Follow TV Tropes


Wrestling / Taka Michinoku

Go To
TAKA is coming... motherfucker.

Takao Yoshida (born October 26, 1973) is a Japanese Professional Wrestler from Morioka, Iwate best known for his work internationally as TAKA Michininoku. He debuted in 1992, taking his name as a sign of respect for his mentor The Great Sasuke as he debuted and wrestled for his company, Michinoku Pro Wrestling (see Meaningful Name, below). He would also wrestle in other various promotions in Japan and Mexico in his early years. He would debut in the USA in 1997 via bWo Japan in ECW, which in turn lead to his July 6th debut for the WWF in a well-recived match with the Great Sasuke. Months later he won a tournament to crown the "first" champion for the WWF Light Heavyweight Title (at least for the WWF, the title was defended in MPW, Mexico's Universal Wrestling Association and New Japan Pro-Wrestling 16 years before WWF decided to actually do anything with it.)


After 10 months and several successful title defenses (including a victory in WrestleMania XIV), TAKA would lose his title to Christian and start feuding with his former Michinoku Pro stable Kaientai as they too entered the WWF. TAKA would eventually rejoin Kaientai as the group's number would dwindle to just TAKA and Sho Funaki. The pair would be a comedic Jobber Tag Team that had Gag Dub voices. In between ECW, IWA Puerto Rico and WWF he had founded the Kaientai Dojo in 2000. After TAKA left WWF in 2001 he set about turning Kaientai Dojo into a full fledged wrestling promotion. Not surprisingly, he won every title in the company at least once.

TAKA also splits his time between various Japanese promotions including Michinoku Pro (see Meaningful Name), New Japan, All Japan, Pro Wrestling NOAH, Dragon Gate, Dramatic Dream Team, Big Japan Pro Wrestling and Apache Pro-Wrestling. In 2005-2006 TAKA would hold All Japan's World Junior Heavyweight Title, Michinoku Pro's Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Title and Kaientai Dojo's Strongest-K Title simultaneously for almost 10 months.


These tropes are EVIL, and they're gonna kick your ass:

  • Amazon Chaser: Downplayed, as strength is something he looked for when he settled on Malia Hosaka, but more importantly than that or anything else, she was evil! (and unfortunately released by the WWF soon after her debut).
  • The Artifact: The ring name Taka Michinoku formed part of a homage to Taka's mentor, Masa Michinoku. Masa later changed his name and gimmick to The Great Sasuke, but Taka retained the name, even if he dropped the gimmick as well.
  • Bash Brothers: Sho Funaki, Dick Togo and Terry Boy/MEN's Teioh in Kaientai and Taichi and El Desperado in Suzuki-gun.
  • Boring, but Practical: Answered Naomichi Marufuji's flippy kicks with...a poke to the eyes.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The WWF Light heavyweight title had existed for sixteen years prior to TAKA winning in the tournament finals against Brian Christopher, being sanctioned by both the International Wrestling Grand Prix and the Universal Wrestling Association. The WWF simply decided to ignore all that had came before.
  • Captain Ersatz: Fire Pro Wrestling has at least one of him.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Perhaps the first open example such to end up being an unambiguously straight baby face. In fact, their subsequent Face–Heel Turn largely failed, as the crowd still popped for them.
  • Catchphrase: During Kaientai's Gag Dub phase, his was "We are eeeeeeeeeeeeeevillllllll!"
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: A high-flying pro wrestler with minimal amateur wrestling experience like TAKA doesn't look like the best aspiring MMA fighter, but he fought a bout against a heavier and much more experienced fighter like KEI Yamamiya and did pretty well, to the point some wondered how far could have TAKA gone had he dedicated himself to MMA instead of pro wrestling. It should be noted that he did have some familiarity with the shootfighting ruleset of Pancrase at the time due to his appearances in PWFG and Battlarts, in both of which he did actually wrestle under shoot style rules, being one of the few outsiders to do so.
  • David Versus Goliath: Has had plenty of these matches, but him facing Triple H for the WWF Championship stands out.
  • Delinquent Hair: Mainly when he's a heel.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": He apparently hates being called by his real name.
  • Evil Laugh: Naturally, especially after he and Funaki betrayed Too Cool. Parodied when the Gag Dub continued laughing while he wasn't even holding the mic up.
  • Evil Versus Evil: He claimed himself and Funaki were the most evil beings in the WWF and challenged anyone to prove otherwise. The Undertaker and Kane answered that challenge.
  • Finishing Move:
    • His first move was the Michinoku Driver (straight jacket sitout powerbomb, wrongly reported sometimes as a double underhook piledriver), which he dropped, and passed to the then Michinoku trainee Makoto Saito, when he realized Yumiko Hotta had been using it earlier. He switched to the Michinoku Driver II (sitout scoop slam piledriver, although in WWF he modified it to a sitout scoop slam to make it tamer), which became his most famous driver. He later added the Michinoku Driver II-B (inverted facelock into a sitout scoop slam piledriver).
    • In 2002, he added the Just Facelock (a seated crossface, generally from a arm twist Fujiwara armbar entry), and four years later, the Just Facelock 2006 (a sort of rear naked choke version, grabbing his arm instead of his hand, which he innovated due to a broken finger). When he faced Dick Togo, he used the Dick Killer (an arm trap cobra clutch version).
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: After the Universal Wrestling Association closed down, the Kaientai Dojo gained jurisdiction over their world welterweight and middle weight title belts.
  • Gag Dub: Voiced by Bruce "Brother Love" Pritchard and Tom Pritchard in 2000-2001. Shane McMahon was apparently considered for it too.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Kaientai's Hong Kong Dub gimmick ended up getting the previously lukewarmly received group popular, too popular to be mere jobbers. So naturally they were broken up.
  • Gratuitous English: Prevalent in his NJPW theme. "Taka is coming... motherfucker".
    • When he teams with or manages Suzuki-gun stablemate Zack Sabre Jr., his promos are often littered with English catch phrases, such as: "Just. Tap. OUT!", and "Come on over here!"
  • Hope Spot: As mentioned above in David Versus Goliath, Taka fought Triple H for the WWF title. While he was not expected to win and, in fact, didn't, he nearly pinned Triple H several times before his opponent regrouped and defeated him.
  • International Showdown by Proxy: He challenged Sgt. Slaughter in order to prove the superiority of the Japanese education system.
  • Jobber: Only after he lost the LHW title in WWF.
  • Laughably Evil: As part of Kaientai when they were gag dubbed. Taka in particular was very "EEEVVVVIIILLL."
  • Legacy Character: His name, Taka Michinoku, was inspired by Masa Michinoku, the ring name used by Taka's mentor The Great Sasuke. Taka even adopted a similar gimmick to him back then, wearing folkloric attire in his ring entrance. However, both Sasuke and Taka eventually dropped the gimmick, with Taka only retaining the name.
  • Leitmotif: Kaientai had three main ones in the WWF. Yamato Suite being the easiest to find and is the one TAKA keeps using in Japan, This, commonly known as "Evil" or "MEN's Teioh", being the most famous of them, as Funaki kept using it even after Taka left. The third seems absent from Youtube, aside from this eight bit rendition.
  • Meaningful Name: "Michinoku" is the alternate name of the Japanese region of Tōhoku. The Great Sasuke, who was Taka's mentor, started using it as part of his former ring name, Masa Michinoku, which directly inspired Taka's own.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Robo Michinoku with Robo Hayashi in All Japan.
  • More Popular Spin-Off: The Michinoku Driver II is this to the original Michinoku Driver, to the extent that Taka's version is often the only one that gets named, and often just gets called the Michinoku Driver. Additionally, outside of those familiar with the career of The Great Sasuke, the name Michinoku is more popularly used to refer to TAKA, despite his not even being from that region.
  • Odd Friendship: Kaientai and their "thug friend" Tazz while he was a wrestler. Tazz stopped liking them after becoming a commentator.
  • Oral Fixation: He used to have the custom of chewing bubblegum while wrestling in Japan, in order to look punkier.
  • Passing the Torch: In his working as a manager/stablemate of Zack Sabre Jr, he gifted his Michinoku Driver II to him, who uses it as Zack Driver.
  • Power Stable
    • Is the flag-bearer for the Suzuki-gun and a member of ECW's bWo. Kaientai is the stable probably most remembered for but YMMV on how powerful it actually was anywhere but it's original Michinoku Pro run.
    • In AJPW, he participated in the groups Roughly Obsess and Destroy and Mexico Amigos/Mexico Amigos Black.
    • In Dramatic Dream Team he was a member of the Italian Four Horsemen as PIZA Michinoku.
  • Power Trio: Michinoku Blazers with his Kaientai Dojo students TAKU Michinoku(better known as Anzawa) and TOMO Michinoku(better known as Nakagawa)
  • Prepare to Die: "Lowdown, people do not like you because they are prejudice? People do not like you because YOU SUCK! Now, Prepare, TO DIE!"
  • Pretentious Pronunciation: Taka's name is often typed "TAKA Michinoku", with insistent capitalization of the first name. In Japan, his character used to insist that the "Taka" be in "American letters", while the "Michinoku" (like most other names) was printed in Kanji. While it isn't pronunciation per se, it is a character trying to distinguish himself and "social climb" through a name difference.
  • Put on a Bus: After being fired from K-Dojo, Taka also took 2 and a half years out from New Japan so he could focus on recovering from an ankle injury, and work on starting his new promotion "Just Tap Out". The hiatus went on for so long that a lot of fans actually thought he'd been fired from New Japan too.
  • Red Baron: "Sekaiichi Zuru Kashikoi Otoko" ("The Smartest Man in the World"), "Aoi Shiretoi" ("The Blue Leader").
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: You may be Godzilla! But not even Godzilla is a match for Cold, Hard Cash!"
  • Signature Move: Back to back double underhook piledriver, Brainbuster, Dick Killer (Arm trap bridging cobra clutch).
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: In Japan, he primarily uses English swearwords in almost every sentence.
  • Start My Own: Formed Kaientai Dojo (now known as Active Advance Pro Wrestling), which started as a dojo in Puerto Rico but moved to Japan after ECW closed and began running it's own show in addition to being a dojo for training new pro wrestlers. He founded another promotion called Just Tap Out after he got fired from Kaientai Dojo for having an eight-year-long extramarital relationship.
  • Tag Team: He and Sho Funaki were initially known as Dream Chasers before they joined Kaientai.
  • The Dragon: Has served as such of Minoru Suzuki and to a lesser extent, the Killer Elite Squad tag team.
  • The One Guy: Has served as such in the Joshi (read: females only) promotion REINA.
  • The Prankster
  • Unrelated Brother: He turned heel and sided with Kaientai (Togo, Teioh, Funaki and manager Mr. Yamaguchi-San) because Val Venis had made a porn film with Yamaguchi-San's "wife", who was also TAKA's "sister."
  • Weak, but Skilled
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Pulled a fake knee injury on Naomichi Marufuji.