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Spotlight: Michinoku Pro Masked League '95

G. Badger



I miss watching 90's M-Pro. Its probably my favorite stuff to just sit back, enjoy, and smile. This tournament really helps capture the nature of the promotion at the time. Its just a lot fun. Another important aspect that's lost is the back injury story that Sasuke carries across the tournament. Here a young Naniwa deals a serious blow to Sasuke and this establishes the anyone can win nature of this tournament.


7/27 Iwate: Super Delfin vs. Gorgota Cross (Jerry Lynn)- A fine first match opener with a real athletic showing by Jerry Lynn. There were a few communication problems & there was meandering feel overall but the big drawback was that the crowd could care less. To have a multi-national masked-man tourney one would expect the crowd to extremely vocal about the inagural match; this really wasn't the case. Still it was an enjoyable start.


The Great Sasuke vs. Gran Naniwa-There was no problem here with two of the home wrestlers paired up. The small gym crowd was loving it and for good reason. This match would not seem out of place in a small venue NJPW show with meaningful matwork being the base from which spots & sequence could be built from. While the execution of a few of things wasn't necessarily up to NJ Jr. standards it was made up for with intensity & excitement. Sasuke must have done 3 dives & Naniwa took the avalanche frankesteiner to new heights. A very good showing from both men in a memorable match.


There was a lengthy highlights portion shown afterwards. What's interesting is that the highlights have there own highlights: The Convict looking like a mummy & the Hamburgular had a baby executing a picture perfect moonsault, King's Cross giving more meaning to the name "suicide dive" than is good for one's health, & Naniwa getting flash pinned by a guy looking like Fuyuki with a mask. Way too many more clips to mention except the dangerous moves section & funny moments, which is cool since it preserves the humor of the promotion.


8/12 Yamagata Shi: The Great Sasuke vs. Super Delfin- By this point in the round robin Sasuke's back is a noticible weak point and Delfin zeros in on it here. This tactic really helps guide him and Sasuke did an amirable sell job to keep it in focus. I have a feeling that the injury wasn't completely fabricated. Anyhow, what was so great was that I really believed the match could end with any submission attempt. So many of the clipped matches are won with relatively insignifcant moves. It seemed that something as common place a surfboard or Scorpion Deathlock deep into the bout screamed match-ender- especially with Sasuke's back being attacked mercilously & with the knowledge that he's not invincible (proven by Naniwa's upset). The real drawback was that the execution was spotty at times but in the context of the other matches it can certainly be forgiven. The crowd was electric so maybe that balances it out a bit; if they can overlook the mistakes so can I. Overall it was a fantastic match and the best one so far. ****+


8/13: The Great Sasuke vs. The Convict (Sergio "Super Boy" Torres)- It's easy to misjudge the Convict as a goof in a striped sweatsuit. He's a real athletic big man and his execution is pretty good. This is a one-sided bout with a big red bulls-eye painted on the Great Sasuke's back. Sasuke tries a comeback with a couple good sequences and near falls that keeps it interesting. Although it's pretty much a display of the Convict's spot-on offense and of the Great Sasuke's selling.


Super Delfin vs. Gran Naniwa- Another very good match-up from two of the home wrestlers. There was plenty of matwork and near-falls in this one so, it was easy to get excited about. It had some awkward bits but certainly was fun & I was pulling for Naniwa in this one.


After this match we get a bit of the clipped matches but nowhere as long as on Disc 1. The highlights include Gorgota Cross Lynn vs. Dos Caras and Sasuke getting a table dropped on his back by the Grand Sheik in a tag match...I think. Another nice clip portion to make you feel like a local.


8/18 Yamagata: Dos Caras vs. Super Delfin- This was a display of Dos Caras' superb ground wrestling. Delfin was in put in a dozen variations of Mr. Saltys and never looked like he was able to be on offense. Somehow he won though. Just sub-par selling on Delfin's part still entertaining because of Caras.


A few more clipped matches finish up the second disc but nothing is too memorable.


8/23 Aomori-ken Mutsu Shi: The Great Sasuke vs. Dos Caras- The meeting between the top two competitors left a lot to be desired. Fortunately we get the payoff in the finals (maybe?). The heart of the match is Dos Caras putting Sasuke in different stretches. Starting off this was really exciting as they were exchanging holds & positions. Sasuke doesn't really want to sell here and Caras isn't going to appear weak to anyone...rightfully so. This tactic makes a ground based match really uninteresting. Dory vs. Jack is so great because they really know how to milk each hold, when to turn it up & bring it back down. This match tried but they zigged when they should have zagged. Still Sasuke's flying moves were great & Caras really did well on offense as well.


8/24 Aomori-ken: Super Delfin vs. Mongolian- It's difficult to get into a match like this. It was alright but really only shown because Delfin was quick pinned while he was going for the namesake clutch. Maybe he's out of the running now...eh...it was alright.


8/25 Aomori-ken Aomori Shi:Mascara Contra Mascara: Gran Naniwa vs. Gorgota Cross- This was like a AJW match because it was all action and near-falls! Really an excellent match and blew just about every other match in the tourney outta the water. It was great to finally see Jerry Lynn given a chance to perform. ****


Fukumen World League Yushosen(finals): The Great Sasuke vs. Dos Caras- Where Naniwa vs. Lynn was AJW, Caras vs. Sasuke was AJPW. A nice slow building match with exciting matwork built into false finish teases & hellish moves...Sasuke did his awesome flying offense and Caras powerbombed Sasuke 3 times that would make Vader wince. ****



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