Michinoku Pro on Samurai TV, 6/17/01
review by Ryan Mancuso

Hello again, I am back this time with another triple shot review. This time it will be Michinoku Pro from the summer of 2001. The show I am reviewing is a big Samurai TV taping from the Tsukisamu Green Dome in Sapporo on June 17, 2001. The Tsukisamu Green Dome is one of the biggest venues that Michinoku Pro has run. The crowd is bigger than what a company Michinoku Pro's size usually draws. However, the building also does not look half full and that never looks good for a company's image on TV. The main event of this show is an interpromotional 6-man tag team match with The Great Sasuke, Hayabusa & Alexander Otsuka facing Dick Togo, MEN's Teioh & Ricky Fuji. Also on this card is a singles match between Jinsei Shinzaki & Muhammad Yone, and the P*MIX Tag Titles are on the line with the father-daughter team of Gran Hamada & Ayako Hamada facing Masao Orihara & Etsuko Mita. There are plenty of clips with matches that took place on smaller shows in June 2001. Now, it's time for the review:

Clips of the Dick Togo & MEN's Teioh vs. Jinsei Shinzaki & Chi-Nen Hokkai match from June 9 were shown. It looked pretty fun with Togo and Teioh having that same chemistry that made Kaientai great in the mid-to-late 1990's. Shinzaki looked a little more motivated than usual for a smaller show. Hokkai was showing some promise by trying his hardest to hand with Togo & Teioh. Experience prevails at the end with Teioh making Hokkai tap with the STF.

Chi-Nen Hokkai vs. Yasu Urano

This was a match between a Michinoku Pro dojo graduate in Hokkai and TAKA Michinoku's Kaientai Dojo graduate in Urano. This was joined in progress, and it was a rookie match with both men just doing basic moves. Hokkai gets the win after making Urano tap out to the camel clutch.

K.Y. Wakamatsu vs. Tsubo Genjin

Wakamatsu is an aging wrestler who has been in some sleazy indy's. Tsubo continues the long line of cavemen wrestlers. This was a comedy match joined in progress, but the material they were doing was pretty weak. Wakamatsu won the match with a Cobra Twist variation.

Clips are shown of The Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada & Dick Togo vs. Jinsei Shinzaki, Tiger Mask IV & MEN's Teioh from June 10. The match looked really nice from what was shown, but not for sure since it was chopped to pieces. Tiger scored the big victory by making Sasuke tap out to a Rings of Saturn variation.

Tiger Mask IV, Hideki Nishida & Mr. Cacao vs. Gedo, Pentagon Black & Chad Collyer

This was also joined in progress. Gedo looked great from what was shown in this match. He knew when to place his moves and took some really nice bumps for the faces. Nishida was probably the best on the face side especially since Tiger was hardly in there. Cacao is not good, and dragged the match down. Pentagon and Collyer did not do anything to stand out. Gedo won the match for his team when he used the Superfly Frog Splash on Cacao.

P*MIX Grand Prix Tag Titles: Gran Hamada & Ayako Hamada (c) vs. Masao Orihara & Etsuko Mita

The P*MIX titles is an intergender tag team title where one member of each gender teams up to hold and/or challenge for them. It was a solid match, but I was definitely expecting better. Since Orihara has the dreadlocks and tattoos now, I was not expecting much from him. However, the other three I was a little more. The match picked up once the beat down towards Gran finished. Ayako had a bad night because she had no chemistry with the other team and her move execution looked off. The father-daughter team retains the belts when Gran Hamada uses his Hama-Chan Cutter off the second rope on Orihara for the pin. After the match, Pentagon shows up to continue his angle with Gran Hamada. The angle is that Pentagon wants to marry another one of Hamada's daughters, Xochiti, but Gran Hamada disapproves of the relationship. This is a play off the real life marriage between Pentagon and Xochiti Hamada.

Jinsei Shinzaki vs. Mohammed Yone

This was definitely not a fast-paced Michinoku Pro style of match that is customary with them, but more of a slower built heavyweight match. It was not a bad match, but definitely looked out of place in this company. Even with the slower paced heavyweight match they were working with, it still felt like it dragged and they could have done more with less time. When things did pick up, both men were looking real good. Shinzaki won the match when he lifted Yone on his shoulders, hooked the arms and falls back in a bridge. I cannot remember the name of the move, but I have seen it on wrestling video games like No Mercy. Overall, I thought it was a solid match with some disappointment since I expected more from these two.

The Great Sasuke, Hayabusa & Alexander Otsuka vs. Dick Togo, MEN's Teioh & Ricky Fuji

This was the main event of the June 17 show, and it is a big interpromotional 6-man match. Sasuke and Togo represent Michinoku Pro, Hayabusa and Fuji represent FMW, Teioh represents Big Japan, and Otsuka represents Battlarts. This was a very good sprint that never got dull. Sasuke and Togo looked great in there. Sasuke's top rope somersault senton to the opponent on the ring apron is absolutely insane. Teioh looked really good, and it was good to see him back in Michinoku Pro. With the right wrestlers in the ring, Fuji can actually bring something to the table and have his weaknesses hidden. Otsuka looked like he was having a lot of fun in this match. It was definitely not shoot-style wrestling or getting beat up really bad in PRIDE for him. Hayabusa was not in there as much as the other guys, but looked good when he was in there.

There was one thing missing from this match that made it just very good instead of great. It was the fact that there were no heels in this match. For these matches to really work there needs to be that hatred between the two sides. Togo, Teioh and Fuji were playing the heels in the match. However, it felt more like they were trying to get nostalgic pops rather than them actually insulting their opponents with their posing and taunting. Here is my play-by-play:

Before the bell rings, all six men shake hands. It is Sasuke and Togo starting out the match. Sasuke starts an armdrag. Togo returns with a drop toehold. They get on the mat and try to apply holds to the other. Both men are now trading wristlocks. Togo flips out of Sasuke's wristlock and takes him down with an armdrag. Togo kicks Sasuke in the midsection. He put Sasuke in a front facelock and transitions into a wristlock. Sasuke is now the one who flips out of the hold and takes Togo down with an armdrag. Both men tag out, and now it is Teioh and Otsuka in the ring.

They lock up and go to the mat. Both men are going for the waistlock to gain an advantage. Teioh briefly gets the advantage with a headscissors, but Otsuka is on the ropes and the hold is broken. Otsuka rolls out the ring to collect his thoughts and reenters. They tie up again. Teioh with a wristlock, but Otsuka counters with a wristlock of his own. Teioh counters by jumping over the top rope, onto the apron and putting Otsuka in a rope assisted hammerlock. Teioh tags in Fuji. They whip Otsuka off the ropes and connect with a double forearm. Teioh and Fuji celebrate by doing the Fargo strut. Otsuka is back up, and they are begging off. Togo comes in to nail Otsuka from behind and holds him. Teioh and Fuji go to nail Otsuka, but he gets out of the way and they nail Togo instead. Otsuka lariats Togo with momentum sending him over the top rope and crashing to the floor.

Fuji must have also been knocked out of the ring because Sasuke dives at him with a tope con hilo. Less than a few seconds later, Otsuka plancha's over a ring post and onto Togo. Teioh knocks Hayabusa down with a shoulderblock. Hayabusa kips up and dropkicks Teioh down. He kicks at Teioh and uses a kneelift. Hayabusa uses an Asai Moonsault into a twisting senton then an Asai Moonsault on the grounded Teioh. Hayabusa covers, but only gets a 2 count. Hayabusa tries to whip Teioh into a corner, but Teioh counters with an Octopus hold. However, Teioh quickly releases. He whips Hayabusa into the corner and charges in. Hayabusa counters by getting his feet up and climbs the top turnbuckle. Teioh quickly meets him up there and puts him in a Cobra Twist from up there. Cool visual. While that is going on, Fuji puts Sasuke in a Scorpion Deathlock. Both men decide to release the holds when the damage was done.

Fuji puts Sasuke in a wristlock and both men are trying to gain an advantage. Fuji catches Sasuke with a sunset flip for a 2 count. Sasuke rolls out of it and Fuji goes for a headscissors. Sasuke cartwheels out of it and ducks a Fuji lariat. Both men go for a dropkick at the same time, but both just connected with air. They tag out to Otsuka and Togo. They trade strikes. Otsuka briefly wins with a headbutt, but Togo knocks him down with a forearm. Togo runs off the ropes, but got caught with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Otsuka picks up Togo by the legs and gives him a few revolutions before dropping him. Sasuke is tagged in. He knocks Teioh and Fuji off the apron.

Sasuke whips Togo off the ropes and leap frogs over Togo. However, Togo catches Sasuke with a DDT while running off the ropes. He tags in Fuji. Fuji uses a snap suplex and gets on all fours to headbutt Sasuke. Teioh does the same thing. Togo is tagged back in. Sasuke rolls out of the ring and Hayabusa joins Togo in the ring. Togo bodyslams Hayabusa on the mat, goes out to the apron and connects with a slingshot somersault senton. Togo, Teioh and Fuji do an old Kaientai pose where two men hold the opponent down while the other man jumps on his back to pose. This time it was Fuji who got the honors in doing the pose. Hayabusa exits the ring and Otsuka enters. There was more Kaientai nostalgia with Teioh locking Otsuka in a camel clutch and Togo running off the ropes with a dropkick to the face.

Fuji is in the ring. He and Otsuka trade headbutts, and Otsuka win that exchange. Otsuka picks Fuji up and drops him with a vertical suplex. Otsuka covers but gets a 2 count. Fuji backs Otsuka to his corner. Teioh takes Otsuka down and locks him in a ring post assisted figure-four leglock. Togo climbs the middle turnbuckle and poses. Togo and Sasuke are now in the ring. Togo uses a dropkick and grinds out a headlock on the grounded Sasuke. Sasuke fights off the headlock and runs to the ropes. Togo catches him with a lariat and covers. However, Sasuke is out at 2. Teioh is tagged in. He puts Sasuke's on the top turnbuckle, makes him lie on his back while on there and poses some more. Teioh now tags in Fuji.

Fuji uses a double-arm suplex and a piledriver. He goes for the pin after both moves, but Sasuke gets out at 2. Togo is tagged back in and stomps on Sasuke. Togo whips Sasuke off the ropes and catches him with a drop toehold. He quickly transitions into the STF. Teioh enters the ring to cut off Otsuka and Hayabusa. Sasuke struggles hard to find the ropes, but does and Togo breaks. Teioh is tagged back in. Teioh takes a page out of Ric Flair's playbook with a delayed vertical suplex. Teioh covers, but Hayabusa saves Sasuke at 2. Fuji is tagged in the ring. He works on the back with a backbreaker and a single-leg Boston crab on a higher angle. Sasuke reaches the ropes and Fuji tags out. Togo and Teioh whips Sasuke off the ropes. They go for a double lariat, but Sasuke jumps off the middle rope with an Asai moonsault onto both men. He covers both men, but they kick out at 2.

Hayabusa and Otsuka enter the ring with double missile dropkicks to Togo and Teioh. Fuji charges in the ring, but Hayabusa sends him out of the ring with a hurricanrana. Hayabusa dives out of the ring with a tope con hilo. Otsuka catches Togo with a spinebuster and high-angle Boston crab. After doing some damage, Otsuka lets go and covers. Togo is out at 2. Otsuka uses a fallaway slam then uses a beautiful looking German Suplex hold for 2. Otsuka goes for the Dragon Suplex, but Togo escapes with a lariat to the back of the head. Togo runs off the ropes and catches Otsuka with another lariat. Togo covers, but Otsuka is out at 2.5. Togo bodyslams Otsuka and climbs the top turnbuckle. Togo connects with his great Diving Senton. Togo covers, but Sasuke breaks it up at the last second.

Sasuke tries a spin kick on the entering Teioh, but Teioh ducks the move. Teioh goes for the Miracle Ecstasy, but Sasuke counters with an armdrag. Sasuke charges in, but Teioh catches Sasuke with a knee. Teioh nails Sasuke with a rolling elbow then runs off the ropes to connect for a running elbow. Teioh covers, but Sasuke is out at 2. Teioh goes for the Miracle Ecstasy again, but Sasuke counters with a hurricanrana. Sasuke climbs the top turnbuckle and connects with a Buff Blockbuster. He covers, but Teioh is out at 2. Sasuke takes Teioh on the apron and DDT's him on there. In something absolutely insane, Sasuke climbs the top turnbuckle and uses a diving somersault senton onto the prone Teioh on the apron. How does Sasuke not have a broken neck from doing that move many times?

Hayabusa and Fuji are in the ring. Hayabusa uses the Falcon Arrow and covers. Fuji escapes at 2. Hayabusa uses a bodyslam and goes to the top turnbuckle. Togo holds onto Hayabusa's foot, and Fuji recovers to where he throws Hayabusa off there. Fuji uses his Kamikaze Fireman's Carry for a near fall. Fuji plants Hayabusa with a brainbuster for an even closer 2 count. Fuji is going for his cross-armed DDT, but Hayabusa escapes. Hayabusa nails Fuji with a shotei then a high kick. Rock Bottom by Hayabusa gets a 2 count. Hayabusa bodyslams Fuji, climbs the top and connects with his Firebird (450) Splash. Togo and Teioh making the drastic save. Sasuke and Otsuka send Teioh and Togo to the floor. Otsuka dives out of the ring with a tope suicida onto Teioh. Hayabusa uses an Asai Moonsault onto Togo. Seeing victory, Sasuke climbs the top rope and connects with his great looking version of the Swanton Bomb. Sasuke covers. 1! 2! 3! Sasuke, Hayabusa and Otsuka are victorious.

After the match, everyone is shaking hands and showing that there was nothing personal between these men. Sasuke thanks everyone on the microphone for showing up. Otsuka and Hayabusa also do some mic work. However, Gedo shows up and confronts Sasuke. This sets up a singles match between the two a few days later.

Clips are shown from the June 23 show. First was Gran Hamada, Tiger Mask IV & Hideki Nishida vs. Dick Togo, MEN's Teioh & Hanzo Nakajima. The Kaientai reunion was in full effect because they did a few of their cool trademark spots. Togo uses his Diving Senton onto Nishida for the pin. From there, it was the main event of The Great Sasuke vs. Gedo. From what was shown, this match looked awesome. When the referee went down, Dick Togo ran into the ring. He attacked Gedo with a DDT. He also attacked Sasuke, whom he had been friendly since returning to Michinoku Pro in early 2001, with a DDT and Diving Senton. Gedo was able to take over, planted Sasuke with the Complete Shot and gets the pin. Nice work by Michinoku Pro in leaving a cliff hanger at the end of the show by wonder about Dick Togo's status.

Final Thoughts: The main event of Sasuke, Hayabusa & Otsuka vs. Togo, Teioh & Fuji was really good. It lacked that definite face vs. heel dynamic to make it special. The rest of the Tsukisamu Green Dome show had some solid, but forgettable matches. The clipped matches from the smaller shows looked good, but we'll never know just how good they were. There was some angle progression with Togo giving up the nice guy act and attacking Sasuke. Overall, this show had one really good match and some Kaientai reunion stuff.

Final Score: 5.0 [ Not So Good ]

Ryan Mancuso can be reached at ryanm2k4@gmail.com

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