UWF BEST BOUTS Vol. III
July 17, 1985
Osamu Kido . . . continues to be the best worker that nobody ever seems to talk about.
Akira Maeda . . . makes Takada look like a can’t miss prospect for a future star, contrary to his well-earned reputation.
Yoshiaki Fujiwara . . . proves that winning really isn’t the most important thing, by losing, but still showing just how great he is.
OSAMU KIDO vs. KEITH HAWARD
It’s disappointing that this was clipped down so much, but, the little that gets shown is good stuff. Although he’s not nearly as flashy as most of the UWF regulars, Kido’s methodicalness makes his matches just as compelling to watch as anyone else on the roster. The clipping shows him trapped in a crossface chickenwing, but he cleverly escapes, and turns the tables by focusing on Haward’s arm/shoulder. It starts with what’s essentially a triangle armbar, and Kido even gets a little showy by doing a sort of Russian Legsweep, but with Haward’s arm still trapped. With the arm worn down, Kido goes right for the chickenwing armlock for a quick submission. Judging from the little footage available from the original UWF, foreigners weren’t exactly pushed hard, so it’s not a shocker that I have yet to see anything outstanding from Haward, but, I’d have liked to see more of this to see if he and Kido had any real chemistry together.
AKIRA MAEDA vs. NOBUHIKO TAKADA
This is the sort of match that I wish everyone (other than The Fuj!) would have with Yamazaki. Even with it being clipped up, enough of it is shown to get a sense of the story, and to be able to appreciate watching it play out and enjoy the payoff. Maeda has the clear edge in experience, and it’s fun to watch him use that to his advantage, when he easily counters Takada’s attempts to lock in a hold, and it’s shown that the fans know what’s going on when Takada gets a rope break to an almost thunderous reaction.
As the match wears on, Takada learns more and more about what he needs to do in order to stay out of trouble. He and Maeda start trading kicks and Maeda tries to scoop him up for the Capture suplex, but Takada realizes what Maeda is doing, and he sandbags him, so that they both wind up on the mat. Takada may not stand much of a chance on the mat, but, he’s got a better shot of winning there, especially compared to his chances after taking Maeda’s suplex. The only big misstep in the match comes from Takada. Maeda does the Capture Suplex and secures a top head scissors, which Takada is eventually able get free of by getting the ropes. But, following the rope break, Takada jumps to his feet and starts firing away with kicks and gives Maeda a backdrop suplex, and then tries to submit him. He was obviously trying to excite the fans, and, if Maeda had gotten to the head scissors hold a different way, it wouldn’t have been that big a deal. But, blowing off Maeda’s signature spot (especially after Takada had done such a good job in making it seem so dangerous) wasn’t the way to go.
Ironically, the finish makes Takada look as good as possible, even in defeat. So, he really would have been just as well leaving well enough alone and selling the suplex and head scissors for longer. Takada, once again, scouts and avoids the Capture Suplex, and each of them wins a mat exchange and uses the ropes to escape a leg bar. But, Maeda outwrestles Takada to get the single leg crab, and switches to a full crab hold to force Takada to give it up. It’s similar to their match from 1/89, where it’s not certain if Takada was submitting to the actual hold or the fact that he knew that there was no means of escaping it. Maeda’s wasn’t as bulletproof here as he would be in the Newborn UWF, but, Takada handling him as well as he does, and taking the loss in the manner that he did, is still impressive, and it’s a clear sign that big things could have happened for him had the company not shut down later in the year.
YOSHIAKI FUJIWARA vs. SUPER TIGER
If nothing else, this is better than their match from 12/84, by virtue of this being structured like a wrestling match instead of a free for all. Fujiwara does everything possible to make the mat portions of the match feel compelling. He cranks on a legbar and whenever Sayama gets close to the ropes Fujiwara will pull him back, and he makes Sayama fight and crawl his way to finally get the ropes and break the hold. In contrast, when Sayama gets Fujiwara in a crab hold, instead of going for the ropes to force the break (and the ropes were easily within his reach), Fujiwara opts to show his craftiness and outwrestle Sayama to escape the hold. It’s only later on, after Sayama has beaten Fujiwara cross-eyed with his barrage of kicks, that Fujiwara decides to use the ropes to break Sayama’s crab hold, and even then, Fujiwara was still on the verge of doing the same escape as earlier.
Considering Sayama’s big advantage over everyone else seems to be his kicks, he appears to have no earthly idea of how to use them effectively. He just fires away with rapid fire shots and doesn’t always makes contact. However, The Fuj is able to pick up the pieces. He tries to move and angle himself so that it’s not completely clear if Sayama is missing him or if Fujiwara is just getting out of the way at the last second to avoid taking the brunt of it. Fujiwara also does a great job of putting them over. There’s one instance where Fujiwara gets a little too goofy about it, he catches one of Sayama’s kicks, and Sayama responds with a spin kick, and Fujiwara does a Flair/Valentine delayed flop to sell it. Sayama wants to win in his usual manner, by draining Fujiwara with kicks, and making him susceptible to a submission. But, The Fuj will be damned if he’s tapping out to someone with so little mat skill. Instead of beating Fujiwara into submission, Fujiwara forces Sayama to beat him into unconsciousness. Sayama may be the one who gets his hand raised, but Fujiwara gets his own sort of victory here. The match may have ended with Fujiwara being listed as the loser of the match, but, if he’s going to lose then he’ll lose on his own terms.
Conclusion: There isn’t anything bad on this tape, but, it’s lacking a real blow away match, that the last couple of volumes have had. That said, there’s still some solid action that’s definitely worth checking out.