I could try with the local video game store next town. If I'm lucky, I could find it!
Michinoku Pro Wrestling Thread
Posted 03 September 2016 - 04:58 PM
Posted 03 September 2016 - 09:38 PM
Yeah, it's a small chain store so I'll see with them next time I'll visit.
Posted 04 September 2016 - 07:02 AM
Yeah, it's a small chain store so I'll see with them next time I'll visit.
I got my copy on amazon. Ebay works too.
Posted 10 September 2016 - 12:17 AM
Thank you, as always, for your kind words!
I'm a little tired now, but I want to get this down while it's still fresh in my mind:
Since that outdoor show, I've been meeting with Wally almost daily. No complaints there. You know me, I love an enthusiastic and motivated student. Even better, we have been talking (in English) about Michinoku Pro more or less non-stop. Wally seems to know all of the ins and outs of the promotion, in great detail. We've been over (and over and over) stuff like gimmicks, move sets, who is a rudo (heel) and who is a technico (face) and how that shifts depending on the crowds; who is over with the crowd in different towns, who has good ring chemistry, who is getting pushed, which guys hang out behind the scenes, who has some heat with whom... For the most part, everyone seems to get along pretty well, but there are some cliques and apparently not everyone gets along with Delfin and Naniwa. Those guys were both a complete blast at karaoke, though.
Speaking of having a blast: I watched that tape you sent me (that terrible South African sci-fi flick, Space Mutiny) with Lance, Orihara, Kyoko Inoue, and Smiley Norman at Lance's place. It went over like Grover! We got into this thing where we were making up funny names for the main character, like "Flint Slabtrunk" and "Brock Ironbeef." Kyoko, in particular, was just killing herself laughing... which is kinda odd since she doesn't seem to speak much English. Hopefully you'll get to meet some of these guys if you ever make it up here. It's almost hard to believe how nice they are.
Anyway, Wally brought up today's show in Yamagata at our lesson a couple of days ago. He said they were running a small hall in Kajo Park, where the fans sit on big blue mats around the ring. That's a common set-up for them, and in that situation they usually keep the show short and tight, with only four or five matches including a decent-length action-packed main event. Wally said that the Kajo park shows usually draw a hardcore crowd that likes a lot of variety in their matches, and that they love older guys who were big in the 1980s, and also that they go absolutely crazy for Sasuke and El Samurai.
Then he asked me to fantasy-book a card for that crowd, using every wrestler on the roster, and trying to get some of the younger guys some shine without disappointing the more traditional crowd.
I figured it would be good to finish off with a high-flying 6-man tag with Samurai leading one team and Sasuke the other, and let them have some moments during the match but have the finish come down to two of the younger guys. Maybe have more of a technical match - a regular tag or six-man - as the semi-main, where you could feature Dos Caras and Kobayashi to please the old school fans, while continuing to build the heat between Caras and Delfin.
Kyoko and Smiley had really seemed to crack each other up at the bad-movie party, so I asked Wally if maybe they could work a comedy tag match. He loved that idea. So, we have high-flying, technical wrestling, and comedy... and we have ten wrestlers left, and only one or two matches... how about opening with a 10-man battle royal?
We spent the rest of the lesson talking about who would slot where on the card, and discussing finishes and high spots and story lines and so on. Again: This is my job here in Morioka. This is what I'm getting paid for now!
I thought that was awesome enough all by itself, but late this morning we headed out to Yamagata in the panel truck, with Kyoko sitting between us. It's a three-hour drive, and we spent about 80 per cent of it talking about noodles, with Wally often translating for Kyoko or I. Yamagata is famous for cold ramen in the summer, and for a soba dish made with chicken stock. Kyoko and Wally spent a long time trying to work out how they could manage to eat both before we headed back to Morioka. The other 20 per cent of the time we spent talking about fruit. They were really, really excited about picking up some cherries on the way to the show.
Wally spent a lot of time on his new Nokia 880, with the antenna pulled all the way out, trying to make arrangements with noodle restaurants and cherry orchards in town. He and Kyoko got super excited after his last call, but I couldn't completely understand what he'd managed to set up.
We got in around 1, and I helped Biff and Buffalo set up the ring. Biff kept calling me "Flex McStrongpants" so I have to assume that Lance or someone told him about the in-joke. Buffalo was "Base Slabpecs." Biff is already named Biff... so there wasn't much I could do in return.
Around 3, they guys got their gimmicks on and we paraded over to the picnic area in the park. There was kind of a soup-kitchen set-up, and we all got little styrofoam bowls of cold ramen and room-temperature chicken soba. It was hotter and more humid n Yamagata than in Morioka, so the cold food was perfect. I can see why getting some was priority for Kyoko and Wally. After our late lunch, Wally took me out to look at some soba fields, while Kyoko and the boys were getting prepped.
Posted 10 September 2016 - 01:16 AM
...and then, the card:
They opened with a ten-man Battle Royal!
Koshinaka, Terry Boy, Tajiri, Kato Kung Lee, Miracle Man, Gedo, Jado, Biff, Mochizuku, and Orihara.
Early in the match, Biff and Kosh brawled out of the ring - but not over the top rope - and into the crowd. Tajiri and Mochizuku brawled out, too, but they went over the rope and were both eliminated. Gedo, Jado, and Orihara teamed up to eliminate Kung Lee and Miracle, leaving Terry Boy in there alone to take a beating. He manged to trick Gedo and Jado into charging him, but he ducked and then he and Orihara were left to put on a bit of a show.
Just as it looked like Orihara was going to win the Battle Royal, Biff and Kosh brawled back into the ring. Orihara threw Terry boy out, Kosh disposed of Biff, Orihara (unaware) started celebrating... only to take a flying hip attack that sent him sprawling out of the ring, leaving Koshinaka to soak up the cheers of the crowd.
It was almost exactly what Wally and I had talked about at our lesson.
Naniwa and Smiley vs. Ohtani and Kyoko
The story of this one was that early in the match, Smiley and Kyoko got caught up in kind of a "compromising position" and after that Norman kept trying to make it happen again while Kyoko acted all shy and embarrassed... only for them to get caught up in a different "compromising position" after which Kyoko was the one pursuing Norman. It got a couple of laughs out of the crowd, but by far the biggest pop was when Kyoko got Naniwa in the Giant Swing. Crowd went crazy for that spot.
Delfin, Kobayashi, and Funaki vs. Dos Caras, Lance Storm, and Black Buffalo
As Wally predicted, the crowd just ate up the long display of technical wrestling between Caras and Kobayashi. After two light-hearted matches, some more serious wrestling came as a nice change of pace. There was also a good brief heat segment between Caras and Delfin where Caras waved Delfin's torn-up mask (from the Morioka card) in his face. Despite his rudo behavior, the crowd still popped when Funaki got caught in the Caras Clutch for the one, two, threeee!
There was a short break, where somebody was selling pears. For whatever reason, they called them "La France." I had two, they were sweet and juicy.
El Samurai, Yakushiji, and Kaz Hayashi vs. Sasuke, TAKA, and Togo
Again, as Wally predicted, the crowd were rabid for the two masked men. Dueling chants rang out from the opening bell. When they finally faced off, the small crowd went ballistic. After that, though, they ceded the stage to Togo and Kaz, then TAKA and Yakushiji. The latter two put on an incredible show, flying in and out of the ring and all over the hall.
I know I am biased, because it's my local indy, but I really think those two are among the best young workers in the world right now. Yakushiji's bumping and selling are as good as anyone I have ever seen. In the end TAKA did the job, tapping out to Samurai's Chicken Wing Head Scissors combo after about 20 straight minutes of non-stop action.
Wally seemed uncharacteristically rushed as we did our clean-up. He kept checking his watch and urging everybody to move quickly. We rolled out of there a little before 10. One of Wally's staff took over the panel truck and Wally and I took somebody's compact car. We drove in a convoy to the edge of town. Wrestlers, staff, a few fans. We ended up at a cherry farm. Wally, Sasuke, and I collected 2000 yen from each person then we filed in to a big open area where a very old couple greeted everybody with hugs and deep bows. A section of the orchard was all lit up, and we were set free to pick and eat as much as we could handle. There was a huge wooden bowl of cherries for anyone who didn't want to pick their own, and endless soft-serve cherry ice cream.
Some of the guys even had special masks with mouth spaces cut out, I guess for just this kind of situation.
It was almost midnight when we left Yamagata, and it's really late and I'm really tired now... but I wanted to get this down wile it was still fresh in my mind.
Posted 10 September 2016 - 01:23 PM
I think that what I love most about your writing is how you use your knowledge of your surroundings & Japanese culture to improve our reading experience. That's an angle that I would've never thought of approaching myself so it's really cool.
And gosh darnit, now, I think I'm gonna order myself Fire Pro Wrestling to use with my PS2. I've waited way too long to play this.
Posted 10 September 2016 - 07:25 PM
Meibutsu culture (special local food culture) is maybe my favourite aspect of life in Japan.
Almost any city, town, region, or island you might visit in Japan is "famous" for one particular food or another. My wife is right into meibutsu, and so are many of my students. and friends. If I am going to, say, Nagoya, then various students might recommend Sekai no Yamachan tebasaki (a kind of dry spicy chicken wing, my students know that chicken wings are one food from Canada I miss over here) or Yabaton misokatsu (pork cutlet in miso sauce, because my students know I love rich-tasting food) or a tiny restaurant on the peninsula south of the city where they serve huge deep-fried shrimp (that particular recommendation was from a student who lived in Nagoya for several years).
It gives me something to look forward to, wherever I'm going in Japan. Now I go to Nagoya at least once a year, to feast on tebasaki and misokatsu. I can get those dishes in Osaka, but it's not quite the same. I pretty much had to include some version of that in writing about North East Japan. I'm really glad to know that at least one person is enjoying it.
Posted 10 September 2016 - 10:09 PM
Posted 10 September 2016 - 11:27 PM
No, this is a lot of fun to read; maybe my favorite PWO thing since GWE ended.
Gordi and Dex are KILLING it.
Posted 13 September 2016 - 12:09 AM
Yeah, this is really cool stuff. And it works since the way 95% of fans in the US even heard of M-Pro back in those days, especially before Barely Legal '97, was either reading the Observer or random tapes they got.
Posted 20 September 2016 - 07:35 AM
I got to book another show! Wally has me teaching Jado and Gedo now, and for our second lesson he had us book a card for the show in Daisen one week out from the big Title Tournament show in Akita. Daisen's a smaller city in Akita Province that more or less borders on Akita City, so obviously he wanted us to put something together to hype up the big show on the 25th.
The card for the 25th is already set:
1) Kyoko Inoue vs. Shiro Koshinaka - Tournament Alternate match
2) El Samurai vs. Super Delfin - Tournament round 1 match
3) The Great Sasuke vs. Shinjiro Ohtani - Tournament round 1 match
4) TAKA Michinoku, Dick Togo, Jado and Gedo vs. Gran Naniwa, Sho Funaki, Shiryu, and Yakushiji - 8-man tag match
5) Kuniyaki Kobayashi, Norman Smiley, and Yoshihiro Tajiri vs. Lance Storm, Masaaki Mochizuki, and Dos Caras - 6-man tag match
6) Tournament Finals Match, winner to be declared the first-ever Tohoku Region Welterweight Champion
We looked over the card. Gedo pointed out that the match before the break is generally booked to be a very exciting semi-main-event type of match to send the crowd into intermission hyped up, and that there are usually only two matches after the break. The idea is apparently that the second-to-last match would provide some sort of contrast to the main event without overshadowing it or burning out the crowd for what was coming up.
Most of the time, Gedo and Jado kind of struggle with English. When talking about wrestling or drinking, however, they are damned near fluent.
I though it was odd that Samurai and Delfin (usually booked as technicos) and Sasuke and Ohtani (usually booked as rudos) were facing off in the first round. I wondered if maybe we should build up some heat between them. Jado laughed off my suggestion. "They are fighting for title belt," he explained, "It is enough reason. Don't need to hate."
That being said, we decided to go with a six-person tag as the Main, featuring all of the participants in the Title Tournament. Then we booked a fast-moving tag match featuring some of the younger guys as the barn-burner before the break. Gedo and Jado volunteered to pull curtain-jerking duty in another tag, but wanted to book it as a showcase for their heeling. Finally, we filled out the card with two more six-man tags, one fast and entertaining, the other hard-hitting and technical. It took longer than you might think to work it all out, but it was fun.
The next day we took an early train to Daisen. The guys slept on the train, but I have never been able to do that.
After the ring was set up, a few of us headed out for a sake brewery tour. I understood less than half of what was being said, but it was still pretty interesting. There was a large guy in the tour group who apparently used to be a sumo wrestler. I watch sumo, but I didn't recognize him. Jado gave him some free passes to the show, but he didn't seem all that excited to get them. Maybe that was just his poker face, though. He offered to buy us some drinks, but the guys had to work that evening so we sadly had to turn him down.
Miracle Man and Kato Kung Lee vs. Jado and Gedo
True to their word, my new students heeled it up like crazy in this one. Miracle, in particular, just sold and bumped for them all over the arena. The sumo guy was there, ringside, accompanied by a much younger woman. He was laughing his gigantic ass off at Jado and Gedo's antics.
Gran Naniwa, Terry Boy, and Yakushiji vs. Mochizuki, Orihara, and Black Buffalo
Another showcase match, this one allowing Terry Boy and Yakushiji to show what they can do on offense for a change.
Terry Boy got to show us why he got that name, throwing some Terry Funk type punches and getting the win with a spinning toe hold on Mochizuki. Naniwa was a little unhappy with being in the second match on the card, and barely tagged in. "He is young," explained Wally.
We booked Kaz and Funaki vs. TAKA and Togo as the pre-break match with the hope that they'd really heat up the crowd. They absolutely came through. They just chained so much stuff together: Fast, crisp, and smooth but somehow without it seeming too co-operative or slick. There's an almost psychic level of connection when some of these guys are in the ring together, something like how a great point guard just knows where his teammates are on the court without even looking. Does that make sense? I felt privileged to see this match up close.
During the break, the boys came out from the back (everyone not involved in the main event) and took pictures with the sumo guy and some of the other fans.
Posted 20 September 2016 - 08:02 AM
Kobayashi, Smiley, and Tajiri vs. Dos Caras, Lance, and Biff
Now that it had been pointed out to me, I could pretty easily see how they were working this match as a contrast to what was coming in the main event. Presumably, the main was going to involve a ton of high spots and a big finishing sequence, so instead of that these guys worked a lot of simple basic strikes, some technical mat stuff, and a bunch of character work. I could see how, maybe, if we'd put Kaz and Funaki vs. TAKA and Togo on right ahead of the main, it might have detracted from it rather than allowing it to stand out. It really impressed me to see how these guys can adjust their style based on what role they are playing on the card.
There was a fair bit of talk in the ring before Samurai, Delfin, and Koshinaka vs. Sasuke, Ohtani, and Kyoko got underway. Presumably, it was mostly hype to set up the tournament in Akita. The match built slowly to a kind of frenzied climax, with everyone hitting their finishers only for their teammates to save them from the pin... except it was always Kyoko saving Ohtani and Sasuke. They never quite seemed to have each other's backs. Koshinaka, Samurai and Delfin, however, kept working together and in the end it was that combination of factors that allowed the technicos to get the win. Koshinaka and Kyoko brawled out into the crowd and out of the arena. A miscommunication led to a collision between Ohtani and Sasuke. Samurai caught the stunned Sasuke with a DDT. Delfin grabbed the distracted Ohtani from behind and hit the Delfin Special. Sasuke got up in time to maybe break up the pin, but... he did nothing. Samurai and Delfin celebrated together in the ring. Ohtani and Sasuke left without even looking at each other.
So, maybe Gedo and Jado didn't completely write off my suggestion after all.
After the show, the former sumo wrestler pulled out two small wooden casks of sake, and busted the tops open with a wooden hammer. His female companion passed out little souvenir sake cups and the big man filled them up with a bamboo scoop. It was delicious. I drank a little too much.
Lance, who had passed on the sake, ended up driving me back to Morioka. On the way, we listened to that Sense Field CD I burned off of you. It's hard to say if he liked it or not.
Posted 20 September 2016 - 10:43 AM
Great show again, man. Really my most entertaining read of this project every time.
Posted 22 September 2016 - 11:52 AM
Seriously this is freaking art. I wish more people were reading this. Man you should put this on wordpress in a blog or something too, it's freaking great.
Posted 23 September 2016 - 03:41 AM
I'm reading and enjoying every second of it, even though my knowledge of japanese wrestling is basically not existent. But this is just so much fun!
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users