8/28/1994 from Russia
Vs Sotel Gotchev (Sotir Kachiev
I’ve seen both names used for him but think I’ll go with Gotchev. Either way, he starts off with kicks and Han grabs his leg. Gotchev rolls him to the mat and they’re in the ropes. Gotchev goes for kicks again and then ties up with Han and gives him a belly-to-belly suplex. Han grabs onto Gotchev’s arm and Gotchev but they’re in the ropes. Han throws some slaps and grabs a headlock. He spins into an attempted armbar but Gotchev gets out and goes for a version of an STF. Gotchev applies a headlock. Han gets out and drags Gotchev to the middle of the ring by his foot and then tries to get a leg submissioin. He gets one on and Gotchev uses a rope escape. Han swoops n with a punch but Gotchev picks him up and slams him to the mat. Gotchev goes for another headlock and has Han’s back. Gotchev ties up Han’s legs which allows Han to go for a toe-hold. Gotchev tries to get to his feet but ends up using a rope escape, which combined with the previous one gives him a down. Han is then working on Gotchev’s arm. They stand up and Gotchev throws a kick but Han takes him to the mat again and decides to go after the legs. Gotchev gets his back and is then in mount position and Han uses a rope escape. They stand up and Gotchev shoots on Han, eventually lifting him and slamming him to the mat but without much force. Gotchev goes after Han’s leg but they’re in the ropes. Gotchev goes for some kicks standing and gets Han around the waist but Han takes him down and headlocks him. They end up tine ropes and are stood up. Han knees Gotchev in the gut and goes for a strike. Gotchev is on his knees and Han gives him a knee to the head, resulting in a yellow card and a down for Han. Gotchev takes Han to the mat and works his way into a half-mount and then a headlock. They stand up and slap away at each other until Gotchev gets Han to the mat in another headlock. They’re there for a while until they end up in the ropes. They stand up and trade plenty of kicks and slaps. Gotchev shoots on Han’s leg but Han grabs the armbar and gets the submission win. I like the heavy use of headlocks here by Gotchev, it harkens back to the oldest catch wrestling results that are out there to read. This was Han working someone with a similar style and the psychology of him hanging in there to get the submission continues to be successful. There is an indication that this match is from Russia so that is kind of cool.
Vs Andrei Kopilov
Ah, good ol’ Kopilov, the world’s most dangerous man who happens to look like a history teacher. This would be a grudge match and Han acts as such, throwing hard slaps and kicks to start. Mr. Kopilov does as well but gets hit with a spinning back-fist and then a spinning Volk Han who twirls around him and takes him to the mat for a leg-lock. Kopilov uses a rope escape and is limping afterward. He then throws some sla[s and knee-strikes and rolls up Han who grabs a head-scissors while Kopilov has his arm. Han goes for a cross armbreaker and gets it but Kopilov stands up and throws him off. Kopilov then gets his own cross armbreaker and Han uses a rope break. They stand and Kopilov grabs a kimura but Han powers out for an armbar. Kopilov powers out and is in a position to take Han’s leg but Han gets him down and applies a cross armbreaker for another rope escape. They box with each other and throw some knees in. Han goes to the mat but Kopilov doesn’t follow and the referee gets Han to stand up. Kopilov whoops up the crowd and then actually does a pseudo-dropkick but Han rolls out and goes for his leg. Kopilov is in half-guard and Han rolls over and stretches out Kopilov’s legs and applies an ankle-lock. The feisty Kopilov goes for his own ankle-lock and gets it, forcing Han to use a rope escape. They stand up and clinch, with Han throwing a knee and then grabbing a headlock so that Kopilov is forced to use a rope escape. Kopilov is limping and they trade some slaps with Han grabbing an armbar. Kopilov powers him to the mat and they’re stood up for being in the ropes. Han slaps Kopilov like he means it but Kopilov takes him to the mat for an armbar and Han uses a rope escape. Han misses a spinning backfist and Kopilov throws some strikes. Kopilov takes Han down and applies an ankle-lock. Han uses a rope escape to put him at a total of two downs. Kopilov shoots in and gets Han’s waist but Han takes him down and applies a sick armbar. Kopilov slips out and applies a cross armbreaker and Han uses another rope escape. Han then hits Kopilov with some heavy slaps and gets him to the mat. They stand up and Han continues with the slips and then breaks out the uber-wristlock to take Kopilov down for an attempted armbreaker. Kopilov puts up a fight and rolls Han up and twists his arm, forching Han to submit. This was the third match between the two and gives you an appreciation for Kopilov as someone who works well in a style similar to Han. It gives you even more respect for Han as someone who is willing to put over his opponent, not just with the tap-out but also giving him a lot of the match. Great stuff here.
Vs Hans Nijman
Nijman has a Boris Zukhov-looking head which I hope gets incorporated into his striking game. He is announced, in English, as being from Holland. I checked Wikipedia and apparently he was connected with the Dutch criminal underworld and was killed in November 2014. But he does shake hands here. His tights have “The Bulldog” written on them. Han shoots on him right away and takes him down to try a leg submission but Nijman gets a rope escape. They stand up and kick away at each other. Han shoots again but Nijman avoids him. Nijman hits a spin-kick on Han in the corner. Nijman tries to kick Han’s feet out from under him. Han manages to grab him in an armbar and Nijman uses a rope escape while still standing and gets a down and is selling his arm. Nijman then successfully kicks Han’s leg from hm. Han is up and they trade strikes. Han grabs the armbar again for another rope escape by Nijman who then does another spin-kick. Han goes for the headlock but Nijman throws him to the mat. Nijman hits a body-kick and then punches Han in the face and gets a down with Han getting up at the count of seven. Han shoots on Nijman’s leg and goes for an ankle-lock but Nijman uses a rope escape. They tie up and Han goes for the armbar but Nijman escapes. Nijman hits him with punches and he does fall to the mat but is right back up. Nijman keeps on him with kicks and punches but Han goes after his leg while Nijman holds onto a headlock. Han grabs Nijman’s ankle and Nijman very quickly does a rope escape for his second down. Nijman then destroys Han with leg-kicks and gives him his second down. Han gets to his feet and grabs Nijman’s leg with Nijman again doing a quick rope escape. Han then shoots on Nijman and gets a sick ankle-lock. Nijman grabs for the ropes and Han pulls him away for a great crowd response but Nijman manages to grab another rope. Nijman then does a body-kick on Han who takes Nijman down and grabs an ankle-lock. Nijman then falls back and sees he is too far from the ropes and he taps. This was booked great as a styles clash, with Nijman not messing around with Han’s submissions and Han toughing it out through Nijman’s strikes while trying to establish his game.
Vs Mitsuya Nagai (3rd match)
This is the third match between the two. Nagai starts out with a kick and several strikes and then Han uses the ever-faithful wristlock to take him to the mat. Han flips him over for an attempted cross armbreaker but Nagai fights out. They both go for leg submissions and Han has a good lock on Nagai’s ankle but Nagai hangs in there. Han goes for another armbreaker and then gets Nagai’s back before applying an ankle-lock, with Nagai doing the same. Han maintains his and Nagai uses a rope escape. Nagai then nails Han with kicks and strikes and clinches with him to throw knee-strikes. Han drops to the mat with Nagai’s arm and establishes an armbar and then tries for a cross armbreaker. Nagai gets on top and gets an ankle-lock which Han manages to transition into a figure four-like hold. Nagai continues with the ankle-lock and then gets an STF. Han uses a rope escape and looks downtrodden about this. Nagai then uses punches, kicks and knees and almost has Han on the run but Han slams him to the mat and goes for an ankle-lock but they’re tied up in the ropes. Han goes after the arm manages to apply a cross armbreaker but Nagai is able to use a rope escape. Nagai alternates between punches and clinching with knee-strikes before going to the mat and trying for Han’s arm. Since this is Han, he’s also working an arm-lock and Nagai ends up using a rope escape. Nagai throws more kicks and Han goes after his arm. Han tries for a kimura and has a headlock on and basically gives Nagai a brainbuster for a down. Nagai is up at the count of nine and looks worse for wear but he gives Han some slaps, a knee to the head and a kidney punch for a down. Han is up at the count of eight but Nagai hits him with a spin-kick and goes after his leg. Again, Han grabs the ankle-lock and Nagai tries to roll out. Nagai grabs an ankle-lock but Han gets out. Han is on top and goes for a leg submission but Nagai uses a rope escape. More punches and kicks from Nagai but Han crumples him to the mat in a leg submission. Han has the ankle but Nagai gets to Han’s back. He goes for the arm but they’re in the ropes. Nagai hits a body-punch and kicks and Han grabs a wristlock. Nagai tries to get out but Han holds it and Nagai uses a rope escape for a third down. They cinch and Nagai takes Han to the mat for an ankle-lock, forcing Han to use a rope escape. Nagai hits some punches and then clinches into a headlock. Nagai takes Han to the mat and tries an armbar and is then in half-mount. Nagai has Han’s back and tries for an armbar with Han rolling out. Nagai then goes for a cross armbreaker and Han uses a rope escape. Nagai throws some strikes on his feet but Han literally shrugs them off and then throws some slaps and a punch. Nagai sticks his head out and throws some kicks. Han grabs him and they go to the mat with Nagai trying for an ankle-lock. Han manipulates this into a figure four and Nagai uses a rope escape for a fourth down, leaving him only one more. Nagai then clinches with Han and throws body-punches. Han slips behind him and applies a full nelson. Han drives him into the mat with it and gets the submission win. Really, really great stuff here. Han schools Nagai a little more every match.
Vs Akira Maeda
This is the fifth match between the two. Legend has it that this is the point in time that Rings became an all-shoot promotion. I could focus on figuring that out but think I’ll just go with it. Han throws some wild kicks that Maeda avoids. Maeda slaps Han around a bit and then tries to take him to the mat. Han ends up on top and bends Maeda’s leg in unnatural ways while going for a headlock. Maeda is patient and gets out and they’re in the ropes. Maeda throws a kick and two slaps and it’s a down for Han. They lock up and Han gets the armbar with Maeda using a rope escape. They trade leg-kicks Maeda throwing the lion’s share. Han takes him down for an armbar but Maeda gets full mount. He tries to get Han’s head but Han gets up and to his feet, grabs a toe-hold and then does an awesome transition into a single-leg crab. Maeda hangs in there and gets Han’s foot but Han works his way into getting Maeda’s. They go to a stalemate and the referee stands them up. Maeda swoops in with slaps and throws knees to Han’s body. Han takes him down, gets the leg and then has Maeda’s back and tries for an armbreaker. Maeda gets into half-mount and takes Han’s back for a choke but Han escapes and they’re stood up again. They jockey for position and Maeda throws a big kick, which I didn’t think he was into when people were ready for him. Maeda throws punches but Han takes him to the mat by his leg and Maeda uses a rope escape to earn a down. Maeda is limping and Han does his flying leg-scissors and gets a cross armbreaker. Maeda uses a rope break and sells his arm. They’re trading strikes and Han throws a bunch of knees but Maeda gives him a blow to the gut and Han is down for a count of eight. Maeda misses a leg-kick and Han chases him then takes him to mat and works the arm. Han gator-rolls him but Maeda gets a headlock. Han briefly gets a headscissors but Maeda maintains position. Han stands up and grabs another ankle-lock and again steps over into a single-leg crab for a rope escape, a second down and a moment that convinces me this match is worked. Maeda throws leg-kicks but Han takes him down and they’re stood up. Maeda takes down Han and tries for an armbreaker. Han fights through and get a sweet knee-bar. Maeda gets out and tries to take Han’s leg but Han is too awesome. Han gets another knee-bar and Maeda is struggling for the ropes before tapping out. Great match with a great finish. The crowd goes nuts and Han gets carried around the ring. Maeda and Han then do hug it out and Maeda raises his arm.
Vs Nikolai Zouev
This video clip starts with an interview of Han. He giggles a few times through the video and is no doubt talking about the weakness of Nikolai Volkoff for giving into the almighty dollars of Ted Dibiase. This is their third match that I’ve watched and Zouev is up two wins to Han’s none. They shake hands to start. Zouev goes for a takedown but Han knees him and slaps him around.l Han kicks him in the knees but Zouev takes him to the mat with a fireman’s carry. Zouev gets hold of Han’s ankle but Han rolls over and goes for a cross armbreaker that Zouev stops with a rope escape. Zouev throws a body-kick and takes Han down. Zouev grabs the ankle and drags Han around. Zouev gets a nice ankle-lock and Hand rolls untilt hey’re in the ropes for a break. They tarde some nasty slaps and then Zouev throws a knee. Han drops to the mat and Zouev gets a cross armbreaker for a rope escape by Han. They’re on their feet and Han grabs a front faceblock into a nasty hammerlock. Zouev drops to the mat to go for the ankle but Han gets one and applies a cool leg-lock. Zouev gets out and takes Han’s back but they roll into duelling ankle-locks again. Zouev wins out and Han uses another rope escape to earn a down. Han is back to his feet and does a jumping knee on Zouev who manages to take control and go for another ankle-lock. Han maneuvers out and tries to destroy Zouev’s arm. Zouev actually manages to grab the armbar for a rope escape. They’re up and Zouev gets Han to the mat again for a nasty-looking armbar and another rope escape for a down. But you can’t keep a good Han down as he gets up and throws slaps o’plenty plus a knee and gets a down on Zouev. Han then throws some knees and Zouev takes him to the mat where Han plays around with Zouev’s legs. Zouev gets his back but Han grabs his arm. Zouev mounts Han and grabs the ankle again and Han responds in kind. Zouev wriggles out and grabs Han’s leg but Han wrenches the leg and Zouev uses a rope escape to get a second down. They stand and Zouev misses a round-kick. Han knees him in the chest and they end up on the mat with Zouev controlling Han’s ankle. Han coolly manages to get a form of an Indian Deathlock on and Zouev uses a rope escape. Zouev then takes Han down with a fireman’s carry but Han grabs a painful-looking headscissors. Zouev gets his back and they both go for ankle-locks. Zouev sinks in an ankle-lock but leaves himself open for Han to go for a cross armbreaker. Han gets it after a struggle and Zouev taps out. Really fun match with Han a comparable fighter and no ankle being safe.