As a practical joke, Japanese wrestler Kota Ibushi tweeted a nude photo of Taka Michinoku from a locker room over the weekend.
Michinoku competed for WWE from 1997 to 2001 and now wrestles for various Japanese promotions.
Here is the edited photo:
- A new idea from Vince McMahon is to have the RAW announcers do sound effects to make it seem like they are trying to hold back laughter during what are supposed to be comedy segments.
- WWE has removed John Laurinaitis from their roster page.
- Sakamoto is expected to start wrestling within the next few months. His association with Tensai is likely over after Tensai beat him down on RAW two weeks ago. The beatdown was done as part of Tensai being re-packaged. Sakamoto was originally trained by former WWE star Taka Michinoku at his Kaientai Dojo school in Japan. Sakamoto debuted back in 2003 and was signed by WWE in 2011.
Several WWE developmental releases have been made in the last week, reports Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com.
Eli Cottonwood, who appeared on WWE NXT, requested for his release from the company and had it granted. Reports suggest Cottonwood received a job offer outside of the wrestling business and decided to take it.
Jiro, who was originally trained in Japan by TAKA Michinoku’s Kaientai-Dojo, has also been released, along with Benicio Salazar, a Mexican talent who worked under a mask in Mexico as El Hijo del Medico Asesino, and Sonny Elliot, a developmental talent from Australia, who have all been released from their developmental contracts.
All four wrestlers have been removed from the Florida Championship Wrestling roster page earlier this week.
After the arrival of Lord Tensai this past week, WWE has published a photo gallery looking at various stars from Japan that have competed in the US including Yoshi Tatsu, Masahiro Chono, Tajiri, Ultimo Dragon, Taka Michinoku, Funkaki, The Great Muta, Jushin Kiger, Mr. Fuji, Hakushi and many others.
I sit around from time to time pondering the whereabouts of many different Professional Wrestlers from the past, whether they were good, bad or just plain horrible.
These types of Wrestlers always stick out in ones mind.
Here in the first edition of a basic “Where are they now” article where I will talk about Taka Michinoku, the first ever WWE Light Heavyweight Champion!
It’s easy to remember his debut for most wrestling fanatics as it came during the “Canadian Stampede” PPV in 1997 against The Great Sasuke whom he lost to but received a HUGE pop from the crowd for displaying his mat skills and high flying arsenal. Right away the WWE knew they had someone special on their hands here.
During the same year Taka eventually beat Brian Christopher at the D-Generation X “In Your House” PPV to be crowned the first ever WWE (at that time the WWF) Light Heavyweight Champion. Taka held the title successfully for almost an entire year (a rarity these days) before losing to none other than Christian in 1998.
After a failed gimmick where he feuded and than joined his “Kai En Tai” buddies, a gimmick that ran from their Japan days, Michinoku eventually left the WWE and returned to Japan where he started to rehabilitate a serious shoulder injury.
Michinoku decided to create his own brand, his own federation called Kaientai Dojo which is still around today and is being successfully run by the former Light Heavyweight Champ.
Recently he has been wrestling under the name “Piza Michinoku” in the DDT (Dramatic Dream Team) promotion out of Shinjuku Tokyo as well as in Michinoku Pro (which was founded by The Great Sasuke and now owned by former WWE Superstar Hakushi) where he reformed Kai En Tai with former WWE Superstar Funaki.
It’s hard to say where Michinoku’s American career could have headed had WWE got rid of the typical Japanese gimmick of Kai En Tai and utilized his wrestling ability but I for one always enjoyed watching him in the ring and cherish the days where guys like Taka were able to display their talent for the American audience to see.
For over 13 years, Shoichi Funaki was everything from WWE’s most evil star (indeed) to the number one announcer on Smackdown. Now the former Kung Fu Naki joins James Guttman on ClubWWI.com for a rare 25 minute shoot interview that addresses all aspects of his career from the early days of Kaientai all the way to today, as he prepares to open his new training center, the FU Dojo, on January 15th. The huge list of topics from Funaki’s exclusive shoot can be found at the following link: http://www.worldwrestlinginsanity.com/am2/publish/newsnotes/ClubWWI_Funaki.shtml
Sho Funaki has recently made news by announcing the upcoming opening of his FU Dojo in San Antonio, Texas. (full details at RCW-Wrestling.com). James Guttman tackles the subject right from the start and mentions how young stars can’t wish for a better trainer than someone who was with WWE so long. Not only does Sho know what the company is looking for in rookies, but he has the connections to make things happen. James asks Funaki what style new students can expect to learn from him and Funaki explains to ClubWWI.com members.
“I train in Japanese style and American style. I teach that. But it’s like Funaki style. I can do both. So, I create it. I teach it. I created my own style and I teach my own style.”
His style has always been unique. Whether playing a villainous Japanese stable member intent on helping to “choppee choppee pee pee” or the sympathetic babyface that tugged at the heart strings of Smackdown fans, Sho knows how to get a reaction. He talks about all those gimmicks, but one that stands out is the famous “Evil! Indeed!” gimmick that saw him and partner, Taka Michinoku, lip sync to an English dubbed voice proclaiming to be evil. JG asks Sho how the idea came about and as the ClubWWI.com continues, he gives the backstory.
“That was Shane McMahon. I think so. Shane, yeah. He came in the building at a live show. Raw live. Shane McMahon came up to us, ‘Hey guys. Today, you guys don’t have to talk. You guys grab a microphone but just, you know, don’t speak. But don’t worry about it.’ We thought it was a joke. But other creative team guy told me, ‘Yeah, you guys grab microphone. Start with Taka. After give to Sho Funaki. It’s easy. You guys don’t have to talk, OK?’ We don’t know at the time what he’s talking about. Why would we grab a microphone and say nothing? How would they know (what we’re saying)? But the fans liked that. Like old Chinese movie or old Japanese movie, you know?”
From evil to announcing…or, reporting actually. After the Kaientai gimmick ran its course and Taka, who got Funaki his first job with WWE – a story he tells during the interview – left the company, Sho was sent to Smackdown where he was given a microphone and a whole new role as “Smackdown’s Numba One Announcer!” However, that famous catchphrase almost didn’t happen. In fact, the first time out, it was something different. Sho tells ClubWWI.com about the original phrase and how it evolved…
“My first promo was ‘This is Funaki – Smackdown Numba One Reporter.’ Mr. McMahon was there and saw my promo. After the promo, Mr. McMahon said, ‘Funaki, maybe you are Smackdown Numba One announcer.’ So it was going to be ‘Funaki – Smackdown Numba One Reporter.’ But then ‘Funaki – Smackdown Numba One Announcer’ was born.”