We do a big time skip into 1998, with Super Delfin back in the finals of the tag league. This time, we get him teaming with familiar companion Gran Naniwa against the younger team of Yakushiji and Hoshikawa. By virtue of being the more experienced team, and Hoshikawa coming in with a bandaged up shoulder, Naniwa & Delfin work as the more heel leaning team. Or at least, that elegantly toe the line where they’re imposing threats without ever crossing into the realm of the dastardly.
Stylistically, this differs quite a bit from the tags we’ve seen so far. Naniwa and Hoshikawa wrestle a much more grounded match than we’re used to. Not the big brawling and quick rope running we get from the others, this is a much more mat-based struggle between the two to fill out the early portions of the match. And Naniwa’s no slouch at it, he gives as good as he gets on the mat, displaying a dimension to his work I’d never really seen before.
It’s Delfin and Yakushiji that really get to show off the quicker work that Michinoku Pro’s famous for. Or at least, they would be if the early moments of the match aren’t interrupted by a cigar smoking Great Sasuke setting up a table in the crowd to drink a beer and watch the action from. I’m clearly missing pieces of a bigger story here, but this does get significant focus for a while before things settle back in to spotlighting the match.
As far as that goes, I don’t think it ever really ventures into great territory. The pace just isn’t quite as quick, and the atmosphere not quite as heated. They’re clearly telling the story of the younger team working to overcome the two veterans, but it never really clicks for me until the final finishing stretch that zones in on Delfin and Yaksuhiji.
It’s a fun finishing stretch with Delfin showing off his range of power-based maneuvers like suplexes and backbreakers to have lean towards the more heelish side of things. He’s a fun base bumping around for Yakushiji’s offense and when Yakushiji finally gets the big win, it’s a satisfying moment.
It’s not a perfect match, by seeing our boy put over the next hot young team feels like a fitting way to end the Michinoku Pro phase of our month with Delfin.