Michinoku Pro on Samurai TV, 8/19/01
review by Ryan Mancuso
Hello again, I have returned with the third part of Michinoku Pro reviews taking place in the summer of 2001. This one is from August 19, 2001. It takes place in front of a big crowd at an outdoor venue in Miyagi. This was a big show for Michinoku Pro because Keiji Muto, who was having a really hot 2001, is wrestling in the main event. He will debut his new Kokushi Muso persona, a dark version of a gimmick similar to Hakushi's. He will team up with Hakushi to face Tatsutoshi Goto and Hiro Saito. I'm not sure why Muto went with the Kokushi persona. It could have either been that he just wanted to debut a new persona or couldn't think of a way, at the time, to present The Great Muta as a bald man with a goatee. Also on this show, New Japan gave permission to Gedo & Jado, whom were freelancers at the time, to defend their IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Titles against The Great Sasuke & Tiger Mask IV. There were two other big matches on the show. This includes a match between Gran Hamada and Pentagon Black which could finish their feud. Also, Dick Togo & Psychic face Hideki Nishida & the freshly turned babyface Masao Orihara in an elimination match. Enough with the appetizer and onto the main course:
Chi-Nen Hokkai vs. Macho Pump
It seems that Macho Pump is the new gimmick of Mr. Cacao. Under this new gimmick, he has become more narcissistic by flexing his muscles. This was an interesting contrast in looks with Pump having the muscles and a tan, and Hokkai is pale with an Average Joe physique. This match was not good with Pump using that WWE tribute offense that makes him so lame. The much greener Hokkai actually looked the better of the two here. He was able to get some near falls, but Pump kicked out. However, Pump won the match by submission with a Scorpion Deathlock where he flexes his muscles instead of holding the opponent's legs. After the match, the injured Michinoku Pro dojo graduate, Kazuya Yuasa, went to attack Pump after the match because of Pump's trash talking on the microphone.
Perro Russo vs. Curry Man
This was joined in progress, and it looked alright under this format. Russo looked a little better here than he did on the last review. Curry outsmarts Russo by moving out of the way then Russo used a diving somersault senton off the top rope. Curry finished him off with the Spicy Drop.
Judo Match: Hiromi Yagi vs. Tsubo Geijin
This was an intergender match held under Judo Rules. Both are wearing gis. Apparently, this is for some sort of medal that Tsubo has. Knowing Tsubo, he probably stole it. Yagi hits an ipponzei very quickly and wins the match. It is the correct ruling since the match was held under Judo rules. After the match Tsubo gives her the medal, but Yagi said something and threw it down. Tsubo got angry and gave her stunner. He ran out of the ring to get a bag. It was another medal in that bag. It looked like Tsubo pulled a fast one and gave her a fake medal.
Elimination Match: Masao Orihara & Hideki Nishida vs. Dick Togo & Psychic
Nishida has changed his look because he is looking more like Spike Dudley here. This was a really fun match. Nishida was great as the babyface who takes a beating, busts out with some headscissors variations and fights desperately for that big upset pin. Once Togo finished with the brawling, he was looking as great as he usually does. I'm starting to enjoy babyface Orihara. He looked much better doing his bigger moves, and not rely his dull brawling style. However, it seems that Psychic picked up on Orihara's dull brawling because he did nothing to stand out.
The first elimination came when Orihara was going to put Togo through a table on the floor with an Asai Moonsault. However, Psychic interferes to give Togo enough time to recover and give Orihara a low blow. Togo picks Orihara up from the apron and powerbombs him through a table that barely broke. The referee checks to see if Orihara is okay. However, Orihara is out and the referee calls for bell to deem that Orihara was KO'ed. Orihara has to be carried out of the ringside arena on a stretcher. After getting busted open by a piece of the broken table, Nishida manages to even the odds when he rolled up Psychic for the pin. From there, there was a very nice under 5-minute Togo vs. Nishida match. Nishida kept trying his luck with the hurricanranas, but Togo caught him with a Liger bomb. From there, Togo used the Pedigree to set up for his great Diving Senton off the top for the victory.
Gran Hamada vs. Pentagon Black
This was the blowoff match to a lengthy feud where Pentagon wants Hamada's acceptance for the marriage of his daughter. There was a lot of brawling with Hamada bleeding, but it still felt like a weak conclusion to the feud. Towards the end, the match was less of a brawl and Pentagon does not look too well in that environment. Hamada gets the win with a cross armbreaker. After the match, Hamada accepts the marriage of Pentagon and his daughter Xochitl.
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles: Gedo & Jado (c) vs. The Great Sasuke & Tiger Mask IV
This was a great tag match. Gedo and Jado really know how to work the Southern style formula well. They managed to give Tiger a lengthy beatdown and get the crowd behind Tiger. After leaving FMW in early 2001, Gedo had a great run as a freelancer in Michinoku Pro. He had Sasuke really clicked well in their matches. He and Tiger also worked well together. Under this formula of tag matches, Jado's weaknesses as an in-ring wrestler are hidden very well. Tiger Mask was really great in this match well. He executed his moves well and showed a lot of fire behind them. With matches like this one and the Hidaka one from the prior review, it was easy to understand why New Japan signed him to a full time contract in 2003. Sasuke was also very good in working with Gedo and not afraid to die when he crashed hard with the senton atomico onto the floor. For the second straight month, Michinoku Pro gives the Samurai TV viewers a high quality match that is worthy to be called a MOTYC. Here is the play-by-play of the match:
Sasuke and Tiger take a page out of Gedo and Jado's playbook when they attack Gedo with a double dropkick before the bell rings. They throw a double kick to the midsection then charge off the ropes for a double face crusher. Tiger dropkicks Jado off the apron while Sasuke uses a springboard back elbow smash. He dropkicks Gedo out of the ring, gets on the aprons and dives at Gedo with an Asai Moonsault. He rolls Gedo back into the ring where Tiger is waiting. Tiger whips Gedo off the ropes and connects with the dropkick. Tiger picks up Gedo and slams him on the mat. He climbs the top rope and successfully uses a diving kneedrop. He follows up with his standing moonsault double kneedrop for a cover. However, Jado saves his partner at 2.
Jado works on Tiger's arm with an armwringer and transitions into a hammerlock. Tiger escapes and puts Jado in a headlock. Jado whips Tiger off the ropes. They collide and no one falls down. Tiger runs off the ropes. Jado tries a lariat, but Tiger ducks. Tiger catches Jado with a savate kick to know him down. Jado is sent into the corner. Tiger charges in, Jado gets out of the way and Tiger uses a counter from him legacy with the corner backflip. Jado throws a kick, but Tiger catches it and sweeps the other leg. Tiger throws a high kicks, sends Jado into his corner and tags in Sasuke. Sasuke kicks Jado a few times, snapmares him to the mat and tries to lock in a chickenwing facelock. Jado fights out of it, but Sasuke stays in control with bodyslam. Sasuke nails the downed Jado with a fistdrop. Sasuke bodyslams Jado again, runs off the ropes and connects with a legdrop. Sasuke picks up Jado and put him in a Cobra Twist variation known as the Mexican Stretch. Gedo breaks it up to some jeers from the crowd. Sasuke sends Jado back to his corner and tags in Tiger. Tiger and Sasuke use some clubberin' (a famous Dusty Rhodes-ism) to knock Jado down. Tiger locks in a camel clutch, but quickly releases the submission. Tiger kicks at Jado and runs off the ropes. However, Gedo nails Tiger from behind. Jado uses a lariat on Tiger and nails Sasuke. Jado throws Tiger out of the ring.
Gedo throws Tiger in a row of chairs. He nails Tiger with a chair. Jado and Sasuke are also on the floor. Jado nails Sasuke with a table. Gedo rams Tiger's head into the ringpost and throws him back into the ring. Gedo uses a chokehold, but releases when the referee was making his count. While Jado is holding Tiger in the corner, Gedo connects with a superkick. Gedo throws a nice looking punch and tags in Jado. They whip Tiger off the ropes and knock him down with a double shoulderblock. Jado chops Tiger's chest a few times and uses the top rope to rake Tiger's eyes to some jeers from the crowd. Jado slams Tiger's head to the turnbuckles and tags Gedo in. Gedo snapmares Tiger down and uses a lower version of the superkick. Gedo gouges the eyes while Jado unhooks the top turnbuckle. Gedo slams Tiger's head on the exposed turnbuckle and tags in Jado.
Jado knocks Sasuke off the apron and slams Tiger's head on the exposed corner twice. The fans are rallying behind Tiger. Jado uses a backdrop suplex and covers for a two count. Gedo, showing his knowledge of English language, yells "Shit!" after Tiger kicked out and "Get up asshole!" while Tiger was struggling to get to his feet. Jado runs off the ropes and connects with a lariat. He covers again, but Tiger barely kicks out. Gedo is tagged back in and DDT's Tiger. He knocks Sasuke off the apron. Gedo uses a jawbreaker to set up a super kick for another near fall. Gedo tries a German Suplex, but Tiger backflip's out of it and lands on his feet. Tiger tries the same to Gedo, but Gedo uses the same counter. Tiger nails Gedo with a high kick. Jado enters the ring, but Tiger nails him with a high kick as well.
Gedo is knocked out of the ring and Tiger dives out after him with a tope suicida. Sasuke is back in the ring and uses a hurricanrana on Jado. Sasuke pick Jado up for double-arm suplex. He covers, but Jado is out at 2. Sasuke goes for his Thunder Fire Powerbomb, but Jado escapes and lands on his feet. Sasuke nails him with a savate kick. Sasuke climbs the top rope and nails Jado with a missile dropkick. Jado rolls to the floor and Sasuke follows. Sasuke puts Jado on the table. Sasuke climbs the top turnbuckle and goes for the senton atomico (aka Swanton Bomb). However, Sasuke's aim was off because he barely skimmed Jado and landed hard on the concrete.
Tiger and Gedo are in the ring with Tiger throws a few kicks. Tiger whips Gedo into the corner and charges in with a high kick. Tiger uses a Tiger Driver and gets a near fall. Tiger slams Gedo down and goes for a moonsault off the top rope. Gedo gets out of the way and Tiger lands on his feet. Tiger uses a waistlock, but Gedo counters with a low blow. Gedo dropkick's a knee and locks in the Gedo Clutch for a 2.9 count. Sasuke, who is somehow still conscious, climbs the top turnbuckles connects with a Blockbuster onto Gedo. He covers, but Gedo is out at 2. Sasuke goes for the Thunder Fire Powerbomb, but Jado makes the save. They whip Sasuke off the ropes and try a double lariat. However, Sasuke ducks that and runs to the other side to knock both men down with an Asai Moonsault.
Sasuke climbs the top rope, but Jado catches him and superplexes him down. Jado cover, but Sasuke is out at 2.5. Jado picks Sasuke up for a brainbuster, but Sasuke lands on his feet. Sasuke runs off the ropes, but Jado catches him in the Crossface of JADO. After a brief struggle by Sasuke, Tiger manages to make the save for his partner. Tiger is thrown back out of the ring. Gedo and Jado whip Sasuke into a corner. Gedo charges in with a back elbow. Jado quickly follows by charging in with a lariat. Gedo picks Sasuke up and Jado superbomb's him off the middle turnbuckles. Jado covers, but Sasuke barely escapes at 2.75. Jado Tiger Driver's Sasuke, and Gedo comes off the top turnbuckle with a Superfly Splash. Gedo covers, but Sasuke is out at 2.
Jado has Sasuke in a waistlock, but Sasuke escapes when he sees Tiger coming off the top rope with a missile dropkick. The missile dropkick connects with Jado. Tiger whips Gedo into the corner, charges in and nearly KO's him with a high kick. Tiger puts Gedo on the top, climbs up and uses a double-arm superplex to send Gedo crashing hard on the mat. Tiger covers, but Gedo is out at 2. Tiger locks in a chickenwing armlock. After a few seconds, he transitions into a cross armbreaker. Jado manages to nail Tiger and save his partner from submitting at the last second. Gedo holds Tiger and Jado runs the ropes for a lariat. However, Tiger ducks the lariat and Jado nails Gedo with it. Tiger dropkick's Jado out of the ring, climbs the top turnbuckle and dives out with a plancha.
Sasuke uses a Tiger Suplex Hold on Gedo, but Gedo escapes at 2.75. Sasuke finally connects with his Thunder Fire Powerbomb, but Gedo again barely escapes at 2.75. Sasuke nails Gedo with a spin kick. He covers, but Gedo is out at 2.5. Sasuke climbs the top rope and Gedo is getting up as well. However, Jado manages to throw a chair at Sasuke which knocks him off the top turnbuckle. Sasuke lands in the waiting arms of Gedo. Gedo uses the Complete Shot, a faster version of the Flatliner, and covers. 1! 2! 3! The champions retain their titles. This is also the second time in a period of two months that Gedo has managed to pin The Great Sasuke.
Kokushi Muso & Hakushi vs. Tatsutoshi Goto & Hiro Saito
This was a disappointing way to close the show. I was not expecting a classic match, but I was hoping for more cool visuals from the Kokushi & Hakushi gimmicks. Outside of Muto and Shinzaki putting on the paint and them doing the double praying ropewalk at the beginning of the match, this was just a regular tag match. Goto and Hiro would use their old school brawling while Kokushi and Hakushi would do their regular moves. It was pretty clear that Kokushi is nowhere near as fun as Muta. Kokushi got the win with the moonsault off the top rope onto Hiro.
Final Score: 5.5 [ Not So Good ]
Ryan Mancuso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org