Wednesday, May 27, 2020

[Michinoku Pro] The Beginnings of Michinoku Pro and the Journey It Has Made

Michinoku Pro was born when The Great Sasuke decided that he wanted to bring pro-wrestling to his hometown of Iwate. This town is located in the Tōhoku region, and that is the inspiration for the company's name- the north-eastern area of the Tōhoku region was called, "Michinoku" ("end of the road") during the ancient era of Japan.

In Michinoku Pro's beginning, the staff consisted solely of owner/founder The Great Sasuke and other members of the Michinoku Pro roster. Michinoku Pro made its debut on March 16, 1993 at Yahaba Townsman Gymnasium in front of 1,200 fans. It was an impressive card, featuring talents such as TAKA Michinoku, Super Delfin, Gran Hamada, and The Great Sasuke, as well as Black Man and El Signo from Mexico, and Kendo from the Dominican Republic.

In 1995, Michinoku Pro debuted its own singles tournament that is still presented by the company to this day. Called "Fukumen World League", the tournament features masked talents from around the world. Dos Caras, Tiger Mask, Atlantis, The Great Sasuke, and Caristico are all masked wrestlers who are highly respected worldwide and have been winners of the tournament. Michinoku Pro will be hosting Fukumen World League again this year, with plans on involving masked talents from Japan, other Asian countries, America, Mexico, Latin American countries, and European countries.

Every promotion eventually experiences their first major rulebreaker faction, and for Michinoku Pro that moment occurred in the 90's in the form of Kaientai Deluxe, consisting of Dick Togo, Mens Teioh, Shiryu, TAKA Michinoku, Shoichi Funaki, Hanzo Nakajima, and Super Boy.

Kaientai Deluxe battled against the fan favorites of Michinoku Pro in many matches, a highlight match being the encounter between Kaientai Deluxe (in the form of Dick Togo, Mens Teioh, and Shoichi Funaki) and the team of Gran Hamada, Gran Naniwa, Masato Yakushiji, Super Delfin, and Tiger Mask at the Michinoku Pro 3rd Anniversary event in October 1996.

Kaientai Deluxe even made their presence known outside of Michinoku Pro, with Dick Togo, TAKA Michinoku, and Mens Teioh, appearing in ECW as representatives of the Japan branch of the Blue World Order faction, where they feuded with The Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada, Gran Naniwa, and Masato Yakushiji in 1997.

Kaientai Deluxe's influence moved to WWE that next year, as Togo, Michinoku, and Shoichi Funaki all wrestled for the company representing the faction. But the Kaientai Deluxe era in Michinoku Pro did not end before TAJIRI and Gran Hamada represented the faction that year as well.

In August 2002, history was made when Michinoku Pro crowned its first Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Champion. The company's singles title was won by Dick Togo. Since then, other notable wrestlers have become a part of the Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Championship's legacy, such as The Great Sasuke, Kenoh, Atlantis, TAKA Michinoku, Super Delfin, KAGETORA, Takeshi Minamino, MUSASHI, and current Champion Rui Hyūgaji.

In April 2003, The Great Sasuke became a legislator in the Iwate Prefectural Assembly. He had been running Michinoku Pro up to this point, but with his political career being an additional responsibility in his life, Sasuke asked Jinsei Shinzaki (who was one of the wrestlers on Michonoku Pro's roster at the time) to run the company for him.

In November 2003, after its appearances in WWE and ECW years earlier, the story of Kaientai Deluxe came full circle, as Dick Togo, Hanzo Nakajima, Mens Teioh, Shiryu, and TAKA Michinoku reunited in Michinoku Pro to form the faction once again, defeating Chinnen Hokkai, Hayate, Jinsei Shinzaki, Kazuya Yuasa, and Kesen Numajiro at Michinoku Pro's 10th Anniversary event.

In July 2004, history was made again, with Michinoku Pro crowning its first Tohoku Tag Team Champions. Jinsei Shinzaki & Último Dragón won the title, and since then the Tohoku Tag Team Championship has also been won by other standout teams such as Katsuhiko Nakajima & Kensuke Sasaki, Dick Togo & The Great Sasuke, and current Champions Yapper Man 1 & Yapper Man 2. The teams with the most outstanding records as Tohoku Tag Team Champions are the teams of Ikuto Hidaka & Minoru Fujita, and Brahman Shu & Brahman Kei. Brahman Shu & Brahman Kei hold the record for the team with the most reigns as Champions, with 4 reigns under their belts. During their first reign, Hidaka & Fujita held the title for a record length of 725 days. During that reign, they unified the Tohoku Tag Team Championship with the UWA World Tag Team Title, a title which has a very historical past that began in the Mexico-based Universal Wrestling Association.

Kaientai Deluxe made one more appearance in December 2018 at a Michinoku event, as Dick Togo, Mens Teioh, and Shiryu represented the faction in a match against Super Delfin, The Great Sasuke, and Ultimo Dragon. Both teams battled to a time limit draw. Only time will tell whether Kaientai Deluxe will reunite again in a Michinoku Pro ring in the future.

In December 2019, Michinoku Pro had a sellout, standing room only event with an attendance of 1,890 at the Korakuen Hall, the highest reported attendance at the Korakuen Hall to date for a pro-wrestling event since April 2015.

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