It’s D-Oh time, and this will be my first attempt at covering DDT’s version of the G1 (I hate that I always compare these tournaments to the G1, but it is the best-known touchstone). As usual, I will not be reviewing undercard matches because life is too short. Enjoy!
A Block: Yuki Ueno (1-0) defeated Keisuke Ishii (0-1)
Ueno and Ishii started slow, as it felt like every time they were about to kick things up a gear they’d deliberately cut the legs out from under themselves. It was almost frustrating, as I was waiting for things to start clicking.
Thankfully, the final third saw exactly that. It was Ishii who triggered the change, losing it and delivering a flurry of slaps and strikes to Ueno, forcing him up against the ropes. From there, Ishii, in particular, let loose, hitting big move after big move and looking like it was a matter of when not if he’d get the win.
Except Ueno had different plans, sliding from a Head Scissors into a flash pin to steal the three. If the last act of this match had been the entire thing, I’ve have loved it, but the slow beginning undermined it. Don’t get me wrong, it was still good, just not as good as it could have been.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
B Block: Bull James (1-0) defeated Naomi Yoshimura (0-1)
I take everything back that I said about the first match being slow. That wasn’t fucking slow, Bull James lumbering around the ring working over Yoshimura was slow. So slow that I’m not quite sure how I managed to stay awake. He wrestled like an old and broken down veteran who needs his younger opponent to make all the movement. That would be fine, except he’s 31.
Yoshimura’s comeback did bring things to life a bit, as he fired up and reminded everyone we were watching a wrestling show. Sadly, it was nowhere near enough as the die was already cast. They were in a lousy match, and nothing was going to save them.
Verdict: Two Stars
A Block: Konosuke Takeshita (1-0) defeated Yuki Iino (0-1)
Yuki Iino needs to learn to assert himself on all aspects of a match. At the moment, he kind of vanishes in the grappling sections, falling back on the basics and not showcasing that power. I appreciate that they can’t go 100 mph the whole way through, but Iino has something a lot of the roster doesn’t, and he should play to that.
For, much like Iino’s title shot, this excelled when he let that explosive offence come to the fore. He’s a brilliant big man, as he has that combination of speed and power that is so common in rugby. He could maybe cut back on how often he decides to do the Haka, but it did lead to an amusing moment where Takashita decided to copy him, only for the giant to wake up and scare the shit out of the former champ.
The final sequence was awesome as these two ramped it up before Takeshita got the win. Even with the issues, this turned into a damn good match and got things back on track after that disaster of a Bull James effort.
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
A Block: Chihiro Hashimoto (1-0) defeated Chris Brookes (0-1)
Brookes had a long-running feud with Hashimoto’s trainer, Meiko Satomura, in Fight Club Pro, and had vowed to not lose to her pupil. In his attempts to prevent that happening, he brought every single one of his tricks to the game, spraying water in her face at the start and trapping her arm in the ring apron to try and take her power away.
Unfortunately for him, you need a bit more than that to stop Hashimoto. She was brilliant in this match, fighting from underneath and coming firing back with those brutal looking suplexes. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of her, but every time I do, I come away wanting more. It’s a good thing I’ve got a tournament full of matches to look forward to, isn’t it?
By the end, Brookes was forced to give up the tricks and fight it out. It was a situation that was never going to work in his favour as Hashimoto brought him over with a German into a Bridge to take home her first victory. Great match.
Verdict: Four Stars
B Block: Masato Tanaka (1-0) defeated Soma Takao (0-1)
Masato Tanaka is 46 years old and still wrestles like a man half his age. One day the years will catch up with him, but it wasn’t during this match.
He was a brilliant prick too, wrapping Soma’s leg around the ring post to drive a steel chair into it. He seemed to be relishing pushing and prodding at the younger man, calling for him to exchange strikes only to cut him off by kicking him in the leg. It was like he was taking Takao to school, trying to get a rise out of him while also being quite happy to beat the shit out of the ‘kid’.
And it did bring a lot out of Takao. He played the underdog brilliantly, selling that leg and defiantly coming forward despite the beating. In the final act, he stood in the centre of the ring exchanging forearms with the badass legend and giving as good as he got. He’d even counter the first Sliding D, trapping him in an Official Endless Waltz before hitting the Gin And Tonic, but the old bastard refused to die. He came roaring back to come crashing in with another Sliding D, and that was that. Fantastic stuff.
Verdict: Four And A Quarter Stars
B Block: HARASHIMA (1-0) defeated Yukio Sakaguchi (0-1)
The start of this match took place on the mat and, in my opinion, it stayed there far too long. I can enjoy grappling, but this was closer to the MMA style and if I wanted that I’d watch MMA. Credit to Referee Matsui, though, who did a great job getting some tension into the situation when they actually went for submissions. His ‘panic’ for the wrestlers was one of the few things that grabbed the attention of the crowd.
When they stood up, the action improved, as they graduated to kicking the shit out of each other. The finish was also fucking brutal, as HARASHIMA escaped a choke by pulled Sakaguchi over his shoulder, spiking him on his head before hitting a Running Knee for the three. The sudden and violent nature of it sold the idea that this could have ended at any time, and was a much better use of that MMA style than the grappling they kicked off with.
However, despite liking that bit, I don’t think I can go to bat for a match that bored me as much as this. I will say, though, that if you’re into that style, there is a chance you’ll get more out of it than me.
Verdict: Three Stars
That was a fantastic show with only Bull James vs Yoshimura bringing it down. Even the main event, which I didn’t love, had things going for it, and I suspect that others will lap it up. If this is the standard the K-Oh is going to stick to; then I’ll be more than happy.
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