Thursday, January 26, 2017


August 27, 1994 in Ekaterinburg, Russia
Sports Palace drawing 7,000

Well this is a neat surprise: rather than holding within its confines the first round of a MEGA BATTLE or indeed BATTLE DIMENSION the RINGS box instead visits upon us the début RINGS RUSSIA event! I wonder if it was difficult to do business in Russia as a foreign company in 1994 in that there were all kinds of guys you had to find out about and give most of your money to or if it was maybe on the contrary super easy in that you maybe just had to find just one guy to give most of your money to? I did not have an Economist subscription in the mid-nineties so I cannot answer this question but only speculate (I do not have one currently). Look how much like Russia in 1994 it looked like in Russia in 1994 though:

This girl was selling boots at a table and I hope her life has turned out

Our first bout sees a slightly floppier-haired Todor Todorov, it seems to me, take on Masayuki Naruse, and if you number among the vast græppz-hungry hordes that have ravenously consumed all RINGS prose (and at times, I pray, poesy) that I have in all humility offered you then you will already totally know that these two men are just the ticket (the ticket to græppling). The takedowns here are sharp and well-received by the græppz-wise Russian crowd, their exchanges of juji-gatame no less so in either regard. Yuji Shimada signals a "catch" as Todorov passes to kata-gatame, the red and yellow cards very much visible as they poke out of either of us his rear refereeing pockets. That Todorov's throws are more dynamic is no surprise (given the vastness of his judo) but that his ashi-kansetsu (leg-bone-locking) should also prove so is in my view remarkable as Todorov emerges the victor at 6:53.

Next, Peter Dykman faces Iouri Bekichev in a match between newcomers that looks totally and completely real from the outset; there is just that tension to it, you know? It is in cases like this not at all about looking at a particular technique or techniques and trying to discern their veracity but instead about the feelings that we get. Of course I am a notorious fool and could be way way off. I believe "Iouri" is a form of Yuri and so I will tell you, briefly, about a guy I knew in grad school named Yuri who was really into Romantic Mediævalism; at the time, I doubted that that was really even a thing, but in the years since it has come to be pretty much the only thing I know about or even really wish to know about, kind of? Anyway he was from out west and had parents who anticipated recycling, like it didn't exist at all where they were but they just knew that it had to come eventually so they saved all of their relevant garbage for years and years (I think several dilapidated school buses figure into this story but I can't be sure, its been like fifteen years since I heard it) and then when it finally arrived they were like hell yes. The other thing I would like to say about Yuri is that we intended to meet up at a Ministry concert but, although we were both totally there, it never happened, and although I liked Yuri, I was not disappointed to be standing alone watching Ministry amongst the darkly dolled-up ladies and just sort of like cruddy guys there assembled. Also we were in the same Keats graduate seminar (yeah that's right, this is how real your life can get) and in the early going the professor (a good-sized figure in the field of Keats) was onto something about Keats and consumerism and it was just the worst to me and to several of my dumb little buddies also and so we all dropped the class at once (this caused a small stir in the department because school is dumb, you should leave it) and the only good thing to come out of the whole sorry affair was the day just before we dropped where Yuri wanted to talk a lot about what it was like the times when he had been on ecstasy in relation to the ideas that were being advanced about Keats; like, this is what he talked about at length in class that day ("Thanks, Yuri?" was the professor's wholly decent reply). It was very spirited! As has this bout been, now ended by knockout in the second round for your winner, other Yuri! I believe both of these Yuris now hold tenure.      

Bitsadze Tariel is here and so too his karate pants and karate belt but whither his karate jacket? The legends say he never had one. He is in against Mikhail Shimov, who wears boxing gloves. He is slightly taller than Tariel, but contains maybe eight-percent as much stoutness and even less proportional karate so to me and I would imagine to us it is no surprise when Tariel emerges the victor by way of vicious (karate) kick at twenty-one seconds of the fourth round 

Hans Nijman (R.I.P.) is up next, and faces Grom Zaza, whom he have not seen in what feels like ages! He is greyer, and apparently more given to launching huge dudes with ippon-seoi-nage (the one-arm-shoulder[ing] throw) and then squeezing the life out of them with the shoulder-hold of kata-gatame. You know, had Zaza forsaken his true ways of Olympic græppling and devoted himself utterly to shoot-style I think he could have been a talent somewhere near the Volk Han/Kiyoshi Tamura/Tsuyoshi Kohsaka level, to speak of his RINGS company (I leave to others more learned to assess his merits amongst the ranks of UWFi, PWFG, Battlarts, Kingdom, and other ones I am forgetting). Such dynamism to his ura nage, just now thrown! Oh no though he has been knocked out by a kick to the face. Really nice little match!

Now I don't know what's happening, but I have no problem supporting it:

Volk Han versus Sotir Gotchev in a rematch of their encounter at RINGS 12/19/92: MEGA BATTLE TOURNAMENT 92: SEMI-FINALS although that match was not itself a semi-final! Nevertheless! Wait why is Volk Han wearing loose shorts? This is completely inappropriate. Could anything be more appropriate, though, in any context you can come up with, than a step-over juji-gatame that transitions into an Iatskevich roll? Plainly no. Volk Han has emerged as I believe the only fighter to drag people to the middle of the ring so that rope escapes should prove more difficult; his mind is full of tactic. This match is somewhat low-key in the early going but not at all unpleasantly so: this is less about Han's relentless onslaught than his methodical hunt and I value both. Gotchev is unstellar but moves pretty well for his size (big) and has a tidy enough double-leg that nobody is going to mind. There is a certain listlessness that has settled in here though maybe? lol okay just as I say this, Volk Han stuffs a lazy double and rips Gotchev's arm out of the shoulder with a gyaku-ude-garami/reverse-arm-entanglement/double-wrist-lock/Kimura that nobody should ever do with the kind of speed and force Volk Han has just now done it, my god that was savagery and also a win by submission at 11:59 and I am shaken. Also, look at how he put a hold on a fan at a promotional event of some kind:

Pieter Oele and his ways are known to us whereas Vladimir Klementiev and his are not but let us discover them together. Yes he is a karate fighter yes and if you couldn't tell at once by his topless black-belted gi-pants you could tell a moment later when he flashed an axe kick yes. Who knew that worked karate would rank among the best entertainments? I guess everybody who made or enjoyed karate movies so that is actually not a very good question is it. Oele, in obvious terror of karate, drags Klementiev to the mat whenever possible, and no doubt wins the first round, but something he has not won is me and a specific place he has not won me to is his side. Yuji Shimada is so much shorter than either of these guys and yet it is he and he alone who holds the power of which colour card is to be given should they not heed his strictures. KARATE KNOCKOUT VLADIMIR KLEMENTIEV IS YOUR WINNER AT 0:28 OF THE THE THIRD ROUND and Oele raises his hand in no fewer than two very important kinds of ship (sportsman- and fellow-). 

Our main event consists of Mitsuya Nagai and Nikolai Zouev and that is a main event in my heart certainly but I find it weird that it was ever one in the primary world. Will this prove to be a classic of Mitsuya Nagai against a man of the former Republics on the scale of Mitsuya Nagai versus Volk Han? Almost certainly not but Zouev attempts both uchi-mata (inner thigh) and kata-guruma (shoulder wheel) in the opening moments and so the sky as of right this moment is the limit. And a rolling hiza-juji knee-bar! Zouev is looking very good, which is the normal way for him to look really. Nagai is quietly excellent at pretty much all relevant RINGS skills but especially, I think, selling, and he has lots of opportunities to do so. Zouev hit a sikk one-armed uchi-mata of a kind you might have written about in your notes after a training camp with four-time Olympian Keith Morgan pretty well a decade ago and which still informs your training and teaching even now! Maybe at that same training camp it was the only time an Olympian saw your work in a particular exercise and was like yeah that is what I like to SEE and you were like lol yesssss this feels like something that is never going to happen again so remember to mention it on your RINGS blog when you are in your late thirties. Zouev is coming close on some of these kansetsu-waza (bone-locking techniques) as things heat up and by "things" I mean Mitsuya Nagai's visible anguish! OMG WHAT NOW:


So there we have it! I messed up and put the Meltzer bit relevant to this show in the last entry because I didn't know that I had this show but here it is again, you shouldn't have to scroll needlessly because of my foolishness, here:


September 5, 1994: "Rings ran a very successful show in Russia on 8/28 in Ekaterinbul, drawing a packed house of 7,000 fans. This came just two weeks after FMW bombed in Russia. The difference was said to be that the FMW show had no Russians, only Japanese wrestlers plus it was promoted as blood-n'guts street fight and the Russians had no concept of it. Rings was promoted as a sport and they loaded the show up with Russians. In fact, Akira Maeda didn't even work the show (said to be recovering from a knee injury suffered on his last show) and they used Nikolai Zuev, a local who was a national champion in sambo (submission) wrestling as the top draw.

8/28 Ekaterinbul, Russia (Rings - 7,000 sellout): Todor Todorov b Masayoshi Naruse, Veckchev b Peter Daigman, Bitarze Tariel b Mikhail Shimoff, Hans Nyman b Grom Zaza, Volk Han b Sotir Gotchev, Kuremenchev b Peter Ura, Nikolai Zuev b Mitsuya Nagai"


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