TAPE 607

Quality: EX

Length: 12 hrs (6 DVD)

BEFORE THE PRIDE: KAZUSHI SAKURABA 1993-98 (After numerous requests, I've finally remastered the definitive pre-Pride compilation of Kazushi Sakuraba's career. All the big moments are here: Sakuraba's debut match, his first tag victory, first singles victory, first singles main event, first legit shoot, the controversial shootfight with Kimo, the tag match that ranks as the best in the history of UWFI, and Sakuraba's tournament win at UFC Ultimate Japan that launched him on his way to status as an MMA legend. Also included are bonus matches featuring Sakuraba in a worked match from an Inoki Bom Ba Ye show as well as rare dojo training footage with Sakuraba vs Takada. 61 total matches - nearly every Sakuraba match before his entrance into Pride - are shown with many not included on the VHS version of this set. All matches are complete with EX VQ throughout.)
Kazushi Sakuraba vs Steven Nelson, UWFI, 8/13/93 (Sakuraba's pro debut!) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Mark Silver, UWFI, 9/5/93 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Mark Silver, UWFI, 10/4/93 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Bad News Allen, UWFI, 12/5/93 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Bad News Allen, UWFI, 12/15/93 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Steve Nelson, UWFI, 2/25/94 (Excellent match - ***1/2) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Tom Burton, UWFI 5/6/94 (Sakuraba takes some brutal suplexes in this one, including a brutal face-first one.) KAZUSHI SAKURABA & MASAHITO KAKIHARA VS GENE LYDICK & STEVE NELSON, UWFI, 6/10/94 (Gene Lydick told me he considered this his best match in UWFI and with good reason. This match ROCKS. There's legit dislike between Kakihara & Lydick and it shows. Sakuraba takes an unbelievable overhead DDT that is a must-see spot. Great match.) Kazushi Sakuraba & Masahito Kakihara vs Gene Lydick & Steve Nelson, UWFI, 8/18/94 (Another excellent tag, this is Sakuraba's first UWFI win - ***1/2) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Mark Silver, UWFI, 10/8/94 (Good match that's Sakuraba's first singles win as a pro.) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Kenichi Yamamoto, UWFI, 10/14/94 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Yuko Miyato, UWFI, 11/30/94 Kazushi Sakuraba & Naoki Sano vs Yoji Anjoh & Masahito Kakihara, UWFI, 1/16/95 (Another excellent tag - ***1/2) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Yoji Anjoh, UWFI, 2/18/95 Kazushi Sakuraba & Kiyoshi Tamura vs Kazuo Yamazaki & Yoshihiro Takayama, UWFI, 4/20/95 Kazushi Sakuraba & Yoshihiro Takayama vs Hiromitsu Kanehara & Tom Burton, UWFI, 5/17/95 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Kenichi Yamamoto, UWFI, 7/13/95 KAZUSHI SAKURABA & NAOKI SANO VS JOE MALENKO & YOJI ANJOH, UWFI, 7/22/95 (Another great tag match, this one the best of Joe Malenko's UWFI work.) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Hiromitsu Kanehara, UWFI, 8/18/95 Kazushi Sakuraba & Hiromitsu Kanehara vs Yuji Nagata & Tokimitsu Ishizawa, UWFI, 10/9/95 (Opening match from the historic 1st NJ vs UWFI Tokyo Dome show) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Koji Kanemoto, UWFI, 10/28/95 (There's a "HOLY SHIT!" moment when Kanemoto botches a bodyslam and drops Sakuraba straight down on his face, appearing to legit stun him for a second or two. Really scary looking.) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Takashi Iizuka, UWFI 10/29/95 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Billy Scott, UWFI, 11/25/95 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Tokimitsu Ishizawa, UWFI, 12/10/95 (The wrong guy wins, but there's a bunch of excellent matwork in this one. Lots of countering and moving, lots of fun.) Kazushi Sakuraba, Hiromitsu Kanehara & Kenichi Yamamoto vs Shinjiro Ohtani, Tokimitsu Ishizawa & Yuji Nagata, UWFI, 1/4/96 Kazushi Sakuraba, Masahito Kakihara, Hiromitsu Kanehara & Kenichi Yamamoto vs Shinjiro Ohtani, Yuji Nagata, Tokimitsu Ishizawa & Tatsuhito Takaiwa, UWFI, 2/3/96 (2/3 Falls - it's too bad these guys weren't given 45 minutes to work - there's a *TON* of talent here. But who would've thunk that Sakuraba would end up the biggest star of these 8?) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Kiyoshi Tamura, UWFI, 3/1/96 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Kiyoshi Tamura, UWFI, 3/23/96 (Unfortunately, neither of these two Tamura matches are long as you'd like. What's here is good though.) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Tokimitsu Ishizawa, UWFI, 4/19/96 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Kiyoshi Tamura, UWFI, 5/27/96 (Notable for being Tamura's last match for UWFI) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Koki Kitahara, UWFI, 6/7/96 (Good match!) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Shinjiro Ohtani, NJ, 6/17/96 (Good match from the Skydiving J show) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Rene Rooze, UWFI, 6/26/96 (Sakuraba's first legit shoot! He completely outclasses Rooze here) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Kimo, S Cup, 7/14/96 (Controversy surrounds this fight. Is it a legit shoot or not? I say it is, but decide for yourself.) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Yoji Anjoh, UWFI, 7/28/96 (Sakuraba's climb up the card continues as he gets his first-ever main event spot here.) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Masahito Kakihara, UWFI, 8/17/96 (Big win for Sakuraba here.) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Masao Orihara, UWFI, 9/11/96 (weird match - towards the end, Orihara throws shoot-style out the window, hits a low blow, sprints to the top rope, delivers a dropkick and then bounces off the ropes for a clothesline! Later, there's a brutal piledriver too. Seems really out of place in a UWFI match.) Kazushi Sakuraba & Nobuhiko Takada vs Yoji Anjoh & Kenichi Yamamoto, 9/30/96 (Too much "pro" in this one, with Anjoh & Yamamoto doing some cheating and double-teaming, which just doesn't work in a UWFI match. Still, a good match.) Kazushi Sakuraba & Yoji Anjoh vs Nobuhiko Takada & Naoki Sano, UWFI, 10/23/96 (Good match! Most of the match ends up being Takada vs Sakuraba, which is a bit of a dream match for me. Too bad it wasn't inside a Pride ring!) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Yoshihiro Takayama, UWFI, 11/20/96 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Kenichi Yamamoto, UWFI, 11/23/96 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Hiromitsu Kanehara, UWFI, 12/25/96 Kazushi Sakuraba & Hiromitsu Kanehara vs Masahito Kakihara & Kenichi Yamamoto, UWFI, 12/27/96 (UWFI's "young guns" go at it on the very last UWFI show ever.) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Naoki Sano, Kingdom, 5/4/97 (From the debut Kingdom show) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Yoji Anjoh, Kingdom, 6/20/97 (Good match; Sakuraba is now a full-fledged main-eventer.) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Orlando Witt, Kingdom, 7/29/97 (Sakuraba dominates here) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Yoji Anjoh, Kingdom, 8/22/97 (From the Kingdom One Night Tournament show; Sakuraba avenges his defeat in the previous match) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Naoki Sano, Kingdom, 8/22/97 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Moti Horenstein, 9/3/97 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Yoji Anjoh, Kingdom, 11/15/97 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Kenichi Yamamoto, Kingdom, 11/19/97 KAZUSHI SAKURABA VS HIROMITSU KANEHARA, KINGDOM, 12/2/97 (Dave Meltzer calls this the stiffest worked match of all-time. He might be right - it's incredible. Ultra-stiff and a super match to go with it!) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Hiromitsu Kanehara, Kingdom, 12/8/97 (The ultra-stiff rematch! It's incredible that Sakuraba was working matches of this nature 2 weeks before the big UFC Japan tourney) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Paul Herrera, Kingdom, 12/14/97 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Conan Silvera, UFC Ultimate Japan, 12/21/97 (Horrible ref stoppage that's so bad that they order a rematch...) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Conan Silvera, UFC Ultimate Japan, 12/21/97 (Thanks to Tank Abbott busting his hand on Yoji Anjoh's face, this rematch is now the finals of the heavyweight tournament on the UFC's Ultimate Japan show. Sakuraba looks great in winning with an armbar and a star is born!) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Larry Parker, Kingdom, 1/28/98 (Short legit shoot from the dying days of the Kingdom promotion) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Kendo Ka Shin, Inoki Bom Ba Ye, 12/31/00 (BONUS match! Sakuraba's last worked match. Fun stuff from an excellent show.) Kazushi Sakuraba vs Nobuhiko Takada, Takada Dojo, 2000/01 (BONUS match! Super-rare MMA training footage from the Takada Dojo. Sakuraba and Takada hook it up for a 15-minute sparring session. They're not exactly throwing bombs at each other here, but it is neat nonetheless.)