a perfect example of the mantra "The drama should be in applying the hold not escaping the hold". This front half of the match just drips with struggle. It has a huge fight feel. Two equals taking each other very seriously. There are so many quick, sudden movements on the mat as they each are trying to gain the most advantageous position for a finishing submission. Takada ends up in a legbar and he is immediately selling and lunging for the ropes and gets the break. Thats great psychology. There were so many holds exchange that were half-applied, but once one was fully applied the mood changed. It became very serious. You can see how Takada's game plan changed immediately. He started throwing kick after kick to the left leg of Fujiwara. Takada's forte is stand-up. There is another great moment on the ground. Takada has his hands clasped and Fujiwara is just on top of him. To the untrained this looks boring, but God is it tense. As soon as Takada breaks his clasp, Fujiwara will pounce. Takada has to break his clasp because Fujiwara is in control. In a shoot fight, Takada is fucked. Since this is shoot-style, we can suspend our disbelief and believe Takada knew that Fujiwara would try for a double wristlock and thus could counter into the cross armbreaker. Takada's move was fully applied and Fujiwara's was not and thus it is Fujiwara scrambling for the ropes. Again the tension and the drama is in who can apply the hold, once the hold is applied it is a mad dash for the ropes. That is how you respect the hold. Takada goes back to work on the legs. Fujiwara tries to throw his own kicks, which was never his forte. If he is going to throw a strike, it is a headbutt BANG! Thats what we get, it is a delayed register, but Takada goes down in a heap for the first knockdown. The symmetry in this match is incredible. Takada responds by finally chopping down the old cherry tree with his kicks as Fujiwara is forced to take a knee from a flurry of kicks for his first knockdown. Fujiwara tries to scissors the legs but Takada sits outs and now Fujiwara has no leverage. Single leg crab, great labored breathing from Fujiwara he struggles to ropes. Amazing selling from Fujiwara and he is easy pickins for Takada who cracks him in the leg again for a second knockdown. Takada opens a big lead as a wild roundhouse kick to the midsection and then one to face sends Fujiwara reeling into the corner. Takada overwhelms him with kicks to the head for the third knockdown. Takada falls prey to another headbutt in a knucklelock. Why would you ever knucklelock with Fujiwara? Especially this has been his most successful strategy. Takada goes for a knucklelock, but then thinks the better of it crosses over such that his right hand will be linked with Fujiwara's right hand which should take some of the power away from a headbutt. Takada gets another wild roundhouse kick, but this time cant follow up in the corner. He cups Fujiwara in the ear on a lock up which is a receipt for the headbutts in the lock up. It is now 4-2 Takada! Do or die time for Fujiwara! You know what that means! Kidney punches and body shots! 4-3! Takada tries to use the ref as a shield as he knows Fujiwara is lying in wait, but to no avail. Takada weathers the storm and almost has Fujiwara off his feet...only the ropes are holding Fujiwara up when...Fujiwara lunges forward and butts him with his head! IT IS 4-4! Next knockdown wins! Takada kicks out Fujiwara's leg for the close victory. The ref seems uncertain to call it a knockdown, but to be consistent has to and Takada wins via TKO. 

The crowd is a bit confused because it was a judgment call. Based on the calls earlier in the match it was definitely a knockdown, but it was NOT a definitive knockout blow. Clearly that was on purpose these are two of your three biggest stars and you want rematches so there has to be some protection. The opening matwork was engaging and compelling for the reasons I outlined above. The stand up portion of the match was intensely dramatic. Great selling from Fujiwara, awesome strategy from Takada and then Fujiwara mounting a massive comeback using basically just headbutts and kidney punches was crazy. Definitely one of the best shoot-style matches ever that had pro-style elements (Fujiwara's leg selling and Takada targetting a body part) and I think it was those pro-style elements that made me like this so much. Maybe Takada's best match ever ****3/4

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  • 10 months later...

Fujiwara gets a really good match out of Takada, Film at 11. Opening grappling was basic but really entertaining due to the sheer resistance. Anytime Takada would go for a throw Fujiwara would pull back hard. Plenty of neat Fujiwara moments. People know he's the master of the submission counter, but I also really dug his counter hip toss. There was also one really fast legsweep. The parts were they stand up and punish eachother are pretty great. Fujiwara bitch slapping Takada in the middle of uncooperative shootstyle exchanges is what pro wrestling is all about. Later Takada is unloading barrages of kicks and slaps only for Fujiwara to come charging through and clock him with his cranium. Very memorable finish. I actually would have liked this to stretch out and go a little longer though considering Takada has a tendency to blow up this was for the better.

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