Virus v Guerrero Maya Jr. (CMLL, 6/7/11)
I'll probably only watch another 10 non-WWE matches this year, but I see this and get the sense I could watch a hundred and not find anything better than it. This was terrific. Virus used to wrestle in the minis division as Damiancito El Guerrero and he had that match with Cicloncito Ramirez that's the best fucking match ever. That was 14 years ago. And he STILL rules it like an absolute king. The first caida matwork isn't quite up there with the best IWRG grappling, but it was all good-really good stuff. Third caida is what propels this into the stratosphere, though. Just tonnes of great moments and the finishing stretch is as dramatic as any lucha finishing stretch I've seen in the last 10 years. There's one woman who looks to be in her 20s in the front row completely losing her shit. At one point the camera pans to her and it looks like she just had a heart attack. Not sure what my favourite part was. Virus' dive was truly spectacular in a totally chest-crushing sort of way and served as the *perfect* catalyst for his comeback, but the chop exchange that ends with Virus "winding up" his right arm for a big chop only to CRACK Maya right in the grill with his left fist was TOO fucking great. And I have no idea what you'd even call that finish, but it looked amazing.
Dick Togo v Antonio Honda (DDT, 1/30/11)
This was seriously fantastic, and if I actually bother to watch any more matches from Japan this year I'll be shocked if anything manages to top it. Togo is 6 months shy of retirement here and he is totally the Edwin van der Sar of wrestling. Van der Sar retired from football/soccer at the age of 40, and he went out as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, arguably as good as he had ever been. Togo goes out at the age of 42, at a time where he looks like an honest to goodness best in the world candidate. I can't say I've ever seen Antonio Honda before, but a quick check tells me he's normally a comedy wrestler. Well fuck that because on this night he tosses that shit out the window and punches Dick Togo right in the fucking face. Togo is the star here, but Honda absolutely holds his own and looked great in the process (although for all I know he could be good in general). Honda comes out the blocks and zeroes in on Togo's arm, cranking on a hammerlock, yanking him down to the mat, refusing to let him get any breathing space. Togo's selling, especially the way he screams in pain any time Honda torques on a hold, is really awesome. He tries to go for the Pedigree early on and can't hook it with the bad arm, so Honda reverses it. He does that spot three times over the course of the match before eventually succeeding (and that's not until we're about 20 minutes in). At the ten minute mark Honda goes for a tope and winds up getting his forehead cut open, so Togo rams his head into the post and starts stomping on the cut. Honda's comeback is AMAZING. Togo's repeatedly blasting his head off the turnbuckle and Honda goes one hundred fucking percent Jerry Lawler on him, dropping the strap and unloading with a huge flurry of punches. Over the course of the second half of the match I lost count of the number of straight up AWESOME punches. I mean my God this was some Lawler/Dundee shit right. Phil Schneider talked about this a few months back and already made a "Mid South Coliseum main event" comparison, so I feel pretty cheap busting out the Lawler/Dundee line, but really, it might be the closest thing to a classic Memphis brawl that I've ever seen in Japan and if YOU'VE seen something like Lawler/Dundee or Lawler/Dutch, YOU will instantly be giddified at the similarities. The double knock down spot is just out of this world great. How does a match that's happening in non-FUTEN finisher overkill current Japanese wrestling manage to get a fucking PUNCH over as a legit nearfall? Togo is the fucking greatest. I would give this twelve stars.