Are you ready to see Big Van Vader in a little more of an MMA style? Well, get ready to see Big Van Vader in UWFI! This 2 disc DVD set features Vader's biggest and best matches while working with the Japanese wrestling/MMA promotion! Whew, this is a good one!
Vader vs Tatsuo Nakano, 5/6/93 (Vader debuts in impressive fashion, demolishing Nakano) Vader vs Kazuo Yamazaki, 8/13/93 (The main event of the best UWFI show ever. This is a terrific match with Yamazaki playing his role of the underdog native perfectly. He cheats and uses little-seen underhanded tactics to try and gain a victory against all odds. And he's got the crowd with him every step of the way. Vader does his part as well, even getting legit pissed off at a cheapshot from Yamazaki and punching the ref! Great stuff. Rating: ***1/2) Vader vs Naoki Sano, 10/4/93 (Left off the US PPV of this show because of Vader's WCW commitments. This is a good one, but one that leaves a bit of a bad taste to me because it comes off as a little too "pro" in style with cooperation that is fairly obvious at times. Still, a fun match overall. Rating: **) VADER VS NOBUHIKO TAKADA, 12/5/93 (I asked Gene Lydick about this one and he said that Vader was literally scared backstage before this one, as he was totally unsure what to expect from Takada. The resulting match, which drew over 40,000 people, is an awesome spectactle - UWFI Champion vs WCW Champion, with all the attending trappings. UWFI, as they did for all of their heavyweight title fights, makes this seem like an EVENT more than a match and the aura is just incredible. The match itself is fantastic, easily ****. Vader's arm - as confirmed to me by Lydick - was legit injured in this one as a result of Takada's armbar. That results in a surreal scene after the match with Vader screaming in pain as Lou Thesz somberly announces the result over the microphone. Rating: ****) Vader vs Salman Hashimikov, 4/3/94 (First round of UWFI's incredible World Pro Wrestling Tournament. Unfortunately, the styles clash and the results are awful. Rating: DUD) Vader vs Masahito Kakihara, 5/6/94 (Another 5/6 squash for Vader, this one even more brutal than the year before. Kakihara takes an incredible face-first suplex and ends up getting stretchered out. Vader looks legit concerned for him afterward. Rating: **) Vader vs Kiyoshi Tamura, 6/10/94 (Fantastic match from another fantastic show. Both guys just lay into each other in a tremendously stiff match. Vader kills Tamura with a powerbomb for the victory. Rating: ***1/2) VADER VS NOBUHIKO TAKADA, 8/18/94 (What more can be said about this legendary match? This is the first one I mention to people when they ask to be introduced to UWFI. Maybe the stiffest worked match ever, certainly in the top 5, as both guys just throw bombs the entire time. Really an incredible match that gets better with repeated viewings. Rating: ****1/2) Vader & John Tenta vs Gary Albright & Kazuo Yamazaki, 10/8/94 (The main event from a huge Budokan show, this one isn't nearly as bad as you'd think. Tenta actually isn't horrible here and the other three are good enough to make up for his deficiencies. The idea is to set up a Vader vs Albright singles match, which this does. Rating: ***) Vader & John Tenta vs Gary Albright & Kazuo Yamazaki, 10/14/94 (A rare change in the "one show per month" format that UWFI ran for 4 years. The rematch from the previous week isn't quite as good, but it's still fun. Rating: **1/2) Vader vs Gary Albright, 1/16/95 (Clash of the Titans! Unfortunately, even with both guys being willing, the "monsters" just cancel each other out for the most part and the result is disappointing. This is also Vader's only successful UWFI title defense. Rating: **) VADER VS NOBUHIKO TAKADA, 4/20/95 (The little-seen and rarely-talked-about third match in their series. This one starts out wildly, with more "pro" to the match than previously seen. More great stuff from these two as Vader leaves UWFI with another classic under his belt. Rating: ****)