This match sticks out like a sore thumb among Dave Meltzer’s favorites, but is nonetheless deserving of it’s place. After all Japan’s Universal Pro-Wrestling Federation was incredibly short lived and most likely would have produced at least another 5 star classic or two if they had lasted longer.
Nobuhiko Takada has the superior ring psychology in this match. From the start he goes after Kazuo Yamazaki’s arms. Although this is particularly noticeable in the first two-thirds of the match it is just as true in the tail end of the bout. Even when the higher impact moves are finally brought out Takada never forgets completely about Yamazaki’s arms.
Also, while it is an obvious detail that anyone can point out I just have to say that I love the use of stances by Takada and Yamazaki. It is just such a small and fundamental thing, but is nevertheless continually overlooked by some of the all time greats. It just makes the suspension of disbelief that much easier when two guys approach each other like they want to hurt one another rather than perform some showy moves. Perhaps equally impressive is that both guys can still pull off these impressive maneuvers.
The best part of the match is of course when they do actually start to break out some showy moves and throw in an increased amount of striking. Takada in particular looks impressive with a tombstone piledriver then some striking and capping it off with a jumping tombstone piledriver.
The ending is believable as Yamazaki hits a deadly overhead belly-to-belly suplex followed by a final suplex of the German variety.