Quebrada Pro Wrestling, Puroresu, & Mixed Martial Arts Reviews by Mike Lorefice

U.W.F. Shooting Puroresu No Fall Death Match Commercial Tape 12/5/84 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

No Fall Death Match: Super Tiger vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara 25:34 of 27:19. Satoru Sayama is often considered the Sandy Koufax of puroresu, generally only credited for the style changing and innovative work he did in the New Japan junior division from 1981-1983 that produced so many great matches no one argues against his hall of fame credentials. As the most breathtaking wrestler to ever grace the squared circle up to that point in time, it’s hard not to be initially disappointed with his shoot style work. After all, it was his graceful flying that set him apart, and that was not going to be allowed in a “real” fighting scenario. However, in many ways, his work in the the first U.W.F. further sets him apart as one of the great innovators to ever grace the squared circle, as it gives him a platform to utilize his explosive speed and amazing quickness in both similar and different manners. Once you get past the fact that he’s not going to be as exciting in shoot style as in pro style, it’s hard not to be impressed by the thrills he provides in this forum, unless of course you are looking strictly for realism. If there’s a flaw in Tiger’s U.W.F. style, it’s certainly that it’s at least a bit too much like pro wrestling. Tiger isn’t pulling backflips, but his m.o. is certainly to choose entertainment over realism at every turn. Tiger arguably has enough discipline to not get too out of control, so he’s more akin to a precursor of Volk Han in terms of making shooting exciting without being preposterious than say any of the Battlarts wrestlers who merely dabbled with shooting but never fully committed to any one style of wrestling. Fujiwara controlled this contest with essentially pro wrestling submissions, giving Tiger openings for violent bursts of lightning kicks and, for whatever reason, kneedrops. ***

Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Nobuhiko Takada 23:18 of 23:57. Yamazaki’s early excellence tends to get lost in the shuffle due to Takada getting the featured matches due to his IWGP Junior Title run, but this smart simple match shows what a high level he was wrestling, and more importantly, thinking at even very early in their careers. They built everything around and out of a few basic positions, essentially starting in the same couple places but doing different counter sequences out of the base position. Early on it was mostly submission oriented as Yamazaki did well, but Takada got pretty violent with his strikes toward the end, forcing Kazuo to sustain a hell of a beating. The match became incredibly intense as Takada was just blistering him, and it kept looking like Yamazaki would lose any second. The fans were just eating this up, and it only made them pull harder for Yamazaki. After taking two tombstone piledrivers and countless crushing kicks, Yamazaki finally turned the tables, causing the fans to go nuts. After a great series of kicks to set up submission attempts which were still mainly blocked or countered, Yamazaki hit a German suplex for the win. Though an excellent match, it mainly shows the stupidity of the 2nd U.W.F. & UWF-I bookers, as Yamazaki was Kawada to Takada’s Misawa. Even if not a golden boy like Takada, Yamazaki had all the potential, ability, and fan respect to succeed as a legitimate 1B to Takada’s 1A, if only the victories weren’t lacking as time went on. ****1/4

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* Puroresu Review Copyright 2009 Quebrada *