Friday, December 5, 2008

RINGS- 05/11/91 Yokohama Arena

1) Herman Renting v. Pieter Smit (Fire Bout)- 3
2) Willie Peeters v. Marcell Haarmans (Water Bout)- 5
3) Bill Kazmaier v. Chris Polman (Earth Bout)- 3
4) Dirk Vrij v. Akira Maeda (Universe Bout)- 5

RINGS was a mixed martial arts promotion that held "worked" shoot events, where the athletic contest was fought as a real fight, but winners and spots are pre-determined. Maeda formed the group in 1991 and it went strong until 2001 holding shows occasionally. This has to be one of it's first organized events. One of the main points when watching a "worked" shoot is to determine how real they make it feel but also you want that psychology & story you get from a wrestling match worked in as well. Our first bout was with two obviously novice guys. They did a lot of ground stuff, with quick reversals and no one holding any one thing too long. But, the work was loose and without any polish. It only went to the 2nd round and was pretty standard fare, couple of kicks here and there, but mostly looked like two kids tussling in the grass over who gets to use the Slip n' Slide next, am i dating myself? 2nd fight was pretty fiery, Peeters was throwing big kicks left and right, and Haarmans was clearly a ground guy trying to control him down to either wear him out on the ground or lock in a submission. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't very good on the ground and Peeter was able to evade or scramble out of most attempts. A serious brain cracker head kick sealed the poor man's Jack Swaggers' fate in a moment certainly worth several replays.

You may remember Kazmaier from old WCW days where he would carry a giant rubber globe to the ring. He was extremely awkward during this fight. Polman had just fight Maeda and seemed like the real deal. He could kick and was crafty on the ground. Kaz used his power for the first two rounds to get Polman down on the ground and put a hold on him, but no technique so he couldn't get the tap out. Kaz's kicks were so bad, looked like Andy Dick trying to do a Bruce Lee kick. He tired out in the 3rd round, but kept Polman off of him until the 5th where he got caught in a deadly armbar. Now, the main- Dirk looked liked a villain from a Brian Bosworth action film in the early 90's; big physique, flat top blond cut, you know the type. Maeda was a patient fighter, testing the waters with Dirk, who was semi-aggressive using his bigger size to bully Maeda, catching several kicks and sweeping the leg or just throwing him down. You could tell Maeda's skill though, the way when he got control on the ground he used it to grind Dirk into the mat, or his transitions from diff. locks, he was by far the most skilled fighter on the whole show. It only took him a few rounds to sink in a killer armbar for the submission victory.

This was my intro to RINGS and I'm quite happy with it. I think this was a decent starting point and I'm sure there are tons of better shows than this one.

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