August 13, 1988

Tatsuo Nakano . . . nearly cures insomnia with a mind-numbingly boring match.

Nobuhiko Takada . . . wrestles against Yamazaki, and somehow they don’t tear down the house.

Gerard Gordeau . . . beats the tar out Akira Maeda.


Watching their performance here is a good indication of why both Miyato and Nakano stayed at the bottom of the card throughout the life of UWF and into UWFI. They work a few mat sequences that show that they’re at least somewhat competent on the mat, although nothing that indicates that they would present any challenge to someone more established. There are a few moments that wake up the crowd a bit, like some stiff shots from Nakano, and, Miyato’s legsweep, and, Miyato makes sure to really crank back on the half crab for the finish, so it’s not like they were completely lost, but, neither of them had it in them to go for twenty minutes and make this even halfway interesting.


The simple fact that both Anjo and Norman actively try to win the match is enough to make it better than Nakano/Miyato. Every time that either of them manages to get hold of a limb, they start cranking on it, like they’re trying to get every bit of mileage out of it that they can. Their counters and escapes are another welcome sight, showing that they’re both capable on the mat, and that the match is either of theirs for the taking. Anjo smartly tries to heighten his base whenever Norman gets something applied, so as to try to minimize its effects, and just when it seems like he’s got Norman where he wants him, after a big suplex, he walks right into a grounded armbar and is forced to give things up.


This is a rather mediocre performance from a pairing that usually yields good results. They have their moments to remind you that they’re still two of the best, like Takada sharking on Yamazaki’s knee, and Yamazaki selling so well, that even a half crab gets a decent crowd reaction. But, for every nice moment like that, there’s an overly long legbar segment on the mat that goes nowhere and plays to crickets. The idea for the finish seemed to be to let Yamazaki go over, and to do it in such a way that it doesn’t risk hurting Takada. The head kick from Yamazaki that starts the home stretch looks like a lucky shot, but, Takada blocking the suplex, and Yamazaki’s headbutt to allow him to do the suplex shows that the kick only gave him the chance to win, but that Yamazaki still had to pull of the win on his own.


Yes, five years before he was biting ears and kicking out teeth in the first UFC, Gordeau was already firmly established as a bad ass. And, poor Maeda spends the first two rounds learning just how much of one he is by getting absolutely mauled. Maeda seemed to treat this like any other UWF match, and learns that Gordeau disagrees, Maeda drops him with a back suplex, and Gordeau just shrugs it off, and catches Maeda with a kick to the face while they’re both still laying on the mat. Maeda knows that he’s not going to win standing up, and sees that suplexes aren’t going to help, so his only option is on the mat. There are a couple of close calls, but Gordeau is saved by the bell, and Maeda finally catches him in a heel hook early in the fourth round to get the tap out.

Conclusion: Takada/Yamazaki was a huge letdown, and nothing else on this show comes close to salvaging it, easy recommendation to take a pass.