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Wrestling / The Great Sasuke

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"Giving him a ladder is letting him commit suicide."
Shu Sato about The Great Sasuke's wrestling style.

The Great Sasuke (born July 18, 1969, real name Masanori Murakawa) is Japanese Professional Wrestler, promoter and politician best known for his work in New Japan Pro-Wrestling and his own promotion Michinoku Pro Wrestling. A Gran Hamada trainee, he debuted in 1990 for lucharesu promotion Universal Lucha Libre as MASA Michinoku, but after a trip to Mexico, he went to form Michinoku Pro Wrestling, giving birth to one of the most legendary wrestling companies. He changed his name to The Great Sasuke and adopted the persona of a fearless masked ninja, becoming known for his high-risk wrestling, revolutioning the Japanese cruiserweight scene and having legendary matches with Jushin Thunder Liger, Último Dragón and other names. Sasuke was the first wrestler in winning the eight titles J Crown championship, and figures as the most decorated wrestler in Michinoku Pro's history. Known for his love of crazy stunts and his outspoken demeanor, Sasuke has been one of the solidest babyfaces in puroresu, only wrestling as a heel during his SASUKE age and his most recent Mu no Taiyo angle, and has worked in almost every promotion in Japan.

"Tropes Fire Powerbomb":

  • The Ace: He can also work a diverse variety of wrestling styles, including lucha libre, lucharesu, garbage and comedy wrestling, as well as a bit of powerhouse, and is known as a wildly charismatic guy. He used to be the promotion's official ace before age caught up with him.
  • A Friend in Need: As recalled by 2 Cold Scorpio from their Extreme Championship Wrestling days, Sasuke had a memorable role in saving an injured Chris Candido and Tammy Lynn Sytch from an attack by a gang. When they heard about the brawl outside, the entire locker room came to their rescue, and Sasuke, being a trained mixed martial artist, laid waste to his opponents with kicks until the whole thing was broken up, all while still wearing his mask.
  • Arch-Enemy: Super Delfín, Jinsei Shinzaki, Jushin Thunder Liger (those two in a Worthy Opponent light) and Último Dragón.
  • Ass Kicks You: Mu no Taiyo's tag team finisher is the Messiah Korin, a move in which the Satos lift a cross-legged Sasuke and slam him butt-first onto the opponent.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Sasuke's occurences on the ring often harm himself almost as much as his opponents, but he could not care less.
  • Battle Strip: A gradual example. His first wrestling attire was a full body ninja jumpsuit, but he changed in mid-2000s to just pants, and more recently switched to short tights.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Back in El Dorado Wrestling, Sasuke was once put in the infamous testicular claw by "brother" YASSHI, but the Voodoo Murders member underestimated Sasuke's craziness, as he retaliated biting YASSHI's crotch.
  • Big Bad: Became the promotion's main villain after becoming SASUKE, and a decade latter again after joining the Brahman Brothers and founding the Mu no Taiyo cult.
  • Big Good: Was the hero of Michinoku for years, before progresively tilting towards the Retired Badass field in comparison with younger wrestlers.
  • Boring, but Practical: Although he is otherwise a gifted high-flyer, Sasuke rarely indulged in the kind of 450º flippy spot finishers made famous by people like Hayabusa or even his rival Liger (and whenever he did, as when he tried the Phoenix Splash himself, it was usually only to match them). His classical finishers are a swanton bomb, a Thunder Fire powerbomb and an octopus hold, none of which puts flashiness over practicality, and he went to add a missile dropkick to a prone opponent, which is as practical as you can get as a high-flyer.
  • Bullying a Dragon: During the 1999 Michinoku Fukumen World League, The Dirtbike Kid decided to go fully offscript on Sasuke, first taking off his own mask against the tournament's rules, then taking way more spots for himself than he had been promised, and then no-selling the planned spinning kick finish by Sasuke (which Dirtbike Kid later confirmed as intentional). By this point, the Japanese had enough and proceeded to finish the Kid for real, destroying him with multiple kicks to the body and tapping him out to a neck crank.
  • Butt-Monkey: Due mostly to his own silliness, Sasuke continuously falls in the shorter end of failed spots. He also tends to receive all kinds of comical attacks whenever there is a Garbage Wrestler in the match.
  • The Cameo: He had two televised matches in the Attitude Era World Wrestling Federation against TAKA Michinoku.
  • Captain Ersatz: Great Sasuke types started showing up in Fire Pro Wrestling during the new millennium.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Both in and out of character, take our word. He is known for his reticence to taking off his mask in his private life, to the point he takes baths and walks in the street with it on, and even shot a pornographic film in 1999 while wearing it (he has since claimed he wasn't the guy under the mask). In fact, he became the first masked politician ever when he won the election to the Iwate Prefectural Assembly and insisted to appear with his mask on. Leaving mask affairs aside, he also tends to dip in comedy wrestling by simply showing off how crazy are the things he is willing to do on the ring.
  • Cool Mask: So cool that he never ever removes it in public. He is actually the first masked politician in history.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: Every time he faces a similar legend like Jushin Liger or Último Dragón, this is enforced.
  • Cosmic Retcon: Michinoku Pro DVDs from the time in which he wrestled unmasked have his face blurred.
  • Cult: The stable Mu no Taiyo, which is ostensibly based in a shinshūkyō or Japanese new religion.
  • Dark Messiah: His current character as the leader of Mu no Taiyo is a mystical, Knight Templar guru who aims to protect the world from puroresu dark forces to any price.
  • Diving Kick: One of his signature moves is Kamen Rider style flying side kick, usually to the outside. He uses it even if it entails cracking his skull.
  • Diving Save: Parodied in HUSTLE when Sasuke dove in to save Hitomi Kaikawa from a kiss from the creepy Yuji Shimada, receiving himself the kiss instead. Again, Sasuke being Sasuke, it was not big deal.
  • Determinator: See above.
  • Epic Fail: Invoked against him by Jushin Liger. Sasuke went for a springboard, slipped and belly-flopped painfully on his face into the ring. However, instead of trying to cover up the botch, Liger decided to work it into the match and drew attention to it by sarcastically applauding and then mocking Sasuke's twirly-finger 'I'm going to the top rope' taunt. This of course gave Sasuke a chance to nail a hurricanrana and pin him.
  • Evil Costume Switch: As the evil SASUKE, he changed his red and black mask to a blue and black one.
  • Face: A great one.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Only two in his career.
    • The first one was in 1998, when he and his promotion were in economic trouble. He snapped and became the wicked SASUKE, using the typical heel custom of writting his name in Western caps, and formed the SASUKE Gundan along Super Delfín's old henchmen and Toryumon Japan's Crazy MAX. Eventually, Sasuke got the evil exorcized out of him by Jinsei Shinzaki and returned to his old personality.
    • Later, in 2014, he caused the loss of his team in the Great Space War (Uchū Dai Sensō, a Michinoku periodic storyline in which over-the-top characterised wrestlers face evil fiends in order to protect the world) and snapped again, joining the Brahman Brothers in the Mu no Taiyo stable to ensure such a defeat didn't repeated.
  • Feel No Pain: Wrestling history has seen some truly painless people, but probably none of them casts a shadow over Sasuke on the field of ignoring physical pain and injuries. Sasuke's style is highly self-harmful and features the most suicidal spot-wrestling conceivable.
  • Finishing Move: Thunder Fire Powerbomb, Senton Atómico (high-angle senton bomb), Sasuke Special X Version 10.2 Segway (a painful missile dropkick to the shoulder of a prone opponent) and the octopus hold.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: He was asked by Kantoku Nakamura to do this to Wataru Sakata in their match, so Sakata woke up from his bitterness and returned to the HUSTLE Army, but it was useless, especially because Shamoji Fujii caused a DQ in the bout.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: His gimmick is technically a ninja, but never really pretended to be stealthy. His classical attire reflected it, being black overall but featuring a colourful kabuki-inspired mask.
  • Hot-Blooded: He never lacks energy. Ironically subverted now as the leader of Mu no Taiyo, as he tends to be more soft-spoken.
  • Idiot Hero: Has a bit of this vibe, being an hyper babyface who loves to jump around and perform stupidly dangerous spots. It gets bigger when compared to more intellectual partners of his like Shinzaki, Dragón or Liger.
  • I Know Karate: Subverted. Sasuke has Mixed Martial Arts training, having learned at the Super Tiger Gym from the pioneer of the modern sport himself, Satoru Sayama, but unlike many other Japanese juniors who complete their spots with martial arts moves (including Sayama himself), this is not part of Sasuke's gimmick, instead favoring a more cartoonish ninja schtick with flying kicks and such. However, Sasuke did use to wear a Super Tiger Gym robe to the ring in occasions.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Although his style is mostly aerial, he is not weak, and has a powerbomb as one of his finishers.
  • Made of Iron: Pretty much the only reason he still alive. A less tough person doing the things he does would have died a long time ago.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Cracked his skull doing a Diving Kick during a match with Último Dragón in 1996, but continued wrestling the bout as if nothing.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: He's married to a Mexican woman, which is an awkward thing to do for a Japanese.
  • Masked Luchador: Not the first Japanese example, but possibly the original codifier of the trope over there.
  • Large Ham: When he speaks, he tends to be loud. This changed with his new spiritual leader gimmick.
  • Power Stable:
    • SASUKE Gundan (SASUKE, Sasuke the Great, Masked Tiger, CIMA, SUWA, TARU, Don Fujii and Masayoshi Motegi.
    • HUSTLE Army (several incarnations)
    • Mu no Taiyo (The Great Sasuke, Brahman Kei and Brahman Shu, along with other situational members).
  • Red Baron: "Tohoku no Eiyu" ("The Hero of Tohoku"), "Michinoku no Hoshi" ("The Star of Michinoku"), "The Great One", "Messiah".
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Being so crazy and energetic, he is the red to every tag team partner of his, especially Jinsei Shinzaki, Jushin Liger and Yoshitsune, which were all very collected.
  • Shout-Out/Homage: Several.
    • His mask design is very similar to Mach Hayato's, the first Japanese luchador.
    • After the release of The Wrestler, Sasuke started imiting Randy "The Ram" Robinson, wearing similar tights and using the Ram Jama headbutt finisher. Though he stopped doing the imitation, he occasionally still busts the move.
    • The Mu no Taiyo leader persona came out during the boom of WWE's Wrestling/Bray Wyatt and strongly echoes him, albeit in a more Japanese style.
  • Spot Monkey: He used to be a superb worker, at least back when he was young and uninjured, but also loves doing ridiculous aerial spots whenever he can. His aerial stunts frequently involve ladders, furniture and crash landings.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After returning from Mexico.
  • Ur-Example:
    • While it was Último Dragón who popularized the Asai Moonsault (called la quebrada in México), Sasuke popularized the little back kick they often did to push the opponent back from the apron before doing the move.
    • He innovated the high-angle senton bomb, later adopted by Jeff Hardy and MIKAMI.
    • The moonsault senton used sporadically by Takuya Sugi and MIKAMI was also first done by Sasuke, although never finished a match with it.
    • He's also cited as the innovator of the Thunder Fire Powerbomb, but this is inaccurate, as Atsushi Onita did it before. The same is also said about the Michinoku Driver I, which was actually done by Taka Michinoku, just like the rest of the move series.