TAKA Michinoku

Hi Scott,

What was the deal with Taka being under contract with WWE from 1997 until 2001 yet he still appeared on ECW shows and a PPV in early 1999?

Was it just an arrangement made between Vince and Heyman or was Taka unique in his contract situation allowing more freedom?

Do you have any favourite Taka moments from during his time in WWE? As personally his match against Great Sasuke at Canadian Stampede and his title match against HHH on TV, really stand out as his best for I.

Cheers.

​I barely even remember him being on ECW PPV in 99, but I would presume Vince didn't give a shit about letting Paul use him by that point.  They were doing a lot of two-way stuff with the WWF invasion angle in 97 as well, for example.
​Obviously my favorite Taka match was the one he had with Sasuke in Edmonton on RAW the night after the PPV, because now I can say I've seen a Great Saskuke match live.  And yeah, the HHH match was pretty great and memorable, too.  If you've never seen any of his Michinoku Pro stuff from around the same time and you like what you saw of him in the WWF, then I'd recommend picking something up from Rudo Reels or another site like that.  There's endless variations of tag matches with Kaientai against Sasuke and his crew and they're just the BEST.  Here's a free plug for Rudo Reels:

July Classics: The Great Sasuke vs. TAKA Michinoku – 7/6/97

The WWF wanted to form a lightheavyweight division, and Japanese legend The Great Sasuke was the target to head that division. TAKA Michinoku was brought along by Sasuke to help showcase the style to a North American audience. They had this match at In Your House: Canadian Stampede and a second match the following night on RAW. NOTE: I could not find a Daily motion version. I have included the Youtube version of the RAW match as a comparison.

http://network.wwe.com/video/v31327267/milestone/31345889

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c09FimmhRr4