DDT April Fool (4/4/20) Review

Dieno isn’t going anywhere. Credit: DDT

With Japan moving into a lockdown, DDT is back behind closed doors, but not in the Dojo! Nope, this time they took to 2AW Square, a bigger venue for a bigger show, even if the fans were still forced to stay at home.

Konosuke Takeshita defeated Jordan Heatley

Jordan gets a moment. Credit: DDT

A bittersweet start to the show as Jordan Heatley made both his DDT debut and his farewell. He is returning to Australia due to family issues, but fingers crossed he’s back someday because everyone speaks very highly of him.

Most of that chat has been about the man, but judging by this he’s a good wrestler too. With this being his farewell, they were given more scope to play with than most debuts, going over ten minutes and having quite a strong back and forth match. It was mainly simple stuff, but Heatley showed good instincts, my favourite spot being Takeshita falling backwards out of a Sleeper only for Jordan to take a second to recover and then grabbing another on the floor.

Of course, he’d say hello and goodbye with a loss, but Takeshita made sure he went out in pain, dropping him neck first on the turnbuckle. There is nothing like a plane flight home in agony. Still, the big man made sure to pull Jordan to his feet and raise his hand, and while it’s a moment that I imagine Heatley wishes had been in front of a packed crowd, it will hopefully still be one he can appreciate.

Verdict: Hope To See You Soon, Jordan

Kazusada Higuchi defeated Keigo Nakamura and Hideki Okatani in a Handicap Match

They tried. Credit: DDT

Keigo and Okatani were arguing about who would start the match, so Higuchi invited them to both bring it. They’d have probably been better running to the back, but youthful exuberance won out.

It’s not hard to make Higuchi look like a badass, but this match did it well. He manhandled the two youngsters, throwing them around the ring and chopping the shit out of them. They got a bit of offence, but even with both of them piling on top of him to get the pin, they were unable to keep the big man down.

If you judge a match by how well it achieves its goals, then this was perfect. The two rookies got a chance to work together and bump around while Higuchi looked like a killer. That’s every box ticked in my book.

Verdict: Nailed It

ALL OUT (Akito and Shunma Katsumata) and Yukio Naya defeated DAMNATION (Daisuke Sasaki, Soma Takao and Mad Paulie)

Poor Akito. Credit: DDT

Mad Paulie is apparently in heat, meaning he is extra violent and extra, em, horny? Check out ddtpro_eng on Twitter for more info on that. That meant he charged the ring, wiping everyone out (including his partners) before disappearing backstage with Akito, although we could hear his screams and got to witness the occasional attempt to escape.

That kind of stuff always makes focusing on the actual wrestling a bit hard. There was a massive bloke in red face paint running around sexually assaulting people (at one point El Lindaman tried to calm him and ended up in his cross hairs, so no-one was safe) and that’s rather distracting.

In the end, though, Paulie’s erratic nature would cost DAMNATION the match with Akito getting a small measure of revenge and you probably know whether this match is for you or not. Then again, you’re reading a DDT review, so it’s definitely for you.

Verdict: Someone Get Paulie In A Cage

We got a quick video from Sakaguchi talking about his match with Tanaka not being in Korakuen any more. He promised to show everyone the belt when they can come to shows again and told people to stay safe.

Syuri defeated Saki Akai

Respect. Credit: DDT

Travel issues prevented Syuri from getting to 2AW Square, so we jumped to the Dojo for this one. If I had to guess, I’d assume it was filmed either before or after the Tokyo Joshi show the day before (it took place in their ring), but I have no proof of that.

Whenever it was, it quickly became a physical affair. Syuri is one of those wrestlers who gets the best out of opponents and by drawing Saki into a kicking contest she highlighted her strengths. I’ve seen a lot of people suggest that these empty arena shows don’t push wrestlers to give their all, but as these two laid into every kick, they certainly couldn’t be accused of that.

The difference between the two was Syuri’s technical prowess. Saki could trade strikes, but she couldn’t stop Syuri taking her to the ground and twisting on her because that’s not her game. I’ve complained before about wrestlers suddenly finding unknown technical talent when asked to grapple, but Saki never fell into that trap. Even when she got an Ankle Lock on, she used it as a set-up, rather than trying to win the match with it, and Syuri’s superior skills would get the win.

I like these women and came into this with strong expectations, but they blew through those. It was a hard-hitting, well-worked affair that made them both look great. Afterwards they paid tribute to each other, pointing out that they’d like to do it again in front of a crowd and I for one will happily watch.

Verdict: Kicks For Everyone

It was announced that Saki’s next trial series match will be against Saori Anou.

Danshoku Dieno and Chris Brookes vs The Moonlight Express (MAO and Mike Bailey) ended in no-contest

Dieno gonna Dieno. Credit: DDT

Paulie isn’t the only one in heat as something had Bailey wound up and charging around ringside, going after everyone who got in his way. It seemed to be some Dieno related anger as the first time he went after Bailey’s dick he snapped, grabbing chairs, screaming ‘don’t touch my penis’ and trying to stop the show.

It was set-up which gave us a nice inversion of the usual Dieno formula as Bailey continued to barrel around the place, doing everything in his power to prevent Dieno being Dieno. At one point, that involved hitting a Burning Hammer off the apron. Sure, there was a convenient crash mat there that they all took turns hitting moves onto, but it was still pretty cool.

Of course, if you try and stop Dieno that only makes him more powerful. He would get the last laugh, surviving an, em, guillotining attempt and dragging everyone into the boot of a car to have sex. Said car would then drive off with Dieno doing his thing as Referee Matsui solemnly closed the door behind them. I think that counts as a no-contest? Honestly, who knows. Whatever it was, this was an example of Dieno being done right.

Verdict: The Good Kind Of Nonsense

Takeshita took a second to address the current situation, talking about doing all they can and saying how much he wants to see everyone back in the arenas soon. Jordan also got a chance to say goodbye, proving once again that he speaks good Japanese (I assume it’s good anyway, he could be talking utter nonsense). He promised to keep wrestling in Australia and said that he wants to return someday. A load of wrestlers then came out to shake his hands, have a hug and say goodbye. That kind of shit will always make me emotional, as you could see Jordan fighting back the tears.

Shinya Aoki defeated Makoto Oishi in a No Move No Life Rules Match to retain the DDT Extreme Title

The tension! Credit: DDT

To the shock of absolutely no-one, DDT watched their pals in NOAH do a staring contest and thought why the fuck didn’t we come up with that? This was a NO MOVE, NO LIFE match, meaning that it was split into move and don’t move sections. If you moved during the don’t move section, you lost a point, lose three points, and you’re done. Apart from that, everything continued as standard…

Of course, this being DDT, even during the first move section, these two men barely got going, staring across the ring at each other and slowly building up to that first contact. Aoki would end up pausing when he was half-hunched over, frozen in a stance that must have been at least a little bit uncomfortable. Then, when they did get going, the strategising began. Oishi would adapt better, discovering a cheeky finger up the arse could go unseen by Referee Matsui before taking advantage of Aoki’s frozen status to sacrifice some points for a cheap-shot.

Ultimately, though, his strategising would be the death of him. With two infractions on the board, he ended up in a pin as they swapped from a move to don’t move section. It left him in an impossible situation, kick out, and he loses, don’t kick out, and he loses. That’s the kind of finish that you could only get in DDT, and I loved it.

You aren’t going to put this up as the best of the Extreme Title (the light tube match), but I still thought it was great. They poked fun at NOAH and used the stipulation brilliantly. If you’re a DDT fan, I can’t imagine not appreciating this.

Verdict: Perfecting The Stip

Post-match Aoki became my new favourite person by asking Keigo to be his next challenger! Nakamura is going for the big one, folks.

DAMNHEARTS (Tetsuya Endo, T-Hawk and El Lindaman) defeated DISASTER BOX (HARASHIMA, Naomi Yoshimura and Yuki Ueno) to retain the KO-D Six Man Tag Titles

Not a great spot to be in. Credit: DDT

Can El Lindaman be in every wrestling match? The man is a goddamn joy as everything he does is ludicrously entertaining. I want to watch him face-off with everyone.

The entertaining tag can be applied to this whole match. It was the kind of six-man which flies past in a rain of bodies and cool shit. Ueno was the workhorse, having great interactions with Endo, getting baka written on his back and taking a beating for his team as he worked a lot of the action. That guy has to be one of the most underrated wrestlers on the planet, right? No-one talks about him.

There isn’t much more to say, to be honest. It was just a great tag with DAMNHEARTS continuing to prove to be one of the better bits of booking this year. Quite frankly, I’m struggling to think about what life was like when they weren’t together, and I hope we don’t have to see it any time soon.

Verdict: Whole Lotta Fun

The triumphant champs had some fun post-match including Endo doing his Inoki impression (ddtpro_eng if you want more info).

That wasn’t the interesting part, though. The interesting part was fucking Dieno hitting the ring to cut an inspirational promo with tears in his eyes. Of all the people I expected to do that, it wasn’t him, but fuck did he pull it off. On my list of things I was planning to do today, crying at a Danshoku Dieno promo cut in Japanese wasn’t one of them, but there we go. Look after yourselves, folks, stay safe.

Overall Show

DDT stepping up with their usual reliable brand of escapism. It’s impossible to ignore what’s happening in the world right now, but for a couple of hours, DDT took it all away, and I love them for that.

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

If you enjoyed this review, please consider contributing to my Ko-fi, even the smallest amount is appreciated.

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