1985 · Akira Maeda · Super Tiger · UWF

Akira Maeda vs Super Tiger-UWF 7.1.1985.

An improvement over their september match which retains pretty much all of its strengths and sees its flaws subside. The matwork is better, as the holds are more varied and there is a bigger focus on acquiring positioning, properly defending and adjusting instead of just going “let’s grab an armbar again and we’ll work from there”. Here Maeda doesn’t just do nice slams, but actively tries to counter Sayama’s kicks and drag him to the ground. The sequences in which they’re desperately trying to get on top rule. The stand up sequences are even more violent than before, with nasty slaps, soccer kicks and elbow drops (which I don’t remember seeing look this good outside of a Johnny Valentine match JIP) added to the mix. Really, if there was just a bigger sense of danger on the mat, this could’ve been so much more than a great match. But you’d have something amazing happen and the follow up would be a crowd killing half crab, and so on it went. ****

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1985 · Akira Maeda · Satoru Sayama · Super Tiger · UWF

Akira Maeda vs Super Tiger-UWF 25.7.1985.

I wouldn’t say it’s the best but the UWF 1 style is probably the most fascinating to watch. There is a distinct flair to the matwork and you always wonder what can they do. This is a match I could see many consider boring but I loved every second of it. Extremely minimalistic with struggle over every hold and transition. I loved Maeda’s Capture Suplexes and his waistlock slam and the way the much was structured, Maeda controlled the entire bout and won without it feeling like a squash. I found it extremely impressive that they managed to make an over 15 minute match with that narrative work without any twists and turns. ****