November 10, 1988

MacDuff Roesch . . . shows that he’s smart enough to know that he’s not good enough to outclass Yoji Anjo.

Kazuo Yamazaki . . . shows some remarkable restraint when being paired with a useless opponent.

Akira Maeda . . . shows that it’s possible to go above and beyond to elevate someone, without losing any of your own status.


The one positive thing that I can say about this is that it might be better than their match from August. I say “might be” because I honestly don’t recall a single thing from that match. Nakano and Miyato both get winded quickly, and proceed to spend far too long doing far too little. There’s a few moments that wake up the crowd, like Miyato’s escape of the headlock, but neither of them is able to parlay those few things to taking the match anyplace. The last few minutes pick up, with both of them getting their wind back, and looking like they’re actively trying to win, which Miyato does with a chickenwing, but, the damage was already done. I could never see this pairing again (unless it involves Nakano getting busted open) and be perfectly fine with it.


Roesch looks like someone who’d look more at home teaming with Iron Mike Sharpe and putting over the Young Stallions on Prime Time Wrestling, but, he’s not half bad. He’s certainly not anywhere close Anjo’s level, in terms of striking or matwork, but, between the competency he shows on the mat, and how he uses his size and strength to get him where he needs to go, such as throwing Anjo down and doing a half crab, he winds up looking more game that either Miyato or Nakano. Anjo lets Roesch do his thing for a bit, and lets Roesch’s inferior mat game give him the opening to control things, as well as some good kicks and knee strikes, but, Roesch is just good enough to hold out and not get hurt too much. And, Roesch’s being better than expected, combined with Anjo not being able to put everything together just yet, is what eventually allows Roesch to get a big slam and a choke to make Anjo give it up. This is really more fun than it is good, but, it’s still miles better than the opener.


I don’t know what Maeda was thinking when he decided that bringing in Vale was a good idea. He’s totally out of his element here, and it shows by how dumbed down the matwork is so that he can keep up, and there are a few points where it’s clearly shown that Yamazaki is leading him through it. The only thing that Vale is able to do are big flashy kicks, since he’s a Ninja and all, and Yamazaki sells well enough that it makes things a bit interesting, but, then Yamazaki decides that enough is enough and sucks up some knee strikes and plants Vale with a big German suplex and quickly submits him.


If you’re only looking at the results, then seeing that Takada beat Maeda would look like an upset, even more so when you look at the recent results and see Yamazaki beating Takada in August, and then Maeda manhandling Yamazaki in September. But, there are some nice touches throughout the match to show that Takada’s win wasn’t as much of an upset as it might seem. The first sign is rather early, Takada rolls over to escape a grounded headlock, Maeda goes right to an armbar to force Takada to use a rope break, but Takada still got to make his point. Right afterwards, Takada takes Maeda down and keeps him grounded for a bit, he isn’t able to fully take advantage, and when he finally does try for a legbar, Maeda easily escapes, but, again, Takada shows that he can control Maeda.

It’s the same thing as far as strikes go, Maeda unloads with a barrage of kicks and knees, making it seems like Takada is doomed, but Takada fights back with punches and slaps, and when Maeda manages to score a down on him, Takada is fighting back right before he goes down, and right after he gets on his feet. Takada also shows that he’s not as vulnerable as he seems, when Maeda runs himself right into a head kick to give Takada a down of his own. That’s when it seems to dawn on Takada that, even though Maeda is tough, he’s still human. It’s basically Maeda fighting just to win, while Takada is fighting for survival, he’s much more aggressive (and thus, seems much more confident) when taking the fight to Maeda, be it with strikes, holds, or suplexes. He outwrestles Maeda to escape the sleeper, and puts on a half crab to force him to burn a rope break. The final exchange is them throwing everything they have at each other, ending with Takada getting three head kicks in a row to drop Maeda for the final down and the win. Takada comes out of this looking enormous, he manages to both outwrestle and outstrike Maeda, and he scores the last four downs, which should be more than enough to dispel any notions of Takada’s win being a fluke.

Conclusion: It’s a one-match show, but it’s one hell of a match! If you don’t have the option of getting the one match, then it’s still worth getting the entire show for.