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[1999-01-13-Michinoku Pro] Naohiro Hoshikawa & Masato Yakushiji vs Super Delphin & Gran Naniwa

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Speaking of Southern tags, Delphin and Naniwa are pulling out every trick in the book here - accidentally running into each other, elbow dropping each other by accident, eye poking, low blowing, asking for a time out to regroup and otherwise cheating like crazy. The match as a whole didn't live up to the early promise based on the heel tactics, but it was still a very good match. I think they did a little too many highspots on the floor, and I am not really a fan of the AJW thing where the babyface team messes up and hits each other. I think of that as more of a heel spot. But they did a lot right in terms of comedy and pacing, and Yakushiji is the ideal sympathy babyface you want against a team trying to act like the Midnight Express. Hoshikawa and Yakushiji have some really good double team spots as well. I enjoyed a good rollup finish every once in a while too.

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I didn't follow Yakushiji after MPro started to decline in late 1997, so I didn't know he kept improving to the point that he was able to hold up his end in a good southern tag. Delphin and Naniwa have their rudo schtick down from their pre-KDX days as the promotions top heel stable. MPro seemed to have trouble getting over in Korakuen Hall. A lot of other companies could get heat in Korakuen Hall but would be silenced in the small Northeastern towns that MPro ran.

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We had some clipping here but the portions were good that we saw and I feel comfortable enough to rank it. Delphin is one of my unheralded wrestlers of the 90's as he has performed well every time he pops up on the yearbooks.. Good to see Naniwa be in a more serious heel role here too as while they did some comedy and miscommunication, he really worked hard to provide the bones of a psychological sound match. January's variety is really infectious and this was another very good match for the month. (***1/4)

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I've never seen Hoshikawa before but I've been really impressed with him on this set. I liked the kick dive he did later in the match. He plays a good ass kicker to Yakushiji who gets beat down and does flying moves. Another good match from January.

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Loss' #499 is a fun match. Starts off by resembling a lucha tag, culminating in a pair of swank topes, then shifts to move of a juniors focus with a series of finishers and nearfalls. There's not a great deal of narrative to speak of, but the action moves at a steady pace and Hoshikawa's quasi-shooter gimmick provides a nice counter-balance to the lucha influences. Would have been an entertaining bout to watch live.

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Thanks to some help from OJ, I was able to find this match!.

 

I like the point that this would be a fun match to see live, because I got that feeling right away. Lot's of cool little creative spots and entertaining moments. Some of the humor was a little too silly, for lack of a better term, for me - Mostly the rapid fire low blows, ha. Other than that, I found the match to be good and definitely could see the comparisons to Lucha and Southern tags. I thought some of the moves didn't look very impactful, but they really picked it up in the last 5 to 6 minutes. Fun stuff. ***1/4

 

#499 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-500-451/

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The first part of this is a pretty fun throwback to pre-KDX MPro, with lots of heel miscommunication and comedy. The "epic" portion in the second half isn't as great as your high-end MPro but still pretty good in its own right--I was always under the impression that Yakushiji rather quickly fell off the map due to injuries, but he had a longer, higher-quality career than I'd remembered. Still under the radar, but one of the most reliable faces in peril of his era.

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