I’ve been trying to decide how much DDT review, as they do run a fair amount of shows. For the moment, I’m going to stick to the big ones so as to not overload on wrestling, but let me know if you think it’s worth doing it all. Either way, I will throw in a shout out for their recent Campsite Wrestling. It’s the first time I’ve been able to watch a whole one of those, and it was a shitload of fun. I would have reviewed that, but where do you fucking start? Anyway, on with this one.
Under Match: Nobuhiro Shimatani defeated Takato Nakano
Nakano joins the long list of wrestlers who carry swords. That makes it sound like I actually keep a list. I don’t. Maybe I should, though?
These two were fired-up, Shimatani charging to the ring and starting quickly. There were some stiff old forearms thrown in the opening minutes as these two went all out in what you’ve got to assume was an attempt to impress.
That attitude led to a fast-paced and well-worked opener. They were given time to tell the story of Shimatani’s power going up against Nakano attacking his arm and eventually proving enough to let him lock in a Crossface for the submission. It wasn’t spectacular, but for its spot on the card, it was a damn fine showing.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
We got a lot of housekeeping before the show started, including a trainee by the name of Nakamura having his debut announced for next month and then being weighed on a scale which gave wildly varied results. He promised he’d bulk up to 75kg by his debut.
Danshoku Dino, Gota Ihashi and Hoshitango vs Disaster Box (Kazuki Hirata and Toru Owashi) and Yukio Sakaguchi went to a No Contest when a zombie bit Hirata
Some times you built a match around wrestling, at other times you might focus on the comedy, but now and then, you need to zero in on the haunting.
The poor sod being haunted was Hirata who, backstage beforehand, had scoffed at the others deciding to wear talismans after Dino received a cryptic letter. By the time he hit the ring, Hirata was looking a bit worse for wear and by the end of the match, zombie Saki (I have no idea if there is an official name for that character) had interrupted his attempts to have a boogie by taking a chunk out of his neck before demanding a match on the big screen. In blood, of course.
While you probably can’t call this a fantastic wrestling encounter, it was a load of fun. We even got some ‘lucha’ from Ihashi and Owashi, which produced a chuckle from me. I was going to pull out my usual: ‘you’ll know if this interests you or not’, but if you’re watching DDT and this doesn’t do anything for you, you’re doing wrestling wrong.
Verdict: It was a Two Star match with some Three And A Half Star fun, so let’s go for Three Stars
MAO and Masahiro Takanashi defeated Shuna Katsumate and Mizuki Watase
From one type of fun to another as these four went out and worked a sparky sprint that went just over five minutes. There is not a huge amount to say about it, except they kept the pace up all match and never once caused me to lose interest.
After the shenanigans in the opener, this brought us back to earth with some great action. There was no need for it to be anything more than it was.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
Antonio Honda and Cody Hall defeated Makoto Oishi and Yukio Naya, Hiroshi Yamato and Mad Paulie and Nautilus (Naomi Yoshimura and Yuki Ueno) in a Four Way Tag
Well, this was a motley crew of talent, wasn’t it? From the singing Yamato to Cody Hall, it was certainly diverse.
It’s easy to take for granted how fantastic a physical comedian Honda is. For the opening minutes of the match, he couldn’t get involved in the action as the other three men in the ring ignored him. The way he fluttered around them, trying to sneak into openings was hilarious, and he’s always in the right spot at the perfect moment.
On the more serious side of things, we got Naya and Hall running into each other before big Cody got the win with his Facebuster thing after an assist from Gon. This was a perfectly enjoyable match that didn’t do anything special but was easy to watch.
Verdict: Three Stars
Up next was the announcement of the D-Oh Grand Prix competitors. I’m not sure who would be expected and who wouldn’t, but the surprises seemed to be Bull James, Chris Brookes, Masato Tanaka and Chihiro Hashimoto. One of those things is not like the others.
Gorgeus Matsuno defeated Sanshiro Takagi to win the O-40 Title
Gorgeous Matsuno is fifty-eight and Takagi forty-nine, so don’t go into this one expecting a sprint. For a man that old, Matsuno is in incredible shape, but the second he started moving around the ring those years landed heavily on his shoulders. You’ve got to appreciate the efforts he puts into those handsprings, though.
Matsuno also he let Takagi beat the shit out of him. He took a bump onto a steel chair that looked fucking horrible, and the fans were firmly in his corner. Takagi played the big bully well, beating on his opponent and seemingly enjoying it. Even Matsuno’s attempt to throw powder in Takagi’s eyes wasn’t enough to turn people against him.
Matsuno would eventually get his revenge, reversing a Powerbomb attempt into a Rana and sending Takagi crashing through some plastic boxes to set-up the win. It’s very hard to call this a good match (because it wasn’t one), but it had a charm that makes it worth a watch.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Konosuke Takeshita defeated ASUKA
ASUKA vs Takeshita quickly became a battle of the injured body parts. Takeshita came in with his back taped up and early on collapsed from the pain. He might as well have painted a red cross on it, and ASUKA quickly zeroed in, driving a chair into the injured spot.
Takeshita wasn’t going to take that shit lying down, though. In response, he went after ASUKA’s leg, ripping it apart to take her, literally, out of her stride. Some of the selling was a bit over the top, but they set-up an interesting dynamic in the action. At any point, those injuries could go, with ASUKA collapsing after a handspring or Takeshita unable to hold onto a submission due to his back.
You can then throw in the fact that the rest of it was fucking awesome. These two went back and forth, delivering some stunning wrestling. Takeshita hit one of the sickest Powerbombs I’ve ever seen before later sending ASUKA spinning through the air with a Lariat. On the other side of the ring, ASUKA is insanely good. She just gets this shit and came within inches of getting the win, coming down with a Moonsault only for that leg smashing into the ground to delay the pin.
That would be the turning point, with ASUKA unable to follow-up Takeshita was given time to recover, kicking off a fantastic sequence that ended with him forcing her shoulders to the mat while simultaneously wrenching on that leg for the three. This was fantastic, and the first match on the show you should go out of your way to see.
Verdict: Four Stars
DAMNATION (Daisuke Sasaki and Soma Takao) defeated All Out (Akito and Yuki Ino) to retain the KO-D Tag Team Titles
Yuki Ino is a rugby player which with the World Cup currently happening is an easy chip to cash in. Sasaki was determined to tackle the big man, a mission that hadn’t been going well for him coming into this match.
That meant we got a very Taguchi-style start to proceedings as Sasaki threw a rugby ball to Ino and followed up with a flurry of spears, none of which shifted the big man. Having played fair, he then decided to fuck that, and chop blocked Ino before throwing a chair at his head. That was a lot more effective.
DAMNATION’s attempts to take out Ino became the focus of this match. They were doing a good job of negating the beast, constantly working as a team to ground him, but the fucker would not die. Sasaki even managed to take him off his feet with a spear, only for the big man to kick-out at one. A ref bump then led to him getting three steel chairs smashed over his head, and he still got up! Wearing their broken remains like a mental metal necklace.
Eventually, though, even Ino couldn’t take the pain. He and Akito had worked well together, hitting a couple of nice tandem moves, but when he got misted, dropped on his head and locked in a Crossface, Ino had no choice, he had to tap.
That was Ino’s match, and he looked like a tank, taking a beating and coming back for more. By the end, the crowd were firmly in his corner, and while he doesn’t do anything fancy, you don’t have to when you’re his size.
Verdict: Four Stars
Sasaki asked post-match whether there were any challengers left which brought out a smorgasbord of people. By the end, they’d set-up DAMNATION vs FUMA and Kubo vs Fujita and Shimomura vs Akito and Shunma. Honestly, I don’t know who most of those people are, but I think it’s a hardcore match too? Who knows. As usual, you can find translations of the promo on DDT English.
HARASHIMA defeated Tetsuya Endo and Jiro Kuroshio in a Three Way Elimination match to win the DDT Extreme Title
Not only was this for the title, but the winner will be facing Takeshita in the main event of Ultimate Party. How fun!
I haven’t decided whether I like Jiro or not (and probably won’t have to worry about it for long). From what I have seen, he is a good talent, but the gimmick bothered me in a main event spot. He felt like a cartoon character in there with two serious wrestlers, and most of my favourite parts were Endo vs HARASHIMA.
Which could also be explained by my hatred of three-ways as the opening struggled to gain momentum. It all felt disjointed as it took them a while to find their groove, and it was only the build-up to Jiro’s elimination that saw them get there, which (to be fair) was pretty great. I’ll also give them credit for managing to make the Superplex/Sunset Flip Powerbomb Tower of Doom spot look good. Usually, that looks shite.
When Jiro was out of the way, the final minutes were fantastic. HARASHIMA survived an Endo onslaught, taking a beating and refusing to die. Then, he found his opening and a vicious flurry of kicks followed by a Somato got the three.
Verdict: Four Stars
Takeshita and HARASHIMA exchanged words post-match, starting the build to their shenanigans. We then got a big-screen appearance from Kenny Omega where he cut a promo in Japanese to hype his appearance at Ultimate Party.
What a show! Good comedy, three great matches to close us out and an easy watch from start to finish. I enjoyed it a lot and it’s got me suitably hyped for Ultimate Party and all the shenanigans that will entail.
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