Great Sasuke vs Dirtbike Kid
Date: July 17, 1999
Location: Yahaba, Japan
Source: theclawhold.com, whatculture.com, cagematch.net, wrestlezone.com, Armpit reader Ed Reese
The Great Sasuke was an exciting wrestler from Japan who made quite a name for himself overseas, to the point the WWF hired him briefly in 1997. Unfortunately his attitude rubbed many the wrong way, and he didn’t last there long. The WWF gave his spot to Taka Michinoku, who ended up having a job with the company much longer than expected.
The Dirtbike Kid was a thin, young wrestler who some may remember from some undercard matches he had in ECW in the late 90s. Sasuke, who owned a hot promotion called Michinoku Pro in Japan, also did some matches with ECW at the same time.
A couple of years later, Sasuke and Michinoku Pro devised a tournament that consisted only of masked wrestlers. One of the wrestlers Sasuke invited to work the tournament was the Dirtbike Kid. The only problem was the Dirtbike Kid wasn’t a masked wrestler.
Kid was confused as to why he was invited, as he never wore a mask and certainly didn’t want to. When he arrived at the show, a mask was provided for him. Sasuke then went over the match layout with him; Kid was to dominate the first few minutes and then Sasuke would make his comeback and submit him quickly. Too quickly, in fact. Kid was not happy about the quick submission finish, and not happy about the mask.
When the match started, Kid took off the mask and threw it down. Sasuke saw this as a sign of disrespect. Remember, he owned the promotion, so he wanted his rules to be followed. He felt Kid was being unprofessional, and with his naturally abrasive personality (Sasuke had a reputation for being a prick), quickly thought about what he was going to do about it.
Michinoku Pro was a small man’s promotion, heavy on high spots and light on ring psychology. As such, Kid delivered several high spots early on in the match. Sasuke sold them for awhile, but before long, he started no-selling the moves. Kid seemed confused. He shouldn’t have been.
Without warning, Sasuke totally started shooting on Kid with stiff potato kicks to the legs and body. Kid was now even more confused, and probably scared silly. It’s one thing if an opponent delivers the occasional stiff shot or even starts shooting with you, but it’s another when it’s the owner of the promotion and you have no idea why it’s happening.
Kid was already suffering from damaged rib cartilage, but it wasn’t bothering him to the point he couldn’t work the match. However, Sasuke knew of the injury, and exploited it. As Kid was on the ground getting beaten, Sasuke delivered a hard kick that damaged his rib even more. Kid got the wind knocked out of him and couldn’t breathe, made worse by the fact it was almost 100 degrees in the building and there was no air conditioning.
Kid later said that Sabu told him to never let himself get stomped on by anyone. Problem was, his opponent was the owner of the promotion. Still, Kid planned on fighting back. But the kick to the ribs happened before he had a chance, and at that point he knew he was toast.
Sasuke then delivered a standing choke as a shoot. Kid, who was already winded, flailed his arms before giving up and passing out. He described it as Sasuke almost breaking his neck. Truly a despicable action, but nobody was about to retaliate against the owner of the company.
After the match, Kid got up and Sasuke got in a fighting stance. He was prepared for Kid to shoot on him. But Kid wanted no part of that and just stuck out his hand as a token of sportsmanship. Sasuke put his fists down, refused to shake his hand, and left the ring. The two didn’t see each other backstage and Kid never worked for Michinoku Pro again.
After the incident got some publicity and word got around, Kid wanted to turn the shoot into a work. He contacted the company about working a rematch, but they had no interest.
One has to wonder why Kid was so confused, as the company was paying him to wear a mask and to lose in the manner described. He took off the mask, in a masked tournament no less, and threw it down in front of an owner who was reputed to be a dick. Logic says this would not be a good idea and might result in some sort of reprimand. What Sasuke did was completely wrong, unprofessional, and illegal. But at least his motive was clear and he had a reason, and it’s baffling that Kid never realized this.
Kid also believes some of the British wrestlers in the tournament may have stirred the pot backstage, causing Sasuke to shoot on him. Possibly, but the fact still remains that Kid blatantly ripped his mask off.
Sasuke is known to feel very strongly about masks, as when he became an elected official in Japan, he wore the mask to the office. Ten years after this match occurred, Sasuke was riding public transportation when a man in his 40s took a picture of him. The man didn’t even know he was a wrestler, he just thought it was odd that a man on the train was wearing a mask. So Sasuke kicked him and injured him, and it got him into trouble with local law enforcement.
Video of the match can be found online.