UWF BEST BOUTS Vol. VIII
September 6, 1985
SUPER TIGER vs. NOBUHIKO TAKADA
Of the three matches between these two that were taped (1/20, 7/21, and this), this is definitely the most exciting, although it’s not for the right reason. For some reason (possibly legit anger over Maeda’s unceremonious exit from the company) Takada doesn’t seem to feel like doing anything more than the bare minimum to make Sayama look good. Sayama lets loose with a nasty looking kick to Takada’s stomach that keeps him down for a seven count, but Takada just jumps right back to his feet and tries taking over the match. The same thing happens after Sayama drums up some nice heat with his single leg crab. Once Takada gets the ropes to break the hold, he just gets back up and tries to fire away at Sayama. Even the finish sees Takada tap out to a legbar, and then just get up and walk over to the corner, rather than continue to sell the hold, and give Sayama the customary handshake.
It’s really a shame too, because they do some nice things during the match. Sayama has always been one of the weaker workers in the company, so it was especially nice to see him pull off some complex sequences. Their best moment is probably Sayama countering the juji-gatame into the single leg crab and showing some tenacity by sinking it extra deep and pulling Takada back when he tries for the ropes. Takada’s backdrop attempt to escape the headlock and Sayama’s block to stay on top was another good moment, as well as Sayama dodging the kick and planting Takada with a suplex of his own. When Sayama locks in the legbar that earns him the win, he’s constantly rolling and angling to prevent Takada from getting too close to the ropes, and Takada has no choice but to tap out. Smart moments like these show that these two clearly had another great match in them that would have been a worthy follow up to their match in July. But Takada’s unwillingness to play along (a criticism that he would also bring over to the Newborn UWF) kept this from hitting that level.
YOSHIAKI FUJIWARA vs. OSAMU KIDO
To some of the people in the crowd, the chance to see a master of the craft, like Fujiwara, had to be one of the greatest things they’d ever experience as wrestling fans. But to The Fuj, it was just another Friday night. As one would expect from these two, their matwork is tight and fluid, with both of them showing their skills, and their facials showing just how much strain and anguish that even basic looking holds are able to cause when properly applied. Somehow, Fujiwara and Kido are able to simultaneously show how much effort they’re both putting into the match, and make it look effortless.
The only thing that seems odd is toward the end, when Fujiwara apparently, and abruptly, turns into Buzz Sawyer. He forgoes the wrestling in favor of simply choking Kido, complete with the ref giving a five-count for him to break it. He was being a little bit heelish before then, backing Kido into the corner and tying up his arms before he throws a punch. They have the same sort of finish as their match from 2/18, with Fujiwara able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Kido scores a backdrop suplex and moves to apply the chickenwing armlock, but either due to fatigue or complacency, Kido is just a bit too slow to do it, and Fujiwara, from the bottom position, gets Kido in the hold first and forces him to submit. It’s not quite the huge pendulum shift that their February match was, with Kido seemingly having it in the bag the way that Fujiwara did, but the overall message is still the same. Even if the opening is only a split second, it’s enough for someone as crafty as Fujiwara to be able to put away anyone at any time.
Conclusion: You can’t go wrong with a Fujiwara/Kido match, and the opener certainly isn’t bad, it’s just a letdown compared to what could have been. This is an easy thumbs up.