Dick Togo vs. Billy Ken Kid - Osaka Pro 2/11/10
This match is not without it's problems. It is needlessly long, the babyface isn't close to matching the heel's intensity, and the crowd doesn't react as much as you would hope down the stretch. There is some minor sloppiness, the Kid has some weak strikes at points, and the portion of the match that he worked sans mask, but covering his face with a towel went on too long. Having said all of that this is one of the best matches I've seen from Japan this year and there is one reasons for that: Dick Togo.
A No DQ match with a vanilla babyface needs a good heel to carry it. Togo is a great heel here and the structure of this match was totally different from what you would normally see from a long junior mask in Japan. Match is filled to the brim with Togo taunts, Togo mask ripping, Togo strikes and Togo shit talk. Togo hits maybe three big offensive spots in the whole match match - all great senton variations including a tremendous delayed snap senton from the inside out - and instead of working the match around striking exchanges, nearfall exchanges, your turn, my turn spot exchanges, et., match is about Togo building heat, the babyface making comebacks, and Togo cutting him off. The seconds of both guys fight at ringside throughout but it's not distracting and their presence adds to the match through minimal interference at key points.
There are people who are not going to like the pace of this but I really liked it a lot. Match felt like a hate filled brawl and the big spots all meant something, from Togo taking the monkey flip into the ringpost onto the floor to set up his blade job and the first Kid comeback, to Togo cutting off a Kid dive with a vicious chairshot, to Kid moving on a corner charge sending Togo to the floor on a huge bump giving himself time to retrieve his mask. The nearfall segment at the end was not overkill but they did some great teasers with Kid kicking out of the Togo senton, Togo kicking out of a very well executed backslide that I totally bought as the finish and the heels accidentally waffling Togo with a chair was the set up for the finish rather than the finish itself. 450 for the pin looked sick as well.
The performance of Togo here was incredible and makes me wish more of his stuff was available. As far as I know there about a half dozen matches of his that have made tape this year, and he's been solid-to-great in all of them, but this is the best of the bunch.