UWF Midsummer Creation on 8/13/89
review by Ryan Mancuso
Hello again, I have returned to the world of shoot-style wrestling with a review of the second version of UWF. Talk about an extreme departure from the recent Toryumon reviews that I had been doing. UWF #2 was very popular and influential to Japanese wrestling. It was the first promotion that had clean finishes to all of the big matches, which the fans loved. As a result, they made New Japan and All Japan use clean finishes towards their major matches. After the downfall of UWF #2 due to conflicting visions, the shoot-style still existed throughout the 1990’s with UWF-I, RINGS and Pancrase. UWF’s scoring system was similar to UWF-I’s. The only difference was how the points were counted. While UWF-I had a 15 point system for singles matches, UWF had a 5 point system. A knockdown in UWF would mean that you lose 1 point. You also lose a point after having to use the ropes three times to break submissions.
This was a huge show for UWF. It took place at the huge Yokohama Arena and drew a packed house of 17,000 fans. The main event is a battle between two of the founding fathers of shoot-style pro wrestling when Akira Maeda faces Yoshiaki Fujiwara. The semi-main event features a battle between future aces of companies that resulted from the downfall of this UWF. It is UWF-I's future ace Nobuhiko Takada vs. Pancrase's future ace Masakatsu Funaki. Time to start the review:
Shigeo Miyato vs. Kiyoshi Tamura
This was a ground based fight with Miyato using his experience to gain the advantage and force Tamura to reach the ropes to break the holds. Tamura tried to keep it standing, but Miyato stopped him at all costs. Miyato had worn down Tamura with his holds when Tamura had to take a referee count after reaching the ropes to break a hold. From there, Miyato just kept scoring knockdowns. One was through a rolling savate kick to the midsection. With Tamura down to his last points, Miyato caught Tamura with a knee to the head and the referee called it a TKO due to lost points. Tamura would come a long way as a wrestler in a few years because he went from losing on UWF undercards to becoming a top star in UWF-I in a three year time span.
Tatsuo Nakano vs. Minoru Suzuki
It is weird to see Minoru Suzuki with a hairstyle that is not out there. There was plenty of intense striking in this match which helped make this pretty fun. Both men had some blood running down their nose as a result from those strikes. A bloody nose is expected with Nakano in UWF. I was surprised to see Suzuki use moves like the cradle piledriver, fisherman suplex and dropkick. Nakano scored a knockdown with a German Suplex, but it was not enough to keep Suzuki down for the count. Nakano used a snap suplex and quickly transitioned into a Single-Leg Boston Crab for the submission victory.
Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Yoji Anjo
This was a good match with Anjo being the aggressor and Yamazaki calmly responding to Anjo’s actions. For a while, it looked like Anjo could not get anything going because Yamazaki was scoring with the knockdowns and rope breaks. Anjo found something with running attacks because he scored two knockdowns with them. The first came from a running headbutt and the second came from a running lariat. Anjo used a beautiful belly to belly suplex. However, Yamazaki would come back with kicks to Anjo’s leg. A few knocked Anjo down. Anjo got up and Yamazaki kept kicking at the leg. Anjo tried a kick, but Yamazaki caught it. He took Anjo down, locked him in a heel hook and Anjo tapped out.
Nobuhiko Takada vs. Masakatsu Funaki
This was an excellent match. The match surprised me because I was expecting a lot more mat wrestling and submission attempts. Instead, they were just throwing bombs early because I had never seen so many knockdowns happen in a quick amount of time in UWF. The match definitely made Funaki look like he was on the same status as Takada at the time. In the first three minutes, Funaki kept knocking Takada down and going for a quick KO victory. Takada looked seriously dazed during that flurry from Funaki. It seemed that Funaki kept getting one up on Takada. When they got on the ground, it was Funaki who gained the advantage at first. Takada saw the predicament that he was in early and had to find a way to finish this match as quickly as he could. All of that made for a very exciting match. Both men showed why they were being groomed as top stars for the future. Here is my play-by-play:
Both men circle each other and Funaki already stuns Takada with a slap to the head. Funaki is throwing knees and slaps. Takada is covering up and has his back to Funaki. Takada goes down from a few more palm strikes. Funaki stomps on Takada a few time, and the referee calls it a knockdown in just 30 seconds into the match. Takada barely gets up at 9, but he still feels the effects from Funaki’s striking. Funaki continues to throw palm strikes and knees at the dazed Takada. Funaki goes for a spin kick, but Takada blocks it and has the go-behind on Funaki. Funaki manages to escape easily. Funaki nails a slap that sends Takada back into the ropes. Funaki charges in with kicks to the chest and head. Takada is blocking, but they still have an effect on him. Funaki scores another knockdown, and once again Takada barely recovers to beat the count. In just 2 minutes into the match, Takada has been knockdown twice.
They clinch up. Takada looks like he is going to backdrop suplex Funaki, but that is blocked. Funaki escapes the clinch with a headbutt. Funaki knees Takada in the head and a palm strike knocks Takada down for the third time. It seems Takada is not getting up for the count, but manages to get up when the referee reaches 8. Three minutes into the match and there are three knockdowns already. Takada fires palm strike. Takada throws a kick to Funaki's midsection, and he goes down. Takada throws two soccer kicks to ensure he stays down. The referee counts and Funaki gets up at 8. That is now four knockdowns within four minutes.
Takada throws a few leg kicks and Funaki with palm strikes. Takada throws a kick and Funaki tells the referee to warn Takada because it may have been a low blow. It must have been a glancing blow because Funaki did not go down. Takada connects with a flurry of strikes. A high kick, knee to the head and soccer kick sends Funaki down. That is now five knockdowns in five minutes. The referee counts and Funaki gets up at 8. I think they are going for a record for most knockdowns in the quickest amount of time.
Both men throw palm strikes. Funaki tries a spinning palm strike with no luck. They finally get on the ground. Takada tries a cross armbreaker, but Funaki defends. They get into a stalemate on the mat and the referee orders both men up. Funaki once again strikes a spinning palm strike, but no luck again. Funaki takes Takada down with a butterfly suplex. He goes for a keylock, but Takada defends. Funaki positions himself into the mount and transitions in a Boston Crab attempt. Takada defends the hold. Funaki just decides to bend Takada's leg and move into a facelock. After being locked in the hold for a little bit, Takada is not submitting and Funaki releases it.
Funaki stomps at Takada, and Takada is back up. Takada drills Funaki with two knees in the face to knock him down. While the referee makes his count, Takada throws two soccer kicks. Funaki has a little blood coming from his nose. That doesn’t stop him from beating the referee’s count, and this match is tied at 3 downed points a piece. Now, it is six total knockdowns within eight minutes. Takada catches Funaki in a guillotine choke. Funaki is in the hold for a little bit, but reaches the ropes. That is the first rope break in this match. Takada knocks Funaki down with two spin kicks. Funaki quickly gets up to prevent the count.
They tie up, and Funaki takes him down with a backdrop suplex. Funaki is going for a heel hook, but transitions into an ankle lock. Takada struggles out of the hold, but finds a way out by kicking at Funaki's face. Takada soccer kicks Funaki in the face, and the referee calls it a knockdown. Funaki gets up. Now, Funaki is in danger of being TKO’ed if he gets knocked down again. Funaki surprises Takada with a rolling koppou kick. Takada goes down and the referee is counting. Takada beats the 10 count. Now, a knockdown for either man will score a TKO victory. They are swinging for the fences with palm strikes. Funaki goes for a slam, but Takada blocks it. Takada connects with a kick to the midsection and takes Funaki down with a backdrop suplex. Takada locks in the Camel Clutch. He is really pulling back. Funaki has no option, but to submit.
Akira Maeda vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara
This was a good match to close out the show. The striking was really good with both men trading headbutts, which Fujiwara won since he is the master of that strike, and Maeda's vicious kicks. There was a nice takedown into a near leg submission by Fujiwara. Maeda used a brutal backdrop suplex and nearly got the submission with the katahajime. The mat wrestling was solid, but there was also some points in the match where I felt there was wasted time from both men not doing anything from there. In the end, Maeda scores a knockdown with a kick to the midsection. Fujiwara barely beats the count. Maeda scores another knockdown a kick in the same area. Fujiwara is holding his mid-section. It looks like Maeda injured him with one of the kicks there. Maeda keeps kicking at Fujiwara's midsection until the referee stops the match and give Maeda the TKO victory.
Final Thoughts: This was a really good show from UWF. Takada vs. Funaki was a 12 minute war with plenty of knockdowns and near KO's. Maeda vs. Fujiwara was a good main event. Minoru Suzuki vs. Nakano was a whole lot of fun for me to watch. Yamazaki vs. Anjo had a good story of Anjo being aggressive, but not successful in gaining a serious advantage on Yamazaki. The opener was a solid discipline match for the future star Tamura. Overall, I would recommend this entire show and say that Takada vs. Funaki is definitely a match worth checking out.
Final Score: 7.0 [Good]