On Friday, July 1, 6:30 PM start time, Michinoku Pro makes its return to Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall, the Madison Square Garden of Japan!
It will be an exciting night of action, with the main event seeing Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Champion MUSASHI putting his championship on the line against 2-time former Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Champion Fujita Jr. Hayato!
This match began taking shape on May 8, after MUSASHI had successfully defended the Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Championship against former BJW Junior Heavyweight Champion Kazuki Hashimoto at the Michinoku Pro event in Takizawa City. Fujita Jr. Hayato, who has not wrestled for many years, made a surprise appearance and challenged MUSASHI for the championship.
A historical Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Championship match
Michinoku Pro is based in the Tohoku region of Japan, and Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Championship matches usually take place there. Established in August 2002, this will only be the seventh time in the 20-year history of the championship that it will be contested at a Michinoku Pro event in Korakuen Hall. Six of those matches involved Fujita Jr. Hayato, the third one being in June 2012 when Hayato won the championship for the second time in his career and began the sixth-longest reign in the history of the championship, and the last one being in June 2016, when Hayato challenged for the championship for the last time until now.
Fujita Jr. Hayato’s inspirational return
This match will also be historical because of the long road that Fujita Jr. Hayato has been on to get here.
Trained by legend Jinsei Shinzaki and beginning his career in December 2004 in a Michinoku Pro ring at a Korakuen Hall event, Fujita Jr. Hayato saw much success, which included not only two reigns as Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Champion, but also being a co-holder of the NWA International Lightweight Tag Team Championship, which he defended in ZERO1.
However, Fujita Jr. Hayato’s very successful career took an unfortunate turn when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2018. In 2019, Hayato had surgery to partially remove a tumor in his spine, and now, four years after his career was sidetracked by the disease, Hayato is back in an attempt to reclaim the Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Championship. His return is a source of inspiration for anyone who is confronted with an obstacle in life that may seem impossible to overcome.
MUSASHI: A fighting Champion
While this may seem like the makings of a championship comeback story, it should be noted that the landscape of Michinoku Pro has undergone many changes during Fujita Jr. Hayato’s absence. MUSASHI has also become a 2-time Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Champion, and he has represented the championship in ways rarely seen. During MUSASHI’s reign as champion, he has not only defended the championship in Michinoku Pro but also outside of it, successfully defending his title in December against former AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Champion Kaz Hayashi at a GLEAT event in Tokyo.
MUSASHI is even willing to defend the Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Championship against allies. On March 6th at a Michinoku Pro event in Tokushima City, he successfully defended it against Koji Kawamura. Both of them are members of a group of young wrestlers who consider themselves to be the new generation of Michinoku Pro.
So when MUSASHI leaves Korakuen Hall on July 1, he plans on doing it with his title intact.
OTHER MATCHES ON THE CARD
Rasse vs. Ringo Yamatani
“Gatoh Move” match (talent from Emi Sakura’s Gatoh Move promotion) Mei Suruga (former Asia Dream Tag Team Champion) Chie Koishikawa vs. Yuna Mizumori (former Asia Dream Tag Team Champion) Sayaka
Jinsei Shinzaki (former Tohoku & UWA World Tag Team Champion) Manabu Murakami (former Tohoku Tag Team Champion) vs. GAINA (Tohoku Tag Team Champion) Taro Nohashi (Tohoku Tag Team Champion)
The Great Sasuke Ultraman Robin Pretty Ota vs. Brahman Shu (former KO-D Six Man Tag Team Champion) Brahman Kei (former KO-D Six Man Tag Team Champion) Dump Matsumoto (w/ ZAP)
Ayumu Gunji (member of the New Generation faction) Koji Kawamura (member of the New Generation faction) Yasutaka Oosera (member of the New Generation faction) Kazuki Hashimoto (member of the New Generation faction) vs. Rui Hyugaji Ken45 Yappeman No. 1 Yappeman No. 2
For those of you who will be in Japan on July 1, tickets are currently on sale for this event.