February 27, 1990


Yoji Anjo . . . manages to drag a fun match out of Shigeo Miyato by breaking his nose.

Akira Maeda . . . continues to be virtually the only wrestler on the roster whose matches are consistently underwhelming!

Yoshiaki Fujiwara . . . avenges his prior loss to Takada by using his mind just as much (if not more) than he uses his body.



This just might be Nakano’s career-best match, or at least it is until his matches with Anjo. The intensity and hate are off the charts and neither of them mind taking two or three shots if they can get in one of their own. There’s also an instance where each of them scores a down, and then get in one last parting shot right as the ref is starting the count. Nakano does it first when he knocks down Suzuki with a series of kicks and then hits a kick to the face while Suzuki is down, and Suzuki returns the favor a bit later after a series of knees and stomps result in Nakano getting called down, and he hits one last stomp of his own. The only real weak parts to this are on the mat, which isn’t a surprise since that’s never been Nakano’s strong suit, but they have a few nice moments, namely Nakano really cranking hard on a headlock, and Suzuki working his way from a legbar to a half crab, which really seems to stretch out Nakano, and Nakano crawling to the ropes for a break getting a nice crowd reaction. There are a couple of odd moments when Nakano just pops up after taking a big spot when it’d have been better for him to sell and try to get the crowd behind him, the first is when Suzuki picks him up and plants him with a waterwheel drop and the second is after Suzuki’s first strike barrage when he drops several knees on Nakano’s back, neck, and head, and he just leaps to his feet and starts throwing kicks. And as much as I like to gripe about a general lack of creative finishes, the double KO finish is a unique one. The execution isn’t great, but they had the right idea.



At first this seemed like it was going to be a solid if unspectacular match, not unlike the matches that Miyato had on the last two or three UWF events. The matwork is a lot better here than in the Suzuki/Nakano match, which is no surprise with Anjo involved. This gets interesting when Anjo gets a bit lazy and winds up letting Miyato cinch in a chickenwing armlock, Anjo almost immediately escapes the hold and throws a couple of knees into Miyato’s face out of frustration, and one of those knees winds up breaking Miyato’s nose. Not unlike what one might expect to see in a pro-style match, the sight of Miyato’s own blood only gets him more motivated. He throws a barrage of kicks at Anjo and knocks him down to trim a point, then he takes Anjo over with a belly to belly and locks in a single leg crab, and Miyato cranking on Anjo’s knee as the blood continues pouring out of his nose is easily one of the most memorable visuals that this show produces.


After Anjo gets the ropes for the break he regroups and stops fighting with his heart and goes back to using his head. He knows he’s a better fighter than Miyato, and he goes about proving it, using his superior mat skills to start trimming Miyato’s remaining points. And since Miyato is already hemorrhaging from his nose, Anjo starts throwing more knees to the face and winds up bleeding away Miyato’s last couple of points and earning himself a TKO win. On some level it’s a bit of a surprise that this didn’t hit the same level of overall hate as the Suzuki match, between the broken nose and the fact that Anjo has become the resident smarmy bastard of the UWF. However, this winds up being a better technical match, which, again, isn’t a shocker with Anjo involved, but it’s another case where Miyato was able to pull his own weight.



And now, for the third straight time in the year 1990, Maeda matches up against someone he’s had very good matches with in the past and the result is a very mild encounter. This is a lot closer to their match from September of 1988 than either of their matches from 1989, even with the match ending early due to an injury to Yamazaki. Maeda just doesn’t seem to be in the mood to do much of anything to make Yamazaki look good. Yamazaki doesn’t win any meaningful mat exchanges, and his kicks, which are usually his preferred weapon, are made to look marginal at best. On two separate occasions Maeda counters a Yamazaki kick into a Capture Suplex and ties up Yamazaki on the mat and forces him to use a rope break. The only time that Yamazaki gets one over on Maeda is just after he hurts his ankle, he surprises Maeda with a headbutt to the gut and takes him over with a vertical suplex before trying an armbar, which Maeda counters and it’s Yamazaki who winds up needing the ropes. Yamazaki connects a spin kick and gets on a legbar that forces Maeda to use a rope break, but it feels positively tacked on, as though Maeda suddenly realized that he ought to give Yamazaki some sort of win before they ended things, and the very next sequence is Maeda catching an errant kick and countering into an ankle lock that forces Yamazaki to tap out.


Sure, it’s easy to point to Yamazaki’s injury and conclude that they called the match before he had a chance to make a comeback or get a real run of offense on Maeda, but this wasn’t exactly looking stellar before the injury. In fact, it’s not all that dissimilar from the match Maeda and Takada had in January (which was also ended early due to injury). The truncated finish may be excusable, but there was no reason for this to be so lopsided or for someone of Yamazaki’s stature to be undermined and essentially squashed in this sort of manner.



When even Yamazaki isn’t able to overcome a mediocre Maeda performance, there’s only one thing left to soothe the pain: The Fuj! The early matwork isn’t much more than filler, although it’s a lot of fun to watch. It’s similar to those mat exchanges that Fujiwara and Kido would have in the original UWF, where the work itself isn’t very meaningful, but it’s done so well that it’s still engaging to watch. It’s almost akin to those Ronnie Garvin/Ric Flair chop exchanges, where the idea is to see who blinks first. In this case it’s Takada and Fujiwara trading off holds and seeing who has to bail for the ropes rather than thinking and working their way out of the hold.


The story starts coming together after Takada loses the mat battle and decides to go back to the same strategy that caused him to beat Fujiwara in October, using his strikes to create a weakness that he can exploit. However, Fujiwara is also prepared for this and always manages to dodge and angle himself to avoid taking the kicks, knees, body punches, etc. at full force. And being The Fuj, he still finds a way to put over Takada while he’s showing off his own smarts and craftiness. Takada’s strikes do connect, and they do wear Fujiwara down, and the energy of dodging them also takes its toll on him, and when Takada finally connects a kick in the corner that knocks Fujiwara down, he sells like he’s completely exhausted. As the match wears on, Fujiwara’s fatigue becomes more of a factor and he appears to be just a bit too slow in his attempts to dodge Takada’s kicks. There’s a fun moment when Fujiwara manages to dodge a shot from Takada and dances around to show Takada that he’s fine, and to try and bait him into doing something foolish. It seems like Fujiwara is delaying the inevitable, until Takada makes that mistake: Takada fires off with kicks on Fujiwara and then pulls him into the center of the ring and locks in a legbar. Takada’s strategy had paid off earlier when he wore down Fujiwara with strikes and trapped Fujiwara in a juji-gatame and caused him to go for the ropes. This time Takada is in the center of the ring, but Takada’s mistake is that he uses a much less dangerous hold. Fujiwara lingers for a few seconds and then works his way to his feet and counters Takada into a cross kneelock and submits him.


Even though the match falls into the UWF booking carousel (Takada beat Maeda, Maeda beat Fujiwara, and now Fujiwara beats Takada), it’s still a great example of both wrestlers coming out of a match looking better. Fujiwara wins due to his smarts and craftiness, and despite losing the match, Takada shows that he absolutely has the skills and ability to beat Fujiwara. Overall, this comes off feeling like the classics that Fujiwara and Kido had in the original incarnation of the UWF. Fujiwara wins, but doesn’t come off like he’s decisively the better man as a result, and if they were to have a rematch at any time, it seems just as likely that Takada could get the win.


Conclusion: Even with the disappointing Maeda/Yamazaki match, this is still a fun show overall, with the Nakano and Miyato matches both being much better than one would expect, along with a classic performance from Fujiwara.