Originally posted on PWPonderings.com
If you recall during my “Quick Guide to…: series, I covered Michinoku Pro thanks to the amazingly helpful and intelligent Ozzi MichiFan. Since then, I had a craving for watching more of this wild and complex world of Lucharesu. Well, I recently bought the “Michinoku Pro for Dummies” from RudoReels.com and have been watching a lot with my girlfriend and am enjoying it immensly. But since I’m watching so much of it, I decided to use it in my writings, so today, I’m starting a new series of articles that covers my introduction and journey into Michinoku Pro, recommending a couple of matches for people to check out as I watch them myself. If you don’t know much about Michinoku Pro, I highly recommend reading up on the “Quick Guide to..” penned by Ozzi and myself here.
With that said, let’s get into the start of MichiPro.
UWA World Welterweight Title vs. Mask Match
Super Delfin (c) vs. The Great Sasuke
(Michinoku Pro @ Iwate, Japan, 7/24/1993
I wanted to start off with a Delfin vs. Sasuke match, and chose their first encounter on this set. While I feel most people are familiar with Sasuke, I’m not sure too many know of the awesomeness that is Super Delfin, the eternal rival of Sasuke. While Sasuke seems more stoic and reserved, Delfin is more flashy and arrogant; always willing to bend the rules to get the upperhand or flat out humiliate his opponents. And I love the jerk with all my heart. The first year or so of Michinoku Pro was marked by Sasuke and his “army” and Delfin with his “army” feuding in Sasuke’s new found home. This match in particular was set up after Delfin interrupted the first Michinoku Pro show’s main event and almost demasked Sasuke, setting up the Title vs. Mask stipulation. While not the best of their matches I’ve seen so far, this one had a bit more emotion to it and serves as an excellent launching pad into the world of 90’s Lucharesu.
Mask Vs. Mask
SATO (Dick Togo) vs. Super Delfin
Speaking of awesome wrestlers, I have to thank Michi Pro for reminding me how great of a wrestler Dick Togo was/is and how in his early years, he was almost untouchably skilled. Delfin is full on heel here and SATO is an absolutely fantastic babyface in peril. Again, the key word here is “emotion”. SATO continuously fights underneath to try and break Delfin’s control, only to get routinely shut down. You want SATO to rise up and take out Delfin, and come the ending stretch, you feel SATO’s determination to be the one to shut Delfin up once and for all. Sadly, it was not to be, but this match did plant the seeds for a much bigger storyline for Michinoku Pro, one that’d define their entire existence. But more on that later.
Six Man Tag Team Match
Great Sasuke, SATO & Shiryu vs. Gran Naniwa, Jinsei Shinzaki & Super Delfin
(Michinoku Pro @ Korakuen Hall, 2/4/1994)
If you know me, I LOVE multi-man matches, especially Puro ones. I love how everyone has a role to play, I love the different combinations of talents, and I love how multiple storylines can progress in just one match. This one is no exception. Shinzaki will be familiar to most American wrestling fans as Hakushi who wrestling in the WWF in the mid 90’s. Shinzaki will prove to be one of the most important figures in Michinoku Pro history, helping lead the company into the 2000’s, but here, he is an ally of Delfin’s. Shiryu will also be familiar to western audiences, but for his unmasked persona of Kaz Hayashi, who wrestled for WCW in the 90’s. Finally, there is Gran Naniwa, who sadly passed away in 2010 at the tragically young age of 33, but is one of the most memorable and talented Michi Pro members at this point. Not much I can say about this match except it’s fun as hell. The Delfin arm break spot is definitely the highlight, especially the post spot reconciliation with Naniwa. Lots of fun spots, lots of HATE between the rivals, and all comes together to make a really awesome 6 man tag.
Great Sasuke vs. Jinsei Shinzaki
(Michinoku Pro @ Ota Ward Gym, 4/29/1994)
Now THIS is a match. The last time they faced before this, it ended with one of the most awesome double count out finishes I’ve ever seen pulled off in wrestling. From the get go, you can feel the big-fight feel of this match, and both men go all out, determined to find out who the better man really is. Shinzaki’s status as a wrestler is very underrated, at least to me. Shinzaki is a man who is able to not only make his gimmick of a Buddhist Priest work, but make it work within the context of a wrestling match. His style may be called slow by some, but I admire the methodical approach he takes to wrestling. That shows greatly in this match, which is fantastically paced. While a little slow to start, the match ultimately builds up to some great big spots that feel bigger knowing that they were worked for.
Great Sasuke vs. Shinjiro Otani
(Michinoku Pro @ Aomori, Japan, 9/29/1994)
This was just one insanely entertaining match that caught me off guard. At this point, Great Sasuke is 25 years old and only 4 years into the business and Shinjiro Otani is 22 and only 2 years into the business. A simple match between two young talents escalates into a full on battle. Otani does his best to ground Sasuke, but when that doesn’t work, Otani just says “screw it” and goes full on diving and bomb throwing. Just a great and fun match with two future legends doing their best to outdo the other.
Six Man Tag Team Match
Gran Naniwa, Jinsei Shinzaki & Taka Michinoku vs. Kai En Tai (SATO, Shiryu & Terry Boy)
(Michinoku Pro @ Iwate, Japan, 10/30/1994)
Remember when I said that SATO vs. Delfin would plant the seeds for a promotion defining story? Well, here we begin to see those seeds bloom as SATO, in his quest to finally take out Delfin, joined up with his friends Shiryu and Terry Boy to form the faction of Kai En Tai (a reference to famed samurai Sakamoto Ryōma’s private navy). This match has them pretty much lay waste to the team of Naniwa, Shinzaki, and Taka Michinoku in an awesome crowd brawl environment and showcasing how well Kai En Tai worked as a unit. The crowd brawl especially is a highlight for me as, not only do I love a wild crowd brawl, all me did their best to make it one of the wildest I’ve seen in Puroresu. Overall, really damn fun.
That concludes part one of my look through of Michinoku Pro. If you would like to purchase the set I’m currently looking through, I recommend checking out IVPVideos or RudoReels for the BluRays. If you are also wanting to see more of Michinoku Pro, the Ozzi MichiFan Youtube Page is absolutely essential viewing.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @RVDinator and PWP as well @PWPonderings.