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Complete Playbook: Pro Wrestling U-Style on Samurai TV February 4, 2004

November 12, 2006 | Posted by Ryan Mancuso
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Complete Playbook: Pro Wrestling U-Style on Samurai TV February 4, 2004  

Hello again, I have returned with another review from Pro Wrestling U-Style. This is from February 4, 2004 at a packed Korakuen Hall. Korakuen is packed because tonight’s main event features a well established name in the Japanese fighting community returning to shoot-style pro wrestling against Kiyoshi Tamura. I am talking about Tsuyoshi Kosaka. Kosaka is probably best known to American fans for his great MMA fights against Bas Rutten in the UFC and Mark Hunt in PRIDE. Before Kosaka went into MMA, he was doing shoot-style pro wrestling for RINGS. Kosaka was one of the top young guys, and his position was threatened when Tamura jumped from UWF-I to RINGS in 1996. They had a rivalry which includes the best shoot-style bout I have ever seen. I am talking about their 30 minute draw from June 1998. Can these two men match the classic they had that night? Will there be a decisive winner on this show? Let’s find out:

A video showed highlights from a press conference with the announcement of Tamura vs. Kosaka for this show. Tamura and Kosaka shared their thoughts about the upcoming match, and posed for a picture.

Hiroyuki Ito vs. Hiroshi Moriyama

Outside of a rear naked choke attempt by Moriyama, Ito controlled this match with his standup. It seemed that he wanted to use this match to help his striking game because he was wearing Muay Thai shorts. After scoring two knockdowns on strikes, Ito won the match by KO when he used a high kick on Moriyama.

Kyosuke Sasaki vs. Crafter M

Crafter M is the first and only masked wrestle in U-Style history. No one is sure who the man under the mask is, but many feel it is a member of Tamura’s U-File Camp. One thing that I know for sure is that he is really smooth on the mat. He was positioning himself for submissions and moving around to escape Kyosuke’s submissions. With Kyosuke being just as good with his ground game, it made for a good ground based match. Perhaps sensing that he couldn’t beat Crafter in a pure ground based match, Kyosuke threw more strikes than usual standing up. It worked because he was able to score two separate knockdowns during the match. They went back on the mat at the 10 minute mark. Kyosuke locked in a cross armbreaker/triangle combo submission for the victory.

Dokonjonsuke Mishima vs. Manabu Hara

Mishima continues to be one of the coolest people on the planet when he comes to the ring wearing a Sully stuffed doll hat from the movie Monsters, Inc. This was a fun display of Mishima’s mat wrestling and how he could lock someone in a submission like a hammerlock/guillotine choke hybrid with ease. Hara had to keep reaching the ropes until he had one point left because he was in trouble with those holds. Hara was able to fight back when he used two consecutive German suplexes on Mishima. Hara went for a cross armbreaker, but Mishima got to the ropes to break it up. In the end, Mishima took him down and locked him in his Cobragatame to win the match.

Ryuki Ueyama vs. Kazuki Okubo

This was a battle between two members of the U-File camp. It seemed that Ueyama was on another lever from his teammate because he was winning the striking and ground game. However, Okubo saw a glimmer of hope when he caught a Ueyama high kick and took him down with an ankle lock. Ueyama was in trouble and reached the ropes. Okubo went for another leg submission, but Ueyama beautifully countered into a leg height triangle choke that gave Okubo no other choice than to submit in another fun match for the night.

Yasuhito Namekawa vs. Naoki Kimura

This match was dominated by Namekawa here. He was too big and strong for Kimura. Namekawa finished him off in a little over 4 minutes with a high kick for the knockout victory. Overall, this match was passable.

Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Tsuyoshi Kosaka

Despite not facing each other in this kind of environment in almost 6 years, these two men are still masters of shoot-style pro wrestling. It was easily the best match in the history of U-Style. It was not as good as their famous RINGS match from June 1998, but this match also had a little over half of the time that their RINGS match had. It started out slow with both men feeling each other out and trying to find an opening for an attack. Once they were able to make some successful attacks, the match moved at a really fast pace with really nice striking, slick submissions and false finishes through knockdowns and rope breaks. This had a big fight atmosphere as the crowd was very responsive from beginning to the end. With crowd response, it helped that Tamura had an opponent that was considered an equal to his status. Here is the play-by-play:

Both men feel each other out with kicks. Kosaka goes for a throw that was semi-successful and attempts a leglock. Kosaka is very persistent for it, but Tamura escapes and both men are standing up. Kosaka went to try to take Tamura down through the legs, but Tamura countered with an attempted rolling guillotine choke. Kosaka escapes and tries a cross armbreaker. However, he was not successful. They tussle on the mat a little more with both men going for submissions until Tamura rolls up and the match is back standing.

Both men trade leg kicks with Tamura looking like he was trying to sweep Kosaka down with his attempt. Kosaka goes for a single-leg takedown, but Tamura defends for a while. Kosaka was determined to take Tamura down with it and successful does. Kosaka goes for another leglock, but Tamura maneuvers out of it. Kosaka tried to transition into a cross armbreaker, but Tamura’s arms too locked for the move to be applied. Tamura was able to position himself into the mount, but Kosaka is able buck up and escape to a standing position.

Tamura catches a Kosaka middle kick and takes him down. It was Kosaka who got the advantage with an attempted ankle lock. It was not applied fully as Tamura was able to escape without reaching the ropes. They rolled around the mat for a bit until Kosaka was able to lock Tamura in a triangle choke. It looked like Tamura was in trouble, but managed to escape before the hold could do any damage or reaching the ropes for a lost point. A few seconds later, Kosaka locked Tamura in a guillotine choke. This time Tamura had to reach the ropes for escape. Kosaka is feeling very confident about himself at this point. The score is 5-4 in Kosaka’s favor.

Tamura fires off a clean knee to the midsection of Kosaka and nearly scores a knockdown with a high kick. Kosaka is staggering and Tamura lands another beautiful high kick. This time Kosaka falls on the mat for the knockdown. The referee counts and Kosaka is barely able get up at 9. The score is even at 4. Both men are trading palm strikes and kicks. It seems that Tamura was winning the strike exchange when he landed a clean palm strike to Kosaka’s face. However, Kosaka managed to give Tamura a knee to the midsection and Tamura went down. The referee counted with Tamura managing to get up at 8. The score is now 4-3 in Kosaka’s favor.

They had a really fast exchange where Kosaka went for a takedown, but Tamura blocked it and tried to get a cross armbreaker. Kosaka reached the ropes to prevent the submission. The scored is tied at 3. They kept the fast paced mat action going with Kosaka attempting a guillotine choke, but Tamura almost doing a headstand to escape it. Kosaka tried a leglock, but Tamura punched Kosaka in the stomach a few times to escape. Tamura went for a leglock of his own, but Kosaka slapped him a few times in the face to prevent the submission from being fully applied. Kosaka went for a cross armbreaker, but Tamura’s feet reached the ropes to break the hold. The score is now 3-2 in Kosaka’s favor.

Tamura catches a Kosaka kick and sweeps him down. The crowd comes alive when Tamura locks Kosaka in a single-leg Boston crab. They could sense that the end is near for TK, but Kosaka reaches the ropes a struggle. The score is even at 2. Kosaka jumps into Tamura’s guard and goes for an anklelock. Tamura manages to escape and try for a Kimura. Kosaka rolls over and tries another cross armbreaker. Tamura evades that submission, but Kosaka locks in an ankle lock. This submission is locked in and Tamura has to reach the ropes to break it. Tamura is down to his last point as the score is 2-1.

The crowd is chanting loudly for Tamura because they know he is in trouble. Tamura connects with a few low kicks. Kosaka goes for a takedown, but Tamura rolls on top of him. Tamura goes for the cross armbreaker and locks it in. Once the hold is locked in, Kosaka had no choice but to tap out. The crowd explodes in cheers for Tamura’s victory. After the match, Tamura and Kosaka embrace over having a hard fought great match that could have gone either way.

The 411: Another great show by Pro Wrestling U-Style. It was the best top-to-bottom show they had done in their brief history. Tamura and Kosaka showed that they can still rule in this environment by delivering a great main event. There were some fun undercard matches with Kyosuke Sasaki vs. Crafter M, Dokonjonsuke Mishima vs. Manabu Hara and Ryuki Ueyama vs. Kazuki Okubo. Mishima's hat alone gives this show an extra .5 on the rating. The other two matches were quick and gave us some nice KO's. Overall, I would definitely recommend this show if you are into shoot style pro wrestling.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  8.5   [ Very Good ]  legend

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Ryan Mancuso

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