KAKUTOGI NETTAI ROAD
July 25, 1985
Keith Haward . . . puts up a good fight, but is no match for Takada.
Akira Maeda . . . makes a legendary figure look completely inept, and taps him out to a pro-style submission.
Yoshiaki Fujiwara . . . shows why he’s also a legendary figure with a main event mat clinic.
NOBUHIKO TAKADA vs. KEITH HAWARD
There are a couple of nice moments from Haward, to show that he’s not totally outmatched, but, he never comes close to looking like a threat to Takada. Haward gets a quick takedown at the bell, but, Takada easily outdoes him on the mat to take control, and, aside from a couple of spots, Takada is able to maintain it. There are still some pro-style spots here, although it’s far less frequent than Takada/Yamazaki from December, there’s only Takada’s half crab, and Haward escaping by powering out of it, and Takada using a Dragon suplex to segue into the kimura.
AKIRA MAEDA vs. SUPER TIGER
This isn’t bad, it’s really not even boring, but, it becomes predictable after a while. Sayama tries to weaken Maeda with his kicks, but Maeda takes him down and keeps him tied up, until Sayama is able to get to the ropes for the break. They change things up once, with Sayama surprising Maeda with a suplex, and Maeda having to use the ropes to escape an armbar, but, that’s the only exception. With the rules that would come into effect later on, like limiting how many times the ropes can be used to break holds, and point deductions for knockdowns and suplexes, this would seem more exciting. There’s no real sign or warning that the finish is coming, Maeda ducks an enzuigiri and makes Sayama submit to a Boston crab. It would have been nice to see a little something more from Maeda, like a quick flurry of kicks or knees to the midsection while Sayama was down, to show that he was going for the kill. I guess it’s possible that Sayama knocked the wind out of himself from the bump he took on the missed kick, but, that seems to be a bit of a stretch, considering what Sayama and Dynamite were doing a couple of years before this.
YOSHIAKI FUJIWARA vs. OSAMU KIDO
If you’re a fan of well done, but not overly flashy, matwork, then this is something you’ll want to check out. The UWF slogan may be “Kick, Submission & Suplex” but Fujiwara and Kido decide to leave the kick and suplex parts to the pretenders, and, spend sixteen minutes on the mat to determine the winner. Their experience is shown in the little things they do, like Kido’s body scissors when he’s trying to take Fujiwara’s back, so that he can’t be easily thrown off, and to prevent Fujiwara from slipping out from underneath him. Their facials are both excellent, with the close camera angles showing how relatively simple looking things, like Kido’s head scissors are actually quite effective when done properly. The only odd thing is Kido’s attempted crab hold, and Fujiwara’s escape, and, it was done early enough in the match that it’s plausible that Fujiwara has the energy to pull it off. The sudden finish, is more acceptable here than in the last match, since they’re not trying to be showy, Fujiwara gets the opening he needs and catches Kido in the armbar, forcing Kido to give it up. Fujiwara may have won, but, it doesn’t feel like he’s clearly the better man here, if they had an immediate rematch, it seems just as likely that Kido could come out of it the winner.
Conclusion: A fun tape to be sure. The main event is something that shootstyle fans would definitely enjoy.