1991 · Kazuo Yamazaki · Tatsuo Nakano · UWFi · Yoji Anjoh · Yuko Miyato

Kazuo Yamazaki & Tatsuo Nakano vs. Yoji Anjoh & Yuko Miyato-UWFi 10.5.1991.

Lots of goodness here. Match started of pretty slow but I find it muche easier to concentrate when wrestlers are fighting for position, gauging the distance for striking and generally acting like they are actually fighting than when they just grab a hadlock for five minutes. Early highlight was Nakano busting out a shoot DDt, but things got out of control once Miyato broke Nakano’s nose with palm strikes, then the transitioned to a cool subplot of Anjoh and Nakano hitting each other with illegal elbows and they finished the match off with Anjoh and Yamazaki blasting each other and Yamazaki’s awesome selling of peril where he gradually acted weaker and weaker before going down. ***1/4-***1/2

1991 · Tatsuo Nakano · UWFi · Yoji Anjoh

Yoji Anjoh vs Tatsuo Nakano-UWFi 6.6.1991.

Before the match Anjoh signals he doesn’t want any elbows in this match, doing a callback to their tag from May and thus cueing the famed ~shoot style storytelling~. And so they fight, and Anjoh starts punching Nakano in the body and Nakano loses his temper and starts foreaming/elbowing Anjoh, somewhere in there he gets his nose broken and this turns into an even bigger shootfight with both athletes sneaking in punches during their striking flurries and an awesome flash finish. Sometimes the most shocking thing to do is to actually end the match instead of doing an escape/counter/kick-out when you’re most expecting it. ***1/2

1988 · Tatsuo Nakano · UWF · Yoji Anjoh

Yoji Anjoh vs Tatsuo Nakano-UWF 12.5.1988.

The second match from UWFII’s first show Starting Over is as intruiguing, ambitious and entertaining as you’d hope for. The structure of the match is simple-it starts out with them simply gauging the distance with leg kicks and some simple takedowns and mat exchanges and the match gradually heats up. The way the holds are used here is hard to compare to anything else-like a weird combo of U-style and classic NWA style. Essentially, there are plenty of submission attempts where the submission isn’t fully locked in, and the true pay-off is more in the transition which comes after the hold than the hold itself. They managed to convincingly display their character gradually getting frustrated and going from cheapshots to just plain brawling. Anjoh pinballed as much as he possibly could’ve in this setting, the novelty of the style resulted in some interesting moments like Anjoh going for a Jacknife Pin, shooting Nakano into the ropes and Nakano going for a Dragon Suplex as well as going for a pin straight off a German. The match also had a well executed shoulder injury angle, which was sold fittingly (Anjoh targeted it with his kicks and strikes and went for submission on Nakano’s bad arm, Nakano sold it initially and after the match but didn’t weep and go overboard). Really, had they found conclusions other than rope breaks a few more times when there was a locked in submission this would’ve easily been a great match. ***3/4