LIDET UWF V. 1
October 9, 2021
Hideki Sekine . . . watches in awe as his opponent wrestles himself in order to make him look like a threat to the rest of the GLEAT roster.
Tatsuaki Nakano . . . comes out of the mothballs and completely dominates the pro wrestling junior legend.
Yu Iizuka . . . and a few other guys give me some hope for the prospects of this roster carrying on the UWF mantle.
MICHIKO MIYAGI vs. MAYA FUKUDA
Aside from the one down that Maya scored right before the match ended, this is pretty much a squash for Miyagi. At first glance the match would appear to be a case of size versus technique, but that doesn’t apply because Miyagi shows to be a perfectly adequate technician (which is as much as I can really praise her at this point, having only seen her wrestle for a total of four minutes). She’s very good about using her size to get Maya where she needs her to be and locking her in holds to force her to burn through her points with rope breaks. Even after she recovers from the down that Maya gets from a head kick, she takes her right back to the mat and secures a front choke. Maya uses the predictable escape and Miyagi rolls into a sleeper with body scissors and gets the tap out. It would have been nice to see this go a bit longer and not be quite so lopsided, but this is a perfectly watchable opener.
HIDEKI SEKINE vs. RIONNE FUJIWARA
If this isn’t Sekine’s first singles match in this setting, I’d be shocked. His kicks don’t look good, and he just generally looks uncomfortable on the mat. He gets one submission, an ankle lock, which doesn’t look very good although Rionne does a nice job of selling it. It looks like Rionne more or less wrestles himself and tells Sekine where he needs to be. Hell, Sekine even looks confused when the ref calls the match after he hits a big German suplex to KO Rionne. At first glance, Sekine looks like the obvious person to be an Albright-style monster heel. But if this is any indication, he’s a long way off from being ready for any kind of main event match.
DAIJIRO MATSUI vs. TETSUYA IZUCHI
It’s the first good match of the show, and the first match to truly feel like a contest. They both show some nice matwork, and both men also throw in some flashy touches, just to keep the crowd interested, such as Matsui’s cartwheel and Izuchi’s somersault to get to the ropes before Matsui could lock in a juji-gatame. Izuchi is clearly considered the underdog, being that he’s wrestling someone that’s nearly thirty years his senior, and he lets out some of that frustration by surprising Matsui with an escape and pelting him with slaps. They both want to decide the match on the mat, although Izuchi also shows his well-roundedness by getting a down on Matsui with a high kick, which takes him down to his final point. The match ends on a bit of a downer, with Izuchi tapping to a legbar. It’d have been one thing if Matsui had countered him into it, but he just grabs Izuchi and takes him down into the hold and wrenches it until he taps. Izuchi put on a good enough showing, including being ahead on points at the end, that he deserved to go out in a better manner. But despite the disappointing finish, both of these guys look like solid members of the roster.
KAZ HAYASHI vs. TATSUAKI NAKANO
Out of all the familiar names from the former UWF flag bearing promotions to bring in, was Nakano the best they could find? He wasn’t exactly a super worker in his younger days, let alone thirty years later. Yet, he completely spanks Kaz here, making him submit to a crossface chickenwing and not allowing him to take off a single point. Kaz does take Nakano off his feet with a dropkick, which isn’t called down for some reason, and also spikes him with a German suplex which Nakano completely no-sells. If the idea here is to show that even an over-the-hill shootstyle worker, who was never considered a top-level talent in his day, can thoroughly dominate a pro wrestler, then mission accomplished. Hell, Hayashi doesn’t even crack Nakano in the face to bust his nose open.
HIKARU SATO/ROCKY KAWAMURA vs. MINORU TANAKA/TAKANORI ITO
The fact that neither Sato nor Ito were involved in the finish gives me hope that they’ll have a singles match at some point, because their exchanges are pretty much the only things worth seeing here. Rocky beats the stuffing out of Tanaka to give his team the win, but his attempts to be engaging on the mat aren’t anything special. Tanaka just seemed like he couldn’t be bothered to do much of anything, which is especially disappointing considering how many years he’d spent around guys like Lyger and TAKA, who could almost always be counted on to do something to make a match worth seeing. Ito and Sato bring all the intensity to the match and when it becomes apparent that Sato has the advantage, when he’s able to force both Ito and Tanaka to burn points by going for the ropes, Ito surprises him by avoiding a takedown and planting him with a huge German. Ito tries to follow up by locking in something and forcing Sato to use up more points, and Sato counters into an ankle lock. Ito eventually bails for the ropes and loses another point for his team, but only when he’s unable to force Sato to break it by throwing slaps at him. Sato gets back to his feet and is clearly still woozy from the suplex. They work a couple more sequences and then both men tag out so that the other two can end the match. There were at least a dozen better ways to get to the finish than both guys just deciding they’d made their point and tagging out, but it’s hard to really blame them. Give them partners who are able, and motivated, to make something out of this and this would have easily been the best match of the card.
DAICHI HASHIMOTO vs. YU IIZUKA
It’s nice to see that Iizuka’s good showing from the first show earned him a main event slot, but this doesn’t feel like a real main event. It doesn’t go very long at all, and it doesn’t even seem all that engaging until the last few minutes. Tamura’s influence on Iizuka is obvious in his fluid movements, and his ability to lock in a submission from any position. It’s just too bad that Hashimoto didn’t feel like doing more to make him look good. Iizuka’s rolling armlock was the most mind-blowing thing on the entire card, and it wasn’t even worthy of a rope break. Iizuka surprises him by countering his attempted German suplex into an ankle lock, and Hashimoto just casually gets to his feet. Iizuka responds with a spikey Dragon suplex, which Hashimoto finishes on his knees in an upright position so as not to be called down. The only time that Hashimoto burns a point is after Iizuka’s juji-gatame, and he still blocks it for a few seconds and makes the GLEAT upstart fight for the hold. But most of that action comes in the last couple of minutes. It seemed like they realized they spent too long trying to feel each other out and threw out a few things to wake up the crowd before they took things home. Hayashi getting squashed by Nakano is even more of a head scratcher now, with Hashimoto scoring a down with a DDT of all things and submitting Iizuka to an STF. There are enough flashes from Iizuka to add him to the list of people I’d like to continue seeing, and at best, Hashimoto puts on a better showing than Sekine did, but this still isn’t an ideal way to cap things off.
Conclusion: There are certainly people here that I’d like to see more of, but as a whole, this show is far from a glowing endorsement that the GLEAT roster is capable of carrying on the UWF brand.