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[1996-10-10-Michinoku Pro-These Days] Taka Michinoku & Mens Teoh & Dick Togo & Shiryu & Shoichi Funaki vs Gran Hamada & Super Delphin & Tiger Mask IV & Gran Naniwa & Masato Yakushiji

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A great match, the most famous Michinoku Pro match, and one I'm glad I watched again. Prior to this yearbook, I had seen the March match, this match, and the ECW matches and that was it. So I'm looking forward to the December matches since I've heard from various people that each of those are better than this one. I'm not sure how full Sumo Hall was, but it sure sounded full.

 

About the match -- Still great, but I do think they burned out the crowd a little. If you notice, the nearfall pops get progressively smaller instead of progressively louder. I wonder if this match would have been better with 5-10 minutes shaved off. KDX takes about 80% of this, which I'm assuming was to set up rematches.

 

I always loved this style, and never took the time to fully invest in it, so I'm glad this yearbook is giving me the chance to do so.

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Yakushiji is the man of the match, great timing throughout, and the arm drags really are fantastic. Taka's moonsault plancha was so good that they should have just retired the move on the spot.

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These Days, the stars are out of reach...

 

This has got to be the most impressive gymnasium in all of Japan. I think this was M-Pro's biggest ever show, and that certainly added importance to proceedings. Before 1996 it wasn't a promotion that had contributed much in the grand scheme of things. It was developing a new style, and the first few years of M-Pro were like building a jigsaw. This was the final result. Like most jigsaws it was broken up a little while after completion, so that short golden age has to be savoured.

 

Lightening paced Lucharesu action throughout it's 32m duration. The style would've been blowaway at the time. It's still very impressive. There were inevitable errors but nothing terrible. Yakushiji is flashy and flaky. Believe me, he's one of those guys who needs really good support. The match never got bogged down at any stage, though I'd have probably trimmed a few minutes off the opening phase if nitpicking. The highlight was certainly the stretch. Very stylised with different team members taking turns in the ring and countless broken pinfalls. Exciting and exhausting, it felt like an epic. I have it ranked #13 for the year.

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M-Pro came up in the thread about spotfests and since I haven't seen it in years I thought I'd reacquaint myself. This is a fun bout, but it's basically lucha without the psychology and a slightly more superior version of Hamada's UWF. The workers are all genuinely likeable, but the Kaientai stuff veers a bit too close to a parody of rudo teamwork, which is born out by the commentator explaining everything like it's a travel documentary. The shifts in momentum are similar to a trios match, but without the falls they come and go without much rhyme or reason. The rudo beatdown (that wasn't really a beatdown) could've gone for longer, which would have made the technico comeback stronger, for example. On the plus side, the finishing stretch was a barrel of fun, and I bought on Delpin's big nearfall at the end. I didn't have a problem with the length. It was a 10 man tag so it took longer for everyone to get their shit in. It was more the persistent rhythm that lacked a few subtleties.

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There's not much more to say about this. As the DVDVR guys put it, it's spot-fu, but it's the greatest spot-fu match of all-time. Actually I don't know if that statement is strictly true, but it's got an argument. It's another top-10/15 MOTYC in what's turning into an excellent year for MOTYCs. It's just a shame that Sasuke couldn't have been here--then again, maybe that means Yakushiji is the man out and we wouldn't have wanted that.

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One of my favorite matches of all time and a desert island match for me. Like a lot of people, this along with J Cup and some sort of 90's All Japan were my first puro purchases and this immediately blew me away. Even twenty years later and after 10 viewings, it still entertains me just the same. I don't know if Delphin, Taka, Togo or Yakushiji is my favorite in this but all are fantastic and this is 10 guys in a big building going out there and killing it without coming up for air. A wonderful match. ****3/4

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It's been a while since I've seen this and it sure held up. This match was non-stop fun and had a great sense of progression. In the beginning the action is pretty even, a bit of comedy, some mild dive teases but the action continues at a fast but relatively low-intensity level. Then Kaientai really start heeling out and the heel/face dynamic become more pronounced, the action gets more contentions and the dive teases get more, uh, teasier? Then there's the first awesome explosion of dives that sets off a ball to the wall home stretch, move after move and dive after dive. Awesome crowd the whole time. I don't know if this is my favorite MPro match, but it's definitely in my top 10 for the year thus far.

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Super Delphin, Gran Hamada, Gran Naniwa, Tiger Mask IV, Masato Yakushiji vs Kaientai DX (Dick Togo, Taka Michinoku, Sho Funaki, MENS Teioh & Shiryu) - Michinoku Pro 10/10/096

 

Here it is the most famous Michinoku Pro match. It takes place on their 3rd Anniversary Show at the Sumo Hall which did 7000, awesome for a Northeastern independent. Notable by his absence is Great Sasuke, who was not out due to his skull fracture at J-Crown, but rather he put himself in the legend's six-man tag. The main event was a "dream" match as Michinoku Pro's Jinsei Shinzaki (Hakushi) took on FMW's Hayabusa.

 

First ten minutes: As customary in M-Pro, everyone pairs off. My favorite pairing was Gran Hamada vs Sho Funaki. Michinoku saves Funaki and they do this great bit where Hamada successfully fends off both and Taka hits Funaki. Good stuff. Also fun was Delphin doing the Rick Rude sell of an atomic drop and taking a huge bump into the second row. In the second round of match-ups, I thought Yakushiji really shined with some slick arm drags and ranas. TM IV vs Taka Michinoku is always great juniors shoot-style. Hamada vs Togo is great hard hitting action. The first ten minutes ends with Dick Togo hitting whisper in the wind on Naniwa. So far it has been very good. Waiting for them to kick it up a notch.

 

Second ten minutes: It is interesting that Shiryu (who I feel is a lower tier member of Kaientai) is the one who swings things in Kaientai's favor. He gets a double leg takedown on Naniwa and it is off to the races with all the Kaientai staples. It is interesting that there is clearly a divide between Togo, Teioh, and Shiryu vs Taka & Funaki. Each group has their own double teams. I really liked how Funaki & Taka dropkicked Naniwa in the face before the Kaientai flex. I also thought it was interesting they burned through a lot of their spots early in the first heat segment. Naniwa tags out to Yakushiji who has looked the best for the babyfaces, really slick. Shiryu again takes over but this time Hamada saves. Hamada eats a spike piledriver so that's a Kaientai spot they saved. Hamada gets out and Naniwa stomps the balls of Funaki. TM IV gets trapped in the corner. The mask ripping didn't do much for me. Not enough struggle and where is the help. Still good but waiting for them to really go into overdrive.

 

Final Minutes: I'll admit they lost me. Just a ton of spots. No real connective tissue. Things that I remember, row your boat lead to Delphin doing a rana pin in the middle. Triple stereo rana by Kaientai leading to triple stereo dives. Taka Michinoku's insane inside-out, springboard Asai moonsault. They do a bunch of pair offs for the finish run. It is a barrage of suplexes and flips that don't stick. I thought the finish was good with Delphin coming up short and Dick Togo powerbombing him & senton for the win.

 

This would not be out of place at all in 2018. I think it would heralded as a classic. The more Michinoku Pro I watch the more I think this was the breeding ground of what workrate was to become by hybridizing the Stampede style, NJ Juniors and lucha into one insane style. I have seen better M-Pro and I hate to be a killjoy, but this just did not stick with me at all. I recognize there is a type of fan that would really like this and I did not hate it, but it did not wow me either. Also it was very long and I feel they could have made this a lot leaner. ***3/4

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