Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Friday, June 23, 2017

2017 MOTY LIst: Togo v. Sasaki Ultimate Submissions

14. Dick Togo v. Daisuke Sasaki DDT 4/14

PAS: This was a 30 minute submissions iron man, and was a real chance for Dick Togo to stretch it out. Sasaki isn't a guy with a ton of stand out attributes, but he is a solid guy all around and fits nicely around an ambitious Dick Togo match. This reminded me of the Togo retirement match run, where he would take a guy take everything he can do and build a classic around it. I don't normally think of Togo as a mat guy, but did some especially slick counter wrestling, especially grabbing at crossfaces and chokes. Togo gets an early lead until Sasaki goes after the knee, and the rest of the match is Togo trying to fight off an aggressive Sasaki with a bad wheel. Loved Togo's selling here especially how a his bad knee kept him from hitting his senton on the first try. I don't love draws in wrestling, but both guys got reasonable near falls off of scrambles. Overall great stuff and I am so glad to see Togo back at this level.

ER: This is an interesting premise that can make things difficult for traditional wrestling psychology. In a traditional wrestling match you tap out when you can't take any more punishment and you lose the match. Your limb or breathing gets pushed past the point of comfort, past your pain threshold, and you give up. In this match, if you get pushed past that same still have to continue working a match. So it's a weird concept, and you'd think the psychology in this match would be to tap early in a submission, when you know you're in trouble but before big damage has been done. It's better to go down 0-1 than severely weaken a limb to leave it susceptible to more tapouts. So it bugged me out of the gate when Sasaki let his arm get completely worked over before tapping out, twice. What bugged me even more was after he went down 0-2 because of his wing...we never saw a whisper of arm trouble for the rest of the match. Togo stayed away from the arm - the same arm that got him up 2-0 - until the final 4 seconds of the match. Sasaki just acts like those two tap outs never happened and never even gives a hint of the screaming pain he was in when tapping out both times. It infuriates me the more I think about it. The final 20 minutes is worked as if the prior 10 minutes never happened, and it's easier to just pretend that first 1/3 didn't happen.

Because Sasaki taking apart Togo's leg was a blast, and Togo's selling was sympathetic and satisfying. Sasaki breaks out some of his best stuff, including a killer middle rope elbow drop to Togo's leg (later doing the same in the crowd off one of the seating tiers). The leg injury is compelling stuff, and I loved Sasaki playing dirty, knocking the ref into Togo on the buckles, sending Togo bumping nasty to the ropes to the apron and to the floor. I'm with Phil in that I don't really think of Togo as a mat guy, but his mat stuff here was killer. I could watch him roll into crossfaces all damn day, and his cannonball dive through the ropes is easily one of the best spots in wrestling. The draw finish was disappointing and I think the placement of the tapouts was poorly planned, but the work itself was excellent. Still, those psychology issues and at times total disregard for the actual match stipulations is going to keep this from the top tier MOTY level.



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