March 5, 2022


Rionne Fujiwara . . . once again winds up flat on his back courtesy of another big lug who doesn’t look like he belongs in a UWF ring.

Daisuke Nakamura . . . looks like he’d be right at home wrestling on a card with Maeda, Takada, or Yamazaki.

Yu Iizuka . . . goes from being on the verge of a quick victory to getting his lights completely turned out.



Aside from a not-bad finishing sequence between Kaz and Akira, there isn’t very much to see here. Kaz and TAKA have a quick mat segment, just to show that they can still go, and then hand things off to the young guys. Soma and Akira show some technical ability but there’s nothing as far as urgency or aggression goes, and this is an especially big failing on their part. Things pick up after TAKA forces Kaz to burn a point on a rope break and tags in Akira. He throws kicks at Kaz and spikes him with a German suplex that gets him called down. Kaz catches a kick and drops Akira with an Air Raid Crash and then submits him with a juji-gatame. If nothing else, Akira really makes Kaz fight before he can get the hold locked in.



Although it’s too short to be anything more than fun, it is fun to see Madeline’s patience and persistence payoff when she wins. Miyagi takes her down almost immediately and keep her tied up. She’s not able to get any holds locked in to knock off points or beat her, but she’s more than able to keep her stationary. After patiently working her way through several attempts to escape and counter, without putting herself into a compromising position, Madeline finally gets the opening she needs when she blocks Miyagi’s juji-gatame and is able to maneuver herself into taking Miyagi’s back. Madeline gets a choke sleeper on and after unsuccessfully trying to fight out of it, Miyagi has to tap. It’s certainly not as exciting as seeing Mishima and Sasaki seamlessly trading escapes and counters while working a mat sequence, but it works for what it is.



The tradition of lumpy heavyweights is alive and well in 2022, proving that some things really do last forever. They create a few nice moments but working this sort of match clearly isn’t Sekimoto’s specialty, and it shows. Their attempts to work the mat are noticeably slow and the cooperation is all too evident. Sekimoto falls back on pro-style heavyweight spots that sometimes that turn out OK, like when Rionne counters the vertical suplex, and later the running lariat, into an armbar, but that’s pretty much the only case of it. Rionne gets Sekimoto in the chickenwing armlock and Sekimoto escapes by powering to his feet and picking Rionne up for a DVD, rather than putting over one of the most established and protected holds in all of shootstyle. There is a bit of logic to the finish, with Sekimoto slamming Rionne to prevent the Triangle choke and submitting him with a Scorpion hold. One could argue that the slam stunned Rionne enough for Sekimoto to get the hold locked in, but there were a number of ways that it could have worked better. They could have spent the match using Sekimoto’s size and strength advantage to knock off Rionne’s points, and then made the Scorpion into a no-win situation for him by either tapping or using the ropes to escape. They could have spent the match doing a size versus technique story with both of them taking points away and forcing Sekimoto to adapt to his surroundings in order to win. But they don’t do anything that might make the match seem more interesting. At best, this is slightly better than the match between Rionne and Sekine from October, by virtue of Sekimoto not looking completely lost, but heaven help us if GLEAT follows this by booking Sekimoto vs Sekine.



This winds up being watchable, mostly thanks to Ito. He shows the intensity and aggression that the young guys in the opener were lacking, and he and Niki work a really nice finish. The main thing that holds this back is that Mashimo seemingly couldn’t care any less about where he was working or whom he was working with. There are times that he makes his apparent disdain work, such as when Tanaka circles him for a chance to shoot in and take him down and Mashimo clocks him with a head kick that drops him and takes off a point, before strolling over and tagging in Niki. He works a couple of nice segments with Ito, their best one being when he tries for a Triangle choke and Ito escapes it and tries to roll over and hook a juji-gatame. But more often than not, Mashimo does little more than circle and doesn’t seem all that interested in doing anything other than killing time. Tanaka is somewhere in the middle. He seems to understand that Ito needs the chance to shine so he holds back and lets him do his thing. His only real highlight is just after Mashimo drops him with the kick and tags out, Niki tries to take advantage and tie him up on the mat, but Tanaka outwrestles him and muscles him up into a fisherman’s buster so that he can roll over and tag.


The finish run isn’t very long, but it’s the best thing to see by a mile. They trade off slaps and Niki drops Ito with a German suplex that takes away a point. Ito gets up outwrestles Niki and takes him over with a waterwheel drop and then puts on a sleeper that makes Niki use a rope break, and also gives Ito time to recover from the German suplex. Niki goes back to the slaps and Ito returns fire, easily winning the exchange, then he takes him over with a gut-wrench suplex and gives him a German suplex of his own. The momentum puts Niki on his knees, so he isn’t called down, and Ito responds by giving him another German and not only is he called down, but he fails to answer the count and gives the GLEAT team the win. If the first twelves minutes were as good as the last couple, and if Mashimo had put in a real effort, this would have easily blown away every other match from the first two of Lidet’s UWF shows.



Of the three UWF shows from GLEAT, this is the match that’s felt the closest to being a real UWF match. Despite not being very flashy, the work from both men is very well done, and the match always feels busy, like they’re trying to get every bit of mileage they can. This also features a little in the way of storytelling, with Nakamura being a better striker and Matsui having the edge with his throws, and the mat being tiebreaker between them. They both look perfectly solid and neither seems overmatched when it comes to the mat game, and they both manage to trim some points with their submissions. Nakamura winds up winning when he finds a way to parlay his striking into a submission by hitting a couple of kicks and knee strikes and then taking Matsui by surprise with a flying juji-gatame, but both men come out of this looking good, and if a rematch takes place it seems just as likely that Matsui could pull out the win.



From a matchmaking perspective, this is great to see. Two of the most promising young guns on the roster getting to headline is certainly a step in the right direction. However, a sub-one-minute referee stoppage is far from the ideal way to go with this. If nothing else, they pack a lot of intensity into those thirty-nine seconds. Iizuka nearly gets a KO win with a flying knee and follows with a strike flurry that includes a wicked spinning backfist. Iizuka shoots in for a takedown, Izuchi gets a knee up and turns out Iizuka’s lights. It’s pretty much the polar opposite of Nakamura/Matsui but it leaves the same lasting impression that questions the outcome of a rematch. It also leaves questions about the direction of both of them going forward, with this being Iizuka’s second straight main event loss, and Izuchi seemingly being a hair away from losing before he connected with that knee.


Conclusion: Although this is still far from the level of the various UWF predecessors, this is a step in the right direction with the young guns getting to shine as well as a damn fine semifinal match.