Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA Vol.49 "Intolerable Acts" 49--Intolerable Acts Final1000×750 113 KB *Special Thanks to John Krummel for his help in translation. Also, Mike Lorefice (of MMA/Puroresu mega-center quebrada.net) will have his comments be preceded by his initials. * History is inundated with historical moments that marked the beginning of a war or major conflict. From the infamous Boston Tea Party, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or the fatal moment that Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, the past is replete with key moments that forever changed the course of the world via an act of aggression/rebellion. 8-19-92 marks the date that the UWF-I committed intolerable acts of high treason against Generalissimo Inoki and the pro wrestling establishment when its brand ambassador, Lou Thesz, held a press conference which served to put the rest of their rivals on notice that there was a new posse in town, and they weren’t going to play nice anymore. Of course, this fiery rhetoric was merely a contrivance to posture themselves as the home of “real fighting” despite being delivered by a spokesman as credentialed as Thesz. It was also a way to build up interest in their 9-21-92 main event between Nobuhiko Takada and Gary Albright, where the winner will have to face Koji Kitao in October. Yes, several months after losing the intangible accolade of “Best in the World,” it’s now time for a match with a tangible prize for the winner, Lou Thesz’s classic NWA title belt. We open things up with a behind-the-scenes look at the 8-17-92 press conference, and if being called out by Lou Thesz wasn’t painful enough, he’s joined by two other wrestling legends in Billy Robinson and Danny Hodge. The three of them talk about how great the UWF-I is and how it reminds them of their own past glories, which may not seem like much to a modern American audience, but all three of these men had legendary status within Japan, so this surely had the intended effect of firing a shot across the bow toward NJPW and other rival promotions. Tom Burton vs. Yoshihiro Takayama It only took almost a year, but Booker Miyato has chosen to have mercy on us, his peasants, by having a different opening match. Sadly, there is a portent of impending doom in the air as Kanehara will not be present to pull anything close to passable out of Takayama. All we can hope for now it’s a sweet end to our upcoming misery. This affair, while not great, wound up being better than I expected thanks to the two staying active and keeping a brisk pace. Takayama’s kicks were pathetic, and his slaps labored, but he put forth another sincere effort and was even able to pull off a decent kneebar attempt. Burton did a good job of maintaining pressure with his constant takedowns, but not much else. The match ends with a ko victory for Takayama via soccer kick. Despite Takayama’s usual ineptness, this was entertaining enough to warrant **. ML: The first junior league was very welcome if only because it brought an essential reprieve from the torture of Yoshihiro Takayama ruining every Hiromitsu Kanehara match, but beyond that, it was very much a mixed bag. I don’t really understand how they came up with the two Americans, as Tom Burton has not only been with the outfit since the opening show, but actually headlined it! Mark Silver was a more reasonable selection, but he has been a main eventer and faced Nobuhiko Takada, as well. This match was mostly just boring, as Burton controlled Takayama with his wrestling. Takayama might land a few inept strikes in standup before being put on his back, but was generally on the defensive, not doing much then eventually answering, probably improperly. Takayama did manage to land a pretty good head kick when Burton was on one knee trying to get up, knocking him to the floor for a rather unnecessary count out to end this DUD. This was a big upset for Takayama, his 1st career win, but at the same time, there was no real reason they couldn’t have just had the knockdown in the ring. Hiromitsu Kanehara vs. Mark Silver Now it’s time to see if all the time and expense that the UWF-I has been investing into Silver is going to pay off. Booker Miyato has been generous in providing Silver ample opportunities to hone his skills with long matches against some of the top workers that this promotion has to offer. He hasn’t faced the magnificent Kanehara, however, and this is the moment to see if he can add anything to his magical alchemy. Things are underway and we see that Kanehara is wise beyond his years by eschewing any pretense of trying to grapple with Silver, instead opting for a gonzo stick’n’move strategy. He was able to blast Silver’s thighs close to a dozen times before eventually getting tossed to the mat by the desperate Silver. Mark does what he can to utilize his weight advantage against his smaller foe, but like Tamura before him, Kanehara’s scrambling abilities are without peer, and he simply won’t be contained for long. This wound up being a 15min draw and was much better than I would have expected. Silver doesn’t have the skills of an other Maeda, but he seems to be aware of his limitations and as a result, acts with great urgency whenever he’s in danger of being locked into a submission. Still, this had some hokey moments (apparently, the Boston crab is one of only three submissions that existed in 1992), but the pleasant energy gets *** ¼. ML: Kanehara had to do a different match finally because Silver isn’t a striker like Maeda is and Takayama purports to be. Kanehara is usually the one trying to take it to the mat, but while he did want to grapple because he is the superior submission fighter, Silver was the one who was able to get the fight to the ground most of the time with a suplex or takedown, so Kanehara was often on the defensive, fighting an uphill battle against a much bigger opponent. If anything, this felt more like a Silver match then a Kanehara match. While Kanehara is better than Kakihara, he’s not as good an opponent for Silver because he isn’t going to wow us an explosion of offense that can make up for some of the awkwardness or goofiness of Silver. This match was entertaining, and perhaps more competent than expected, but at the same time, it never really clicked. Silver did some good and some bad things, and Kanehara was good, but honestly below his usual level because he was dictating a lot less. I think there is a lot of potential here, and certainly it was a big step up from the Takayama disasters, but it was more a composite of their individual skills then a match where they were able to meld their styles into something superior. Masahito Kakihara vs. Tatsuo Nakano Lately, Kakihara has been proving that he’s more than just a protogé of E-Honda with his 1000 mph hand slaps, but that he’s a worthy grappler, also. I can only hope that he can quickly dispense of Nakano in this next bout. Things start fantastically as the old Kakihara is back, slapping Nakano with the ferocity of a thousand suns. Nakano instantly received a busted nose and wound up bleeding all over the place. The ref stops the fight long enough for Nakano to wipe the blood off his face, and Nakano goes right back to taking a beating. Eventually, Nakano is able to score a takedown followed by a head stomp/half-crab combo. This wasn’t even 5min long, but it was crazy entertaining. *** ¾ ML: Hashimotocito has long been a famous for the nosebleed, but never has Nakano’s nose erupted like something out of a horror movie. Kakihara busted him open horrifically with his opening flash of palms and threatened to run Nakano over pretty quickly. The wily veteran who was able to slow the match down though, winning the positional battle, which allowed him to threaten with submissions, as well as get in a few strikes when Kakihara was prone. This prompted Kakihara to take the ill advised big chance, and as usual he whiffed with his spinning heel kick, and that gave Nakano all the time he needed to submit him with a half crab. This was a really interesting portion of a match, but it’s quite thin in its current form, with the opening salvo being the only thing that was really good, and Nakano still being wildly mediocre. In the end, while it was it’s clearly better than the junior league matches, it was mostly just memorable for the copious amounts of blood because they weren’t able to build upon the great opening barrage, and at just 4:53, there wasn’t really much beyond that, especially when Nakano was on offense. Yuko Miyato vs. Mark Fleming Now for another opportunity for Mark Fleming to get a chance at some much-needed singles action. Fleming has been one of the better recent acquisitions Billy Scott bailed on the company (due to their retarded insistence on forcing him to pay for an unwanted lime green outfit) but has been spending most of his time in unnecessary tag outings. Right away, Miyato lays into Fleming with a barrage that probably made him rethink his decision to leave the NWA. Miyato was also doing quite well in most of the grappling exchanges, which surprised me. Fleming came off as nervous this time around, like someone who has the skills to perform but isn’t yet confidant enough to feel comfortable. Miyato tried to set a high pace, but you could tell that he had to slow things down for Fleming to give him a chance to figure out what he was doing. This wasn’t bad but fell short of what it could have been. ** ML: I thought that you would like this a lot more than you did. The opening minute of Kakihara’s match was better, but overall, this was the best match so far, almost entirely due to a strong performance by Miyato. Miyato made good decisions, and really did a good job of being decisive here. He fought with urgency, as he had to be first, and keep Fleming guessing in order to seize the advantage from his much larger opponent. Miyato focused on kicking, as usual, which he could get off without allowing Fleming to grab him, but also managed to get the fight to the ground against a far superior wrestler just by being willing to press the action and make Fleming think so much about defending the strikes. Fleming was a little hesitant and wasn’t really able to work with Miyato so much as just go through his arsenal of suplexes and amateur wrestling positions. I was somewhat disappointed in him, as he just doesn’t seem very dynamic or flexible, but this was still an entertaining match. Again, it was too thin to be recommendable, but it was an above average match that was another feather in the cap of Miyato. Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Steve Cox Last month Tamura gave us one of the best matches of the year in an epic adrenaline-fueled masterclass but has now been regulated to babysitting duties. Yes, it’s his turn to put newcomer Steve Cox through some on-the-job training at our expense. This starts with some fast-paced chain wrestling with Cox looking sharp with his takedowns but did manage to embarrass himself when he turned the wrong way when trying to set up a Boston crab. For the most part, I liked what I saw here. Cox does one thing well (amateur wrestling), but like so many others that we’ve been looking at lately, he’s lacking in all other categories. His speed and athleticism are most welcome, but when you go up against an all-star like Tamura sans any other kinds of firepower, it’s impossible for the audience to feel like you’re able to be a threat. Big points to Tamura for the ending where he set up an Americana by knee-dropping his opponent in the face. ** ¾ ML: This match was testing my patience quickly, as it was ridiculous that Tamura was always on the defensive against a crab happy Sportatorium reject. I would have been fine with Cox getting the takedown then Tamura immediately coming up with a cool reversal on the ground, but minute after minute, Tamura was shockingly not doing anything fast or explosive, and was just being hugged & held. This was possibly the worst match of Tamura’s career. Even when he won, it was just a random backdrop into a chickenwing armlock. This never began to feel like a Tamura match. I assume that Cox is so bad that Tamura didn’t feel he could do anything of actual interest with him to the point he just mailed it in entirely, as basically it wound up being 7 minutes of killing time.