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[1988-06-11-UWF] Kazuo Yamazaki vs Norman Smiley


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Well here we are again for the Secret Santo, this week's match was given to me by SirEdger and it's from possibly my favorite company ever UWF(Newborn).


It's from their second show and it's the debut of Norman Smiley!


Norman gives a nice little prematch promo giving us his Black Magic nickname, his trainers like The Malenkos and Gotch and telling everyone he's well conditioned and going to try his best.


So the two square off and my god was Smiley well built here, it's funny how so many guys associated with the Malenkos school had such fantastic physiques, must be all those squats and bridges with Karl Gotch they were doing there in Florida.


Kazuo Yamazaki looks like his bulked up junior physique but is missing his later trademark goatee so he looks extra young and babyfaced.


They start out with come cautious back and forth grappling which surprised me as Yamazaki was known later on for setting up his devastating arsenal of kicks with that hook kick feint being his opening move in 90% of his later work.


Norman nails an impressive dragon screw leg whip that the crowd pops big for highlighting the opening portion which focused mostly on Smiley working some pro wrestling style legwork.


Yamazaki starts opening up with some kicks but Norman smartly steers clear and keeps the grappling gameplan, he looks a bit lost at times on the mat and you can see Yamazaki feeding him an arm to set up a counter exchange that allows Yamazaki to counter into a leglock that sends Smiley scrambling to the ropes for a break.


The Norman decides to mix it up on the feet and throws a body punch and some knees to the abdomen in the corner before hitting a gorgeous belly to belly that the crowd pops again for and causes Yamazaki to take a ropebreak of his own with a nice downward arm crank while trapping the head. Yamazaki sells this attempt big and takes a count as well, getting back to his feet at the count of 7.


Norman does his best to stay on Yamazaki and avoids the majority of Yamazaki's kicks and takes him back to the mat with a leg lock attempt that Yamazaki reverses into a half crab which the crowd pops big for, Norman scrambles out and slaps on the Dean Malenko specail Texas Cloverleaf that Yamazaki sells huge and makes a mad crawl to a ropebreak.


There's a lull and Norman looks winded and Yamazaki pounces and finally lands some significant strikes with a nice kick and a brutal knee and looks to have Norman in trouble and tries to tie up a cross face chickenwing but Norman shows his resilience and counters all of Yamazaki's attempts at various submissions and suplexes and hits a leg scissor of his own taking Kazuo to the mat and attempts another leglock which initiates a scramble that leads to Kazuo slapping on a Fujiwars armbar that Norman headstands over and out of and slaps on a Grovit facelock which brings both men back to their feet and the camera cuts to the audience and some Japanese teen scratching his face and we miss what I assume was a suplex which had me scratching my head on why they cut it?


Norman slaps on a crooked head scissor and gets Yamazaki to take another ropebreak to escape. Kazuo unleashes another torrent of kicks that Norman catches a few more of than before but again Norman takes it to the match it ends up with him gaining a half crab that causes Yamazaki to go to the ropes again.


Norman takes a lackluster shot on the feet and Yamazaki looks to take advantage but they take a tumble into the ropes and end up having to break before Kazuo can capitalize.


Back on the feet Yamazaki finally lands a hard flush body kick that crumples Norman, Kazuo hits him with a throw then catches Norman during his attempt to escape in a reverse fujiwara armbar for the submission victory.


Overall a good but not great match from the early part of Newborn UWF. Norman was obviously not experienced in this style but made an effort to use his english pro wrestling style as realistically as possible and the crowd really seemed into him as they popped quite a bit for his offence.


I'd give this match *** and it's a good match that's not too long by Newborn UWF standards so it's a solid way for a wrestling fan familiar with the likes of a Norman Smiley but not with UWF to get their feet wet and check out the style and work from that group.

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  • 1 month later...

I really enjoyed this and thought it was probably better than the Maeda/Takada fight on the same card, but just a little behind the opening match between Nakano and Miyato. It's fascinating to watch Smiley go from total unknown to super over in about ten minutes. He looks like a star and this crowd (a total sausagefest btw) really takes to his offense. My only complaint is that Yamazaki's win didn't seem all that credible given what came before. Anyway, a lot of fun regardless.

Has anybody here seen an earlier Norman Smiley match than this? He looks really good here.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1988-06-11-UWF] Kazuo Yamazaki vs Norman Smiley

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