Monday, 25 March 2013

When Yoji Anjoh Talks, the World Listens

Yoji Anjoh v Wayne Shamrock (UWF, 10/25/90) - GREAT

Apparently this is Shamrock's UWF début (I''ll take the YouTube uploader's word for it), and I can't imagine he would've been doing the old pro-wrestling all that long at this point. Still, he was shockingly good in the PWFG stuff from less than a year later, and he looked fine here as well. Anjoh is rocking the purple and yellow tights and they look boss. This started out solid and got better as it went on, and the last couple minutes are quality. Starts out fairly even, but Shamrock doesn't have great looking strikes and you get the sense Anjoh is going to win that battle the longer it goes. Shamrock covers up and Anjoh will try and throw knees to the head from the clinch, but nothing is getting past Shamrock's forearms. I guess at that point you want Anjoh to just start digging Shamrock with body shots, but they don't really come. Although the stand up sections are pretty brief and Shamrock at least tries to go back to the takedown with a sense of urgency, so it's not a huge problem. Longer the match goes the stronger Shamrock looks, like he's gaining confidence while Anjoh is starting to have doubts. His strikes even start looking halfway decent and he's able to use his strength to control things on the ground. Then Anjoh catches him with a flurry of knees and palm strikes and we get an awesome 9 count. Finish is pretty spectacular -- Shamrock hits a fucking dragon suplex, but Anjoh is able to shift to the side upon contact and hook an armbar, and I'm thinking Shamrock is going to tap, but Anjoh's back is exposed so Shamrock is able to sink in a choke for the win. Probably one of the best undercard matches UWF 2.0 ran, which isn't HUGE praise exactly, but this was still real good stuff.

Yoji Anjoh v Billy Scott (UWFi, 12/5/93) - GOOD

I'd never heard of Billy Scott before, but this is the third time these guys fought and Scott had won the first two, so Anjoh comes out quick and isn't in the mood for losing three straight. After about a minute Scott has a big red mark on his forehead, which I'd assume was a result of a knee or palm strike. Great Anjoh moment where Scott gets to the ropes and Anjoh has to break, but before Anjoh gives Scott room to get up he gives him a kick in the spine, probably half out of frustration and half out of just because. Little later Scott returns the favour and the crowd do not like that shit at all (Anjoh smirks like it's just another day at the office, though). Scott is solid on the ground and looks like he can hang pretty well. Anjoh isn't really able to stretch out the way he could against Yamazaki or Sano earlier in the year, but Scott is certainly capable. Neat little sub-story of Anjoh almost painting a bullseye on Scott's leg and trying to rip it off at the knee. Finish is cool as well, and I get the impressions Anjoh is a guy that's excellent at making you think he's cracked the code and a second away from scoring a tap out only to have it snatched away from him right at the death. This is also from a Eurosport broadcast and maaaan I wish I knew when Eurosport was showing this stuff back whenever, because the English speaking commentators are a pretty great Goldberg/Rogan tandem (especially Rogan). I'd totally have stuck early 90s UWFi repeats on the Sky+ planner.

Yoji Anjoh v Masahito Kakihara (Kingdom, 12/14/97) - SKIPPABLE

This had a nice finish (and Anjoh finally wins one!), but the match went about four minutes and had three exchanges, and well, Ikeda/One has pretty much ruined every other sub-five minute match in history and these guys never smashed the shit out of each other in any kind of horrifically brutal way for it to match up. Is there any Kingdom worth checking out? Like, in general? You'd think a promotion that had guys like Sano, Takayama and Anjoh would've ran at least something worth tracking down.

Complete & Accurate Anjoh

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