September 1, 2009
Matt Peddycord
The Powerdriver Review

Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada & Masato Yakushiji vs. bWo Japan (TAKA Michinoku, Menís Teioh & Dick Togo) Ė (ECW Barely Legal, 4/13/97)
From ECWís first PPV, they went all out and got some of the best cruiserweights from Japan never before seen here in the states from Michinoku Pro. This is the equivalent of when ROH brought in some of the Dragon Gate guys for the first time in the US back in 2006 and they absolutely tore the house down. Thereís no way to possibly do absolute strict PBP by here considering the action is so fast and furious, so this is a case where Iíll have to hit the high notes and leave it at that. Otherwise, this match would be a 1,000+ words by itself. I mean, who wants to read all that? First off, Iíll run down who these guys are in case you arenít familiar with them. Great Sasuke is a masked cruiserweight and one of the best of the í90s who had absolutely amazing matches with the likes of Chris Benoit, Jushin Liger, Ultimo Dragon, and Shinjiro Ohtani among others throughout the decade. He is the founder and owner of Michinoku Pro and shortly after this show, made a deal with Vince McMahon and the WWF where he put over TAKA Michinoku which led to TAKA being crowned as the WWF Light Heavyweight champion in late 1997. Gran Hamada is the oldest one of the six men here. He was one of the first Japanese wrestlers to master the lucha libre style and became one of the most decorated light heavyweight champions throughout the í70s and í80s. Masato Yakushiji was a young up and coming wrestler with a lot of heart and became a staple of the Michinoku Pro roster. You know the kind. And then thereís the bWo Japan. The parody of the WCWís nWo Japan group filled with New Japan heavyweights Masa Chono, Great Muta and Hiroyoshi Tenzan among others. TAKA Michinoku, as we mentioned earlier, went on to capture the WWF Light Heavyweight title in a revival of the division as a counter to WCWís success with cruiserweights. You may remember his time spent in the WWF more for the KAIENTAI group best known for chopping off Val Venisís penis (ĒI choppy choppy your pee pee!Ē) or having their voiced dubbed over with the English language during their promos. Dick Togo and Menís Teioh (aka Terry Boy for his love of Terry Funk) were also part of the early KAIENTAI days in the WWF. Most of the match bWo Japan works over the youngster Yakushiji. Very entertaining heat segment I might add. The threesome seem to have no chance against the well-oiled bWo Japan machine. After a botched triple-team powerbomb on Sasuke, he manages to counter that by shoving Michinoku and Togo back and ranas Terry Boy for two. And hereís where it all begins to fall apart for bWo Japan. Sasuke wipes out Terry Boy and Michinoku with a quebrada and then knocks Togo to the floor with a handspring elbow for an ASAI MOONSAULT! In the ring, Terry Boy counters a top-rope Frankensteiner from Hamada with an inverted atomic drop. Hamada rolls out and heís met with a Running Springboard Plancha from Michinoku. Yakushiji tries to finish off Terry Boy with moonsaults, but canít get it done. Terry Boy comes back with a Swinging DDT on Yakushiji and delivers MIRACLE ECSTASY (chokebomb) for 1-2-NO! In comes Hamada and Togo. Hamada delivers a Leaping Swinging DDT out of the corner for 1-2-NO! Togo blocks a hurracanrana with a powerbomb and heads up top for his FLYING SENTON, but Sasuke breaks it up. That allows Hamada to hit the Top Rope Frankensteiner he wanted earlier. With everybody out on the floor but Yakushiji, he nails Togo with a suicide dive! In the ring, TAKA lands a springboard dropkick to the back of Sasukeís head. That sets up the MICHINOKU DRIVER for 1-2-NO! Sasuke dropkicks Michinoku while heís in mid-air and lands a quebrada press for 1-2-NO! Now Sasuke has TAKA right where he wants him, so he hits TAKA with a Thunder Fire Powerbomb that leads right into the Tiger Suplex for the 1-2-3! (16:56) This would go in my top three of the best matches of ECW. Itís not a company that had a LOT of great matches in my opinion, but they hit a definite home run with this match. ****ĺ

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