Let’s dive into another five-star classic as we look back at Shingo Takagi going head to head with Masaaki Mochizuki. I say it’s five-stars, but I’ve seen a few places say that Dave has never officially bestowed the rating on it. Truthfully, I don’t care. I want to watch and write about Shingo because he’s my boy, so if it’s bothering you, imagine it says wrestling classics at the top rather than Meltzer’s Classics. Better? Good.
Now, onto the best shit because fucking hell, was this built purely for my enjoyment? Mochizuki charges at Shingo the second the bell rings, going straight for his arm as he tries to chip away at the brute. It’s only when Takagi manages to power out of an Armbar that he takes control, playing the big bully to perfection. There’s a moment where he has Mochizuki in the corner, one leg wrapped around the rope and the other in Shingo’s hand. The Dragon Gate veteran is swinging desperately in an attempt to fight back as Takagi (who is stood just out of reach) looks down at him with contempt before delivering a sickening slap across the face. It tells you everything you need to know about Shingo. He’s a prick, and he loves it.
However, the real star of this match is the person he’s slapping across the face. It’s hard to play a convincing underdog when your game plan is caving your opponent’s skull in with kicks, but damn does Mochizuki do it. He is all spunk and fire as he battles from underneath, desperately trying to slay the dragon that stands before him. Towards the end, he eats an Avalanche Made In Japan followed by a trio of Pumping Bombers, and after each one he staggers up, dead behind the eyes but fighting on because it’s all he knows how to do. Everyone can see he’s done apart from him and it takes Last Falconry to put him down for good.
If you love stiff wrestling, then you owe it to yourself to watch this match. Shingo and Mochizuki don’t spend it selling because you don’t need to sell a man kicking you in the head, it just fucking hurts. They beat the shit out of each other, and it is a joy from start to finish. If this isn’t worthy of five-stars, I don’t know what is.