garyr_h - 10:29 am on Oct 26, 2012 (gmt 0)
In my experience, WMT URL removal tool doesn't help. It makes it so that the articles are not shown in the SERPs, but the SERPs still include them in their overall numbers. I'm talking specifically about a section of the website which actually was removed and does not exist anymore.
After Google finally actually dropped the pages (the number went down), I started seeing some improvement. It might all just be coincidence, however, since I made other changes to the site at the same time. But, whenever I see the number go down a certain amount, I also find the website improving in rank.