ANATOMY OF A DISASTER: THE GREAT SASUKE vs. THE DIRT BIKE KID:
-It’s time for another Anatomy of a Disaster! These typically take a longer time to write, so when I fell behind for a bit and I didn’t know what to do next, I took a bit of a break. I wanted to talk about this oddball match, but it’s less “Disaster because it sucks” and more “it turns into a weird shoot” and also involves wrestlers from two different countries so learning the inner workings of what went down is harder to figure out.
THE STAGE: Michinoku Pro- Masked World League (7/29/1999)
The Great Sasuke: A Japanese high-flying legend, who at this point had made his bones in a ton of great matches in Michinoku Pro and elsewhere, hitting the finals of the legendary Super J-Cup 1995 tournament (losing to Chris Benoit in the finals, after beating Jushin Liger himself in the semi-finals). He was a high-flier with an infamous disregard for his personal safety, hitting the Space Flying Tiger Drop (a cartwheel backflip ending with him sailing over the ropes to the floor). There were a lot of fliers back then, but nobody went further or had prettier flips and dives than Sasuke did. He was the top star of Michinoku Pro, which ran in Northern Japan.
The Dirt Bike Kid: The Dirt Bike Kid was Jason Harrison, a young British kid who debuted in 1994 and never moved further than the indies in the U.S. & Europe. He started out in England, but quickly went to the National Wrestling Conference (wrestling in Las Vegas), assorted NWA affiliates, and more. Sometimes wrestling as the Shark Attack Kid, he peaked in ECW in 1996-98 (parlaying a match with Sabu into more appearances, though it seems like he mostly wrestled every few months or so), though I’ve never even heard of him until reading about this match a year ago. There’s also some 1998 matches in England & Germany, so he moved over to there as well… actually running his own promotion, the European Wrestling Association (which explains why he’s in a main event with Sabu there, and held the EWA Junior Heavyweight Title, which was traded to Whipwreck & Sabu). His whole gimmick is that he wears… well, a dirt-biking uniform in the ring. A full suit covering every bit of his body. He’s in such podunk Indies that his Cagematch profile only has him in a few matches per year- he probably wrestlers a lot more than that, but it’s just not recorded (and this is before supermarks would document their entire careers online and fill it out every night).
His style is your very typical “Mid-90s Indie Flippy-Flop” stuff, like Devon Storm and other dudes active around this time- watching Japan & Mexico tapes and going “I can do that and have matches just as good!” and filling bouts with nothing but top rope moves like super ranas and stuff- you know the type.
So I heard the point of this show was to run a one-night “Masked Man Tournament”, featuring eight masked wrestlers… except checking WrestlingData & Cagematch that is clearly NOT what happens and it’s a “Fukumen World League” (aka “Masked World League”) where it’s a round-robin and guys wrestle each other for points. The Dirt Bike Kid was allegedly irked to do the job here in a match lasting only five minutes (as Sasuke had another match that day). Oh, and he attempted to negotiate pay with the Michinoku office (“I am not a wrestling prostitute and if the terms aren’t right I’m not doing it”), which maaaaaaaaaybe wouldn’t help, owing to Sasuke BEING said office.
Nursing a rib injury that was pretty bad, too. DBK, notably, is NOT a masked wrestler and never has been, so he just kinda wears a one-off mask for this one. I find it kinda funny they couldn’t even find a generic indie white guy who actually wore a mask regularly. And hey- I recognize this gym from All Japan Women’s shows! It looks like a pretty basic gym but with an upper level that never has people in it. Except here it does! Dirt Bike Kid = Asses In Seats!
From the Dirt Bike Kid himself: “Now sorry, but the DBK isn’t a masked wrestler, so why the fuck did they want me on a masked-man tournament. I managed to compromise with them, and say that I’d wear it to the ring only, and then rip it off, where I would wear the usual biking-face mask that I usually wear during my ring-entrance. They didn’t like it, I could tell… but agreed to it.”
THE GREAT SASUKE vs. THE DIRT BIKE KID:
* Immediately things become strange when DBK simply takes off his mask and reveals his whole head but with a small mask over his mouth, pretty much like a more elaborate version of the ones we were all wearing during COVID. This is a common biking mask, as he says. This is widely seen as a huge slap in the face, and pretty much goes against the entire concept of a “Masked Man” tournament, but I’ve got no idea if Sasuke was pissed or just “… the fuck is this white kid doing?” about it. DBK says the Michinoku guys didn’t like it, in any case. Then plan for this match is for DBK to get a lot of stuff to start, then Sasuke comes back for the quick win in 5 minutes.
So immediately we have the match going according to plan- DBK looks kinda weird as he does a backwards spin, but gets a dropkick as his first offensive move, shoots Sasuke off for a back body drop, then follows him to the floor with a slingshot tope con hilo to impress some fans. He hits a flying axehandle in the ring that misses by like a foot, then follows with a Falcon Arrow (suplex to sit-out bodyslam), clearly having watched Japan tapes and wanting to do their finishers as his opening-match stuff. Sasuke barely sells that for a 1-count and DBK throws some kicks and punches, then hoists a blank-faced, disinterested-looking Sasuke in the corner for a Super Frankensteiner, again getting only “1”. Sasuke is generously giving him offense but ungenerously treating it all like easy shit to kick out of- the Kid gets a slam into a flying splash for two, but a second splash has him eating mat and it’s time for the comeback.
And here is where it gets Disaster-worthy, as Sasuke throws his kick combo like he’s done a million times before, but instead of going “bump and feed” and bouncing around for it, Dirt Bike Kid just kinda… awkwardly stands there, eating these shots. He moves back and sells them a bit, but typically guys are supposed to eat these and hit a back-bump. Instead, Sasuke throws SEVEN of them of varying stiffness (not at all unusual for him to throw a stiff one once in a while) before DBK finally stumbles onto one knee, holding his pre-injured ribs (apparently this knocked the wind out of him, according to DBK). And now, clearly, something is wrong- Sasuke stalks up to him and hits one of those quick shots to the side of the face that hurt but aren’t life-altering or face-wrecking, which gives him the kid’s back so he can fire off a trio of stiff shots in a safer place, then he drops a knee on him (more of a leaping “just the shinbone” one so it’s not devastating either)… but then just DRILLS him with three shoot kicks right to the face, obviously snapping his head back- at this point DBK obviously knows something’s up and mostly turtles.
Sasuke throws a more delicate kick to the back and just decides “fuck it” and ends the match right there before things get uglier- he whips a nasty front facelock (one with the neck-holding arm bolstered by the other arm pulling in the wrist against the throat- apparently it’s called a “grovit” though most I’ve seen involve pushing against the shoulder), then SQUEEZES it as you hear the Dirt Bike Kid scream in pain and shock, and almost immediately tap out as you hear the air leaving him. The ref frantically calls it and Sasuke gives him a “what?” shrug of surprise and just looks PISSED, shaking his head with that “excess energy” thing truly enraged people get, while the Kid is laid out on the ground. The ref uses the Puro Spray of Healing on him and he eventually gets to his knees while Sasuke runs the ropes to burn some more off after a brief conversation with the ref (who does a “head shake” and gestures to the Kid). Sasuke then walks up to the kid and actually hits a friggin’ martial arts stance with guard, thinking it’s gonna turn to a full shoot or something, but the Kid won’t get off his knees and eventually just offers a handshake- Sasuke instead walks away, leaving him hanging, and the Kid bows to the fans.
So the match is just generic indie piffle, with a bunch of finisher-tier moves thrown out like generic opening-match nonsense, Sasuke barely selling them, then dodging and doing his usual kick series, only to fire off like nuts and stiffly beat the hell out of DBK, then finishes him with a choke submission that’s not part of his usual kit at all from what I’ve seen. Without knowing it was a shoot, it’s your bog-standard bad indie match, just stiff. Knowing what it actually is makes it a lot more interesting.
Rating: 1/2* (just some indie nonsense into a stiff finish- I guess knowing it’s real means you have to go DUD or something but assuming it’s just stiff because it’s supposed to look good this’d be the rating)
The Fallout: The Dirt Bike Kid actually stuck around longer according to WrestlingData, losing to Gran Naniwa & White Bear (another U.K. wrestler) in July, then went to a draw with Black Warrior and lost to Dakko Chan (another U.K. guy). After the tournament, he only wrestled one more match- May 2000, taking a long break before jobbing to Sabu in Europe. DBK has since stated that he wasn’t sure WHAT the deal was here and probably never will, but that the other U.K. guys on the tour (especially Jason Cross, whoever that is) were probably roiling things up backstage and might have set him up to get shot on.
DBK’s interviews after the fact don’t paint the best picture of him: “I didn’t want to wear the stupid mask they made for me. Now sorry, but the Dirt Bike Kid isn’t a masked wrestler so why the fuck did they want me on a Masked Man tournament?”.
“So, when he started to comeback, he kicked me twice to either side of my head which was ok, then ‘wam!’ he hit me with his trademark spin-kick, that should of put me down. But I didn’t go down, because I didn’t want too. He hit me hard in gut with the kick but I just stood there selling, so he did it again… ‘WAM!’..But I still wouldn’t go down. I mean Sasuke has to learn, that if you try and f**k one of your wrestlers, they can f**k you back, and I was being treated like shit from the start of the tour. Kick, kick, kick, WAM, WAM, WAM… he kept kicking me, but I just stood there, and took them all like a man, and believe me, he was shooting on me by then. Sabu had always taught me not to let myself be stomped on, and I adhered to his every word. He would have been proud.”
-Dirt Bike Kid, in his WrestleZone interview
Essentially, he comes off like an angry, petulant child. He even admits he didn’t go down for the spinkick to the gut, KNOWING that he was supposed to, but “if you decide to fuck one of your wrestlers, they might fuck you back”. So if he actually did intentionally no-sell then he’s a dumbass.
Mitigating Factors: Two guys with two different cultures and languages- it’s hard to play with that sometimes, especially as the British guys were brought over here JUST for the tournament, so you didn’t have pre-existing trust or anything to build off of. It’s the first match between two guys. It’d be entirely likely that DBK wouldn’t even know Sasuke’s kick series was supposed to lead to a fall… except he’s done interviews later admitting he did and intentionally didn’t, so NYYYYOPE. He’s just a dumbass.
Overall: So it’s your basic Indieriffic match (you know it when you see a dive, falcon arrow, super rana & splash in the opening 60 seconds), but then turns into a mess in a HURRY. You can see something’s up when Sasuke isn’t selling the moves for more than a second, repeatedly shoving the Kid off at a one-count, but when DBK does that ultra-shitty sell-job of the kicks, whatever annoyance was going on backstage over perceived disrespect and DBK being an idiot probably boiled over. So you see a few stiff shots in that series, but then Sasuke does the “poke kick to the face” so he can fire off some safer, but brutal, shots to the back, then deliberately boots the Kid in the face repeatedly in a fury before just strangling him out with a legitimate chokehold. And then he’s so angry he puts up his dukes for an extra round, clearly imagining this is going to be a shoot-fight now, except the Kid begs off, probably completely bewildered at what happened and not being a trained fighter at all.
This has happened before and since, mostly in puro (where a lot of guys have legit training and tempers can flare over disrespect or people thinking a lesson needs to be taught), but is rare enough that this still stands out, even with the silly nonsense that is the Dirt Bike Kid’s whole career. Like “a guy gets hot and beats on his opponent in some shitty D-show in a gymnasium” wouldn’t be my idea of this famous incident but you’ll read multiple columns and watch multiple videos on it if you go search. So hey- shoots happen! Mostly because one guy just loses his temper and explodes. At least in this case DBK was smart enough to just turtle and not try to get revenge. But his career was so short and weaksauce that this overshadows the entire thing.
Hope you all enjoyed this one- it’s the first time a “work that turns into a shoot” ended up on here. Not quite a Disaster in the sense that “this exposed the business” or “this was full of botches” or “this killed a guy’s push”, but I’d say it still counts!