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[2005-11-23-U-STYLE] Toshiaki Kawada vs Mikhail Ilyukhin


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I had no idea that Kawada turned up in U-STYLE!  Ilyukhin is your bog-standard Russian shooter. He's the kind of guy that would have turned up in NJPW during 1989. Great on the mat, but dryer than a Steven Wright stand-up. Kawada knocks him on his arse early and to Ilyukhin's credit, he sells the urgency of the situation well and he jumps right back up to his feet in a successful effort to not lose a point. The story of this one is seeing if Kawada can adapt to U-STYLE's ...style. He throws an elbow and this causes the referee to yellow card him. Kawada's no spring chicken at this point in his career and his opponent is able to score a few submissions that cause Kawada to use up some of his rope breaks. The mat-work here wasn't anything to write home about, but the story here was interesting enough and they pull everything off well. Kawada secures a victory after landing a Backdrop Driver and locking on a submission hold in just over four minutes. This was a fun match that had the potential to be great if they fleshed out the story some more and gave them some more time to work with. ★★★¼

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