UWF THE LAST MATCH
September 11, 1985
NOBUHIKO TAKADA vs. KAZUO YAMAZAKI
It’s fitting that UWF’s swan song features these two facing each other, considering that their match from nine months before looked like a blueprint for shootstyle. It takes them quite a while to get going, as they kill a good ten minutes feeling each other out and doing nothing of any real consequence. Even when something happens that should be of importance, like Yamazaki’s German suplex, it doesn’t lead to anything. But, once they start trading knees and take the spill to the floor, this gets really good, really fast.
They both show a nastiness and intensity that haven’t been seen from them very much. Takada showed it during the Fujiwara match, but, Yamazaki hadn’t been afforded the chance to really cut loose like that. They take advantage of the opportunity to do so, and turn this into the angriest match that UWF has ever had. And, as amazing (and believable) as their anger is, they don’t slack in other departments. They’re both as great as ever at selling, especially when either of them gets dropped and ref starts to count, and, they manage to work the crowd into a frenzy with Yamazaki’s legbar. Takada winning isn’t much of a surprise, considering the way he’d been pushed throughout the year compared with Yamazaki. But, this is another case where it seems like they’re on equal footing, and that another go-around between them could easily have a different outcome.
SUPER TIGER vs. YOSHIAKI FUJIWARA
Although Sayama has always been one of the weaker workers of the roster, this would rate as one of his better (if not his best) performances. Aside from his usual strike-heavy offense, he also pulls off a couple of nice counters and escapes while on the mat, and he does some smart things, like remembering to sell his leg after being stuck in the legbar, and when he can't drop Fujiwara after several shots to the stomach, he switches gears and does a leg sweep to take him down.
Sayama may be looking pretty good, but, he's still the lesser performer by a big margin. This is a total clinic in why this is Fujiwara's world, and everyone else is only living in it. He could easily work circles around Sayama, but Fujiwara keeps things simple so that Sayama can keep up, and make it seem like a contest. And, it never seems like Fujiwara is doing nothing, he'll have Sayama in the basic legbar, but always be moving around and trying to improve his position to get some more mileage out of the hold. When Sayama does his annoying spot where he'll take a suplex and then transition into a submission, Fujiwara easily counters the chickenwing into an armbar of his own.
Fujiwara also does everything possible to show just how lethal Sayama's strikes are. When Sayama scores the first knee drop, Fujiwara is down for nine, and then he responds by blocking a kick, backing Sayama into the corner, and hitting him with the nastiest right-handed punch ever. When Sayama gets some distance and starts to tee off on Fujiwara, his selling is perfect, he stumbles around the ring drunkenly during Sayama’s first big flurry, and acts like they’re taking the wind out of his sails. Even when Sayama doesn’t land them all that cleanly, Fujiwara still puts them over huge. That’s what leads to the finish: Fujiwara tries to keep the gap closed so that Sayama can’t score the KO shot, and Sayama foolishly takes the bait and tries for a suplex, and he gets countered into the Fujiwara armbar and quickly taps. Fujiwara has always seemed to be the highlight of these UWF shows, and this stands right alongside the Yamazaki match as indicative of his best work.
Conclusion: Well the first incarnation of the UWF sure went out on a high note. Sure, there are only two matches, but it’s two very good matches, and shown in full. This is an easy recommendation to pick up.