DDT Valentine Itabashi Series (1/2/20) Review

Briefcases are dumb. Credit: DDT

DDT is still dishing out Anytime Anywhere contracts, which makes it worth dipping into these shows just to see where they end up. On their trip to Itabashi, there were three more up for grabs, while Sasaki still has a sword, so you know that we’re guaranteed some chaos. Can you risk missing out on the moment where that all goes wrong?

DAMNATION (Daisuke Sasaki and Tetsuya Endo) defeated Tomomitsu Matsunaga and Keigo Nakamura

Keigo shows the fire. Credit: DDT

Talking of Sasaki, here he is, wandering around with an unsheathed sword terrifying me and everyone else. Before the bell, he was menacing Nakamura, with the rookie looking a bit anxious at having a sword-wielding maniac across the ring from him.

Nakamura didn’t get stabbed, but it didn’t stop DAMNATION bullying the poor kid. He took a bit of a beating in this one, and while he had his moments to shine with that high-flying offence he’s perfecting, there was no doubt about the dominant force. Even Matsunaga’s hot tag was short-lived, as this was the Endo and Sasaki show.

Not that there is anything wrong with that. There are few wrestlers as joyous as Tetsuya Endo, as he really is a marvel. The guy is smooth as butter and eventually got the win, tapping Keigo out in an entertaining opener.

Verdict: Three Stars

Konosuke Takeshita and Antonio Honda defeated DISASTER BOX (Kazuki Hirata and Toru Owashi)

I love DDT. Credit: DDT

Takeshita dropping down to do comedy is always a delight, and he was in there with three of my favourite funny wrestlers. Although, Hirata was not in the mood for laughs as Takeshita came out wearing his robe and glasses. In Hirata’s opinion, the half-ass dance he did showed disrespect for the mid-card, and he was going to show them something the main event couldn’t follow (a statement that led to Owashi joking that he’d never had an exciting hard-hitting match that was 2nd on the card).

What followed was glorious. At one point, Owashi (fresh off the Toryumon reunion) put both Takeshita and Honda in Paradise Locks. He then tagged in Hirata demanding that he show the world his Toryumon, at which point poor Hirata got confused and put himself in a Paradise Lock. I mean, if you’re not laughing at that, what are you laughing at?

Everything about this was beautiful nonsense, and while Hirata didn’t get his hard-hitting slugfest (although Referee Matsui did unveil a vicious Lariat), he got all the laughs instead.

Verdict: Four Stars

Danshoku Dieno and Hiroshi Yamato defeated Yukio Naya and Cody Hall

An interesting team pose. Credit: DDT

After laughing my way through the entirety of the last match, I was painfully aware of how few giggles Dieno produced from me in this one. He’s got his shtick, and I understand that, but when you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it a million times. I wouldn’t say teaming with Cody Hall is the way to bring back the laughter either.

For that is what this match built to. Beforehand, Dieno attempted to recruit Naya to his cause, but that was merely a ruse. For, in the final act, Hall attacked his pal, joining Dieno who declared them the Hole/Hall Brothers (because of Dieno’s asshole) before they strutted to the back together. Well, I guess it’s better than a Cody solo run would be.

Anyway, the match was a bit of a nothing while I’m not even going to attempt to work up enthusiasm for anything involving Cody Hall. The person I feel sorry for is Yamato as despite already being on Dieno’s team he was dismissed as not having any impact. Rude.

Verdict: Two Stars

Yuki Iino defeated Mizuki Watase to win a Anytime, Anywhere Contract

Big boy stuff. Credit: DDT

Iino was a snarling and grunting beast in this match, surviving Watase’s attempt to blitz him at the bell before unleashing all the pain in response. I’ve previously suggested he needed to get better at playing to his size and being the kind of monster that his body could make him, but as he no-sold Watase’s Lariats, that was a complaint no longer.

Mizuki got a couple of moments to shine, hitting a lovely Dropkick to a kneeling Iino before attempting to choke the big man out. However, the flow of the match spoke to a man who was surviving rather than flourishing. He even got Iino over for a German at one point, but it was a reprieve rather than a saving move, as a clubbing blow to the back of the head turned things back in Iino’s favour.

It’s been clear for a while DDT sees big things in Iino, and this was further proof of that. He’s now got his hands on one of those contracts, and I wouldn’t want to be the bastard who was trying to get it off him.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Naomi Yoshimura defeated Mad Paulie and Kazusada Higuchi to win a Anytime, Anywhere Contract

Who is the biggest boy? Credit: DDT

We are in the grunty section of the show as some interesting noises were coming out of Yoshimura and Paulie. Combine that with the match mainly revolving around these three running into each other, and I think it’s safe to say we had a hoss fight on our hands.

It was an entertaining hoss fight too, although it did suffer from the usual Three-Way issues with someone having to sell on the outside. Despite that, everyone held up their end of the bargain, and it’s always fun to watch big guys smash into each other. Sure, there is nothing complex about it, but who needs complex?

Yoshimura capped off a good few months by picking up the win, Lariating Paulie out of his boots for the three. I was slightly surprised by that, as I thought Higuchi’s new faction might see him handed the opportunity, but Eruption have plenty of time to make their impact.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Masato Tanaka and Tetsuhiro Kuroda defeated Makoto Oishi & MAO and HARASHIMA & Masahiro Takanashi

Not a side we see of Tanaka often. Credit: DDT

Despite going under ten minutes, this had a lot packed into it. We got Kuroda bringing out the lighter side of Tanaka, even enticing him into some dancing, Takanashi and HARASHIMA bullying Oishi and MAO unleashing his unusual offence on Tanaka to set-up their title match.

And even if his team ended up losing the match, Tanaka pinning Oishi, MAO felt like the star of the action. He attacked Tanaka from behind as he was introduced before diving to ringside to wipe him out. The way he moves around the ring is weird, and he drew attention to that in his post-match promo after getting the better of Tanaka in a quick exchange, suggesting it could lead him to victory.

As for the match itself, it was a lot of fun, although probably not something you’d earmark as essential. It sowed some seeds, and I guess we’ll see if MAO and Tanaka can make them grow.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Akito defeated Soma Takao, Yukio Sakaguchi and Yuki Ueno in an Elimination Match to win a Anytime, Anywhere Contract

What is up with Akito’s face? Credit: DDT

Yukio Sakaguchi is really cool, isn’t he? I spent a decent portion of the main event ruminating on that fact, as he kicked people and tied them up in submissions. Ueno spent the opening minutes of the match trying to wind him up and, well, that was a mistake. Why would you decide that was the guy you were going to prod?

Still, it served as a nice set-up for a bout that for a while trundled along being entertaining without getting out of third gear. Everyone was working hard, but no-one was pushing themselves while we got some enjoyable comedy from Akito reuniting with Takao and leading him through some old spots.

Then, we got down to our final two, Akito and Ueno, who decided it was time to turn things up a notch. For the last few minutes, they put on a show, with Ueno busting out one of the sickest Complete Shots I’ve ever seen not long after he’d face-planted into the ropes in a moment that was either amazing selling or a genuine trip. It was an awesome closing stretch and elevated this from a good match into one approaching greatness.

Plus, Akito got the win which feels right. He’s one of these wrestlers who seems to be quietly fantastic, and I like seeing people like that rewarded. Who knows whether he’ll keep it, but at least for a while, he’s got the right to challenge for the title whenever he wants. If I was him, I’d wait till someone beat that mental old bastard Tanaka first.

Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars

Overall Show

That was a really easy watch with an absolute gem of a comedy match nestled in the undercard to brighten your day. Truthfully, most of this is quite skippable, but you certainly won’t feel like you’ve been ripped off if you do decide to watch it.

Watch DDT: https://www.ddtpro.com/universe

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