September 24, 1988

Tatsuo Nakano . . . welcomes a rookie to the world of UWF.

Norman Smiley . . . has the standout match, on a pedestrian card, for the second month in a row.

Kazuo Yamazaki . . . once again finds himself being cut off at the knees when a chance to elevate him presents itself.


There isn’t much of anything here to separate this from the bore-fest that Miyato and Nakano put on the month before, it’s just as long, and almost equally as un engrossing. The mat work is not good at all, and just watch the crowd almost completely die every time Anjo or Miyato gets a legbar, because they know that it’s not going to end the match, and neither of them are all that demonstrative about either cranking on the old, or escaping it. They have some nice moments, like Anjo’s surprise backdrop, but neither of them is able, or willing, to take advantage of them in order to try to take the match somewhere interesting. It’s fun to watch Miyato slap the taste out of Anjo’s mouth, and then level him with a kick to keep him down for the count, but they could have gotten to that same finish in half the time, without losing the crowd.


This is both Natio’s debut, and retirement match. I assume that he decided that this wasn’t his career path, after the beating that Nakano gave him. And, it’s easy to see why. He shows that he’s got some skills on the mat, but, Nakano doesn’t give him anything, and smacks him around, before finishing him off.


This isn’t anything amazing, but, it succeeds where the two previous matches failed. It doesn’t go for an unnecessary length of time, and, even though nobody thinks that Norman has a chance of winning, Takada doesn’t just guzzle him so that it’s over before it starts. Takada gives Norman a chance to look good, by having him win a couple of mat exchanges with Takada, and Norman even builds up some impressive heat with a half crab, before he puts on the crossface chickenwing. Only after Norman has been shown to be a good wrestler, does Takada finish him off, which still comes a bit too easily after a backdrop and an ankle lock, it’d have been nice to see Norman get one last escape, just to give Takada a bit of a scare, but, this still gets the point across.


Two of the pioneers of shootstyle put on a rather mediocre main event. If Maeda had bothered to let Yamazaki get a real advantage, then, this would have been a nice back and fourth main event, but, he doesn’t, and it isn’t. Whenever Yamazaki does anything that garners even the slightest crowd reaction, like the ankle hold, or the surprise knee strike. Maeda gets a rope break and quickly gets one of his own holds, or gets to his feet and then takes control back, and winds up getting a KO on a head kick. Takada/Smiley wasn’t perfect, but it showed that Takada knew what to do when working with someone not seen as on his level, but, instead of following suit, Maeda just cuts off Yamazaki at the knees, and treats him like an afterthought.

Conclusion: Yet another disappointing effort from the newborn UWF.