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[1985-01-20-UWF] Nobuhiko Takada vs Super Tiger

Ma Stump Puller

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Takada is a young gun with some already good stuff under his belt, and he's wrestling Tiger with a big handicap due to a broken arm (allegedly) which he sustained in a untelevised bout against Fujiwara. This plays into the start as he gets a bit too compliant in stand-up and ends up getting battered with a combo of sharp kicks from Tiger, which allows him to wrestle his opponent to the mat and attempt a cross armbreaker, countered by Takada excellently into his own, which he's almost able to end the match right then and there if not for him locking his hands together for dear life. He has to give up his back, which results in Takada applying a nasty Misawa-style neck crank until Tiger gets up and throws out a backdrop, taking control with some nasty gut kicks. I love how Tiger also pulls out some goofy pro-wrestling moves here as well, namely his Tiger DDT and flipping senton; not as wild as he was in 1984 where he was basically just doing all of his NJPW shtick, but every now and then it comes though in the form of goofy moves. He then gets on a legit headscissors which Takada has to scramble to the ropes for. He tries to get back on top with his kicks, but Tiger is way too experienced for that and blocks many of them, showing him up with a three kick combo, knees in the clinch, and some elbows. Takada's back has been taken, he's under a ton of pressure and his strikes clearly aren't cutting it, so he decides to hit low and try to Kimura his injured joint (which looked incredibly painful, credit to Sayama's selling for once) but he hits the ropes.

He doesn't break clean and hits a super high-bar belly to belly, looked great. He tries again at the above, but Tiger escapes and throws a knee drop at his head for his troubles. Once again, Tiger dominates in stand-up, landing more big kicks to floor Takada. He tries to take his back again, but he expertly rolls at the right time to not only counter, but also to apply a cross armbreaker. Tiger barely escapes but manages to pick him up like he weighs nothing and plop him at the ropes despite his broken arm lol. A lot of the second half is based around Takada just consistently aiming with hawk-like focus on Tiger's bad arm, relentlessly hunting it down on the mat and wearing it out in submissions. The crowd REALLY get behind him when he's in peril and his desperate scrambles for the ropes every time play to that greatly, especially when Takada heels it up a bit with wrapping the arm in the ropes and punching it like a dirty 80's Southern heel. Tiger hits a solid Tombstone Piledriver into a cross armbreaker but gets countered again, having to head to the ropes.

His kicks finally get to Tiger as his bad arm simply can't bat them away anymore, and Takada knows this, hammering his opponent with strikes relentlessly despite being incapable of really doing much to defend. Tiger refuses to concede and tries to fight on but Takada just won't give, and the ref calls the match off when Sayama is incapable of fighting further. A fantastic early UWF match with some solid technical work alongside some big Korakuen heat as Tiger keeps getting big breaks, but his arm just presents him sealing the deal. Takada is solid on the mat: a bit shaky in strikes but it works to play up the experience gap between the two. Sayama plays a superb underdog, namely in his selling and timing of big comebacks, which is one thing that makes this particularly unique in that it's a match where I can actually praise that. One thing I'll particularly mention is that UWF 1.0 matches suffer real badly from being way too long (even on this card nearly every match was 20-25 minutes long, which even for something as potentially awesome like Finlay/Yamazaki is pushing it) but this was robust and barely went 10+, which helped the pacing and made this a lot more palpable. I'd say this was slightly ahead of its time in that regard. Takada definitely gets led to something great here though, especially given his later matches aren't as good as this one.



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  • paul sosnowski changed the title to [1985-01-20-UWF] Nobuhiko Takada vs Super Tiger

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