Friday, 19 April 2019

UWF 16/01/1990 - WITH '90 1ST (20/31)

UWF With '90 1st
Nippon Budokan, Tokyo
16th January, 1990
att. 14130

Wintertime in Japan brings spectral sights to UWF: a fighting fortress on a hill blanketed in powdery snow as ducks bob for food, soundtracked by an airy Hiroshi Yoshimura-esque motif.

New year Budokan
It is beautiful and a potent reminder of how shoot-style caught the wave of a particular aesthetic moment as much as it existed in the brief space between the old (pro-wrestling) and the new (mixed style fighting). These moments of stillness and gravity are things that contemporary wrestling seems to miss in its rushed presentation, if I can have this one opportunity to grouse.

Monday, 1 April 2019

UWF 24/07/1989 - FIGHTING SQUARE HAKATA (13/31)

UWF Fighting Square Hakata
Hakata Star Lanes, Fukuoka
24th July, 1989
att. 4000

Clutching a dozen or so random bootleg selections purchased from the wrestling VHS shop in the Colliseum on Church St. in Manchester (now: Light Aparthotel), I opted to watch the one that I hadn't heard anything about. It was this show that I am about to review the first hour of - I know it exists in full because on that rainy day at the turn of the century I sat through the whole thing, rapt. 

Proust watching Ronda Rousey armbar people

Seeing Fighting Square Hakata in approximately 2001 wouldn't change my life and seeing it now doesn't have some kind of Proustian effect, but it did offer a taste of something I've subtly hoped for in wrestling ever since: not shoot-style as such but a glimpse of the real, unmediated as possible, slicing through the artifice.