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We got RINGS, U-STYLE, so why not a guide to UWFi? I've been watching everything in chronological order, struggling through Tom Burton matches, and while there are a lot of stinkers, there is plenty to enjoy in the wacky world of Nobuhiko Takada's shoot-style paradise. Here's the "best of the best" by year, starting with 1991. 


  • Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Masahito Kakihara (5/10/91)
  • Kazuo Yamazaki & Tatsuo Nakano vs. Yoji Anjoh & Yuko Miyato (5/10/91)
  • Tatsuo Nakano vs. Yoji Anjoh (6/6/91)
  • Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Yoji Anjoh (7/3/91)
  • Nobuhiko Takada vs. Tatsuo Nakano (7/3/91)
  • Tatsuo Nakano vs. Yuko Miyato (7/30/91)
  • Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Billy Scott (7/30/91)
  • Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Tatsuo Nakano (9/26/91)
  • Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Yoji Anjoh (9/26/91)
  • Yoji Anjoh vs. Billy Scott (10/6/91)
  • Masahito Kakihara vs. Jim Boss (12/22/91)
  • Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Gary Albright (12/22/91)


  • Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Yuko Miyato (1/9/92)
  • Kazuo Yamazaki & Yoji Anjoh vs. Gary Albright & Jim Boss (1/9/92)
  • Kiyoshi Tamura & Yuko Miyato vs. Mark Silver & Tatsuo Nakano (2/15/92)
  • Hiromitsu Kanehara vs. Masakazu Maeda (2/29/92)
  • Gary Albright vs. Kazuo Yamazaki (3/17/92)
  • Hiromitsu Kanehara vs. Masakazu Maeda (5/8/92)
  • Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Koji Kitao (5/8/92)
  • Nobuhiko Takada vs. Gary Albright (5/8/92)
  • Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Hiromitsu Kanehara (6/28/92)
  • Kiyoshi Tamura & Yuko Miyato vs. Tatsuo Nakano & Mark Fleming (6/28/92)
  • Yoji Anjoh vs. Masahito Kakihara (6/28/92)
  • Kiyoshi Tamura & Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Gary Albright & Mark Silver (7/12/92)
  • Masahito Kakihara vs. Mark Silver (8/28/92)
  • Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Yoji Anjoh (8/28/92)
  • Hiromitsu Kanehara vs. Mark Silver (9/21/92)
  • Masahito Kakihara vs. Tatsuo Nakano (9/21/92)
  • Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Kazuo Yamazaki (10/23/92)
  • Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Hiromitsu Kanehara (12/20/92)
  • Nobuhiko Takada vs. Naoki Sano (12/20/92)


  • Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Dan Severn (1/10/93)
  • Naoki Sano vs. Masahito Kakihara (1/10/93)
  • Nobuhiko Takada vs. Kiyoshi Tamura (2/13/93)
  • Gary Albright vs. Dennis Koslowski (4/10/93)
  • Naoki Sano vs. Masahito Kakihara (4/10/93)
  • Gary Albright vs. Dennis Koslowski (5/6/93)
  • Naoki Sano vs. Kiyoshi Tamura (5/6/93)
  • Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Yoji Anjoh (7/18/93)
  • Gene Lydick vs. Yoshihiro Takayama (8/13/93)
  • Vader vs. Kazuo Yamazaki (8/13/93)
  • Naoki Sano vs. Yoji Anjoh (8/13/93)
  • Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Yuko Miyato (10/4/93)
  • Nobuhiko Takada vs. Billy Scott (10/4/93)
  • Vader vs. Nobuhiko Takada (12/5/93)
  • Gene Lydick vs. Hiromitsu Kanehara (12/15/93)


Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Masahito Kakihara (UWFi, 5/10/91)

A cool little match-up. I loved how Kakihara faked like he was going to just grapple with Tamura before he unleashes his traditional flurry of strikes. Tamura shows off some skill on the mat but again, Kakihara’s hands are all over him like fly swatters. When he does get some breathing room, Tamura’s in-ring awareness is shines through, as he’s constantly grabbing limbs, settling into holds and avoiding the bigger blows from Kakihara to get a takedown. When Kakihara misses the big spinning heel kick, Tamura stays on him with knees to the ribs and a nasty shot to the face. When he starts swinging for the fences, missing wildly, Tamura coolly takes him down with a belly-to-belly slam. Kakihara finally grazes him with another spinning heel kick and follows up with another that squarely hits the mark. He then applies a front necklock, deadlifting Tamura with almost a brainbuster. The exhaustion faction plays into the finish of the match, as Kakihara is sluggish, trying to trade kicks with Tamura, and Tamura catches a leg for a takedown. Kakihara’s able to counter with a leglock of his own, but Tamura re-counters and Kakihara taps out.

Kazuo Yamazaki & Tatsuo Nakano vs. Yoji Anjoh & Yuko Miyato (UWFi, 5/10/91)

This was a lot of fun. Nakano spent the early minutes shielding himself from Miyato's quick hands and Anjoh's elbows. He does get off a nice throw>elbow to the back of Anjoh's head before he tags in Yamazaki. Yamazaki and Anjoh mostly fight for holds on the ground, which is fine, but when Miyamoto destroys Nakano's nose during a spat of palm thrusts, the match really settles in for a great bumpy ride. Nakano's pissed and retaliates with a German suplex. When Yamazaki tags in, he immediately high kicks Miyato in the head. Whenever Nakano and Anjoh are in there, they're sneaking in dirty elbow shots to the head -- Anjoh really gives it to Nakano at one point. Yamazaki's selling during the finish stretch where he's just taking punishment from both Miyato and Anjoh was really good.

Tatsuo Nakano vs. Yoji Anjoh (UWFi, 6/6/91)

This turned into quite the dirty scrap, as Anjoh stayed aggressive throughout this match, smashing Nakano's nose during a barrage of stiff shots. A bloodied Nakano manages a full nelson suplex on Anjoh, but then Anjoh locks in the choke sleeper, Nakano's blood smeared across his arm, and Nakano tries to fight out but ultimately taps out. And Anjoh doesn't let go. What a dick.

Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Yoji Anjoh (UWFi, 7/3/91)

This match is great. Tamura is already so good early into his career, having only wrestling eight or so matches prior to facing Anjoh. He's slick as catshit, utilizing his speed to his advantage -- I mean, it's hard to even keep track of him at times. Anjoh can't do too much on the mat without Tamura managing to slip out and away. He'll grab an arm and Tamura will maneuver his legs around to get back to a vertical base, controlling Anjoh with a front facelock. While Tamura keeps going back to the rear naked choke, Anjoh targets the leg throughout to set up the finish. But there's just so many cool little moments in this match. At one point, Tamura rolls through with an armbar attempt and Anjoh catches the leg but Tamura simply stands up out of it. When Anjoh isn't going after the leg, he's throwing knees. He repeatedly knees Tamura in the back of the head but Tamura doesn't let go of the arm, slipping out to his feet and smacking Anjoh. Tamura's front necklock counter with the go-behind into the rear naked choke was a thing of beauty. Then he just starts stomping the back of Anjoh's head, putting the fear of God in him. By the end, things aren't quite as silky as they're both fighting over holds and avoiding takedowns. The referee doesn't do shit when Anjoh grabs Tamura's hair as he's trying to turn him over into the crab hold. In the end, all that legwork pays off for Anjoh as he's able to crank on a sick single leg crab hold for the submission victory.

Nobuhiko Takada vs. Tatsuo Nakano (UWFi, 7/3/91)

Fun match. Takada was able to avoid the German suplex throughout, but there were some fun teases and transitions, with Nakano grabbing the rear naked choke and rallying the fans behind him. Match really picks up when Nakano rushes him against the ropes with strikes and snap suplexes him. Takada's kicks looked good, Nakano's underdog defense worked well -- I especially liked the catch into the calf hold and then turning that into a pretty nasty side headlock on Takada. 

Tatsuo Nakano vs. Yuko Miyato (UWFi, 7/30/91)

This was actually a lot of fun. Things get really heated in there at times with their strike exchanges and, like pretty much every match, Nakano's nose gets busted. There is a lot of good counterwork and takedowns, and when Nakano's pissed, he dumps Miyato with the German suplex. There's also a point where he almost capture suplexes Miyato out of the ring as things escalate in violence. A good little Nakano showcase and a strong finish with the choke to win. Really good stuff. 

Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Billy Scott (UWFi, 7/30/91)

This was short and semi-sweet. Scott looks like such a dope with his mullet and singlet but when he comes out hot and heavy with the palm thrusts and knees, he becomes more of an asskicker dope. I thought there was good struggle on the mat, even though Yamazaki looked like he was going through the motions at times, and I liked Scott's out-of-nowhere backdrop into the elevated single leg crab. Yamazaki adds a little spicy mustard to his kicks toward the end, and Scott trying to build momentum to the German was cool, only to get German suplexed in turn and choked out with the front guillotine.

Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Tatsuo Nakano (UWFi, 9/26/91)

A fun contrast of styles, with Tamura utilizing his smooth takedowns to stay on top of Nakano and look for an opening on the mat. The match takes a bit to get going but when Tamura goes for a double leg takedown, he runs smack into Nakano's classic reflex knee to the face. That gives Nakano a bit of confidence, as he starts trying to bulldoze Tamura down but of course, Tamura being Tamura manages to find a way to coolly reverse a hold or counter the attack. At one point, Tamura tries for a headlock takedown and Nakano grabs a rear choke – almost a crossface chickenwing – and drags him down to the canvas. Tamura continues trying to get holds on Nakano but the little meatball doesn't really budge...so he starts smacking him around instead, or dumping him straight on top of his head with a waterwheel throw. Nakano keeps fighting 'til the very end as he tries elbowing out of the hold before submitting.

Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Yoji Anjoh (UWFi, 9/26/91)

I liked Anjoh's early defense, avoiding the German and keeping Yamazaki on the ground. His leg trip into the Fujiwara armbar was neat. They spend most of the match on the mat before Anjoh starts laying into Yamazaki with knees and kicks for a couple of knockdowns. There's a weird spot where Yamazaki finally hits the German suplex hold and Anjoh looks to counter that with a double wristlock but then rolls off with some delayed selling. The finish was cool too, with Anjoh trying for the rolling kneebar and Yamazaki countering with the neck crank. 

Yoji Anjoh vs. Billy Scott (UWFi, 10/6/91)

Billy Scott continues to find comfort in shoot-style and this was probably his best solo outing to date. But still has an awful haircut.They open with a mad scramble and Scott lets Anjoh know early on that he ain't taking any of his shit. He kicks Anjoh in the face when they're tied up on the ground and when they're back on their feet, they're flinging hands and going kind of nuts, which is great. The groundwork throughout is a mess but that doesn't stop Billy from trying. I really like his German suplex lift into the Rock Bottom and his arm-trap judo throw but he can't really follow up on the mat. He does throw some mean palm strikes though. In the end, Anjoh catches him with a nasty knee strike in the corner, throws him with a dope belly-to-belly, but on the mat, Scott rolls him up, fucks the finish and Anjoh ends up tapping to a weak-looking neck crank. Good match nevertheless.

Masahito Kakihara vs. Jim Boss (UWFi, 12/22/91)

A stiff little sub-five undercard treat with Slappy Kaki coming right out of the gate and swatting the hell out of Boss repeatedly. Boss doesn't really know what to do but gets some retribution by dumping Kakihara with a release German suplex and then running over and punt kicking him in the head. He shoves the ref aside and keeps pounding on him in the corner as the fans let him have it. Kaki slaps his way back in control and his final head kick KO to Boss looked scary. 

Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Gary Albright (UWFi, 12/22/91)

A good match-up with Albright using his size and weight on the mat and Tamura, of course, using his finesse to get Albright on the ground for a submission. Albright at one point has Tamura's leg and Tamura is able to take him down with a slick kneebar transition. Albright keeps trying for this inverted necklock and he ends up snapping Tamura over with a necklock suplex>inverted necklock. Of course, he throws a few more suplexes and ends up KO'ing Tamura with a German. 


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I started going through everything a couple years ago as well, though I jumped around a bit rather than doing it chronologically and naturally never got through everything. 

I thought Billy Scott had a couple decent outings in 1992 and I always found Tom Burton at least amusing for the way he seemed to be into everything he was doing. Like he actually wanted to be good, you know? JT Southern is the real stinker. By far the worst of the outsiders from the first couple years. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Yuko Miyato (UWFi, 1/9/92)

Probably the best match of the show, along with the tag main event, but damn, is this fiery from the opening with Miyato letting Tamura have it. Tamura grabs a great choke into the takedown and the whole escape sequence with Tamura flipping back into control and regaining the choke was phenomenal. Tamura's slick as catgshit with his takedowns an transitions, grabbing kneebars and armbars. Miyato was really good here, too. He hits a nice fireman's carry and works his way into a snug double wristlock. He kills Tamura with a backdrop hold and then pops him in the head with a follow-up kick. Tamura's able to grab the single leg crab but Miyato makes it to the ropes. The finish was the weakest part of the match but otherwise, a very cool sub-ten minute match. 

Kazuo Yamazaki & Yoji Anjoh vs. Gary Albright & Jim Boss (UWFi, 1/9/92)

Anjoh is definitely one of the more underrated mat workers -- he's pretty slick and at one point, does a skull crusher. Boss is another clueless white dude and doesn't do much here but that's okay because Gary Albright rules in this match. He absolutely wrecks Anjoh with German suplexes throughout; that second to last German is especially brutal and awesome. When Yamazaki gets the initial tag in, he also takes Albright over with a killer German suplex of his own. Albright isn't much of a ground guy but he doesn't get paid the big bucks to work a side headlock. That finishing stretch with him and Anjoh is the definite highlight, with him clubbing the shit out of Anjoh before finishing him off with the Germans. Big Albright showcase. 

Kiyoshi Tamura & Yuko Miyato vs. Mark Silver & Tatsuo Nakano (UWFi, 2/15/92)

Probably the best match on probably the worst top-to-bottom UWFI show chronologically. And it's good, in parts. Silver has about the most white trash haircut behind Tom Burton but he does manage a couple of neat throws. But like most of the gaijins, he's clueless on the mat and his strikes are feather light. And he also gets kicked in the face AND the nuts. Tamura is Tamura, which means he's uber slick on the mat, leaving Silver in the dust. He has some good interactions with Nakano (of course). Love Nakano's side headlock with the fingers clasped -- textbook. They keep sending each other to the ropes with submission holds, and Nakano throws back-to-back Germans. Miyato continues to be a little shitfire and lets SIlver have it, barraging him and throwing him with a belly-to-belly. The finish was awkward but otherwise, a fun tag. 

Hiromitsu Kanehara vs. Masakazu Maeda (UWFi, 2/29/92)

A fun, competitive match with two scrappy young dudes going out there and showing off what they've learned over the past few months. Nothing fancy -- Maeda's a little smoother on the ground and had some nice counters/reversals. He also throws a few nice suplexes. Kanehara is the better striker with his quick open hands and knees. I liked the sequence where he had Maeda in the single leg crab and turned it into a facelock as Maeda inched his way to the ropes. By the end of it, they're both very exhausted -- Maeda a little more so -- and after Kanehara hits a German, he taps him with the armbar. 

Gary Albright vs. Kazuo Yamazaki (UWFi, 3/17/92)

The best match of the show. Yamazaki flies at him with a kick and Albright quickly takes him down and starts pounding away with a few great body shots. Yamazaki is trying to play defense, trying to go after the arm, but Albright’s just too darn big. After a little temper flareup, Albright snaps him over with a belly-to-belly. When Yamazaki  finally gets the armbar, Albright right on the ropes. Yamazaki then stuns him with a knee to the midsection and German suplexes Albright to set up the crab hold but again, too damn big. Loved Albright running over and clobbering Yamazaki in the back of the head before German suplexing him and when Yamazaki is barely back up and on his feet, Albright hits a second German for the immediate KO.

Hiromitsu Kanehara vs. Masakazu Maeda (UWFi, 5/8/92)

Another fun spirited young boy match with Maeda being feisty with his strikes and Kanehara looking to suplex>submit. What they may lack in finesse they make up for with their hearts and determination. But there's some cool shit like Maeda blocking Kanehara's defensive kicks when he's got him in the single leg grab. It heats up heading into the finish with some big strikes and submission attempts. I really liked the desperation of Kanehara's single leg crab/side facelock when Maeda won't tap. They're both exhausted and swatting by the end of it and Kanehara wins after a German suplex into the armbar. One of the better matches of the show.

Kazuo  Yamazaki vs. Koji Kitao (UWFi, 5/8/92)

Not a very good match but totally a GREAT match. I loved it. Kitao's this big dumb judo guy eating leg kick after kick, waiting patiently for the right moment. Oh, and t's coming. I love that his counter to the double leg takedown is just standing there. At some point, Yamazaki's nose gets busted but he still wants to German suplex Kitao but settles for a sleeper hold, to which Kitao counters by trying to dump him over the top rope. Kitao's selling after he slowly crawls to the ropes to break a heel hold is off the charts. Kitao's monent comes when he swats Yamazaki's spinning heel kick out of the air. Then he proceeds to destroy Yamazak - a nasty running knee, a big uranage, and endless leg and butt kicks until Yamazaki can no longer stand on his own two feet. Altered Beast Kitao is the best Kitao, and Yamazaki is one of the best shithead underdogs. 

Nobuhiko Takada vs. Gary Albright (UWFi, 5/8/92)

Takada's first big UWFi "epic" and a very fun match up top, with Albright grabbing suplexes and Takada being the charismatic striker trying to kick Gary's head off. He also delivers a pretty sweet Saito suplex to Albright so lots of suplex love in this match -- loved Gary's back-to-back belly-to-bellies. The groundwork slows it down and isn't very interesting until Takada starts blasting Albright with leg kicks and counters the German with the toe hold. I liked that Gary's first shitty German suplex seemed like a result of his bad knee buckling but then he hits the second shitty German and it's definitely Takada sandbagging him -- who then just lays there like a goof to give Gary the KO victory. Cool moments but not a great match.

Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Hiromitsu Kanehara (UWFi, 6/28/92)

Yoshihiro Takayama's pro-wrestling debut and it's exactly the big aggressive debut you'd expect from Takayama. He immediately open hands the hell out of Kanehara and gets in plenty of giant knees and slaps. Kanehara is obviously trying to get him down to the mat for a submission but he's having a hard time doing it. He gets in a few good shots at Takayama and finally lets him have it, backdropping Takayama to set up the submission. Really fun debut from Takayama. 

Kiyoshi Tamura & Yuko Miyato vs. Tatsuo Nakano & Mark Fleming (UWFi, 6/28/92)

This was the best Fleming has looked since he first popped up in UWFi. He really gets to show off his power vs. Miyato with big suplex throws and a little more refined technique against Tamura, like his hammerlocked takedown into the headscissors. But Tamura is the slickest and wipes the mat clean with Fleming. Nakano isn't very slick either but he's scrappy and a little shit, which is why we adore him, and he knees Tamura in the face a couple of times. The exchanges between Nakano and MIyato are always very feisty and they didn't disappoint here. Nakano dumps him with a German suplex and Miyato answers by spiking him with a crazy uranage. Fleming still can't apply his shitty STF and while it doesn't work on Tamura, it works on Miyato. A really fun undercard tag. 

Yoji Anjoh vs. Masahito Kakihara (UWFi, 6/28/92)

The best match of the show and an easy recommendation. It's 10:00 minutes. It's Dickhead Anjoh, it's Slappy Kaki, and there's plenty of heat between the striking, and the aggressive takedowns and submission attempts.When Kakihara misses his big spinning heel kick attempt, which he misses about 78% of the time, Anjoh adds some salt by kicking him in the face. Some real nasty shots from Anjoh toward the end but Kakihara pulls off the upset by submitting Anjoh with the leglock. Good stuff. 

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Kiyoshi Tamura & Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Gary Albright & Mark Silver (UWFi, 7/12/92)

Really awesome shoot-style tag because it definitely blurs the lines between shoot and pro-wrestling very well. Mark Silver, really representing 1992 in all its glory, won me over and became quite the fighting underdog when the fans turned on Tamura who basically bullies SIlver on the mat throughout the match. Really rides that back mount and at one point, SIlver lifts his hands and asks "why?". Things get really heated when SIlver tries to retaliate but Tamura goes back to dominating him and sending him to the ropes. Yamazaki's "I don't want to be here" energy is so good. He definitely gives Silver something more to work with and their exchanges felt gritty and seamless. Love Yamazaki's go behind German suplex. Yamazaki gives him some big kicks and Silver sells them great but it looks he was supposed to take Yamazaki's spinning heel kick counter, doesn't, stands there awkwardly trying to figure out what to do, and then Yamazaki, clearly pissed, shoot stomps him in the face and tags in Tamura. So now Tamura and Yamazaki are both shooting on Silver, Silver just wants some retribution against these assholes, the fans want Silver to tag in Albright, and Albright is ready to fucking kill somebody. We get the finish everyone was waiting for. Tamura tries to do his thing against Silver but Silver immediately goes to the ropes, drops Tamura with a uranage, and finally tags in Albright, whose like "f this a-hole" and annihilates Tamura with suplexes for the KO. Not a happy man at the way Tamura humiliated Silver and boy, did Tamura pay. Yikes. 

Masahito Kakihara vs. Mark Silver (UWFi, 8/28/92)

Hey, this was pretty good. Plenty of struggle on the mat with Silver trying hard to do something and Kaki staying in control for much of the match. Silver's rough and tumble and would've made for a good generic AJPW gaijin or something. No finesse but all heart and mullet, which is what we need most sometimes. At one point in the match, Silver snags a kick and clobbers him with a sickle lariat and when Kaki tries for his big spinning heel kick, Mark catches a foot and drops down into a kneebar, which leads to a heated little spat. Silver plants him with a uranage but ends up trapped in a kneebar, with Kaki pulling him away from the ropes and re-applying for the submission.

Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Yoji Anjoh (UWFi, 8/28/92)

For a 30 minute draw, I thought this was pretty great and they did a good job of keeping the matwork exciting. Anjoh is easily the second best guy in UWFi at this point behind Tamura, and they always manage to have competitive tag exchanges up to this point. Tons of neat transitions and defense -- like Anjoh, for example, blocking the single or his transition into the double wristlock attempt, to which Tamura powers out and takes Anjoh over with a big fireman's carry. Lots of cool moments peppered throughout; Anjoh's reflex knee to Tamura's head, the shoot figure-four into the STF, Anjoh hitting the fisherman buster and Tamura immediately snagging the double wristlock. Loved Anjoh getting heat for dropping those knees to Tamura on the ropes. I thought Tamura's rubber-legged selling towards the end of the draw was really good, with Anjoh running in with these shitty low kicks, trying to take him out. By the final couple of minutes, they're both exhausted and Tamura tries for one last choke off the big waterwheel drop but the time expires. Good stuff! 

Hiromitsu Kanehara vs. Mark Silver (UWFi, 9/21/92)

This was really pretty good. Mark Silver is such a lughead but unlike a guy like Burton, he's got more heart and a bit of a vicious streak. Nasty chokes and big kicks and slams. At one point, he repeatedly boots Kanehara in the head. Kanehara hasn't quite clicked yet but he was able to try out some new submission holds against SIlver. But yeah, this was kind of the Mark Silver show - he hits a belly to belly into the neck crank, clobbers him with a lariat, throws him with a big ass German suplex. I mean, the way he dumps him and stumbles around looking like a total klutz is a big plus for Mark Silver. He gets Kanehara in a pretty gnarly single leg crab but Kanehara's in the ropes and the match ends in a draw. 

Masahito Kakihara vs. Tatsuo Nakano (UWFi, 9/21/92)

One of the best sub-five minute matches out there and within the first 10 seconds, Kakihara splatters Nakano's nose with a flurry of open hands. Nakano's able to slow Kaki down on the ground with a leglock and I like the combo of the knee > front neck chancery takeover, throwing some salt in the wound with a cheap shot kick. The blood really adds something to the match, with Kaki's grip slipping during a takedown attempt. As usual, Kakihara sets himself up for the big spinning heel kick but misses, which leads to the brutal finish from Nakano: smack, stomp, submit via single leg crab.

Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Kazuo Yamazaki (UWFi, 10/23/92)

Great match and definitely the most reminiscent of UWF 2.0 out of any of the UWFi stuff so far. That opening was fantastic and I loved all the crowd reactions to the constant counters and reversals on the mat through the first couple of minutes.  Tamura plays the brash young underdog, Yamazaki the stubborn veteran, and together, the competitive nature, the frustrations, the teases -- everything worked, for the most part. There were a couple of times when it felt a little long in the tooth but then they're turn it up again, and Yamazaki would fly at him with a spinning heel kick. There's a great moment toward the end when Tamura is smacking the hell out of Yamazaki when he's stuck in a leglock but Yamazaki ain't letting go. Then Yamazaki's like fuck it, let's finish this, and he's able to hit the German suplex but Tamura finally taps him with the armbar. Really good stuff here.

Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Hiromitsu Kanehara (UWFi, 12/20/92)

The best match in their series so far, continuing the tradition of sloppy charm. They scrap around, both on their feet and on the mat. Takayama's strategy is largely the same: knee knee knee. But when Kanehara catches one, he dumps him with a big waterwheel slam and tries to choke Takayama out. Takayama looked more comfortable here and he definitely got to shine, hitting a big capture suplex, popping Kanehara in the face with a flying knee, and an awesome German. Kanehara looked good here, too, with his kicks and counters - loved him catching Takayama's kick and high kicking him in the head with the opposite leg. Or the leg catch slap. Really good desperation there at the end between the holds and counters and wild strikes -- at one point, Kanehara kicks Takayama in the nuts to set up a leglock.  Kanehara hits his own German and finishes Takayama off with a choke. Fun stuff! 

Nobuhiko Takada vs. Naoki Sano (UWFi, 12/20/92)

This is easily Takada's best singles match in UWFi through 1992, and it comes after a warm up match against Dennis Koslowski. Takada, who is usually not very interesting on the mat, worked a stronger ground game against Sano. Sano, on the otherhand, had Takada on the ropes with chokes and single legs throughout. But it's DOUBLE TAKADA so he's going to shine here, which he did. He hits a nice Saito suplex>rear mount>face lock combo and he blasts Sano with a nasty high kick. Sano is able to grab the leg and German suplex Takada but when Takada tries to sneak in for a leglock attempt, Sano's able to roll him up with one of his own. They lay into each other with slaps and kicks and there are some good moments of struggle heading into the finish. They fight over armbars but Takada obviously wins out and picks up the submission. Good stuff!   

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  • 10 months later...

Finally, 1993 is in the books. Here are the highlights:

Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Dan Severn (UWFi, 1/10/93)

Another really good match and strong showing from Severn, who has quickly become the best American dude in the promotion outside of maybe Gary Albright. Severn was born to SLAM and that's perfectly okay in my book because Kiyoshi Tamura was born to slip-n-slide. Tons of solid matwork in this with a well-conveyed back-and-forth struggle for holds and intuitive transitions. I liked Severn's leg trip takedown and then when Tamura tries smacking him, Severn answers with knees, a dope front chancery suplex and an underhook suplex. He almost overhead suplexes poor Tamura on his head. Tamura tries for an armbar, then goes to the scissored armbar and finally a choke when nothing else works but Severn is too much and cranks him with his can opener STF for the submission.  

Naoki Sano vs. Masahito Kakihara (UWFi, 1/10/93)

Now this ruled! Kakihara rules! Look, Kaki doesn’t want your handshakes, he just wants to slap you dead, which he tries to do on Sano, taking him down right out of the gate in a flurry of open hands. Sano tries the knees but Kakihara knees him right back and takes him down with a big suplex. When Sano tries to slow things down by sitting in a front mount, Kaki works his way out and around, into a front necklock, and then delivers a necklock suplex! Sano then takes control of the situation, working his way into a single leg crab, which he turns into an STF when Kaki doesn't tap, really wrenching the neck. That's an STF. They trade strikes, Sano hits a cool underhook suplex into the front necklock and when Kaki tries to come at him with more slaps, he throws him with an overhead suplex. Love when he can't pry open the armbar, Sano turns it into a double armbar. He finally throws Kakihara with the German suplex and rolls him up into an armbar for the submission. Great stuff. 

Nobuhiko Takada vs. Kiyoshi Tamura (UWFi, 2/13/93)

Takada's best match in UWFi thus far but not necessarily Tamura's. Still, a pretty damn good game of chess between the boss and the future. Tamura sells really well for Takada, giving some life to his otherwise lifeless matwork, and there are plenty of neat transitions and reversals from both guys throughout. When Tamura's got the legs, Takada slaps his face to get him off but instead, Tamura turns him over into the single leg and Takada picks the ankle in a great counter. The fans lose it when Tamura grabs the double wristlock but then Takada shuts him down with kicks, knocking him down with highs and cutting out the leg with lows, finally winning by TKO. Good stuff. 

Gary Albright vs. Dennis Koslowski (UWFi, 4/10/93)

I mean, how can you go wrong with a suplex-heavy sprint? Within the first five seconds, Gary hits a belly-to-belly. Of course, he hits the German and the dragon to ultimately win via KO but Dennis gets in there with a very nice judo throw and gutwrench suplex. Not much in terms of groundwork - Dennis manages a head-and-arm lock off the judo throw and Gary applies the grounded full nelson off the German. But come on, you're not here to watch Gary Albright work submissions. Fun sprint!

Naoki Sano vs. Masahito Kakihara (UWFi, 4/10/93)

Another fun sprint and while not as good as the January match, it's got Kaki showing no respect for Sano at the outset and immediately taking him down with his barrage of slaps. He utilizes some great suplexes, including a front necklock suplex, but can't quite get anything going on the mat, as Sano's able to slip out into armbars and single leg crabs. Sano's able to hit his own front chancery suplex, working his way into the rear choke, and I loved his sneak in overhead suplex, avoiding Kaki's slaps. Sano wins it with the German suplex into the armbar.

Gary Albright vs. Dennis Koslowski (UWFi, 5/6/93)

It's another killer Albright squash but it's also Dennis Koslowski's best performance in UWFi thus far. Thankfully, he's back in the singlet, coming out to "Born to Run". Albright says fuck your Steve Rogers-ass handshake but Koslowski shows dominance early on, putting him in a single leg and dragging him back to the middle to make him fight for the ropes. Then Albright hits a backdrop suplex and a deadlfit German but Koslowski comes back, arm whip throwing him down and putting him a pretty dope neck crank. When Albright tries to suplex again, Koslowski counters with a great judo throw. They fight for the belly-to-belly (Albright wins) and then Dennis is KO'd with the dragon suplex. This was fun.

Naoki Sano vs. Kiyoshi Tamura (UWFi, 5/6/93)

This was good stuff. I loved the mat exchange to open and the arm control up front from Sano, working to his veteran strengths with the slick youngun Tamura trying to show him up. Sano will fire off a great suplex, Tamura will try to grab an arm upon impact and Sano finagle his way back to the armbar. A bit clunky here and there, and there's point where the match really seems to fizzle out, but then they'll start trading slaps and wake everyone back up. Great finish. Tamura mostly stays on the leg but when he can't get Sano over in the single leg, he goes to the surprise armbar and taps him after hitting a waterwheel drop. It ran a little long but there was still a lot of really neat moments in between, and Sano in UWFi has been great. 

Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Yoji Anjoh (UWFi, 7/18/93)

Great chemistry leads to a great match, as these two play a back-and-forth game of checkers, between their counters, holds, thwarted escape attempts, and blocked strikes. Loved Yamazaki's Exploder suplex counter to Anjoh's knee attempt. Yamazaki keeps stopping Anjoh's knees and Anjoh's able to avoid the German suplex, taking Yamazaki to the ropes with a Fujiwara armbar off the double wristlock. Yamazaki's really selling the arm at this point and then proceeds to annihilate Anjoh with kicks -- that leg catch kick to the face was real nasty. Yamazaki wins by KO. 

Gene Lydick vs. Yoshihiro Takayama (UWFi, 8/13/93)

This was a whole lot of fun, with cool throws, heavy striking from Takayama, and Lydick trying to find the golden ticket on the mat. It's funny because Lydick is definitely not a striker and he eats plate fulls of knees, slaps, and kicks trying to get in close enough to suplex Takayama. Loved the opening scramble as it seemed full of panic and intensity. The first suplex of the match is a German courtesy of Lydick and he follows that up with a second, looking confident early on. Later, he delivers what looks like a uranage before unsuccessfully attempting an armbar. Takayama's knees looked awesome and he kept kicking Lydick in the gut. He delivers his own German, holds on, then cradles him into some kind of leg crank? No clue but it looked clunky and effective. Lydick manages to send Takayam to the ropes a couple of times, at one point getting his nose cracked when Takayama tries booting his way out of a hold. Takayama's last gasp is a brutal combo of knees and kicks in the corner but it ain't enough to keep Lydick down for the count, and good ole Gene comes back with a belly-to-belly, slapping on the single leg and dragging Takayama back to the middle when he gets to the ropes to finally submit him.

Vader vs. Kazuo Yamazaki (UWFI, 8/13/93)

Yamazaki knows his best chance of winning is knocking Vader off his feet with kicks. Unfortunately, Vader's on top of it and counters most of Yamazaki's early kicks, slamming or clubbing him down as a result. Or he corners him like a dog and hammers him to the ground. Yamazaki's able to take him down and kicks away at the leg, which Vader sells well here. He follows up with a big spinning heel kick into the ropes . They both tumble to the floor but back inside, Yamazaki continues the assault with some head kicks but Vader won't go down. He's able to block the German and counter out of the sleeper attempt, trying to snag an armbar, but Vader breaks away and blasts Yamazaki with palm strikes, finally chokeslamming him for the TKO. This was a lot of fun, and Yamazaki made Vader look even more dominant while still giving him a fight.

Naoki Sano vs. Yoji Anjoh (UWFI, 8/13/93)

Yeah, this ruled. Both guys are on another personal level, especially Anjoh with his takedowns and matwork, and the crowd is loving every second of Anjoh's sleaze and Sano's underdoggedness (?). Fiery start with the kicks, Anjoh trying to snag the rear choke and Sano tossing him off like "no way, Yoji." Like I mentioned earlier, Anjoh's takedowns are real slick -- the roll up kneebar was dope. At one point,  he's got a hold of Sano's leg and he's just working in every which was he can while Sano is trying to heel kick his way out of it. Plus, that transition into the STF toward the end ruled. Sano has some great suplex throws, of course, and he gets the fans behind him as he fights back, ultimately tapping Anjoh with the crossface chickenwing. As mentioned by others, one of the best matches in UWFi so far. 

Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Yuko Miyato (UWFi, 10/4/93)

Great scramble to kick things off, with Tamura coming out on top, of course. His transition into the rolling armbar attempt was very sweet. He's just so good at working around his opponent and finding the advantage. Now, Miyato's no slouch. He's able to work a double wristlock momentarily and delivers a nice uranage slam and rolling solebutt. They play up the underdog overcoming the hot commodity, as Miyato keeps going after Tamura's gut with knees and kicks, and by the end of it, Tamura's struggling to maintain balance. But then Tamura finally slams him down and taps him with the head-and-shoulder lock. Fun match! 

Nobuhiko Takada vs. Billy Scott (UWFI, 10/4/93)

A very strong championship squash by Takada, thanks in big part to Billy Scott, who made Takada look like a million bucks. That's not to say Takada doesn't work him hard because he absolutely does but Scolls selling of the kicks and submissions were great. Of course, Takada isn't going to give Scott much and Scott's comebacks aren't very big. I mean, Takada doesn't look too distressed about the single leg crab but his reaction to Scott's big belly-to-belly is incredible. But Takada looked good - his submissions better than usual, his knees quick and dirty, and he murders Scott's legs with kicks. The final backdrop suplex>armbar finish looked brutal. Dominant showing by Takada in a very entertaining match.  

Vader vs. Nobuhiko Takada (UWFi, 12/5/93)

A very good match and an interesting match-up as it's obvious Vader is uncertain about a lot of things in this match, from Takada's kicks to the stuff on the ground. He hesitates to lock up and when his usual clobbering approaching doesn't do the trick, he tackles Takada and tries to pound him into submission. Takada kicks the leg and keeps kicking til Vader hollers, and the final armbar sold Takada as the legitimate badass he so desperately wanted to be perceived as. 

Gene Lydick vs. Hiromitsu Kanehara (UWFi, 12/15/93)

For a match that's less than four minutes long, this pretty much ruled. Kanehara comes very aggressive with the kicks and slaps, while Lydick is trying to simultaneously block the strikes and grab Kanehara for a suplex. He throws him with a belly-to-belly out of the corner and tries for the single leg but Kanehara is quick to the ropes. Again, he tries to wrap him up for a German but Kanehara clings to the ropes. Kanehara snags him with a rear choke and drags him down - the fans are lapping every second of this up. Lydick throws a few more suplexes but when he tries for another German, Kanehara picks the ankle and gets him in a heel hook. The final seconds has Lydick chasing him around the ring, trying to suplex him, and he finally hits that German>armbar combo for the win. Total blast.

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