UnderGround Forums Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA Vol 1

Edited: 4/3/20 5:00 PM
1/9/20
Posts: 94

 

4/3/20 5:00 PM
1/9/20
Posts: 95
nrallen -

Ken looked huge in that match.  Was he going by the name Ken or Vince at that time?

In the PWFG days and for an early part of his Pancrase carrer, he was going by the name of Wayne Shamrock. Once he started to make a name for himself in the UFC, I think he started going by Ken.

Vince Torelli was a name he used around 90 in the South Atlantic Pro Wrestling promotion (a successor to the inafamous NWA Mid-Atlantic territory).

4/8/20 9:05 PM
1/9/20
Posts: 96

What does Mighty Mike Lorefice have to say about all this? Let's see: Kazuo Takahashi vs Duane Koslowski "Realistically, this match was tailor made for Koslowski to dominate, probably in dull Coleman fashion. Through the wonders of worked wrestling though, Takahashi, the amateur state wrestling champion surely at no more than 170 pounds goes right in and takes down the 1988 Olympic wrestler at the highest weight 130kg (287 pounds, though Koslowski is only a bit taller & there's no way he has close to 100 pounds on Takahashi, there just was no weight between 100kg & 130kg in the '88 competition). The match followed a similar pattern to Koslowski's debut against Shamrock, with a Greco-Roman takedown or suplex leading to a submission attempt on the mat after a bit of setup, then they'd restart on their feet, but Koslowski was already noticably more confident & diverse. I liked the finish where Koslowski took Takahashi's back when Takahashi tried to counter the bodylock with a koshi guruma, and you figured he was going to do another big German suplex, but instead just pulled Takahashi down into a rear naked choke. Generally, the match wasn't dissimilar from what RINGS was going for on their last event, but while it was also going more for credibility than entertainment, these two were better able to pull it off because they stuck to what they could actually fake believably rather than doing a sad approximation of the match they would be having if they were actually let loose. You could still skip this, but at least it's pretty well done. The execution was good, they just needed more urgency."

Bart Vale vs Jerry Flynn: : Mr. JF was no Mike Bailey, nor was he one of the few men on the planet that managed to carry RVD and Justin Adequate to good matches like Mr. JL, but the taekwondo black belt had some talent that seemed to be beyond the scope of what the American promotions could envision, so he was mostly an enhancement performer outside of Japan. I was expecting more of a kickboxing match, but perhaps because Vale knew he couldn't match strikes with the longer & quicker Flynn, he looked for the submission finish. This was actually one of Vale's better matches, with the standup having some actual footwork & good palm strikes, and they went into submissions quickly off the takedowns so the ground didn't stall out. Ironically, the kicking was probably the worst part because it was the aspect where it was most obvious that they were holding back. As with the previous match, as a way to favor realism, this had an abrupt submission finish rather than the usual dramatic pro wrestling series of near victories finishing sequence.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Lato Kiroware: Not only is Fujiwara 0-4 in PWFG, but he's arguably had the worst match on every show. Lato certainly didn't help things with some kind of ram headbutt being his big spot, and while I'm not saying Fujiwara should have carried him to a good match, he should have known better than to book him and instead had a real opponent on the roster that he could have had a serious match with. Fujiwara put the shin guards on before tonight's disaster to alert us that he was going to test his foot fighting, and this is why tests are done behind closed doors, and it helps to start with material that's pliable enough. Fujiwara's kicks were just pathetic, he threw high kicks with his knee bent, hook kicks even though he couldn't get his leg up high enough, some kind of running spinning heel kick thing that barely connected to the boob. If his lack of technique wasn't bad enough, he had his usual smirky, clowning attitude going to show the audience he was just screwing around since it was an opponent he could bully (he predictably shrunk from Funaki at the last show).

 

 

4/8/20 9:05 PM
1/9/20
Posts: 97

Minoru Suzuki vs Lawi Napataya: In just the 2nd shoot in PWFG history, the has already evolved considerably because Suzuki has clearly studied Napataya's match vs. Fuke (who is in his corner) & thought out how he's going to counteract Napataya's striking attack & takedown "defense". Suzuki was very light on his feet, making kicking defense his first priority, trying to slide back out of range when Lawi threw or check the low kick. What's perhaps more important is that Suzuki wasn't thinking offense with his strikes, but rather staying long & on the outside, using the side kick & occasional body jab to maintain a healthy distance. Because Suzuki wasn't making it easy for Lawi, Lawi grew hesitant, and self doubt continued to fester the more it becomes clear that Suzuki's goal was to get a takedown off a caught kick. Lawi clearly won the 1st round because he's the only one who was landing, but Suzuki shot a double to start the 2nd, and the ref really screwed Lawi by not calling for the break when Lawi was in the ropes. Lawi concentrated on keeping hold of the ropes expecting the ref to do his job rather than doing anything to defend the takedown attempt, and because he was all off balance with 1 leg in the air holding on for dear life, Suzuki was literally able to step back & pull Lawi down on top of him into the center, sweeping as soon as he hit the mat & securing an armbar. Lawi did his best not to tap, but he didn't know how to defend it so he was just taking damage.

Ken Shamrock vs Masakatsu Funaki: This was some ballsy booking, but that's what made it great. PWFG was still determining their top foreigner. Shamrock had been the best performer by a mile, but Vale had been around longer, and after a rocky start in U.W.F., had gone undefeated in 1990 (4-0), even avenging his loss to Yamazaki. Funaki had beaten Vale on PWFG's debut show, but Vale was 3-0 since. Logically, this is where you had Shamrock ascend to the top, especially since Funaki had defeated him on the final U.W.F. show on 12/1/90. However, the timing was tough because Funaki, who had been in the main event of every show and was the top star of the future if not the present, was coming off a crushing defeat to old man Fujiwara, so the normal rebound would be for him to once again defeat Shamrock, confirming the pecking order of Fujiwara, Funaki, Shamrock/Vale, Suzuki.

The match was worked like Shamrock was going to ultimately lose, in other words the early portion was about establishing Shamrock was on the level with Funaki by having him take the lead, getting Funaki down with the suplex, winning the kicking battle to score the first knockdown, etc. Funaki's calm & confident demeanor made the match seem closer than it was even during Shamrock's best portions, but by any definition this wasn't Shamrock running away with it, but rather a very competitive back and forth contest where Ken scored the signature shots in between regular exchanges of control as the match progressed were more likely to be won by Funaki. Funaki's patience was something of a negative here, especially when combined with Ken's tendencies to durdle on the mat.

Though obviously the underlying problem was the lack of BJJ knowledge from both, the result was a rambling ground affair that was still in the old U.W.F. mode of laying around passively for no reason when the opponent wasn't controlling in a manner that prevented either exploding to counter or to stand back up. Their speed & athleticism was sometimes on display in standup, but because the match was so mat based, I don't feel like it's aged particularly well. It's a good match to be certain, but I remembered it being one of the highlights of the year when in actuality, it's merely a good match, on par with Funaki's matches against Sano but nowhere near Ken's match with Sano, rather than the best stuff of Tamura & Suzuki, who seem miles ahead of the rest of the pack in retrospect.

I thought the released Dragon suplex finisher from Ken to score the huge wildly celebrated upset was great because it was in the mold they'd set the whole time, parity but Ken occasionally manages to pull off a great spot. That being said, this was a 21 minute match with a few highlights in between a lot of watching & waiting, honestly more like what we'd come to see from Pancrase though without the modernization of the positions to allow them to get away with it better. ***

4/8/20 10:39 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 13980
I asked Funaki about that Shamrock loss in PWFG- he basically said that was needed to put Shamrock over with the fans.

I asked Suzuki about the Lawi Napataya fight- he said Lawi was a Thai champion at Pattaya Beach.
4/8/20 11:32 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 12385

just passin thru

4/10/20 3:38 AM
1/1/06
Posts: 3853
William C - I asked Funaki about that Shamrock loss in PWFG- he basically said that was needed to put Shamrock over with the fans.

I asked Suzuki about the Lawi Napataya fight- he said Lawi was a Thai champion at Pattaya Beach.

I loved the way Suzuki just ripped Napataya away from those ropes.

There's was no way he was going to let him get away with it doing it again!

4/12/20 4:54 PM
1/1/06
Posts: 3859

Was Suzuki v Mo Smith in UWF a work?

4/12/20 6:47 PM
1/9/20
Posts: 98
nrallen -

Was Suzuki v Mo Smith in UWF a work?

I highly suspect that Suzuki vs Maurice Smith in the newborn UWF was a work. Mo did his share of shoots in Pancrase and Rings, but I highly doubt that match in 89 was legit.

4/13/20 7:45 AM
1/1/06
Posts: 3867

Good. I was fairly certain having seen it. Definitely did not have the intensity of a real fight. Both guys were far too calm and looked to me like they were pulling their punches. It's on Smith's record as a win...

4/13/20 5:25 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 13982
nrallen - 

Was Suzuki v Mo Smith in UWF a work?


I asked Mo, he said it was real.
I asked Suzuki, he didn't want to answer.
I asked Funaki (Mo's original opponent)- he said it was worked.
All these interviews will be in my books BTW.

All that said though- Suzuki did kind of legit go down- he didn't plan anything with Mo prior to the match, technique wise. He was definitely very fearful in the match (per Mo and Suzuki), which likely had him freezing up.

The fight was supposed to go the distance (to a draw IIRC).
4/13/20 7:26 PM
1/9/20
Posts: 112
William C -
nrallen - 

Was Suzuki v Mo Smith in UWF a work?


I asked Mo, he said it was real.
I asked Suzuki, he didn't want to answer.
I asked Funaki (Mo's original opponent)- he said it was worked.
All these interviews will be in my books BTW.

All that said though- Suzuki did kind of legit go down- he didn't plan anything with Mo prior to the match, technique wise. He was definitely very fearful in the match (per Mo and Suzuki), which likely had him freezing up.

The fight was supposed to go the distance (to a draw IIRC).

I'm inclined to agree with Funaki. That 89 UWF bout had too much of a back and forth drama that felt manufactured to me. Compare that to Mo's shoot with Yoshihisa Yamamoto in 96, which lasted 30min, and was rather boring.

Sadly this was a fight that Mo could have easily won, had he been more aggressive, and took advantage of the generous amount of rope escapes provided to him.

4/14/20 4:11 PM
1/9/20
Posts: 115

Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA Vol 11 "Seperation Anxiety" 

*Archives of this series, as well as all your MMA and PURO needs can be found at www.quebrada.net*

Welcome back! As we continue to reflect in our state of house arrest upon all things, trivial and otherwise, we shall take a moment to ponder the road less traveled, and further our quest for the esoteric knowledge of our predecessors. The date is 8-24-91 and we find ourselves at the Shizuoka Sangyoukan Concert Hall, which is located within the Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan (an area best known for being the home of Mt. Fuji). This hall was a popular spot in the 80s as a layover for many of the top concert acts of the day, hosting Hall and Oates, Toto, Bryan Adams, and others until branching out in the 90s and opening its doors to various pro wrestling events in addition to their usual fare.

We can only hope that it’s a step up from the bowling alley where we last found Takada and Co. performing, but that remains to be seen. Right away, this scribe is excited to see Makoto Ohe opening things up again, this time testing his foot fighting prowess against yet another unknown kickboxer, named Marb Winon (which as of press time, I’ve been unable to procure any further information on). The last fighter we saw thrown to Ohe was an explosive, but completely inexperienced, Taekwondo(?) practitioner, and this time his opponent at least seems to have his footwork in place, and seems to belay some boxing experience, even if he comes across as a bit nervous.

Winon starts off by circling around Ohe, keeping his distance and trying to occasionally sneak in a low kick or combination, but while he’s doing this, Ohe keeps measuring his distance and times his counterstrike as Winon would press his attack. Winon is getting a few shots in, but is leaving his face unprotected during his attacks, and his taking the worse of the exchanges. Round 1 ends with Ohe being up on points, and his experience really showing compared to his opponent.

Round 2 starts with Winon becoming more aggressive, and engaging right away, even going for a flying knee, and at one point landing a nasty side kick against Ohe, but he lost his mojo about a min into the round when Ohe got him up against the ropes and really shook his equilibrium with some solid punches. Winon spent the rest of round 2 getting picked apart with precise leg strikes form Ohe, and they seemed to sap whatever confidence he had going into round 3, as he spent the rest of the round being very conservative, which is exactly the wrong strategy against someone who’s an experienced surgeon like Ohe. Winon’s best bet would have been to simply blitzkrieg Ohe, and hope to catch him off guard, but his timidity is only serving to have him picked apart here.

Still, he was able to survive round 3, and seemingly read my mind, as he went into round 4 throwing a nice flurry of combinations, some of which got through to Ohe, as straight boxing seems to be the biggest weakness in his game, but it was for naught, as whatever he was able to land was quickly negated by Ohe firing off brutal kicks for the rest of the round. Winon was barely able to make it into round 5, being down on points 24-40. Round 5 begins, and Winon was doing well whenever the fight got into close range by being able to use his boxing, but whenever Ohe backed up a little bit and gave himself some space, he would brutalize Aguilar’s ribs with his kicks, and usually follow up with a nice right, straight down the pipe. Much credit to Winon, who was able to persevere and go the distance with Ohe.

This was a fun way to start the show, and Ohe is always entertaining, but it would be nice to see them track down a more seasoned opponent for him, for the future.

4/14/20 4:14 PM
1/9/20
Posts: 116

Next up is our Shoot- Prodigy, Kiyoshi Tamura vs the resident workhorse, Yuko Miyato. Right away, we are off to a fast pace as Miyto plunges into his bag of Tachi-Waza tricks, looking for a takedown, in this case with a nice Kata Guruma (Fireman’s Carry), and O-Goshi (Major hip throw), but Tamura is too slick on the ground and once the fight travels there, he reverses his situation and secures a straight armbar on Miyato, forcing a rope escape. Miyato defaults to a more kickboxing based strategy, landing a few strikes, but there is no containing Tamura in any position for more than a few seconds, and the rest of the fight followed in a whirlwind of transitions, submission attacks from every angle, and naked aggression. While this wasn’t realistic in modern MMA terms, with the 23432 position changes, it was exciting, and we are getting more and more glimpses of not only Tamura’s genius, but how a new art is emerging from the pro wrestling zeitgeist, as we are starting to see glimpses of what is possible when skilled practitioners get together and pretend to fight, like they are really going to fight. Tamura ends the fight with a rear naked choke, coming off a failed kneebar attempt from Miyato. This was very entertaining, if a bit short, and Miyato’s bread-and-butter Judo/Kickboxing played well with Tamura’s flash&fury.

Tamura's wrath is complete...

Next up is a newcomer to our ranks, and we are introduced to Gary Albright. Albright had gotten his start in the final days of Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling, having received training from such famous hookers, like Lou Thez, Billy Robinson, and Danny Hodge in the process. He had even managed to win the tag team championship of that promotion, before losing it to Chris Benoit and Biff Wellington (whom we know as Wellington Wilkins Jr from the PWFG) right before the promotion folded.

Now he has migrated to the sea of shoot and right away we see our zebra-clad warrior Yoji Anjo taunting him before the match, threating him with vicious knees. The match starts with Albright trying to charge Anjo into the corner of the ring, but Anjo is much quicker, and is able to fire off a volley of kicks to ribs/midsection. Albright is eventually able to catch Anjo and decides to toss him like a frisbee out of the ring. Now we are starting to see the true spirit of this contest take shape, the everlasting conflict between the Zebra and the Wildebeest. Anjo would continue to use his speed and land kicks and palm strikes, only to get pushed into the ropes, or suplexed onto the canvas, but once the fight hit the canvas, Albright didn’t really seem to know what to do, which left Anjo looking for submissions. Once back on the feet Albright gave Anjo several powerful suplexes which led to a knockout victory for Albright.

This was nothing more than pro wrestling showboating, an exercise put forth to set Albright up as a suplexing monster, intent on slamming the life out of the heroic Japanese natives, and honestly within the realm of this promotion it worked. It was entertaining, and while Tom Burton is more credible from a Vale Tudo/NHB standpoint, Albright has a lot more entertainment finesse, and is a better fit for what this promotion is trying to do. I do however question the long-term viability of Albright, as I suspect that his ferocious monster shtick is likely to have a limited shelf-life.

The Original Human-Suplex-Machine

4/14/20 4:23 PM
1/9/20
Posts: 117

Lastly, we have Nobuhiko Takada and Billy Scott vs Kazuo Yamazaki and Tatsuo Nakano. I’m bewildered as to their insistence upon continually giving us tag-matches for a main event, as it neither serves to bolster the shoot-credibility (for can anything legitimate ever come from a tag match?) nor does it really add anything within a pro wrestling framework, as the UWFI doesn’t have a tag-division, or any titles at all for that matter, so there aren’t really any stakes in a format like this. It just serves to add some filler, but I would rather see 20 more mins of Tamura cartwheeling over a lackey, than stuffing most of the time allotted onto a team event. Still, any day to witness Yamazaki is a good one, so there is that.

Billy Scott starts off against Nakano, and he is continuing to show himself as a wise investment, as his suplexes, strikes, and wrestling singlet all come across credibly. The match phases into Takada vs Yamazaki, which is pleasant as these two have always had good chemistry with each other (for example, their match at UWF Fighting Prospect - Tag 5 on 9-11-85 being one of the best shoot- matches this scribe has witnessed), and here he had more of the same, as whenever the two of them were in the ring together it was total fire, and makes me wish that they had structured the main events around Yamazaki chasing Takda as the heir apparent to his throne, at least in the short term. It really felt like the inclusions of Nakano and Scott were simply to pad things out and include their other performers, and to be fair they all did a good job making the match exciting, but really didn’t further the plot, so to speak. The match ends at 28:09 with a Bob Backland inspired chicken-wing submission from Yamazaki, which was rather odd.

Yamazaki...taking out the trash.

Here is the event in full: 

And if anyone wishes to see the bout between Yamazaki and Takada from 9-11-85 here it is:

Final Thoughts: This was an entertaining, if flawed, card top to bottom. We got another exciting kickboxing bout from Ohe, and Tamura continues to deliver. Since they are choosing to be more tethered to the pro-wrestling end of the spectrum, then they could stand to have a more focused direction in some of the booking, as they feel a bit like a ship without a rudder at the moment. Still, this is nitpicking as they continue to deliver entertaining events if nothing else, which isn’t something Maeda has managed to do yet.

*In Other News*

Police Officers within Los Angeles County recently agreed to stop Nanchaku use in response to a lawsuit by six members of the pro-life group Operation Rescue. The LAPD agreed to cease use of all Nanchaku weapons at anti-abortion protests, as part of a settlement towards a lawsuit with the organization. Although possession of Nanchaku by ordinary citizens is unlawful in the State of California, police organizations in the state often use this ancient weapon as a restraint/compliance tool. The settlement only forbids the LAPD from using these weapons against plaintiffs in the lawsuit, and they are still free to use them against members of other groups at other protests. The LAPD first started using Nanchaku in 1989 and have since received over 30 lawsuits against the city, claiming medical damages, some purporting to have suffered broken bones and nerve damage.

Akira Maeda was originally supposed to fight Dutch fighter Frank “Freak” Hamaker at the 8-1-91 event in Osaka, but had to rebook with Dick Virj, due to Hamaker getting reconstructive surgery on his knee.

It’s been confirmed that Bob Backland has agreed to face off against Nobuhiko Takada at next months UWFI show on 9-26-91, and possibly in November as well.

Rings is having to move its next card from 9-4-91 to 9-14-91, as Akira Maeda’s knee is still in bad shape, and he won’t be able to perform in time. 

4/14/20 4:27 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 12421

A commercial for miyato's UWF snakepit

 

4/14/20 4:59 PM
1/9/20
Posts: 118
de braco -

A commercial for miyato's UWF snakepit

 

That was awesome. I would glady train to the UWF theme song, all day long. 

4/14/20 5:06 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 12423
mbetz1981 -
de braco -

A commercial for miyato's UWF snakepit

 

That was awesome. I would glady train to the UWF theme song, all day long. 

who wouldn't?

Do you know the story of the guy who supposedly died in the original uwf gym, miyato supposedly had something to do with it, i think the guy was one of the "young boys"

4/14/20 5:14 PM
1/9/20
Posts: 119
de braco -
mbetz1981 -
de braco -

A commercial for miyato's UWF snakepit

 

That was awesome. I would glady train to the UWF theme song, all day long. 

who wouldn't?

Do you know the story of the guy who supposedly died in the original uwf gym, miyato supposedly had something to do with it, i think the guy was one of the "young boys"

I vageuly remember something about this. As I recall, (and it's been so long my facts might be messed up here) Yoji Anjo attacked Akira Maeda years later over an incident regarding a "young boy," death., that happened in training. I'll have to do some research and see what I can dig up. 

4/14/20 6:57 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 12424

i just remember it being blamed on miyato, maybe he was just taking the heat for maeda.

4/14/20 7:01 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 12425

for anyone who doesn't know,  a "young boy" in the japanese wrestling parlance is just someone who's been accepted into the gym to train as a professional. Most of them live at the gym and sleep under the ring, they're also the custodians, cooks and all around general slaves for the established guys

4/15/20 5:39 PM
1/1/06
Posts: 3881

Cool commercial.  In the UK the UWF was broadcast as Bushido on the Eurosport channel.  Gary Albright was someone I remember being a real star.  Also Vader, who I recognised from WCW.  I suspect the episodes of Bushido being shown over here happened many months or years before they were broadcast.

4/15/20 8:20 PM
1/9/20
Posts: 130

We haven't heard from Dave Meltzer in a while...What has he been having to say about any of this? 8-12-91 "
Akira Maeda's Rings ran its second show on 8/1 in Osaka's Furitsu Gym drawing 6,100 (building sells out at 7,000) with Maeda doing a job in the main event losing to Dirk Leon-Vri via TKO in 8:01. Since Maeda has such a small amount of potential foes to work with, it appears he believes he has to do jobs on a regular basis to keep interest alive. A few days before the match, Maeda sent telegrams to all the major magazines that he had torn knee ligaments (no doubt a work sent to give a prior excuse for him doing the job) in training for the match. Willie Wilhelm (6-6, 300), former European champ in judo beat Peter Smit in the semifinal. Wilhelm, whose match with Maeda drew 60,000 fans to the Tokyo Dome in 1989, main events against Maeda on 9/3 in Sapporo. Nobuhiko Takada's UWFI runs 9/26 in Sapporo while Yoshiaki Fujiwara's PWF runs 8/23 in Sapporo, so all three UWF- promotions are running shows in the same city within a five-week period.

UWFI drew a sellout 2,000 fans at the Hakata Star Lanes on 7/30 with Yoji Anjyo & Jim Boss (indie worker from Tennessee) beating Takada & Kiyoshi Tamura in 31:02 in the main event, plus Kazuo Yamazaki beat Billy Scott (indie worker from Nashville area) with a facelock submission and Shigeo Miyato beat Tatsuo Nakano.
Maeda announced he would be running a show in December at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo Bay which is the same building where he sold out all 12,000 seats the first few hours tickets went on sale in 1989 when he was the hottest draw in wrestling.

Fujiwara's 7/26 show at NK Hall in the Tokyo Bay Area was said to be very good, particularly Wayne Shamrock (Vince Tirelli) vs. Duane Koslowski (only in his second pro match). Koslowski, who lives in Minnesota and represented the U.S. in Greco-roman at the last Olympic games, was said to have really learned the while Shamrock is generally considered the best at the of the foreigners."

8-19-91: "Saw the Akira Maeda vs. Dirk Leon-Vri match from the 8/1 Osaka show and the televised version was awesome technically. Not the match, but the drama built in before the match started. The work they did in getting Vri over as a killer heel puts anything done in the U.S. to shame. Of course it helps to look the part like Vri, with the Aryan face and sneer and a body so filled with steroids that it isn't even funny and hand and foot quickness that is just scary for someone so muscular. He looks like he should be in one of those martial arts movies as a heel. What's the achilles heel (no pun intended)? The match itself wasn't good at all. It was nothing compared to their Tokyo match of a few months back. It was evident Maeda's knee injury was a shoot because he really didn't do a thing. Vri looked great for about three minutes, and then he blew up like nobody's business and it was pretty pathetic the last five minutes before Maeda was KO'd. But the aura built into both the television and the live show created dramatic heat on the level of the Hulk Hogan-Ultimate Warrior match of 1990."

Edited: 4/17/20 12:15 AM
1/9/20
Posts: 139

Let's check in with Mike Lorefice and see what he has to say...

"Makoto Ohe vs Marv Winon: I'm always glad to see these kickboxing shoots on the card, but this felt like a bully beatdown where the timid picked on kid does his best to run around the playground to avoid the inevitable confrontation, hoping the thug will either get bored or recess will somehow just end.

At first I thought Winon was a karate stylist because his focus was on maintaining distance, but the more he literally hit his back on the ropes trying to maintain as much distance from Ohe as possible at all times, the more I couldn't tell what he was beyond scared.

For every 1 step Ohe moved forward, Winon seemed to try to move 4 steps sideways. Ohe was thrown off his game by an opponent who didn't want to engage, and seemed to want to use the Thai clinch more simply to prevent Winon from endlessly running, which did lead to a left high kick knockdown in the 4th. Needless to say this wasn't going to be a fight where Ohe landed a lot of extended combos, but understanding that, he focused on sniping Winon with power shots, and was very accurate in doing so.

 

4/17/20 12:19 AM
1/9/20
Posts: 140

Kiyoshi Tamura vs Yuko Miyato
It's hard for me to imagine that anyone improved more in 1991 than Kiyoshi Tamura, who, after missing virually all of 1990 with a fractured orbital, is now both leaving everyone in the dust, while at the same time pulling incredible matches out of them that are way beyond what his opponents are doing with anyone else or the increase in quality the other top workers can pull out of their opponents.

Tamura is making great leaps in his ground movement, developing a perpetual motion (which obviously is what you should be doing if you are actually trying when the antiquated techniques of the opponents don't control your body, much less lock you in place, but basic logical techniques rarely stop pro wrestlers from lazy hokem) that makes everyone else seem like dinosaurs.

Miyato was a good performer in the U.W.F. where the standard of mat wrestling was still more toward New Japan's idea of good enough, but has looked rather dated so far in UWF-I until this match where Tamura's insistence on moving hid the holes in Miyato's no control ground game and really made him an effective performer once again. Meanwhile, Tamura's defense is improving magnificently, as his is increasingly built around turning defense into offense. He's developing his game based upon the premise that with his speed and technical mastery, as long as he can play the motion (scramble) game, he'll win the battle of adjustments.

Miyato is one of the quicker guys in the promotion, but it's immediately apparent that he's having trouble keeping up with Tamura, who has made the adjustment to Miyato's attack or counter as soon, if not before, he gets it off. Miyato would like to slow things down a bit, but he doesn't have the wrestling or BJJ & Tamura isn't just going to stay put.

Whenever Miyato tries to go on the offensive or change positions, Tamura uses his movement against him & takes over. For instance, there's a beautiful spot where Miyato tries to swing into an armbar from side mount, but Tamura uses a backwards roll to get off the canvas, spinning into a standing position but immediately dropping back down into an Achilles' tendon hold.

Another great counter saw Miyato slipping out the side of Tamura's facelock & trying to work the arm, but Tamura pivoted off a headstand to take Miyato's back. Every time you see a Tamura match, you see these kind of things that no one else is doing, done so fast, smooth, & effortlessly that they just seem second nature.

Miyato definitely has the striking advantage when he can keep it in standup, and finally takes over with a middle kick knockdown followed by a spinning heel kick knockdown. Miyato has a giant 13-6 advantage on the scoreboard after a belly-to-belly suplex into a 1/2 crab forces a rope break, which is something we are already seeing Tamura use less and less of.

This is beginning to look like the great Tamura vs. Anjo match where the advantage shifts to the wily veteran Anjo the longer the match goes, and the point system favors the guy who can score on his feet because it's much easier to get a knockdown than 3 near submissions, that's just so imbalanced.

Tamura isn't slowing down this time though, and does another crazy counter, now being ready & taking a guillotine off a Miyato's second attempt at the fireman's carry. The bout grows increasingly brutal after Miyato just cold cocks Tamura in the face & tries for the ipponzeoi, but Tamura takes his back & drops into a rear naked choke.

One of the problems with the match is Miyato doesn't have enough counters of his own to really chain the escapes & submission attempts together, but finally he does deliver, peeling the hooks off by attacking the top leg then spinning into a kneebar only to have Tamura spin to his knees & aggressively slap Miyato in the face until he releases then add in some stomps for good measure.

The impact & intensity of the striking is really growing by the second, and while the match may be less believable at times because of Tamura's flash, the fire & heat these guys are building up is at least allowing the audience to buy into the fact that they don't like each other & really want to win.

Miyato is laying into Tamura with some big body kicks down the stretch, but Tamura does his drop down/go behind to drag Miyato down into another rear naked choke. Miyato attacks the top leg again, but Tamura releases the choke & uses what's left of his hooks to roll Miyato to his stomach.

Miyato immediately scrambles back to his feet before Tamura can flatten him out, but Tamura pulls him down into the choke for the win before Miyato can get close enough to grab the ropes.

This is just Tamura's 11th match, and it's a big win coming against a 6th year fighter who was 2-0 against him. While 10 minutes seems short for these guys, especially given it's a 3 match plus a one sided shoot card with nothing else looking like it needs tons of time, length is not really what you are looking for in a worked shoot.

In fact, being shorter probably made for a better match because Tamura could just keep exploding the whole time & Miyato didn't seem to be his usual 1 trick pony, being for once the favorite while also forced to react to all the crazy stuff the kid was throwing at him.

The usual downfall of a Miyato match is it just drags on the mat, especially when they start playing footsies, but this was all blazing fury. This wasn't as epic as Tamura vs. Anjo, but it was better in many respects, and almost every moment was interesting & exciting.

It's been almost 29 years, but I was still constantly rewinding to see what Tamura was managing to do & how he pulled it off, which is very abnormal for me. Tamura was clearly a whole lot better than in the Anjo match even though it's only been a month & a half. Though the "downfall" is that Yuko isn't as good or well rounded as Anjo, Tamura got a ton out of him. Tamura's stuff just feels way more modern than anything else we are seeing, the maestro not only innovating in a breathtaking manner but raising the level of his opponent so many notches it's hard to even fathom them having a match with anyone else that remotely approaches this. ****1/4