Super Delfin & The Great Sasuke vs. MEN’s Teioh & Shoichi Funaki (Michinoku Pro 11/9/97)

Match ReviewsSuper Delfin

This match is about The Great Sasuke’s leg.

That’s a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because this might be one of the most focused matches that I’ve covered for the project yet. Targeted limb attacks haven’t cropped up at all in any of the Michinoku Pro matches I’ve watched yet. It takes Delfin venturing out into a place like New Japan against the likes of Ohtani and Liger to introduce that kind of element. Here, the Kaientai Deluxe contingent have a very clear plan of attack: rip Sasuke’s leg off.

They do it incredibly well too. I haven’t written much individually about Shoichi Funaki since he began cropping up in these matches but his dogged attacks on Sasuke’s leg really stand out here. Funaki displays some slick counters to get into holds, and generally stays fully on point in terms of understanding the story here. Teioh’s no slouch in this regard either. He has a really good ringpost figure four, and he gets to pay homage to the Funker with some spinning toe holds too. Even late in the match, when this devolves into more of the standard Michinoku Pro finishing stretch, it’s still Sasuke’s leg that provides the heels openings to get their shots in.

Sasuke’s leg is a curse because the man doesn’t really care to sell it during his comebacks. I get it, limb selling isn’t a major part of the Michinoku Pro house style. I wouldn’t mind it so much if the match’s structure wasn’t so single-minded in its approach. Sasuke’s leg is the plot point of the match. Everything hinges on the heels attacking it repeatedly throughout the match. When we go from a ten minute leg work segment straight into Sasuke using flighty footwork and big dives to make his comeback, it just doesn’t really compute.

Inconsistent as Sasuke may be though, he’s not quite enough to sink this match too much. The heels are just too vicious and focused. Plus, the extended heat segments on Sasuke also gives Delfin the room to be a valiant partner. Our hero spends the entirety of this match trying to get Sasuke out of sticky situations, and generally being the last line of defense keeping this match going for his side of the team. Delfin’s more grounded approach really works well for him in this role. He’s the one that gets to mow through the heels and beat them down in the comeback. At the same time, the development of Delfin throwing himself into saving former rival Sasuke’s just a little too charming for me to resist.

The babyfaces get the big win here with Delfin hitting his new finisher, a big palm strike. It’s a great moment with the crowd absolutely exploding for our heroes. Well worth seeing the match for that alone, really. Maybe next time, we can convince Sasuke to have a little bit of a limp too.

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