These DDT Dojo shows have been so much fun that I’m not entirely sure they need to go back on the road. Sure, it probably wouldn’t be a great business decision, but they could figure it out, right?
Akito defeated Hideki Okatani in an Exhibition Match
By billing this as an exhibition, DDT is giving themselves the chance to debut Okatani twice. In reality, the only difference between this and a regular match is that he wasn’t granted entrance music or gear.
It was built like your standard rookie vs veteran contest, as they kept things simple. Okatani looked solid within the formula, though, grappling well and delivering his hope spots will aplomb. Even without a live crowd, he must have been nervous about wrestling in front of people for the first time, but he never showed it.
I also thought the finish was nicely done as Akito locked in a Single-Leg Crab, but quickly realised Okatani wasn’t going to tap. Rather than sitting in it anyway, he let go, picked him up to hit a vicious Backbreaker and put on a second Crab for the win. In a match vs a rookie, that felt like a veteran move and showed why he is a step ahead.
Verdict: Nice To Meet You, Okatani
Makoto Oishi defeated Yukio Naya and Keigo Nakamura in a Three Way Battle
In theory, this wasn’t a handicap match. However, it quickly became one as Keigo and Oishi concluded they’d be better working together against the big man. Not that it did them much good. They even ended up arguing with the commentary team when Imabayashi (rightly) speculated that they’d be unable to get Naya over for a Double Suplex.
There was always going to be a double-cross in that pairing, but what you might not have seen was Nakamura being the one to initiate it. I’m guessing he realised they had no chance of taking out Naya and figured Oishi was an easier target. It was a nice plan, and it nearly worked, but it did eventually end the way all Keigo’s matches end. With our scrappy rookie taking the pin.
Still, he is getting better! One day you’ll beat one of them, Keigo. I believe in you.
Verdict: Keigo Falls Again
Eruption (Kazusada Higuchi, Yukio Sakaguchi and Saki Akai) defeated Team Ganbare (Shota, Keisuke Ishii and Yumehito Imanari)
I fancy everyone in Eruption and am quite convinced they’re the coolest thing in the world.
The Ganbare team attempted to get the jump on them, attacking before the bell and isolating Saki. That, unfortunately for them, just meant they had to face a hot tag from Higuchi, which probably wasn’t much fun. I like that he and Akai have developed some moves that are basically him throwing her around, it’s an effective strategy.
This was basically an Eruption showcase, but it was an entertaining one, so I won’t complain. I liked the finish too as Imanari did the old Nigel McGuinness/Moxley rebound in the ropes only to run straight into a Sakaguchi submission. He’d have probably been better off falling out of the ring.
Verdict: I ❤ Eruption
NEO Itoh Respect Army (Chris Brookes and Maki Itoh) defeated Antonio Honda and Miyu Yamashita
Every now and then a promotion puts together a match that might as well have been plucked straight out of your brain. This was one of those. Right from the start, where Itoh burst into tears because Brookes didn’t join in her entrance dance only for it to turn out to be a ruse by the cheeky scamps, they were hitting my buttons. It was packed with the kind of moments that will linger in your mind, drawing a smile when you think of them, whether that be Miyu and Honda forming a Mega-Gon or Maki biting Honda’s famously weak knee in an attempt to get the win.
For those more interested in traditional wrestling (boring) we got some great examples of that too, with Brookes and Yamashita having an awesome back and forth. If Chris thought he was safe from Miyu’s kicks due to his height, he was proven wrong, as she did everything in her power to remove his head. He’s since said on Twitter that he’d happily defend the Universal Title against Miyu and if we don’t get that match I will cry.
If wrestling relies on personalities, then this was what happen when you overdose on them. From the lethal goofiness of Honda and Miyu to the bossy sister vibe that Maki and Brookes have going on, every second had something to make you grin. It all added up to something that I will remember for a long old time.
In NEO Itoh Respect Army’s post-match interview Brookes threatened to bathe in Honda’s guts while Maki’s going to eat Miyu’s chin, so that’s something that happened. God, I love them both so much.
ALL OUT (Konosuke Takeshita, Yuki Iino, Royce Chambers and Shunma Katsumata) defeated DISASTER BOX (HARASHIMA, Naomi Yoshimura, Toru Owashi and Kazuki Hirata)
Royce Chambers is a highly rated Aussie who those in the know believe to be rather good. The story is that Takeshita has been pushing to bring him in for a while, although I’m not sure if that’s true or just a way to slot him in with ALL OUT. Either way, he did a flip during his introduction, which impressed Hirata.
Hirata would then almost ruin things for everyone, as the self-proclaimed ‘gatekeeper of the second match’ kicked things off and lost within seconds (his partner seems wholly unbothered about helping him out). Thankfully, as everyone started heading to the back Imabayashi threw a fit, pointing out that they were there to see Royce (or Rice as he called him at first) and they were going to get back in that ring and have a rematch straight away. It was very amusing to watch seven wrestlers cower from the angry bespectacled man in a suit.
What followed was a shitload of fun as we got Hirata’s nonsense combined with some enjoyable wrestling. Royce got his chance to show what he can do, unleashing on Hirata with some cool offence. In this environment, it’s hard to determine whether he’s a great wrestler, but he certainly looked like an impressive one. He’d also learnt enough Japanese to tell Hirata to die, so you’ve got to respect that commitment.
Verdict: Good Wrestling And A Strong Debut
Another ridiculously easy watch from the DDT Dojo. I don’t think there is a match on the card that I’d recommend skipping, but the last two are the main ones. However, as it’s only an hour and a half long, I’m sure you can fit it all in. I love wrestling, don’t you?
Watch DDT: https://www.ddtpro.com/universe