In the midst of the Kowloon/Michinoku Seki-gun feud, greatness transpires.
Dick Togo vs. Rui HiugajiVery Good
This match is a tale of three parts. The early stages see Togo meticulously work over Hiugaji’s arm before things quickly spill to the outside, where things take a turn for the worst.
As if the crowd needs any more reason to get behind Togo, Hiugaji lands a nasty elbow strike that busts his opponent open. There’s an air of remorselessness as he drives his elbow into Togo’s skull. Hiugaji’s offense here is the textbook example of not being pretty, but being effective, as he continues to work over Togo’s wound by stepping on his forehead. Despite being in control for the majority of the contest, Hiugaji decides at some point that he no longer cares about winning; arrogance sets in and he wants to make a statement. He purposefully lets Togo out at two and goes for his finishing blow, to no avail. Ever the opportunists, Hiugaji’s Kowloon stablemates do everything in their power to interfere, but Togo isn’t having any of it. The action to this point was good, but this is where Togo’s babyface fire really came into play and the match kicked into another gear.
The story they told was that of Togo overcoming Kowloon’s chicanery. Whether selling a beatdown, taking a low-blow from Hiugaji or dealing with outside interference from Rasse, Togo’s expressions were so convincing that you couldn’t help but root for him. Every bit of the fans’ energy fueled Togo to power through a series of intense near-falls. Frustration sets in and Hiugaji ultimately finds himself unable to escape a cross face from Togo.
Though the story they told was simple and effective, Togo and Hiugaji really made the most of this match. The thing about Togo is that, whether he’s working on top or as the underdog, you know you’re always going to get the same amount of effort from him, and that shined through here. I don’t want to overlook Hiugaji either, as his work on top in this match is probably the best of his career. He came across as a careless bully who didn’t care what the fans thought of him or the rest of Kowloon. I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this, as I’ve never been overly impressed by Hiugaji, but this match is certainly worth your time.