January 7, 1985
Yoshiaki Fujiwara . . . recovers from the beating from Sayama, just in time to take another one from Young Gun Yamazaki.
Super Tiger . . . looks like he’s anything but ‘Super’ when he’s not able to stand up and throw wicked roundhouse kicks.
Akira Maeda . . . leads the legendary masked man though a match, almost by the hand, and then lets him bask in victory
YOSHIAKI FUJIWARA vs. KAZUO YAMAZAKI
Unfortunately, this is closer to the match Fujiwara had with Sayama the previous month, than it is to the classic that these two would put on in August. Yamazaki has no chance of besting Fujiwara on the mat, and it shows in the simplest of ways. When Fujiwara gets any hold applied, Yamazaki almost always has to bail for the ropes in order to get free. He can occasionally move himself or kick Fujiwara away from him, but it’s only a moment’s reprieve. On the couple of occasions that Yamazaki is able to get a hold applied, Fujiwara never needs the ropes, he just rolls away or puts up a block and makes Yamazaki work that much harder to get it on, and when Yamazaki does finally get something cinched in, such as the Triangle choke, Fujiwara easily escapes it. Yamazaki isn’t clueless on the mat, and he shows that a couple of times, such as his recognizing that Fujiwara wanted to do a figure four, and making sure that his knee was out of position so that he couldn’t get the hold, resulting in both of them having a kneebar applied.
Yamazaki’s only real success comes from the striking game, and it’s reminiscent of the Sayama match. Yamazaki tries to beat Fujiwara cross-eyed with a bunch of kicks and knee drops, including a very nasty one to the back of his head. Akira Hokuto holding her broken neck in place to finish a 2/3 Falls match will probably always be the biggest display of toughness that I’ll ever see in a wrestling match, but, Fujiwara taking the beatings that he did in the Sayama match, and in this match, isn’t far behind it. There are only two pro-style spots, but they’re both used very well. Yamazaki takes advantage of Fujiwara being stunned from a strike onslaught, to get a near fall from a German suplex, and a minute later Fujiwara uses a piledriver to stun Yamazaki and put him in a chickenwing hold. The match ends on a bit of a sour note, with Fujiwara kicking out of the same thing that Yamazaki had beaten Takada with, and then submitting him with a simple facelock. The Takada match wound up being Yamazaki’s biggest win. Between the kickout and then submitting him in such a basic manner, it only serves to halt any sort of momentum that Yamazaki had. It’s a disappointing way to end a very fun match.
AKIRA MAEDA vs. SUPER TIGER
The way that this plays out seems like Maeda took note of how well the Takada/Yamazaki match from the month before was received, and he decided to build on that. The most notable thing is the use of the pro-style spots, aside from Sayama’s backbreaker, Maeda uses them as a means to get Sayama on the mat so that he can submit him. Maeda’s Exploder suplex looks awkward, but that’s actually a positive here, since UWF style is supposed to seem non cooperative. The suplex comes as a counter when Maeda blocks a kick. Maeda later does a bridging suplex, but instead of holding the bridge for a pin, Maeda uses the suplex as an avenue to put on a chickenwing armlock.
The match has a similar Striker versus Wrestler story as the previous match, although it plays out differently. Sayama is far inferior on the mat, and is a much more lethal striker, than Yamazaki. So, the mat segments go longer, and mostly feature Maeda leading Sayama along, and the striking bits are a lot fewer and far between. The big thing that this is lacking in is the aggression that Fujiwara and Yamazaki had. Their mat exchanges truly felt like a struggle. This comes off as more of an exhibition. Sayama gets a couple of chances to look good on the mat, but, it’s easy to see how Maeda is doing the work. The best one is toward the end, when Maeda is trying to get an armlock, and Sayama is able to get to his feet and plaster Maeda with kicks in order to get him to let go. It makes Sayama look good for outsmarting Maeda, but, it was Maeda who got them to that point. One of the last mat exchanges is Maeda working to get an armbar, with Sayama doing a flashy counter to get Maeda in a half crab. It’s one of the very few times that Sayama looks good on the mat.
In a way, that’s the story of the match, right down to the finish. Maeda does the bulk of the work, while Sayama gets the glory of it. It’s the equivilent of the parent putting sheets and blankets on a bed, and the child putting the pillow on at the end, and acting like they made the whole bed. After twenty minutes of Maeda leading him through the mat sequences, Sayama gets a single counter to get Maeda in a hold and then goes on a puntfest, before submitting Maeda with a side Triangle choke. In a twenty-two minute match, Sayama looks dominant for all of two minutes. Maeda throwing that kick that knocks Sayama off his feet during the kick flurry probably wasn’t necessary. But, given his reputation, it’s just the sort of thing one would expect from Maeda.
Conclusion: A great finish does not a great match make, and a bad finish (or even two of them) doesn’t a good match ruin.