Michinoku Pro Lucha TV

The show begins with Sasuke giving a tour of an office of some kind. He soon finds himself sharing a full glass of sweet Jack Daniels whiskey with a man who I don't recognize. From there they go to a room with chairs and a stage set up for what would turn out to be a question and answer period hosted by two unnamed young men and Sasuke.

Tsubo Genjin
Jinsei Shinzaki

I can't think of a worse way to start off a show than with Tsubo Genjin…but Sasuke has apparently done that with this ridiculous waste of time disguised as a match. The match takes place in an outdoor setting, a track field it looks like, which Shinzaki and Tsubo make liberal use of during the marathon-like eighteen minutes the match runs (It was slightly clipped). The two of them plod about the field doing the "comedy" that the kids all seem to love. Who's kids? Well they sure wouldn't be my kids I tell you what. My kids, when I have them with a particular host of YTV's Pet Squad, will be brought up to appreciate Kuishinbo Kamen. They will be taught that poo fingers are something funny at any age. Osaka Pro will replace Barney and the gawd-awful Blue's Clues as children's entertainment in the Faulconer household. Before they will be able to walk they will be taught that little dance that they do in real comedy matches and not these vehicles of caveman masturbation that have stenchified Michinoku Pro for nearly eight years now. The dance where everyone jumps up, spinning in the air and kicking up their heels in a manner that says "Yes I know the first rule of comedy matches and that is: THOU SHALL ALWAYS BE RELATIVELY FUNNY IN RELATION TO THE REST OF THE CARD" and my two year old, little Ryan Jr. will be able to have a better comedy match by the time he's old enough to walk than the crappy cavemen, Yone and Tsubo Genjin will ever have in their entire lifetimes. This match went on forever and accomplished nothing. It sucked.

They return to Inside the Wrestler's Studio with Great Sasuke all throughout the show with Sasuke and his co-hosts having a good time being the center of attention. A young woman asks Sasuke what it was like working on Turner and Hooch, which was probably one her favourite Sasuke films. Sasuke laughs and says that the dog was hard to work with at times but you have to pay the bills somehow because the romantic comedies with Meg Ryan come your way only so often.

Great Sasuke/Tiger Mask IV
M2k (Masaaki Mochizuki/Yasushi Kanda)

This match takes place in the same outdoor track field as the previously mentioned alleged comedy match. This was more of an angle to set up the next match between Susumu Mochizuki and Sasuke and it actually had a screwjob finish to hammer home that point. The M2k duo double-teamed TMIV for a few minutes, trying to rip off his mask to get across their rudismo ways. Sasuke did do his patented asai moonsault but only after he was able to fight off the lurking Susumu long enough to help out his partner. The story was that M2k couldn't handle Sasuke and TMIV two on two so they had the other member (there were only three members of M2k at this point) distract Sasuke so they could have a 2-on-1 advantage. Eh, for what it was, six minutes shown of an eleven-minute rudo controlled brawl, it served its purpose. The rudos even throw referee Ted Tanabe around to earn themselves a dq and Ted takes a few nice referee bumps for them while the entire M2K get a 3-on-2 beatdown on the babyfaces until Rob Brookside makes the save. Sasuke and Susumu go back and forth on the mic, which leads into a challenge for Susumu by Sasuke that Susumu gladly accepts.

Great Sasuke
Susumu Mochizuki

And as Stevie Ray would say, "Its on like Donkey Kong!" with the two of them brawling even before the other technicos have left the ring. The brawling quickly ends as a nice back and forth flow starts with Sasuke using a snap suplex and some bodyslams before Susumu takes the advantage with two Michinoku Drivers. About 2:30 into the match Tiger Mask IV, Brookside and the rest of M2k brawl into the ring before brawling their way out again before there is reason for another unclean finish. Sasuke channels Vince Russo now as he gets the win ten seconds later with a scorpion deathlock. More brawling shenanigans take place until M2K is run-off but not before Masaaki and TMIV exchange various witticisms until they agree to disagree on whatever it was they were debating.

Susumu Mochizuki/Gran Apache
Jinsei Shinzaki/James Mason

Now back in the comfortable confines of a high school gymnasium we're treated to two of the more of underrated workers who frequent Mpro in British mat maestro James Mason and spunky old luchadore Gran Apache. Only eight minutes of a fourteen-minute match are shown thus robbing us of the zany mat antics of Mason for the most part. The one thing that Mason does contribute to the match is his varied arsenal of sunset flips. He does probably a half dozen different versions on the standard sunset flip in total. When Mason tags out the mat downshifts into cookie-cutter Shinzaki mode with all his trademark moves being used on the rudos, usually doing each move on both Apache and Mochizuki. I could call the finish before the match as Shinzaki gets a few moments to dominate both rudos before putting Susumu away with the Praying Powerbomb. Its too bad the match was so clipped because both Apache and Mason are really fun to watch, while the Shinzaki portions that were destined to control the ending sequence and are both predictable and dull.

Tiger Mask IV
Masaaki Mochizuki

Well it looks like our two debaters found a meeting place and as always your moderator is the capable Ted Tanabe. I like these guys a lot so its really hard to not recommend all Michinoku Pro (or even all Osaka Pro or all Toryumon for that matter) but this match had a couple of huge flaws in it that kept it from standing out as anything other than slightly above acceptable. For the first half of the match Masaaki destroys TMIV's left leg by using a lot of kicks, a kneebreaker and a figure four spot that lasted for more than a minute. TMIV gets the advantage after a figure four reversal and proceeds to completely forget to sell the worked on leg. He does a backflip off the turnbuckle, landing on his feet with no selling of the left leg at all. He even does a lot of kicks with the left leg and renders the first part of the match a complete waste of time. Masaaki slows things down with a rear chinlock so he can attempt to unmask TM. Once out of the hold Masaaki himself forgets about working the supposed injured leg and settles for pulling at the mask as his main form of offense. This isn't one of those good movies with seemingly unrelated storylines that are tied together by a single moment. No! This is Slackers (which I liked but I wouldn't call it a good story) by Richard Linklater, where the storylines are tied together so loosely that you would forget the first half of the match without even thinking twice about it. The two other members of M2K take turns pummeling TMIV outside the ring until Masaaki joins them resulting in an another non-finish after fifteen minutes of disjointed storytelling. Masaaki even manages to unmask TM in the post-match beatdown which made me think that the unmasking was the true focal point of the match from the beginning. Masaaki gets on the microphone and taunts TM further before leaving the scene with his punk friends. I think the point of this was that "We haven't seen the last of Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Tiger Mask…" but they could have concentrated more on a single aspect of the match rather than combining two matches in one like they did here.

Great Sasuke
Rob Brookside

I read on Michinoku Pro's official website that this match was chosen as their match of the year. Of course they also named Tsubo Genjin as the promotions MVP of 2000 so that isn't saying much about this match. Rob Brookside could very well be the result of Sebastien Bach cloning that the English are known for. The resemblance is uncanny. This is nearly a Sasuke match by the numbers as he and Brookside start out exchanging submissions on the mat to start. This goes on for some time until they get to a standing position and Brookside shows me a new move, the locomotion Irish whips (English whips?) into the corner. He whips Sasuke into the corner then while continuing to hold SASE's arm he brings him out only to whip him back in a few times in succession. They exchange a nice pinning and reversal sequence to follow. Brookside ends up outside the ring and Sasuke follows with his flawless Sasuke Special (tope con Hilo) which sees him smack his head on the floor hard as he comes down. Gee, that's never happened beforeJ A Sasuke in-ring Asai Moonsault is followed by an attempted Thunder Fire Powerbomb. Brookside slips out of it but then gets countered right into an armbar for the submission win to retain the NWA Middleweight Title in just over sixteen minutes (all shown). They had a decent match with Sasuke providing the only real excitement in the match with his trademark spots. An admirable performance for Sasuke-a worker that ranges from poor to very poor night in and night outJ

In the end I wouldn't recommend this before the 1996, 97 or 1999 Mpro but I would rather watch a lacklustre and flawed block of mpro any day before I watched two straight hours of the WWF but then again I'm weird like that.

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©2001 by the author