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Update: You Tube has some good Michinoku videos stolen off the Gaora channel. Here's one from the Akita show I went to last year. I didn't attend the show this clip is from, but I wanted to include it because because at the end there's a funny bit with Sasuke singing and dancing with the boy band wannabe Sato twins (also known as The Sailor Boys).
It seems like nobody ever comments on my wrestling posts, and I just don't understand why. I can only assume that this is because people find them boring, but if you ask me pro-wrestling is one of the most interesting things you can ever hope to see in Japan. This is especially true of Tohoku based Michinoku Pro-Wrestling, which brings its high energy Mexican-style lucha libre shows up to Aomori every few months.
Just over a year ago, Marc Miller invited Kate, Hugh and I to a pro-wrestling show in his tiny little home town of Onoe. We had no idea what to expect, but figured the show wouldn't be too impressive given where we would be seeing it. While there couldn't have been more than a few dozen people in the crowd, the wrestlers didn't hold anything back and put on a really amazing show. Kate and I have been devout Michinoku Pro-Wrestling fans ever since.
The ref ponders how exactly to go about checking an almost naked wrestler for foreign objects.
We've since made a point to catch as many shows as we can, and have even endured a bloody no rope barbed wire spider net street fight double hell death match just to see Aomori's own Rasse wrestle a mini version of WWF veteran Hakushi. I even went so far as to force my poor mother (who hates wrestling with a passion) to attend a show in Aomori City last month just because I couldn't bare the thought of missing a chance to see my favorite grapplers in action.
Last weekend Kate and I headed south to a town near Morioka to catch a show in which the main event saw Michinoku's Kesen Numajirou take on rival Osaka wrestling federation's main rudo Super Delphin. It had the greatest turn out I had ever seen for a Michinoku show, with balconies on both sides of the gym filled to capacity.
The main event dominated the posters for the show. Did Kesen stand a chance against the stronger and more agile Super Delphin?
The show was also really different from others we attended as the audience was so fired up, you could almost cut the electricty with a knife! Mini-Hakushi was there that night, and made an incredible Foleyesque dive off a second floor balcony onto The Great Sasuke, or possibly the floor. The night also saw the debut of a new dark look for Pineapple Hanai, who quickly squashed the latest addition to Los Salseros, Banana. Pineapple recently turned on his Los Salseras teammate Minamino at a Tokyo show by smashing a guitar over his head, much like The Honky Tonk Man used to do back in the day. Super Delfin won his match, thanks to the help of a biased Osaka ref he brought with him, and the crowd went completely berserk over the screwjob! I got grazed by a flying chair and Kate nearly was nailed in the head by a half empty bottle can! Unfortunately I didn't catch any of the mayhem on camera as I was too busy trying not to get hurt. Some people in attendance seemed oblivious to the danger, and I was particularily shocked when a spectator holding a small infant in his arms was forcefully shoved by the evil ref as he was leaving ringside. Perhaps that was just the refs way of telling him that it probably isn't a good idea to stand with a baby in the middle of flying steel chairs and Coke cans. It certainly didn't look like a work anyway, but who knows?
Otoko Sakari (In the Prime of Manhood) takes mini Hakushi for a ride at the Akita Sun Patio.
The next day, we headed over to Akita City to catch a special outdoor event being put on to promote a small shopping councourse called The Sun Patio. Kate and I lucked out and somehow landed really great seats on a small balcony just a few feet above the ring, even though we only paid for standing. Much like in Onoe, I wasn't expecting much from this show but it turned out to be the most fun of all the shows I've gone to so far! We were so close to the wrestlers that you could clearly see the look of surprise in their eyes whenever they noticed those two weird gaijin that have been following them around Northern Japan.
Kesen was even kind enough to try speaking English just for our benefit.
The final match of the afternoon saw Minamino, Kesen, Rasse and Sasuke brawling through all the various businesses in the mall, freaking out the customers in the process. Best of all, at the end of the show there was a raffle and Kate's number was drawn! Kate was handed a Hello Kitty bag in the center of the ring by none other than The Great Sasuke himself! He didn't let Kate go without first chatting her up about Jesse Ventura and the Mall of America in English. Sasuke just seems to me like one of the coolest guys you could ever hope to meet anywhere.
Why are refs always so easily fooled?
Sadly, I'm not sure if I'll ever get another chance to see a Michinoku show in person. I hope this video will give others a small taste of what they've been missing, and maybe even inspire some of you to pay my faux-Mexican friends a visit next time they are in town. The video in this post was shot using my IXY digital camera's movie mode, so unfortunately the footage isn't of the best quality. However, if you subscribe to Sky Perfect satellite TV, you can catch lots of Michinoku matches on the Gaora cable channel, including the ones from the Morioka show. Once you get hooked in, then make sure to pick up the lastest issue of Weekly Gong magazine at a convenience store near you and buy lots of Michinoku T-shirts, masks and sake.
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