Recap from Murray Peterson:
This will count as the second defence of Taguchi’s CMLL welter weight title reign. This was honestly my first time watching the “Funky Weapon” Taguchi wrestle a singles contest so it was interesting to see how he fared outside of Apollo 55 (his tag team with Prince Devitt). Things are pretty basic if you are not current with New Japan, Ryusuke is the face and Taichi is the heel.
Taichi looks like a burlesque show ran over a peacock, but it really works with his bravado. Ryusuke gives his patented hip swivel and we are away with the match. Every time Taguchi tries to tie up Taichi he steps between the ropes. This slows down the match, but actually allows for him to keep control of what Ryusuke is able to do. There is a surprising amount a lucha reversals after the initial avoidance of Taichi. An arm-drag sends Taichi to the floor. Ryusuke ends up taking several chair shots, including a unique one on the apron. Back in the ring Taichi controls Ryusuke with submission while wearing him down with strikes. Finally Ryusuke regains a bit of balance with a few well placed drop kicks. Rolling vertical suplexes by Ryusuke only gains him a two count. Taguchi tries to end things but is reversed into a very powerful Liger bomb. Almost a three count for Taichi. Taichi is tossed into the corner and put into a bridging German suplex for two. Taguchi tries something on the ropes to no avail and his punished with kicks. Taking things to the ground he is put into a very interesting submission hold, his back being driven into Taichi’s knees. Giving up Taichi lets Taguchi lie on the mat while he rips his tear away pants off, a highly entertaining gesture. Think Ash turning his hat backwards in Pokemon, things should heat up now. Taguchi is fed a super kick and a stiff knee. Heel tactics ensue to no avail for Taichi. Taguchi tries to set up his finisher but settles for landing a tiger suplex instead. Impressively Taguchi ends up turning a headscissors attempt into his double underhook drop into a gut buster. This gains him the 1-2-3.
The end of the match was absolutely fantastic, Taguchi showed that he could splice a little creativity into his move set to put away Taichi. Ultimately however this match never really kicked out of second gear. Both competitors remained fairly methodical throughout the contest and neither tried anything risky that might cause them an upset. Early going there was a lot of lucha which was fun to see but that settled down fairly quickly into Taichi working strikes and Ryusuke really spending most of the match looking for the double underhooks. What makes Taichi such a great heel is that his tactics go far beyond cheating for victory. Everything he does in the ring works towards underhandedly causing Ryusuke a loss. That is the kind of heel work that more American wrestlers could take note of. As to the rating of the match, it was nothing spectacular. There were many great strikes and the psychology was present to make everything have purpose, as far as a New Japan title defense goes it was a weak one. An easy match to sit through, and if you’re interested in seeing Ryusuke Taguchi work without Devitt, I recommend checking it out.