DDT’s second trip to Korakuen of 2020 brought with it a hell of a card. We’ve got our first big title defence of the year, the dishing out of some Anytime Anywhere contracts and a tag title showdown featuring an odd couple. Throw in Marufuji in singles action and the debut of a new faction, and I can’t imagine not having a lovely time. Let’s find out if I’m right, shall we?
DAMNATION (Soma Takao, Mad Paulie and Nobuhiro Shimatani) defeated Masahiro Takanashi, Mizuki Watase and Keigo Nakamura
Keigo Nakamura is blossoming in his role as the roster’s scrappy underdog. It’s a character that has a ceiling, he’s unlikely to fly up the card, but he’s fantastic at it and a lot of fun to watch. He’s settled into a strong combination of exciting offensive and well-taken beatings.
Outside of Nakamura, this was a fairly standard six-man opener that was fun, but inconsequential. While I enjoyed it, those of you who are in a rush can happily skip it.
Verdict: Three Stars
MAO and Hiroshi Yamato defeated Super Sasandango Machine and Toru Owashi
Our official match sponsors were Gamo and L’Oreal, so there was a stylist at ringside to make sure the wrestlers looked their best. That meant Sasandango came out wearing a wig, but more importantly, Owashi had his hair flying free and looked glorious. As a man with long locks, I had major envy as the big boy was rocking that magnificent mane.
I won’t spoil all the nonsense that followed, but needless to say, this was packed with laughs. At one point, Owashi was doing an unmasked Dango’s hair in the corner while the stylist tried to battle it out with MAO and Yamato. It was beautiful chaos, and everyone’s hair looked incredible.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Eruption (Kazusada Higuchi, Yukio Sakaguchi and Saki Akai) defeated ALL OUT (Konosuke Takeshita, Shunma Katsumata and Akito)
Before the match, we got a video package that revealed Akai, Higuchi and Sakaguchi’s new faction’s name is Eruption. They look good together, rocking a red and white colour scheme.
They were made to look like badasses in the ring too, working like a well-honed unit from the bell as Sakaguchi flew straight into a submission while Akai and Higuchi dealt with their other two opponents. The match was littered with nice combinations from Eruption, as they brought a hard-hitting style to proceedings. You got the impression that they’d been working at this stuff, preparing themselves for their first outing.
Despite the immaculate teamwork, Higuchi was clearly front and centre of the group. He looked like a badass, eating a lot of offence before putting Akito away with a murderous Gutwrench Powerbomb. It feels like Eruption is his unit, and if he keeps performing like that, I’ll have no problem with it.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
Yasu Urano, Daisuke Sasaki and Shinya Aoki won Right To Challenge Anytime, Anywhere Contracts in a Delayed Entry Battle Royal Ladder Match
The Anytime Anywhere Contracts are Money In The Bank style contracts that are defended in every match the wrestler has. That includes those which don’t take place in the company, meaning there is every chance they end up going walkabout around the Japanese wrestling scene.
For the most part, this was a pretty standard DDT Battle Royal, with a heavy emphasis on Dieno and Honda’s comedy. However, there were a couple of moments that made it stand out, chief of which was Dieno Piledriving Endo on a ladder structure, which looked pretty fucking sick. Shinya Aoki would also claim his contract while his arse was hanging out, as Dieno’s attempts to have his way with him left him rather exposed.
It was all quite fun, but as usual with this kind of thing, the real interest is in what happens next, and it wouldn’t take long for that to prove true. It turned out that one of the contracts, Urano’s, granted you the Saitama Super Arena Right to Challenge Sword, a sword which guarantees you the main event at Saitama Super Arena. Like the normal contracts, that is defended in every match you have, which caused Urano to worry that he had two more that day.
Sadly for him, he didn’t have to wait long as Imabayashi let slip that the other contracts also allowed you to challenge for the Sword. Daisuke being Daisuke saw that as an opportunity.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Daisuke Sasaki defeated Yasu Urano for the Right to Challenge for the KO-D Openweight Title at Saitama Super Arena Sword
This can’t have gone much over a minute, but it was a really entertaining minute. Sasaki unleashed with a flurry of moves only for Urano to have a couple of hope spots, nearly leaving the DAMNATION man looking very silly as he snuck in a couple of long two counts off flash pins. Thankfully for Sasaki, he reversed a pin attempt into one of his own and stole away with the sword. Christ, I’ve just realised the thought of Sasaki with a sword is quite terrifying. Fingers crossed it isn’t sharp.
Verdict: Three Stars
Naomichi Marufuji defeated Kazuki Hirata
Marufuji may have joined Disaster Box, but he didn’t do his homework because despite having met Hirata before, he’d forgotten his name. With that in mind, this match was put together to give Hirata a chance to prove himself to the legendary wrestler.
Unfortunately, Hirata decided the best way to get Marufuji’s respect was to attack him backstage and, em, well, it didn’t go to plan. Maru ended up carrying his lifeless body to the ring after Hirata failed to answer his music (brilliantly, they still introduced him, and people threw streamers onto his unconscious form). It wasn’t until Imabyashi got rather annoyed with the knocked out goofball, slapping him awake because he didn’t want to give refunds, that he woke up. Hirata then begged for Marufuji’s forgiveness and challenged him to a clean match, which turned out to mean that he’d wait at least five seconds before going for a chair.
I don’t want to disrespect Marufuji, the man is a modern-day legend, but this is the perfect way to use him in 2020. This match portrayed him as unstoppable as he chopped the fuck out of Hirata and pulled out a host of his signature sports. It played off his legend, without requiring him to push his body to do things it can’t do any more.
In the final act, Hirata saw the end coming and desperately pleaded with Marufuji to dance with him. His hero hesitated, but finally agreed and it was beautiful. Then Hirata proved to be cheeky wee prick as he tried to steal the win only to end up being murdered with a Ko-oh by a still boogieing Marufuji. However, in the post-match, Maru learnt his name and they walked to the back together, so I suspect Hirata got everything he wanted. I certainly did, as I loved this.
Verdict: Four Stars
Nautilus (Naomi Yoshimura and Yuki Ueno) defeated Yuki Iino and Chihiro Hashimoto to retain the KO-D Tag Team Titles
Iino and Chihiro have become bickering partners and were very unimpressed that someone had set-up a mash-up of their entrance themes. I would not like to be the person that has those two angrily banging on their door.
Despite those disagreements, the two of them started the match on the same page. Hashimoto even took part in a haka, as the beefy kids found their groove. For Nautilus, that must have been an intimidating sight, and it led to Aino spending more time being dropped on his head than he probably would have liked. Not that Yoshimura did much better, he was sandwiched with a Double Lariat before being pulled out of the corner for a Chihiro Powerbomb.
In the end, it would take an impressive counter from Yoshimura to change the tide as he flipped a charging Iino into a Judo Throw. A couple of stiff Lariats then later softened the big man up enough to hit a Shonenba and get the three. This was a fun match, although I was surprised that the story they were telling with Hashimoto and Iino was somewhat sidelined. It would have been nice to have a moment of miscommunication play into the finish, but it wasn’t to be, and I still enjoyed myself.
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
Masato Tanaka defeated HARASHIMA to win the KO-D Openweight Title
Wow, I did not see that coming. Like many, I thought the story was set in stone for this one. Tanaka entered the company, ran through the D-Oh unbeaten and was now going to fall to the Ace. What is it they say about assumption and making an ass?
Although, with the benefit of hindsight, perhaps it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Tanaka’s entire DDT run has been built around him being unkillable. He brings an intensity to the ring that no-one has been able to match. Even in the opening minutes, he was charging across the apron hitting a brutal looking Sliding D to HARASHIMA who was stood on the floor.
Not that HARASHIMA didn’t try to match him. He pushed himself to an extra level, falling from the top rope to the floor to Splash Tanaka through a table and crashing in with multiple Somatos. However, Tanaka was like a horror villain, rising again and again to continue the fight. HARASHIMA even dived in the play book of one of his heroes, Hayabusa, a man who Tanaka wrestled with countless times and never defeated in singles competition. Even that wouldn’t prove to be enough, though, Tanaka kicking out of the Firebird Splash and getting up once more.
It meant by the end that there was almost an inevitability about proceedings. 46-year-old Tanaka just had too much, and when he crashed in with one Sliding D before following up with another, you knew the game was up. DDT has a new champion, and who the fuck is going to take that belt off him?
Verdict: Four And A Quarter Stars
Well, first in line is MAO who came out dressed as Pokotan to deliver a ‘just bring it, bitch’. He might have regretted that when Tanaka started beating him with Pokotan’s giant head, but the match will happen all the same.
That was a damn fine show with two brilliant comedy matches, some exciting contracts being dished out and a brace of great title matches. DDT is already setting themselves up to have a very enjoyable year, and I’m looking forward to watching it.
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