Already young Kakihara is showing signs of what's to come with the immediate slap after the handshake. Kakihara is lightning-quick with his kicks and slaps and Fuke does all he can to try and slow the whirlwind down, at one point catching a leg and countering with a cool capture-style powerslam. Once Fuke's got him on the ground, he's able to send Kaki crawling to the ropes by targeting the legs, supplementing the holds with an occasional kick or knee to the face. There's plenty of takedowns and scrambling around the mat until Kakihara finally secures a head-and-shoulder-lock for the submission. Fun match.
Masahito Kakihara vs. Takaku Fuke (UWF Atlantis, 10/25/90)
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Posted 05 March 2018 - 06:37 AM
Context for timelessness' sake: I watched this based on the match review trade project we've been doing in 2018 (Secret Santo) and my immediate point of comparison was a match I had been given a few weeks before, Masanobu Fuchi vs. Shinichi Nakano (AJPW 4/16/1989). It was the same sort of young guy vs older guy (though Fuke's just a few years older), where the younger guy was brash and energetic and the older guy was able to just manhandle him for much of the match, until through perseverance, the younger one got a break and picked up the surprise win. Now I have very little outside context on this, so I'm not 100% sure that's what I saw, but it's what it felt like.
That's the universal storytelling power of pro wrestling, because in many other ways, the two matches were quite different. Shootstyle is very much it's own creature, based more on struggle and openings than spots and transitions. I've only dipped my toe into it. The story felt universal even if the norms were very different.
I've seen some shootstyle but maybe not enough to have a great sense of what's very good and what's not. To me, this felt solid. I bought into it, which was the most important thing. The selling felt appropriate, probably because they were actually kicking each other. The counters felt visceral. You want it to feel 'real' in a way that you don't necessarily need more symbolic wrestling to feel (that you just need to feel genuine).
There were a lot of little things you wouldn't see elsewhere like Fuke outright missing an armbar at one point or that crazy no assistance powerslam. I thought Fuke was great at being three moves ahead. If he was in a hold, he'd grab one body part to get the next to get the third which would get him out.
Fuke really dominated throughout but Kakihara was wry and game. He kept coming back for more and didn't let Fuke breathe. I thought he was about to get put away right before he sneaked out the win, but sneak it out he did. It was a matter of staying alive long enough to get an opening and then taking it when he got it. I'm always impressed when I see a well-worked shootstyle match but a little goes a long way with me. I do want to see Fuke go up against Fujiwara though.
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