February 27, 1989


Norman Smiley . . . helps carry Tatsuo Nakano to one of his better matches inside a UWF ring.

Akira Maeda . . . illustrates exactly why Bart Vale had no business in this promotion.

Nobuhiko Takada . . . shows that some things never change, with a perfectly solid main event against his old rival.



After going the distance the month before, it’s obvious that a rematch was in order. One of the benefits of them having gone for the full thirty minutes, is that following up by only going for twenty-two shouldn’t be that much of a problem. But, it is a problem, because Miyato just isn’t very engaging, and Anjo doesn’t do much to make him look good. Early on, Miyato hits several knees to the face, but Anjo just shrugs them off and takes Miyato down. Miyato’s best moment comes when he gets Anjo in a crossface and throws more knees in his face, but, Anjo just casually escapes the hold, lest anyone get the idea that this might be competitive. Anjo is both more aggressive, and a smarter worker. He has some success with a butterfly suplex, so he uses that as a base to get to more lethal offense, and his eventual win comes when he scouts Miyato’s attempt to escape a Fujiwara armbar and meets him halfway so that the hold is still locked in, and forces him to tap.



File this under P for “Parings that shouldn’t be able to work together so well!” Most of the good work comes from Norman, who is able to take Nakano to the mat and try to tie him up and later on uses suplexes to get there, such as the Northern Lights setting up his chickenwing armlock. He’s also gutsy enough to use a dropkick and European Uppercuts in a UWF ring, and Nakano is manly enough to give them a decent sell job. Norman’s performance would have been enough to make this watchable, but then Nakano finds some intensity and starts firing back, and this looks like an actual contest, complete with Norman selling a vertical suplex just as well as Nakano sold his dropkick. Then, Nakano escapes the Norman Conquest, which makes the crowd go crazy. But, sadly for them, Nakano gasses himself out, and Norman taps him out with a Triangle before he can get his wind back. With how much fun this was, it’s too bad that UWF didn’t follow up with a Smiley/Anjo match.



This is probably as close as UWF could realistically come to putting on a comedy match. Vale is a tall guy, but he’s in way over his head going against Maeda. Just watch Maeda scout and counter virtually every kick that Vale throws. Vale is able to take Maeda to the mat and try to get a chickenwing, but, Maeda almost instantly reverses him. Aside from a brief moment when Vale has Maeda on the ropes from punches, Maeda never looks like he’s in any danger of being beaten. Maeda has fun for a bit, lets Vale get his short run, and mercifully ends this. Aside from the sideshow nature of seeing exactly how far out of his element Vale truly is in this match, there’s next to no real appeal to this match.



This doesn’t hit the same level as Takada’s matches with Maeda or Yamazaki’s matches with Fujiwara, but, these two have good enough chemistry together that this winds up being a good match, and that’s more than enough to make this a worthwhile main event. Their work on the mat is just that. It’s work. Instead of going right for the ropes when a hold gets locked in, they look for an escape or a counter, and only go to the ropes as a last resort, such as Yamazaki needing the ropes to break Takada’s sleeper. Suplexes and strikes are mostly treated the same way, as a avenue to get the opponent on the mat to lock something in, and it comes later in the match that they both try to win via KO. It’s also easy to see that Takada respects how good Yamazaki is, and vice versa. Yamazaki surprises Takada with a spin kick to the gut, and Takada sells it very well, but also has a little smirk on his face, because he knows that Yamazaki got him good. When Yamazaki scores the first down on Takada, he looks just as out of it as Takada does. Takada ultimately wins the match by catching Yamazaki in an Achilles lock in the center of the ring with no escape, but, they both come away from this match looking better, even more so when you compare their work here to the performances from lazy Miyato, gassed out Nakano, and clueless Bart.


Conclusion: Aside from a remarkably good main event, there isn’t any other reason to seek out this show in full.