Saturday morning wrestling (if you live in the UK) feels right, doesn’t it? DDT’s new weekly TV show is filling a niche I didn’t realise needed to be filled, but I’m glad to have it and, after a hot first week, let’s hope number two is just as good.
The opening video featured footage of all the DDT wrestlers being responsible and washing their hands. Sadly, they didn’t go full ChocoPro and sing a song, but I can still dig it.
Saori Anou and Yukio Naya defeated Saki Akai and Mizuki Watase
Here is an extremely random thing to pick out from this match, but Saori pulled off a beautiful Bridging Backslide. Saki is a fair bit taller than her, so she had to arch her body in a way that was hella impressive. In the grand scheme of the match, it wasn’t that big a moment, but it earned a nod of approval from me.
It wasn’t the only good moment either, as it proved a fun opener. Naya and Anou made an intriguing pairing, as he slipped nicely into the role of her muscle. The real interest, though, was in Saki vs Anou, which is set to be the next match in Akai’s trial series. The two seemed to work together alright if a tad hesitantly at times, but perhaps this was their chance to iron out those wrinkles.
Plus, Anou ended up coming away with the win, a Bridging German allowing her to make her impact. It left Akai with something to think about before they face off next week and it left me intrigued to see how that goes down.
Akito defeated Yoshihiko to win an Anytime Anywhere Gauntlet
Yoshihiko started the match in his corner, head bowed and seemingly entirely unbothered about Akito. He’s promised to destroy ALLOUT, but he was in no hurry to do so.
Once the match started, there was no taking it easy, though. This was a gruelling battle, built around submissions and big moves. Akito was particularly brilliant, at times looking like he could have been wrestling himself as he and Yoshihiko battled for control on the ground.
In the end, though, the turning point came from outside, Takeshita getting his revenge for Yoshihiko’s attack last week with a brutal assault. He wrapped the poor bastard around the ring post in a move that (if it had gone wrong) could have genuinely killed the star. With that in mind, it was no surprise that when Yoshihiko was rolled back into the ring, this was over.
That was well done, Akito looking great and Yoshihiko retains his aura thanks to the outside interference. One suspects this isn’t the last we’ve seen in the war between him and ALLOUT.
Verdict: ALLOUT Win The Battle
Danshoku Dieno defeated HARASHIMA, Soma Takao and Keigo Nakamura to retain the Ironman Heavy Metal Title
Beforehand Nakamura made his way to Takao and HARASHIMA’s locker-rooms, letting it slip that Dieno was planning on going after them. It was all part of his master plan to overcome two superior wrestlers, but we got a glimpse of Dieno watching from the shadows, suggesting he was well aware of these plans (get your translations from ddtpro_eng on Twitter).
It did give us an unusual match stipulation, though. At the request of three of the four participants, this was a delayed entry battle royal for one of the wrestlers. The other three would be given five minutes before he was allowed to enter the ring, and the match was one-fall to a finish. Unsurprisingly, that participant turned out to be Dieno.
I’m not sure exactly how Keigo thought this would help him, but it didn’t work. He spent most of the five minutes being beat on, with HARASHIMA going particularly hard on him when Nakamura tried to sneak a flash pin. Then, when Dieno turned up, he got a big smooch and was dropped on his head. All things said, probably not an enjoyable afternoon for lovely Keigo.
It was a fine match, though. Nothing about it particularly stood out or blew my mind, and it certainly wasn’t as eventful as Dieno’s last defence, but I didn’t hate it. It passed the time nicely.
Verdict: Poor Keigo
Konosuke Takeshita defeated Gota Ihashi
I have mixed feelings on this match. Ihashi’s brand of humour, like Dieno’s, is not for me. They built this around how funny it is to see him do things because he’s fat and that’s, at best, lazy and, at worst, offensive. It’s the kind of thing I could do without, and it made it hard for me to appreciate the other parts which, from what I did manage to concentrate on, seemed like they were pretty good.
Ultimately, though, this stopped being about Takeshita vs Ihashi, for Takeshita was about to pay for his sins. As he set-up for a German, the lights went off and when they came on Yoshihiko was back. This week Takeshita managed to fight back, but it was short-lived, a choke and a slightly awkward Piledriver allowing Yoshihiko to make his point, even if Takeshita would eventually win the match after avoiding a Moonsault.
Afterwards, Shunma would challenge Yoshihiko to a hardcore match, as he becomes the latest ALLOUT member to take on the killer. I’m enjoying this angle, and it made up for a bout that didn’t land with me.
Verdict: Better Angle Than Match
It was announced that Jun Akiyama is going to be training and wrestling with DDT. They set-up his first match (him and Keisuke Ishii vs Mizuki Watase and Hideki Okatani) and had Takagi make a few comments.
Chris Brookes defeated Shunma Katsumata in a hardcore match
Brookes and Shunma’s history goes back to the battle in the swimming pool, but it was taken to the next level when Brookes threatened to kill Shunma on Twitter. In response, Shunma asked for help from a police officer and got Chris’s account banned at a time when he claims he would have got loads of likes and retweets because of his DDT antics.
As fun as that build was, the match was the kind that I struggle to get into. I think my time as a regular ICW attendee burned me out on this style and while I can appreciate that Shunma and Chris were working hard (and probably both in a lot of pain), I found it hard to get emotionally attached. There was a lot of stuff, but no hook.
It did have its cool moment. There were a couple of inventive uses of steel chairs with Brookes using it in a Gory Special being particularly impressive. There was also a Sunset Flip Bomb off a ladder through some plastic cases that must have been a bitch for poor Brookes to take. In truth, I suspect my inability to get into it had nothing to do with their performance and everything to do with my taste. If it sounds like your kind of thing, make sure and seek it out.
Verdict: Not For Me
As Brookes celebrated, Sasaki attacked from behind, getting revenge for last week and accepting Brookes’ challenge. That brought out MAO and Yoshimura to make the save, which, in turn, set us up for a four-way match for the Universal Title. That wouldn’t have been my first choice, but there are enough inventive minds in there that they might make it work.
Masato Tanaka defeated Yukio Sakaguchi to retain the DDT KO-D Title
Tanaka’s DDT main events are undeniably dumb as hell, but I can’t help really enjoying them.
They all work to his formula too, as Tanaka kicks things off by attacking his opponent’s leg. In the case of Sakaguchi, it’s a tactic that makes a hell of a lot of sense. Yukio’s long legs are crucial to his vicious array of kicks and knees as well as a lot of his submissions.
The problem is that it almost always become irrelevant by the second half of the action. By the time they’re dropping each other on their heads, and Sakaguchi is firing away with those knees, the leg injury seems to have been forgotten, placed to one side in favour of a hellish closing stretch. It’s dumb, totally lacking in consistency and negates the first however many minutes of the match. Yet, I don’t care.
I don’t care because I dare anyone to watch the last five minutes of this and not get caught up in it. By the time Tanaka is peppering Sakaguchi with elbows, drilling each one in, harder and harder it’s impossible not to get swept away, desperate to see if the Eruption man had enough or if he was going to be battered into submission. Then, it went and ended on a knockout, making Tanaka look like the hardest fucker on the planet, an old grizzled bit of wood who is going to murder you all.
Verdict: Big Dumb Fun
Higuchi and Tanaka stared each other down afterwards, as that seems to be where we’re headed next.
I don’t think that quite reached the heights of last week’s show, but it was still a damn good watch. Keeping these at two hours and packing them with a nice blend of nonsense and good wrestling is a perfect formula. I’ve long stood by the idea that weekly TV wrestling is shite, but DDT is on track to prove me wrong.
Watch DDT: https://www.ddtpro.com/universe