August 25, 1985

Nobuhiko Takada . . . continues showing his growth by holding his own on the mat with Kido.

Kazuo Yamazaki . . . puts on another respectable showing against a top name, but gets nothing to show for it.

Akira Maeda . . . tries to kick the living daylights out of Fujiwara, but you just can’t keep a good guy down.


Other than the crab hold finish, Takada gets to look good before losing. Takada shows that he can hang with Kido on the mat, he’s not able to put him in any real danger, but, the fact that he can control Kido says enough. When Takada tries for something big, like the juji-gatame or the chickenwing, Kido quickly does what he needs to do in order to block the hold, rather than just lingering and escaping. The finish run starts with Takada showing some real aggression, and trying to finish off Kido, but, Kido easily outwrestles him, and gets the crab hold for the submission. And, Takada doesn’t just fold like an accordion when Kido gets the crab either, he struggles and tries to escape before submitting.


Aside from the actual work, this isn’t all that much different from Kido/Takada. Yamazaki isn’t shown to be any major threat, but, between the offense that he gets in, and the smart little things that he does (such as dropping to one knee to block Sayama’s suplex), he winds up looking good, despite the loss. Yamazaki knows that he’s got no chance of winning by trading strikes with Sayama, so, he does whatever he can to close the gap to prevent Sayama from teeing off on him, even running across the ring and grabbing him. The only big drawback is that, once again, Yamazaki isn’t treated with the same respect as Takada, when it comes to the mat game. Takada may not have been able to present himself as a danger to Kido, but, Kido allowed him to look good. Sayama isn’t nearly as adept as Kido so they had the chance to tease Yamazaki getting the big upset, but it never came, even when Yamazaki gets something big like the kata-gatame, it never feels like Sayama is in real trouble. In fact, the finish, while better than what Kido used to beat Takada, puts over Sayama’s skill on the mat more than anything else, with him taking a German suplex and then catching Yamazaki in an armbar.


This is the only match that feels like a genuine contest. Maeda and Fujiwara both show that they can control the action, both have moments when it seems like victory is on the horizon, and, they both do an admirable job of selling for each other. Maeda’s attempt with the short arm scissors shows that he’s not going to beat Fujiwara on the mat, so he switches gears and starts pelting him with kicks. Fujiwara is devastated at first, and just barely gets to his feet and beats the count, but, he continues selling. He’s not as outrageous as Terry Funk, but it’s pretty close to drunken selling. Fujiwara gets his marbles together and starts deflecting, dodging, and then blocking Maeda’s shots.

Fujiwara mounts a comeback, and turns this into more of a back and fourth sort of affair, with both of them trading strikes and exchanging suplexes. But, Maeda makes the mistake of allowing Fujiwara to take him down into a cross kneelock, and Maeda’s reaction and selling is exactly what was noticeably lacking in Takada and Yamazaki’s matches. He flails, struggles, and crawls for the ropes, Fujiwara pulls him back, but he continues to struggle and crawl, so Fujiwara switches to a different kneebar to make him give it up.

Conclusion: Although none of the matches were bad (one of the benefits of this series), the first two matches were rather pedestrian, with only the last match being able to deliver.