DDT’s final trip to Korkauen before the D-OH Grand Prix kicked off (because I definitely need more tournament wrestling to watch) handed Yuki Iino a big chance as he went after HARASHIMA. How did he get on? Well, give the review a read to find out.
Before the show started, we confirmed that neither Hirata or Higuchi is getting married. Hirata is running a produce show for his tenth anniversary while Higuchi is returning from injury on the 18th of December, though. If you’re looking for translations of what was said, check out DDT English on Twitter.
DAMNATION (Tetsuya Endo and Mad Paulie) defeated ALL OUT (Akito and Shunma Katsumata), Nautilus (Yuki Ueno and Naomi Yoshimura) and Yukio Sakaguchi and Yukio Naya in a Four-Way Tag
DDT had a wrestler from each team in the ring at the same time, which led to some fun four-way spots and eventually saw everything break down into utter chaos. It’s not the kind of match that’s easy to review as a lot is going on with little story to back it up. Sakaguchi kicked some people, the big boys got a chance to face-off and Endo trapped Katsumata in a flash pin for the three. Still, it was fun!
Verdict: Three Stars
Kazuki Hirata defeated Michiaki Nakano, Toru Owashi, Makoto Oishi, Mizuki Watase, ASUKA and Hiorshi Yamato to win the Iron Man Heavy Metal Title in a Delayed Entry Battle Royal
Pre-match, Michiaki Nakano (who is a sponsor) convinced an initially reluctant Oishi to help him out. It was the sight of a tantalising 10,000 yen bill that got him to change his mind.
Nakano’s money quickly became the story of the match as he turned the entire field against Hirata. Hiroshi Yamato even managed to take the bribe without breaking stride in his song. Despite that, Hirata still refused to turn to the dark side, calling on Owashi to save him. Unfortunately, as Owashi made that save, initially rejecting the money, it was announced that Yakano’s company had bought all his merch and that turned out to be his price.
Amazingly, Hirata still managed to win, pulling off a (deliberately) choreographed comeback to eliminate everyone in a way that I presume was a reference to something. They were playing a particular song, and it was all performed in a very stylised manner. He’d then no-sell a Nakano Rainmaker on-route to pinning the sponser.
The fun wasn’t over yet as Nakano insisted on congratulating Hirata and helping him put the belt on, so we know how that ended. His joy was short-lived as Oishi realised he could have a belt and some money, so he rolled him up, stealing Nakano’s wallet in the process. Everyone then chased Oishi to the back with whether they wanted the title or the cash up for debate.
That was a load of fun.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Danshoku Dino and Super Sasandango Machine defeated Shinya Aoki and Keigo Nakamura
Nakamura grabbed the mic pre-match to explain that he plans to ride Aoki’s coattails to success. Aoki, who is a bit of a Japanese MMA legend and has a voice that makes Honma sound like a pre-pubescent boy, was rather unimpressed with that suggestion, as he appeared to have no idea who Nakamura was.
It meant that despite his plan, poor Nakamura got the shit kicked out of him. Dino and Sassadango got a chance to practice their power moves, tossing him around the ring. The more I see of the rookie, the more I’m convinced his future is as an underdog nerd who the crowds rally behind because he’s a bit useless. Is that harsh? He seems to be a good wrestler, but he looks like a child.
Incredibly, the respected MMA fighter would end up being caught by ‘Dango who first slipped out of a Aoki submission by removing his mask and then hit a DDT following a kiss and a Danshoku Driver from Dino. I guess none of that is common in MMA, so it makes sense it would catch him off-guard. Another fun match, but it wasn’t as funny as the previous one.
Verdict: Three Stars
Tsukasa Fujimoto defeated Saki Akai in the first match of Saki Akai’s Seven Match Trial Series
It has been brought to my attention that some people don’t rate Saki Akai, and I wish to tell them they’re wrong. Not only is she is a strong in-ring wrestler, but that lass has the kind of presence you can’t teach. She’s excellent, so shush.
And if you need proof of that, watch this match! She started her Seven-Match Trial Series against Ice Ribbon’s Tsukasa Fujimoto, and it was a brilliant way to kick things off. Mainly because it involved a lot of kicking, and we all know how I love that.
Seriously, though, these two laid into each other in an impressive back and forth. Saki showed great aggression, booting Fujimoto while she was on the ground. Then, in a lovely piece of improvisation, she was able to use her long legs to attempt to attempt to escape a Crossface, catching Fujimoto in the back of the head even while she lay on her front.
The veteran would eventually have too much for her, bringing her down with a Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex for the three. However, this was a great start to the series and only got me more excited for what is to come.
Verdict: Four Stars
Jiro Kuroshio and Konosuke Takeshita defeated Miyu Yamashita and Antonio Honda
We got this match because Jiro’s Dad, who apparently goes by the name of God, requested that Takeshita team with his son before he heads off to America. In a rare move for me, I am going to thank God because it meant we got the return of Honda and Miyu.
And my excitement for their return was backed up by this brilliant match. Whether it was Honda getting annoyed at Jiro having a fancy jacket (apparently he was cold), Miyu’s ridiculous dancing for the Bionic Elbow or the massive smile on Jiro’s face throughout, it was just a joy to watch. That’s only a fraction of the antics too! I didn’t even mention Gon getting stuck on Honda’s nipple.
Outside of that, the wrestling was brilliant. Miyu and Take had a particularly fantastic back and forth, laying into each other with Yamashita even managing to get the bigger man over for a German. Have I mentioned that Miyu is one of my new favourites yet? She’s got that perfect combination of genius and awkwardness. Fingers crossed this isn’t the last time her and Honda team-up.
Verdict: Four And A Quarter Stars
Post-match, Takeshita and Jiro basically said their goodbyes, with Jiro reaffirming his determination to move to America. Please don’t do it, Kuroshio, you’re too good for WWE.
Coming out of the intermission, Sassandango was in the ring where he was worried that his win over Aoki might force him to have expectations for his career. He demanded Imabayashi make a future match for them so that the norm could be restored.
DAMNATION (Daisuke Sasaki and Soma Takao) defeated CDK (Masahiro Takanashi and Chris Brookes) to retain the KO-D Tag Team Titles
The first half of this was more angle than match, as tensions between Soma and Sasaki were brought to the surface by Takanashi. He rather craftily placed Soma in position to be repeatedly caught by Sasaki and it eventually pissed him off so much that he elbowed his partner and made his way to the back.
It looked like this was going to be a walk in the park for Takanashi and Brookes after that. Unfortunately, Endo was still at ringside and made sure to keep his stable-mate in the game. Then, Soma returned, braining Takanashi with a chair, and reconfirming his commitment to the team. How lovely.
From there, we got a fun back and forth that didn’t quite have enough time to excel but was still entertaining. While I’ve always liked Brookes, there is something about DDT that brings the best out of him, and he had a great interaction with Soma before being trapped in the Official Endless Waltz for the three.
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
HARASHIMA defeated Yuki Iino to retain the KO-D Openweight Title
Iino has been incredibly impressive in short, frantic matches where he’s been able to showcase that incredible power. Which, kind of points to the flaw of this main event, as I think it could have used being a bit shorter (although it wasn’t actually that long). I got the idea of the slow opening, with HARASHIMA trying to ground the big man, but I’m not sure it was needed. Iino is green, so trying to fit him into a more ‘epic’ match structure was a mistake.
However, as they went on and allowed Iino to play to that power, it got better and better. He is a fucking tank, and whether it’s clobbering blows or tossing HARASHIMA across the ring, he excels at using that strength. Those hard-hitting bursts of offence are all kinds of fun, and I want to see more of that.
In the end, the champ would negate that power, a Somato doing the job. However, I suspect this won’t be Iino’s last title shot. He’s twenty-five and has only been wrestling for a couple of years, so he’s going to get better, and judging by this, he’ll be just fine.
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
A fun Korakuen that didn’t deliver any match of the year contenders but did give us a consistent blend of comedy and action. Honestly, I’m just delighted to watch any show that isn’t World Tag League, but I’m still pretty sure this was great.
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