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[1996-12-16-Michinoku Pro] Great Sasuke & Gran Hamada & Super Delphin & Gran Naniwa & Masato Yakushiji vs Dick Togo & Mens Teoh & Taka Michinoku & Shiryu & Shoichi Funaki

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This was probably my favorite M-Pro match of the year. The 10/10 match might have been showier but not by much, and this one struck me as harder hitting. Hamada, Yakushiji and Togo all turned in great individual performances. The crowd was great. If I do a top 20 for the year, this will make it.

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Childs is right, although I'd say it will be in my top 5 of the year. It's a classic, as everyone is more in tune with their match by this point, and while the 10/10 match was great, this takes it to another level. There's too much happening too fast and too furious to attempt to describe it all. This is almost a greatest hits of the 10/10, 12/1 and 12/9 matches, with better psychology and pacing than any of those. I feel like a doofus saying that, because all of these matches are great, but this one is the best. I love Delphin and Sasuke sneaking up on Funaki with a double missile dropkick, and the Togo/Yakushiji solo stuff in the final stretch is just awesome, especially when Sasuke throws a chair at his head to knock him off the top rope. And to seal the deal, KDX actually eats a loss, which makes Hamada a hero! This is great wrestling in a great year.

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This is one of the lesser know MPRO 10 man tags, but it was right there with all of them quality wise. The match took a bit to get rolling, as they worked more strikes then fast rope running exchanges. It gots kicking though when Togo and Yakushiji match up. They are really one of the most breathtaking pairings in wrestling history, the speed and precision with which they execute their ranas, armdrags and headscissors are without peer. Sasuke and Funaki have a couple of really fun shootstylish face offs too, which was unexpected, and Gran Hamada is Gran Hamada. The finish run was amazing, it reminded me of the last 25 minutes of Children of Men with mayhem and insanity exploding when you least expect it. Guys were hitting crazy dives with minimal set up, some thing insane would come out of the corner of your eye. Yakushiji won the death race with a tope over the ringside table, where he ended up completely vertical. You also had pretty perfectly timed pin break ups, as guys would be swooping in at the absolute last moment. Our man Dick gets the win with his unparalleled senton as he is suspended in air like a parade float only to land like boulder.

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I like 10/10 more but this is just an awesome match. I was really impressed with Delphin here as he looked extra motivated. As already said, Togo/Yakushiji is outstanding. Did they ever have any singles matches?

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It was basically a lesser version of the 10/10 classic. Back in the gymnasium, a bit shorter and less seminal. There was still plenty to enjoy because they'd perfected the formula.

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This was much feistier than These Days. Everything they did had an extra edge to it, and I thought leading with forearm strikes instead of irish whips was brilliant. I agree with Zenjo that it's less seminal, but the finishing stretch was flat out great and ranks alongside any multi-man tag finish I can recall. The crowd was amazing as well. That ovation at the end was outstanding. Great match.

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Yeah, as much as I love MPro, I was actually groaning when I came across this--"ANOTHER 10-man tag? What more is there to do with these teams?"

 

Uh, yeah. A fuck ton of a lot, as it turns out.

 

As OJ says, there's some HATE here. Not that the previous tags have been lacking in psychology and character work, but this is as much about impact and fury as much as it is about pretty moves. There's also a constant sense of one-upsmanship throughout the early portion. Even the fucking Naniwa crabwalk is done with some bite to it--"Oh, you're going to cut me off in the middle of my move, Taka? Fuck you then, I'm going to do it if it kills me." Then that goddamn closing stretch--sometimes you'll say, "This felt like it went 7 hours" as if that's a bad thing. This felt super-long in a GOOD way. The brilliant thing is that every 1-on-1 match-up we got felt like it changed the momentum of the match. "Shiryu vs. Sasuke? Oh, that's an advantage for the babyfaces...Delfin vs. Teioh is pretty even...oh shit, now Yakushiji's alone with Togo." And so on. Yakushiji is spectacular here, executing everything brilliantly and working an awesome little sprint with Togo where he looks dead in the water but with an assist from Sasuke and an errant chair toss from Funaki, then gets in some credible near-falls. Hamada finally scores the pin which is the 100% right result to close out the year, as the crowd (and I) lose their collective minds.

 

It was fresher than These Days, which most of us have seen a bunch, and the result was in doubt the whole way, but even accounting for that I have no problem saying this was the best MPro match of the year and one of the very best anywhere in the world.

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http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-50-1/2/

 

#23

 

This is the most I've enjoyed an M-Pro match to date. I don't think this style of match would reach a favorites list for me personally, but I totally get the appeal. This match felt more violent too. There was some edge to it that I haven't seen in some of the other M-Pro I've seen. I think the more M-Pro I watch, the more I'll end up appreciating this match in the long run.

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The best spotfest match of all time. Just one flawless sequence after another with a nuclear crowd popping and cheering hard for the right people. I will see as I complete the 2000's if a Dragon Gate or Toryumon multiman reaches this level but that crowd reaction is why something like the ROH Dragon Gate 6 man can't be ***** for me no matter how good the execution is. The people in those matches are invested in seeing a great match first and foremost. I am guilty of that as a fan as well. The crowd here definitely wanted the face side to win and exploded on all nearfalls and the final pin by Hamada. I have no idea who my MVP is of this match but it is just 25 minutes of nonstop flawless action that also tells a compelling story. *****

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Great Sasuke, Super Delphin, Gran Hamada, Gran Naniwa, Masato Yakushiji vs Kaientai DX - Michinoku Pro 12/16/96

 

Yakushiji is back! They sure saved the best for last. It is every awesome Michinoku Pro sequence done to perfection. I liked the addition of hate here. Taka and Hamada have a chippy exchange at the outset. Then Sasuke and Taka Michinoku just go at it. Sasuke ends up throwing Taka into the crowd and wiping out a bunch of chairs. Speaking of the crowd, they were electric popping for everything! I love things where earned this bout. Like Naniwa does his crabwalk and Taka dropkicks him out of the sky so Sasuke comes in and puts that Taka prick down and Naniwa hits his crabwalk. They earned that. The first half is just nothing fast-paced, full throttle action that does not let up. If you are going to do a spotfest then go balls to the wall like these guys! To me the match kicks into overdrive during the Sasuke heat segment. It is like all the other great Sasuke heat segment but they add in a CHAIRSHOT TO THE SKULL! It was bonkers! Spike Piledriver & Shieldbomb don't do it. Togo hits a massive German suplex on Yakushiji. Yakushiji tags out to Super Delphin who is a house of fire! Sasuke quebrada on Kaientai. It is breaking loose in Tulsa, BABY! They do that excellent chair throwing sequence from Inoki Festival. This time Yakushiji does not eat the pin but instead hits a dive to the outside. Crazy finish sees Gran Hamada winning the match with hurricanarana on Shiryu! MASSIVE POP! This crowd was raucous the whole time but they popped HUGE for the finish. It is the Greatest Hits of Michinoku Pro plus more hatred plus an insane crowd plus the babyfaces win = best Michinoku Pro match ever! ****3/4

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Yep, probably the best MPro match ever. Has everything you want from an MPro match and every MPro element is there to perfection. Especially great heel/face dynamic, insanely hot crowd reacting for everything, great spots, super fast pace with something cool happening all the time, more aggression between both teams than usual and an awesome home stretch with some great dives. Maybe the only thing this was missing was some really believable nearfalls.

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Do you guys know what is being thrown down, it looks cool. I am not sure if seen a baseball slide headscissors before. I think this second time or third time watching Masato Yakushiji and I am interested in seeing more of his matches. A really fun chaotic closing stretch and ending I did not expect. A fun match.

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