Tuesday, October 3, 2023

How Michinoku Pro Is Unique

As Michinoku Pro continues to celebrate its 30th anniversary, now is a good time to take note of how Michinoku Pro is unique in a number of ways. And the differences are not only in the ring, but behind the scenes as well.

One of the most unique aspects is that the style of wrestling that Michinoku Pro presents is a combination of the traditional Japanese style with the lucha libre style, as many of the matches in Michinoku Pro feature high-flying and fast-paced action. Michinoku Pro's distinct style is why it's the fitting home of the Fukumen World League, the company's singles tournament that involves masked wrestlers from around the world, including Mexico. Wrestlers such as Dos Caras, Atlantis, and Caristico are only some of the stars of the Mexican wrestling scene who traveled to Japan over the years to take part in Fukumen World League.

A second unique aspect is Michinoku Pro's emphasis on junior heavyweight wrestlers. While most promotions in Japan and other parts of the world utilize a junior heavyweight championship as a midcard championship, Michinoku Pro utilizes its Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Championship as the top championship in the company, as well as its only currently active singles championship. With the Michinoku Pro roster mainly consisting of junior heavyweights, athleticism is one of the main aspects of matches at a Michinoku Pro event, with the wrestlers performing moves that are best done by junior heavyweights.

A third aspect is the one that I consider the most interesting- Michinoku Pro has always stayed true to its values. Michinoku Pro was created to bring pro-wrestling to The Great Sasuke's hometown of Iwate, and the staff solely consisted of him and the other members of the Michinoku Pro roster. Since then, the company has seen much success. Michinoku Pro DVDs are sold in stores nationwide, and Michinoku Pro drew a sellout, standing room only crowd of 1,890 at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo in December 2019, which was the highest reported attendance at the Korakuen Hall for a pro-wrestling event since April 2015. Also, the company has been running shows for 30 years, when the average lifespan of a promotion is 10 years.

And yet, to this day most Michinoku Pro events take place in Iwate, where there is a small population compared to other areas of Japan. The attendance at these events are usually around 321 and are sellouts being that they take place in small venues. Many of the events feature matches that are not seen anywhere else in the country, including Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Championship matches. Also, Michinoku Pro is still a small, close-knit company, that maintains the company culture. Many of the wrestlers help dismantle the ring at the end of an event and also do various tasks behind the scenes. It's common for a company to change after 30 years as it grows, and it is often considered to be necessary. But Michinoku Pro shows that it's possible to be successful while also staying true to your values and your mission.

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