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#41 gordi

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 06:50 AM

So this time I drove out to Akita with Biff, Lance, and Smiley Norman, in a fairly new Honda Civic. Biff drove, Lance rode shotgun, and Norman and I sat in the back. The big joke was that we couldn't let the fans see Smiley riding with two rudos, so every now and then Biff would yell "Kayfabe!" and Norman would have to duck down or cover his head or something. Biff was driving so he mostly chose the music: AC/DC and Metallica. 

 

We got to talking about entrance themes, and decided to kill time by making a list of the top 5 worst possible entrance theme songs. Our final list was:

 

5: You’re Having My Baby by Paul Anka

4: This Guy's In Love by Herb Alpert

3: MacArthur Park by Richard Harris

2: Muscrat Love by Captain & Tennille

1: Please Mister Please (Don't Play B-17) by Olivia Newton John

 

By the time we arrived in Akita, My face actually hurt from laughing too much.

 

Kyoko Inoue vs. Shiro Koshinaka - Tournament Alternate match

 

This was a fast, violent match. Kyoko charged straight at Kosh as soon as the bell sounded, catching him off guard and pounding him down. Kosh made a comeback with hip attack after hip attack, but Kyoko kept kicking out, yelling, and going back on offense. After about 7 minutes of back and forth, she caught him in a torture rack and then dropped him straight down with a sick Burning Hammer for the finish. So, if either of the next two matches proved to be inconclusive, Kyoko Inoue would be in the main event fighting for the right to be crowned the first-ever Tohoku Region Welterweight Champion.

 

kyokokosh.png

 

El Samurai vs. Super Delfin - Tournament round 1 match

 

They wrestled this one in a pure face vs. face style, with clean breaks, handshakes, and dueling cheers from the crowd. They started out with mat work, exchanging and reversing hold after hold, then went into high-flying mode where Delfin took a clear advantage, hitting a suicide dive to the outside and a top-corner diving elbow drop for a close near-fall. After nailing El Samurai with a tornado DDT, Delfin played to the crowd... but in so doing he lost focus on Samurai, who popped up and caught Delfin in a Kido Clutch for the victory. 

 

The Great Sasuke vs. Shinjiro Ohtani - Tournament round 1 match

 

Lance and Biff came out and stood with me at the back of the hall to watch this match. On the way up, Lance had opined that a heel vs. heel match is the hardest thing to get over with a crowd, because they have no-one to cheer for. On the other hand, as much as Sasuke clearly enjoys playing rudo, and as good as he is at doing so, M-Pro crowds still obviously love the guy to death. In Akita, they expressed that love by boo-ing everything Sasuke did with great enthusiasm and volume. This apparently drove Ohtani to go crazier and crazier in trying to win some boos of his own. Feet-on-the-ropes, handful-of-tights, behind-the-ref's-back classic pro wrestling shenanigans ensued. Lance and Biff were both openly marking out, which is not something I had expected to see. 

 

Then: As Ohtani tried to regain his bearings outside the ring, Sasuke went for a flying side kick from inside... and landed head-first on the floor with a sickening thump. Lance and Biff sprinted over to ringside, while I made a bee-line for the dressing room. I grabbed TAKA, Togo, Gado, and Jedo and hauled them out to see. Sasuke seemed to be having real trouble getting to his feet. Ohtani seemed to be legitimately freaked out. The referee was counting to twenty, very very slowly. 

 

TAKA spoke to Gedo in Japanese, He turned to me. "Sasuke is really hurt. Should we put Inoue or Ohtani in the finals?" The ref was still counting. I had no time to think.

 

"Ohtani."

 

TAKA and Togo sprinted over to where Ohtani was standing, and yelled at him to get back in the ring. He protested. The grabbed him and hurled him from the floor, between the ropes, back into the ring, just as the ref reached 19. Ohtani gestured furiously at everyone and refused to let the ref raise his hand. 

 

TAKA Michinoku, Dick Togo, Jado and Gedo vs. Gran Naniwa, Sho Funaki, Shiryu, and Yakushiji

 

Presumably, this had been booked to be a fast-paced, high-risk match but, gauging the mood of the crowd, they changed things up and kept the action in the ring. Toward the end of the match, Sasuke made his way to ringside, with his arm around Ohtani, and the crowd went absolutely mental. Yakushiji got distracted by the commotion and was rolled up for the pin, leading to the unexpected sight of a bunch of rudos standing triumphant in the ring as the crowd, on their feet, chanted for Sasuke. 



#42 gordi

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 07:37 AM

Wally found me during the break and told me that, since the guys would be going on to the next town I could get a ride back to Morioka with the concession stand girls. That sounded good to me. 

 

The blonde restaurant girl from the Morioka outdoor show after-party had made the trip up to Akita as well. She saw that I'd been standing, so she invited me to come sit with her. In fact, she put me in her chair and sat on my lap. She stayed there for the rest of the show, pulling cans of beer out of a huge shopping bag and handing them to me one after another. I enjoyed the rest of the show with one hand wrapped around a cool beer and the other pressed against her warm firm stomach. I was about as happy as it's possible to be. 

 

Kuniyaki Kobayashi, Norman Smiley, and Yoshihiro Tajiri vs. Lance Storm, Masaaki Mochizuki, and Dos Caras

 

Lance and Smiley started this one out with classic chain wrestling, then tagged in Tajiri and Mochizuki, who just kicked each other as hard as possible, then Kobayashi and Caras put on an old-school mat work clinic. Lance and Norman came back in for some rope-running, then more kicking from the young Japanese guys... but this time Mochi really caught Tajiri with a good one, then tagged Caras, who finished Tajiri off with a sitout power bomb.

 

2tajiricaras.png

 

Tournament Finals: Shinjiro Ohtani vs. El Samuraiwinner to be declared the first-ever Tohoku Region Welterweight Champion 

 

2samuoh.png

 

I don't think I can categorically say that this was the best match I've ever seen live. I've seen some pretty great matches. Still, this was... top twenty-five, at least. Maybe the best live atmosphere I have ever been a part of. The crowd was so intense from bell to bell. It felt like when Misawa made his entrance at the Budokan, but somehow sustained for 17 minutes. Ohtani, TAKA, Togo, and Inoue were ringside screaming for Ohtani. Delfin, Naniwa, Koshinaka, and Kobayashi were in El Samurai's corner. Nobody interfered, though, and once again they kept the action inside the ring... until the sixteen-minute mark, when Samurai hit a huge plancha to the rudos on the outside, charged back in and took Ohtani down with a Frankensteiner, then nailed a gorgeous bridging German to take the win and the belt. 

 

2samotani.png

 

The Great Sasuke made his way to the ring, under his own power, and presented the new belt to the new champion. Delfin and Naniwa raised El Samurai up on their shoulders and paraded him around the ring.

 

There was a fairly lengthy, very formal ceremony but I missed the end of it because I really had to go to the toilet. Too much beer. When I came out of the can, the concession stand girls were waiting for me, but Blonde Restaurant Girl (real name: Yoko) swept over and grabbed me and dragged me out to her car, which is bright yellow, covered in 小室ファミリー stickers, and crammed full of stuffed animals. 

 

5850_123375570357_538780357_3362532_3128

 

She continued to sip beer while she was driving, she smoked, and she blasted Techno J-pop the whole way back. All of those are huge red flags but if I'm going to be honest I have to admit that I was already under her spell and pretty much everything she did just served to turn me on further. We made six or seven stops on the way back, and at every stop she picked some small thing out and I bought it for her. I also paid for gas.

 

She took me right to my apartment. I don't remember her asking for directions or anything. "Bye-bye kissu, kudasai!" She was somehow sweet and demanding simultaneously. She tasted like stale tobacco and fresh beer. I really didn't mind. 



#43 gordi

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 07:38 AM

On a personal note, thanks very much to everyone who has taken time to give feedback. I am really enjoying writing this, and it's genuinely gratifying to know that people are also enjoying reading it. Much appreciated. 



#44 Matt D

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 07:42 AM

I have to admit that it's all the commentary and between the scenes stuff that's the big draw here. The action and the screencaps are good, don't get me wrong, but it's the meta-narrative that's over the top great. I think that's true of the project as a whole right now. When the 1984 one dropped, a lot of the appeal in reading was how people moved the pieces around. With this 95 one, it's all of the creative presentation styles. You wouldn't think something like this would have a real sense of "mood," but it absolutely does.



#45 gordi

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 09:17 AM

Thanks, and I agree that it's cool how a lot of the promotions are written up in different styles. I get a little kick every time someone posts a new "chapter" to their story. 



#46 SirEdger

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 11:20 AM

Love the bit in which Taka and Togo asked you who to put over. Really subtle touch there.



#47 gordi

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Posted 28 September 2016 - 08:30 PM

Thanks, SirEdger. My character is slowly but surely becoming the booker man. 



#48 gordi

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 11:52 PM

Dudes, I am not quite sure how to express this, but I really think I have somehow become part of the Michinoku Pro Wrestling booking committee. Wally still refers to it as an "English Lesson" but recently we have been getting together almost daily in his office with Jado, Gedo, and occasionally other wrestlers (so far Sasuke, TAKA, Koshinaka, and Black Buffalo have all participated)  and we always and only talk about upcoming Michinoku Pro shows and events, in a mixture of Japanese and English. 

 

I mean, I know life in Japan is full of surprises, but... 

 

Yesterday, we were talking about what things might potentially look like a year or two down the line. 

 

Right now, The Great Sasuke and El Samurai are obviously the top two guys. It would be surprising if that were to change any time soon, as long as Sasuke doesn't actually crack his skull or anything. Thing is, though, while Sasuke is enjoying working as a rudo, he's still the most beloved guy on the roster by a long shot. And, while Samurai is a pretty good fit as the company ace right now, he might be even better working as a dominant bad guy than he is as a scrappy, come-from-behind good guy. I could easily see either or both of those guys turning some time in the next couple of years.

 

In terms of the rest of the upper card, TAKA and Togo seem like they could be the future of the company if we build them and they grow over the next couple of years. Like Sasuke and Samurai, both can work technico or rudo, but based purely on physical size Togo works well as a bully and I could see TAKA playing a great under-dog role. 

 

Ohatani clearly has a future as a top heel, maybe sooner than anyone had expected.

 

In my opinion, Delfin and Naniwa are both best suited to dong what they do as as upper-card good guys. Neither their look nor their shtick would be suited to working heel.  It would be nice if they could be a little more giving in the ring, and that is something that we all figure we need to work on in the coming year. (And man, is it crazy to type "we" in this kind of context). 

 

Koshinaka, Kobayashi, and Dos Caras are all well-positioned as upper-card veterans, All three are willing to work anywhere on the card, against anyone, and I'm pretty sure that if we asked Kobayashi to put, let's say, Orihara over clean in the middle of the ring he wouldn't even blink. Hopefully some of that will rub off on Delfin and Naniwa eventually. Kobayashi needs to be protected in tag matches because of his health issues, but other than that these guys can all still go and if we can keep them around they should be able to provide the glue for us for at least a couple more years. 

 

In terms of the younger guys, both Tajiri and Mochizuki definitely stand out because of their hard-hitting style. Black Buffalo has a real mastery of the basics and the little things and looks like he could be a top hand eventually. 

 

Kyoko has apparently had no trouble getting over as a woman tough and fierce enough match up with the boys. Both she and Dos Caras are having trouble getting boos... but it's hard to think how the match-ups might work if we turned both of them face. 

 

The big question at the meeting was why I'd gone with Ohtani over Kyoko in Akita. Was it because she's a woman? In the heat of the moment, I had not quite realized how crazy it was that the boys turned to me for the answer then. However, my thinking had been pretty clear: If Sasuke was hurt, most likely Samurai was going over. If Kyoko didn't get a shot in Akita after beating Kosh clean, then she'd have to be the obvious choice to face Samurai in his first title defense at the Second Anniversary Show at the Appi Ski Resort Convention Hall on October 10th. I figured that, at this point in their careers, Kyoko was a bigger name and a more intriguing match-up. 

 

Everybody seemed to accept my reasoning. Kyoko Inoue was going to be the first challenger for the Tohuku Region Welterweight Belt. I had one more idea, for a couple of special guests we could maybe bring in. Wally loved the idea. 

 

Eventually, we settled on this card:

 

Main Event: El Samurai vs. Kyoko Inoue TRWWC First Defense. With * Special Guests *

 

Super Delfin, Shiro Koshinaka, and Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Dos Caras, Jado, and Gedo

 

* Break *

 

Gran Naniwa, Kaz Hayashi, Sho Funaki, Terry Boy, and Masato Yakushiji vs. The Great Sasuke, TAKA Michinoku, Dick Togo, Shinjiro Ohtani, and Lance Storm

 

Norman Smiley, Kato Kung Lee, and Miracle Man vs. Black Buffalo, Masao Orihara, and Biff Wellington

 

Yoshihiro Tajiri vs. Masaaki Mochizuki

 

Everyone is pretty happy with that card. It's going to be broadcast on "Champs Forum" on tape delay. We are all hoping that the ten-man tag will be a great showcase for what Michinoku Pro can do. I pushed a little bit to get Lance included in that one, because I think he deserves a chance to shine. 

 

The meeting over, I went to check my email. I had one message. It was from Yoko, asking if I had time for drinks and karaoke. 



#49 Grimmas

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 01:28 PM

Just to let you know, don't let lack of comments deter you. There are no comments, because this is insanely great and there is nothing to add. I love this project and this thread is one of the reasons for sure.



#50 gordi

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 08:50 PM

(Note: It's October 9th here in Japan. I'm writing this up today because I have time, and I may not have time tomorrow. This show should take place on October 10th, which is a sports holiday in Japan, the anniversary of the opening of the first Tokyo Olympics. A lot of schools hold their undokai, or sports festival, on October 10th  My 5 year old daughter has hers tomorrow, which is why I might be busy).

 

165328_10150131195245358_112400_n.jpg?oh

 

the Appi Ski Resort Convention Hall is packed. Lots of families, presumably coming here together after their children's undokai. I guess it is kind of ironic. This might be the last-ever Michinoku Pro show, and we've got an amazing crowd in a gorgeous building. Maybe it's not ironic. Maybe it's a proper goodbye.

 

Wally thinks, and I agree, that we have no choice but to seize this opportunity. It's gonna change everything, though. I've only been here a month or so but I already know that I am going to miss Morioka, and the community atmosphere of the M-Pro crowds, and the relaxed travel and work schedule, with guys that I really feel are becoming friends...

 

But, this is our one shot at the big time. Like Wally says, we basically have no choice. We have to take it while we can. 

 

Word has gotten out, inevitably in such a small community. Yoko showed up in Appi with - I don't wanna be mean, but - the weeniest-looking dude imaginable. The guy literally has a comb-over, and his hips (though narrow) are wider than his shoulders. She keeps walking past me, with him, and looking at me like, "Ha!"

 

I'm gonna miss her, too.

 

Yoshihiro Tajiri vs. Masaaki Mochizuki

 

This is the match we were most anxious about. The whole show is being taped for broadcast, and as the opener, this match is gonna set the tone and either draw viewers in or drive them away. The two young guys had shown good chemistry time and again in tag matches... but this would be the first singles match for either of them in Michinoku Pro. 

 

We needn't have worried. They worked a tight, stiff sprint and Tajiri in particular busted out some crazy submission moves. The crowd ate it up and it looked just fine on tape.

 

Norman Smiley, Kato Kung Lee, and Miracle Man vs. Black Buffalo, Masao Orihara, and Biff Wellington

 

The energy as a little lower in this one, and I think that some of these guys are worried about their future. There is just no way we can carry everybody over to the new roster, and probably a couple of these guys are going to be looking for work soon. It's kinda tough to think about it, and I'm sure it's harder for them than it is for me. 

 

 

Gran Naniwa, Kaz Hayashi, Sho Funaki, Terry Boy, and Masato Yakushiji vs. The Great Sasuke, TAKA Michinoku, Dick Togo, Shinjiro Ohtani, and Lance Storm

 

Oh, boy. Something crazy happened in this one. Lance, who prides himself on being a light and safe worker, caught Kaz coming off of the ropes with a simple back elbow... but he really caught him. Knocked Kaz loopy. There was a split-second where you could see the horror on Lance's face as he realized what had happened... then, thinking quickly, he whipped Kaz into his own corner and challenged TAKA to tag in.

 

We'd suggested that Naniwa should put TAKA over in this one, but with this being a TV card and with the egos involved there was some concern that, say, Sasuke might demand that he get the win or Naniwa might refuse to do the job... but the match built to a lighting-quick four-minute sequence where, after a dive train had cleared the ring, TAKA and Naniwa faced off one on one. Naniwa got one near pin, then two, then a third... but TAKA fired back and hit a Michinoku driver near the corner, and got the classic heel pin with both a handful of tights and his feet on the bottom rope. 

 

After the match, backstage, with everyone congratulating Naniwa on his performance... well, you could almost see the light-bulb flashing above his head. I think the kid is finally getting it. 



#51 gordi

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 09:10 PM

During the break, people kept coming over to give me small presents. Literally dozens of them, often from people I barely even know. I was, and still am, a little overwhelmed. I guess Morioka is going to miss me, too.

 

Super Delfin, Shiro Koshinaka, and Kuniaki Kobayashi vs. Dos Caras, Jado, and Gedo

 

We'd wanted Delfin to play "face in peril" in this match, but he'd insisted it would work better if Kobayashi played that role and he got the hot tag. Gedo had made a suggestion, and after some thought, I had agreed to it. They essentially no-sold Delfin's "house afire" performance, then dealt him some very stiff strikes in the the heel corner. That led to another mask-ripping performance from Caras, which the crowd cheered wildly. An obviously frustrated Delfin fled backstage, covering his face. Naniwa met him there, and took him outside to talk. 

 

I guess we'll see if the light's going to go on for him, too.

 

El Samurai vs. Kyoko Inoue

 

Kyoko came to the ring accompanied by her former tag team partner Takako Inoue (no relation). Samurai was accompanied by... Hayabusa!!

 

The FMW stars got a very warm welcome from the North East crowd. Haybusa was still on crutches, his injured leg very heavily taped up. 

 

For the first ten minutes, Sammy was reluctant to really engage with Kyoko, relying on grappling and staying away from heavy strikes and bombs. As usual, this enraged the Joshi star, who demanded that El Samurai give her his best. At around the ten-minute mark, Haybusa got up on the ring apron to cheer Samurai on, only to have Double Inoues knock him to the floor and go after his taped-up leg. Samurai dove out of the ring to save his injured friend and from that point on it became a violent, heated battle.

 

When Hayabusa climbed into the ring to help El Samurai celebrate his successful title defense, the crowd just lost it. 

 

I'm sure the after-party was really emotional. I wanted to see how Lance and Kaz were handling what had happened. I was deeply curious to see if Delfin would show, and how he would behave. I genuinely wanted to be there, but I had to ride the private bus to Tokyo with Giant Baba. It was time to prepare for the Asahi Pro Wrestling Draft Special TV show. 






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