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Union of Wrestling Force Internation Thread

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#21 elliott

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 08:43 PM

"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.


#22 gordi


    I call him Shohei because we are close like that

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 09:35 PM


"Dave's" coverage of the 10/14/95 UWFi show. 

... and are the two best shoot style wrestlers ever.





I was all, "Wait! What?" then I remembered you are writing in "Dave's" voice. 


I also found it funny, "Dave" saying  "...whether or not UWFi even realizes it and capitalizes on it also remains to be seen" when UWFi has had Tamura headline two shows already. 

#23 elliott

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 09:44 PM

Yeah, I have to be kind to Takada to keep it as true to "Dave" as possible. Takada is like the 14th best shoot style worker :)


This show is them capitalizing on the Kitao match. Drawing a mil. Dave's a little swamped in this era :)

#24 dexstar

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Posted 15 October 2016 - 03:59 PM

Love the Meltzer recaps. It's especially helpful for those of us who don't have a ton of familiarity with the style or characters, I think. 

#25 Jesse Ewiak

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 10:27 PM

Yeah, I've only seen a few shoot style matches, but from reading the Observer forever, this gets me in the 'mood' of reading results from Dave and seeing the show in my head even if I've never seen 80% of the guys on the show. Plus, any world that involves Finlay & Regal kicking the crap out of Japanese undercard workers is a good one. 

#26 elliott

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 10:13 PM

Sorry for the recent quietness/lack of any sort of update leading up to this show.  Thanks for the positive words, guys. I feel like the Meltzer writing style is the best (well, at least easiest)  possible way for my promotion to come to life (I say that because I'm not nearly as clever as gordi, who is some kind of wizard genius).


And Jesse, Regal & Finlay were two guys I had focused on from the very beginning and was ready to take them like super super early but guys like Hash or Vader kept falling. Seriously, I was ready for Regal to be my 2nd pick overall. Just being a shoot style promotion limits me in who I can realistically have in my promotion (and I pushed those boundaries as far as I could) and Regal/Finlay were two guys who I could not only imagine working UWFi, but I think they'd be terrific at it. So with them being internet favorites and available for everyone to draft, I was ready to jump on those dudes quick. I always liked the idea of Regal & Finlay being a badass team beating the fuck out of people as a fun dynamic in a shoot style promotion. You know. Unless something happens along the way and they break up and Regal vs Finlay happens as a UWFi feud :)


Anyway, on to the next show!


The 11/4/95 UWFi show from Tokyo’s Budokan Hall saw the crowning of a new UWFi Heavyweight Champion as Russian Sambo master Volk Han, formerly the top foreign star of the RINGS promotion, which was UWFi’s top competition before the folding of the company in the wake of the worldwide talent draft. These two had a great match as we expected and this has the potential to really elevate Han to the next level. Even though he was a main eventer in RINGS and has wins over Akira Maeda, this was by far the highest profile match of Han’s career and he came out looking strong with Takada putting him over in a big way. Han was able to control most of the match with his submission skills putting Takada in danger several times with Takada having to dive for the ropes to break the holds. Takada talked post match how he had never fought anyone like Volk Han before and his unique style is tricky to fight against. Takada had his most success striking keeping Han at bay with leg kicks and managing to get several knockdowns, but Han’s submission work proved too much and he took the match in 17:45 with a cross armbreaker ****


This sets up a championship match for a December show with Volk Han defending against new number one contender Vader which will be very interesting for a couple of reasons. First it will be interesting to see how it draws. Han vs Takada was a big success, but Takada was defending the UWFi title against the top gaijin in shoot style that he’d never faced before. While Volk Han vs Vader is certainly a fresh match-up, you have to wonder if it will have the cache of a Takada main event with two foreigners in the spot. I also can’t imagine these two matching up well. Vader has been great in the UWFi environment against great workers, but Volk Han is a great worker in a different way and I anticipate a styles clash. Vader just can't do the sort of mat work Volk Han needs to have a great match and I'm not sure Han will know what to do with a guy like Vader who is too big to do any sort of grappling. But in some ways, that styles clash makes me even more excited to see the match.


In the Semi-Main Event, Yoshiaki Fujiwara beat Kazuo Yamazaki in brutal fashion in a “Real Death Match” in 8:15 by KO after relentless stiff headbutts put Yamazaki down for the 10 count. This was a short brawling match and all action with Fujiwara attacking Yamazaki at the bell. This turned into another Fujiwara bloodbath, which haven’t turned off this crowd like you might expect, with both guys blading early after Fujiwara split Yamazaki open with a headbutt. Both guys sold the headbutt and Fujiwara bladed himself to put over how hard he hit Yamazaki. This was all stiff strikes. Fujiwara might be old and past his prime but he has really great facial expressions and this has been a more enjoyable run than I expected. ***1/4


The match of the night was Carl Greco retaining his UWFi light heavyweight title by beating Kazushi Sakuraba with a sleeper after 18:15. This was a spectacular match and they spent basically the entire match on the mat. There were some brief striking exchanges after they had to stand back up from rope breaks, but a takedown or a suplex (most notably a great german suplex by Malenko trainee Greco) would inevitably take this back down to the mat. They really tried to push these guys as equals on the mat since Greco would be going over Sakuraba twice in a row, after beating him in the one night tournament to crown the UWFi Light Heavyweight Champion. So neither wrestler really dominated the other and this was more of a back and forth encounter but the speed and technique on display was remarkable. These two have great chemistry. ****1/4


The European Connection Steve Regal & Fit Final beat Yoshiaki Yatsu & Osamu Kido in 9:15 when Regal submit Kido with the Regal Stretch. This was another brutal Regal & Finlay match with them taking turns destroying the Japanese team with stiff forearms, knees, suplexes and brutal looking submissions. Yatsu & Kido did not look happy post match. **1/4


Masahito Kakihara beat Kenichi Yamamoto in 10:45 by submission when Kakihara locked in a cross armbreaker. This was basically a showcase for Kakihara as he mostly dominated Yamamoto in a sporting contest showing off some great striking combs and quick mat work. Basically a jobber match. Speaking of jobber matches.


Shinya Hashimoto beat Tatsuo Nakano in 4:14 by KO. This was another dominating performance by Hashimoto. He really just tore into Nakano with hard chops, kicks and knees. Not much mat work in this at all as Hashimoto really just beat Nakano up. **


In the opener, Minoru Tanaka and Hiromitsu Kanehara went to a 15 minute draw. This was basically a way to get these two youngsters on the card performing in front of a big audience. They went balls to the wall on the mat and really threw some incredibly stiff strikes that got the crowd more into it than you’d think given how low these guys are ranked. Better than you’d expect. ***1/2


This was another good show for UWFi but you wonder where they go from here. We know Volk Han vs Vader is on the books as a title defense for an upcoming show in December. But as of now, no matches have been announced for the 11/25 show, which is troubling because they have booked the 18,000 seat Yokohoma Arena. They are building to a Takada vs Fujiwara match, but as great as they’ve been building up Fujiwara, I don’t know how strong a number they can do in that building. The company has not said a word about Akira Maeda in weeks and with Dr Death Steve Williams apparently signing with Stampede Wrestling in Canada, the immediate future still looks cloudy for those two in this company. It will be interesting to see who Tamura’s next opponent will be after the Kitao shoot and the classic match with Vader he’s been the hottest wrestler in the company other than Takada lately. We hope to have an update on the next show, like what will actually be on it, soon.


UWFi 11/4/95 Tokyo, Japan Budokan Hall (Sellout 16,300)

1.    Volk Han beat Nobuhiko Takada to win UWFi World Heavyweight Title 17:45 by submission

2.    Yoshiaki Fujiwara beat Kazuo Yamazaki in a “Real Death Match” by KO 8:15

3.    Carl Greco beat Kazushi Sakuraba 18:15 by submission to retain UWFi Light Heavyweight Title

4.    Steve Regal & Fit Finlay beat Osamu Kido & Yoshiaki Yatsu in 9:15 when Regal submit Kido

5.    Masahito Kakihara beat Kenichi Yamamoto 10:45  by submission

6.    Shinya Hashimoto vs Tatsuo Nakano 4:14 by KO

7.    Minoru Tanaka draw Hiromitsu Kanehara 15:00



#27 gordi


    I call him Shohei because we are close like that

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 07:17 AM

Oh, man... how I wish that card had actually happened, and I'd been able to buy the tape from Tabe or Verne back in the day! Volk,Han vs. Vader is intriguing as all f*** too.

#28 elliott

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 07:20 PM

Oh, man... how I wish that card had actually happened, and I'd been able to buy the tape from Tabe or Verne back in the day! Volk,Han vs. Vader is intriguing as all f*** too.


My very general blueprint for UWFi is this:

What do I want to see as a fan of the style and all of these wrestlers. :)


I think I can walk the line between running a "successful" promotion from a business drawing standpoint but also make it a shoot style "smart fans" dream. :)

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