Thursday, 5 July 2018

UWF 13/08/1990 - CREATE (28/31)

UWF Create
Yokohama Arena, Yokohama
13th August 1990
att. 17000

We lurch forward in time some four months and five shows to look in on a UWF in its death throes. What appears to be rude health, an array of diverse talents and stars wrestling in a pleasing way, and full houses (SUPER NO VACANCY FULL HOUSE no less) are in fact the beginnings of the factionalisation that leads to the creation of three brand new companies.


While the previous two reviews - Force Korakuen 2 Days and Road - detailed UWF at its most basic and austerely-presented, Create is one of those opulent summer spectaculars where the lights dazzle, lasers fire, graphics are updated, and it all just feels like wrestling does Last Night of the Proms only with less jingoism and better music.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

UWF 27/02/1990 - ROAD (22/31)

UWF Road
Sports Centre, Minamiashigara
27th February 1990
att. 4500

There is not much time, we must press forward.

A training montage opens ROAD and the sound cuts out so we can only see the pure visuals of things like Yoji Anjo hopping up and down on the spot and people exchanging money for the expensive-looking programmes for this particular entry, the 22nd, into the annals of shoot-style lore's wider chapter on UWF.

Monday, 2 July 2018

UWF 30/09/89 and 01/10/89 - FORCE KORAKUEN 2 DAYS (16/31 & 17/31)

UWF Force Korakuen 2 Days (Day 1)
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
30th September 1989
att. 2300

In spite of the unwieldy title up there, and the months that have passed awaiting the transition of the stars and oceans and gods that deign to re-align and offer us the beauteous bounty of shoot-style tapes unearthed, the most important thing is that this blog continues in its quest to bring to you (and mostly to me) the good news about the olden tymes wrestling that purported to be real (it was not but was). 

Let me recap in Plain English for those of you playing catch-up. The second version of wrestling company UWF emerged in 1988 and died in 1990. In their time spent on earth before ascent to heaven (RINGS) they produced 31 shows of gripping and profoundly moving professional wrestling that merit special discussion. The first 11 shows were easily available and have been covered within this parish. A gap of two missing shows vexes before reviewing shows 14 and 15. Then another gap of two shows before covering the final two shows of 1989 (18 and 19). The remaining 12 shows, taking place in 1990, are the least widely disseminated. And up to now I have only covered one of them (show 23).

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

UWF 15/04/1990 - FIGHTING AREA (23/31)

15th April 1990
Hakata Star Lanes, Fukuoka
att. 4000

A brief extract from the Maeda text that arrived in my possession some time ago:
- He's a big one for an easterner innee Harold?
- I'll say. Bit of a prick too.
- You what?
- He kicked Giant Haystacks so 'ard last night his balls were swollen like an aubergine.
- What's an aubergine?
- Weird vegetable. Big and purple. Like a marrow. Tastes of nowt.
- Christ.

Rest in peace to the RealHero Archive, that repository of wrestling from Japan. You provided a good service to a hardcore of maybe 150 nerds though some of us still managed to gripe about the extensiveness of your coverage. But as one door closes another opens. The discovery of a full 1990 UWF show means that slowly, surely, and pleasantly, we can join the dots of this incredible tale.

Monday, 9 October 2017

UWF 29/11/1989 - U-COSMOS (19/31)

29th November 1989
Tokyo Dome, Tokyo
att. 60000

Pre-note: As it stands on the date of writing (10/10/17) this represents the final UWF Newborn show that I have in complete and watchable form, so perhaps there will be an enforced hiatus until the world of the internet turns and deposits the missing 1989 and the entirety of the 1990 shows somewhere accessible. 

As we learn from watching RINGS (or if you are me, reading RINGSblog aka TK Scissors) Akira Maeda's obsessions in the years between UWF's death and RINGS' creation would morph from "shoot-style" wrestling in Japan to a nascent-MMA/NHB style incorporating fighters from around the world. We have seen the beginnings of that in UWF, sure, with the appearances of a sextet of shoot-boxers, Gerard Gordeau, Bart Vale, Trevor "Power" Clarke, Chris Dolman, etc. 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

UWF 25/10/1989 - FIGHTING ART (18/31)

UWF Fighting Art
Sports Centre, Nakajima
25th October 1989
att. 5600

To go 'inside the curtain' (which is the meaning of the top division in sumo known as Makuuchi (幕内), referring to the roped-off area these champion athletes would wait in prior to performance, I believe 'curtain' is 'maku' as the third tier is 'makushita', meaning 'beneath the curtain'. Watch sumo, it is excellent) momentarily this is the show that I had feared watching the most ahead of time for reasons that will become, hopefully, apparent during the writing of this entry.

And to go even further inside that curtain like, perhaps, ha ha (does knowing cultural studies lecturer positional adjustment) the recent season of Twin Peaks (imo serious ten out of ten bestoftelly thanks) this entry reverts to the initial style of watching the show and sort-of remembering it which is sometimes stylistically more satisfying but perhaps less involved and perhaps emotionally and factually false. We shall see, won't we? (EDIT: I wrote this intro way before I watched it and eventually I managed to get to a point where I could live-type the edition, rendering this paragraph mostly redundant except aesthetically which is to say not redundant at all)

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

UWF 07/09/1989 - FIGHTING BASE NAGANO (15/31)

UWF Fighting Base Nagano
Movement Park Gymnasium, Nagano
7th September 1989
att. 4500

We have business to attend to before we get to the UWF. Please look at your agendas which I emailed to you on the 11th.

First agenda item: within the context of your screen please look to the right hand side underneath the section marked "shootstyle annals" and gaze upon a new addition to the world of blogs about this under-theorised area of professional wrestling: Kingdom of Shoot! This, as the name suggests, covers the short-lived promotion of UWF demi-doyen Nobuhiko Takada. Entry #1 (and #2, since writing this introduction way before the remainder of the entry) has gone up and I implore you to learn of its ways.

Second agenda item: Antonio Inoki, the ur-Maeda, has announced the second card for his ISM promotion. What is ISM? The real story is lost in the scrambling waves of the kayfabe and translation processes. Let us just say that it is Inoki's replacement for his IGF endeavour in mind, body, and soul. Here is the card, courtesy of