"Dave's" coverage of the 10/14/95 UWFi show.
UWFi’s 10/14/95 Show in from Osaka’s Castle Hall ended up a major success drawing a sellout crowd of 14,000 for a gate of just over $1,000,000. We expected the show, headlined by Kiyoshi Tamura taking on Vader in a match to determine to next UWFi #! Contender, to do well financially, but a sellout in a building of this size without Takada, Han, or Maeda with a rematch on top with Vader not as hot as he was 2 years ago, is a testament to the intrigue surrounding Tamura’s double cross on Kitao and whether or not he would do the same to Vader and what would happen if he did. This is the sort of thing that made Akira Maeda the hottest wrestler in the world in the late 80s after in ring incidents with both Andre the Giant and Riki Choshu. Whether or not Tamura can or will get that hot remains to be seen, and whether or not UWFi even realizes it and capitalizes on it also remains to be seen.
After all the talk in the business amongst reporters, fans, and even wrestlers, as it turned out, Kiyoshi Tamura not only cooperated with Vader, he put him over by TKO after 16:45 in an absolutely classic match. In a press conference before the match, Vader said he watched what happened to Kitao and wouldn’t let it happen to him. He asked if it was still one point for a ropebreak and two points for a knockdown/suplex. He said he wasn’t worried about Tamura submitting him because he can always grab the ropes and then Tamura has to stand with him again. Vader promised to either knock Tamura out beat him by TKO. Vader said Tamura wasn’t strong enough to knock him out or truly submit him. His only hope was to win on points from rope breaks. But Vader said Tamura would be beaten long before it got to that point. Said he was going to beat Tamura in less than 2 minutes.
Tamura slapped Vader in the face before the match getting a HUGE pop from the crowd and both guys came out fast when the bell rang with Vader throwing wild haymakers and Tamura ducking underneath them and hitting Vader with kicks to the leg. Vader eventually slowed down and backed Tamura into a corner swinging wildly only to see Tamura again duck out of the way and completely unload on Vader right as he turns around with a shockingly fast combination of strikes before finally getting a knockdown with a jumping kick to the head to an enormous pop. This was followed almost immediately by an even bigger pop as Vader backed Tamura into the corner again, and this time when Vader swung wildly, Tamura ducked out of the way, and jumped on Vader’s back attempting to lock in a sleeper hold, the move he used to beat the much larger Kitao. Tamura got another knockdown by again outmaneuvering Vader and managing to surprise him with another quick striking combination. The turning point in the match was Tamura attempting another sleeper, Vader getting up with Tamura on his back and falling backwards, splattering Tamura to the mat. Tamura sold it like he broke his ribs and Vader spent the rest of the match either throwing heavy body blows or his Vader forearms to the head. Tamura managed to make a few comebacks along the way, but Vader cut him off going after his ribs before planting Tamura with a nasty chokeslam and then a german suplex where Tamura was probably 8 feet off the mat before almost landing on the top of his head which was enough for the TKO. ****3/4. This was the best match to take place somewhere other than All Japan all year.
While it may have been questionable to have Tamura lose, especially after the show sold out, this was such a great match and Vader did such a great job putting him over before beating him, that Tamura should remain hot. The thinking in the company is that Tamura, at only 25, is the future of the company for the next 15 years, while Vader is foreign and turned 40 in May and was the company’s 2nd overall pick in the draft so they need to get the most out of him while they can. This sort of performance from Vader should definitely help build interest to his December title match in what will almost certainly be another Vader vs Takada match.
Also on the card:
Yoshiaki Fujiwara beat Yoji Anjoh with the Fujiwara Armbar after 11:30 in a “Real Death Match,” which just means there are no points or time limits and you can only win by KO or Submission. This was a brutal and bloody match with both guys bleeding from the forehead and trading incredibly stiff headbutts. This was billed as a match where you could only win by submission or knockout and Fujiwara won by submission, but in truth these two guys were really trying to knock each other out. Fujiwara took things down to the mat twice after being brutalized in the corner and went for submissions and a third time he suplexed Anjoh but instead of following it up for a submission attempt, he smiled covered in blood waving for Anjoh to get up and fight and as soon as he did Fujiwara planted him with a headbutt for another knockdown. Anjoh mostly just wanted to stand and fight and would make the occasional takedown but didn’t follow up on it much for submission attempts. He really just wanted to throw stiff slaps, kicks and knees. This was on the shorter side but still a lot of fun and the crowd was extremely hot. ***1/2
Yuki Ishikawa beat Alexander Otuksa via submission with a sleeper hold in 18:45 to become the #1 contender for the UWFi World Light Heavyweight Title. This was very similar to their match from the tournament with excellent mat work, stiff striking and suplexes. Otsuka was amazing in this hitting a German Suplex, Dragon (Full Nelson) Suplex, and even a brutal hurricanrana (reverse victory roll) which has never been attempted in UWFi history but the crowd popped huge for because Ishikawa landed right on his head and sold it like a knockout blow. Ishikawa was able to withstand this onslaught and fight back with incredibly stiff headbutts and forearms before putting Otsuka away with his Antonio Inoki tribute offense of ezugiris, octopus holds, and sleeper holds. This time the Sleeper won the match. ***3/4 Ishikawa won the match and could turn into a great worker one day but Otsuka has future superstar written all over him.
Yoshihiro Takayama beat Yoshiaki Yatsu by KO in 6:08. This was short with Yatsu taking Takayama by surprise by rushing him at the bell and scoring two quick knockdowns with headbutts. Takayama was able to fight back and hit a german suplex before KO’ing Yatsu with hard knees to the head. **
Victor Zangiev made his return to UWFi beating Naoki Sano by submission in 7:15, which would be more impressive if Sano hadn’t just lost two straight quick matches to Carl Greco. Zangiev basically squashed Sano hitting a gutwrench suplex and forcing Sano to make several rope breaks on submission attempts before finally succumbing to a full nelson. **1/2
Lord Steven Regal & Fit Finlay beat (or should I say destroyed?) Tatsuo Nakano & Yuko Miyato in 9:24 when Regal submit Nakano. This was savage with Regal and Finlay taking turns beating up Nakano and Miyato. On two occasions Regal had each opponent in a submission and let them crawl all the way to the ropes and almost get there before releasing the submission, allowing his opponent up, and headbutting them back down. Regal mercifully ended this after putting Nakano away with the Regal Stretch. **3/4
Shinya Hashimoto beat Osamu Kido by submission in 4:12 with a cross armbreaker. This was another short match that had Hashimoto showing off all of his kicks and his great chops before getting a quick win by submission. Nothing match. *
In the opener, Masahito Kakihara beat Takeshi Ono by submission in 13:25 with a kneebar. This was a very good opener. These guys are great athletes and the mat wrestling was the quickest on the show and only Tamura’s striking compares with the speed these two guys showcased. Kakihara had a generally easy time with Ono on the mat, but Ono was able to score a couple of knockdowns with knees and punches. But Kakihara was able to take him down pretty easily if he could withstand the barrage of strikes. He was able to do it enough to force a couple of rope breaks on submission attempts before finally locking Ono into a kneebar in the center of the ring. ***1/2
Vader beat Kiyoshi Tamura by TKO 18:45
Yoshiaki Fujiwara beat Yoji Anjoh by submission 11:30
Yuki Ishikawa beat Alexander Otsuka by submission 18:45
Yoshihiro Takayama beat Yoshiaki Yatsu by KO 6:08
Victor Zangiev beat Naoki Sano by submission 7:15
Steven Regal & Fit Finlay beat Tatsuo Nakano & Yuko Miyato when Regal submit Miyato 9:24
Shinya Hashimoto beat Osamu Kido by submission 4:12
Masahito Kakihara beat Takeshi Ono by Sumbission 13:25
After the show, UWFi announced the full card for their 11/4/95 show in Budokan Hall. In the main event, Nobuhiko Takada will defend the UWFi Heavyweight Title against reigning RINGS Mega Battle Tournament winner Volk Han. (Vader will face the winner of this match at a UWFi show in December.) This has the potential to be a classic match because these were the top native and top foreign draw in the 2 biggest shoot style companies in Japan and are the two best shoot style wrestlers ever.
Yoshiaki Fujiwara is facing Kazuo Yamazaki in a “Real Death match)
Carl Greco defends the UWFi Light Heavyweight Title against #1 Contender Kazushi Sakuraba
Steve Regal & Fit Finlay take on Osamu Kido & Yoshiaki Yatsu
Shinya Hashimoto is in another jobber match against Tatsuo Nakano
Masahito Kakihara vs Kenichi Yamamoto and Minoru Tanaka vs Hiromitsu Kanehara round out the card.