The doors might be locked, but DDT is still going to give us a Peter Pan, and, in a totally original idea, it’s too big for one day. Our first slice of that cake was the more, em, over the top one? I think that’s fair to say when you take the main event into account. However, if you’re not down for that, you’re probably watching the wrong company.
Nobuhiro Shimatani defeated Seigo Tachibana
DDT billed this as a singles match between two wrestlers who would quite like to appear in DDT regularly, which I think even Gabe Sapolsky would think was a bit much. Tachibana is formerly of Wrestle-1 while Nobu left DDT to go freelance only for the COVID situation to emerge and screw up his life.
Truthfully, I haven’t seen a whole lot of either of these guys and came in expecting a more comedic affair. I was wrong, as they flew out the gates, launching elbows at each other and working a hard-hitting, fast-paced match. It had the feel of a sparky opener, as they kept things pacey and straightforward, but as it was the opener, that’s hardly a complaint.
It ended up being a nice little contest with Nobu getting the win with a Crucifix Driver, but both men impressing. Dieno certainly saw something he liked as he came out and helped Tachibana to his feet afterwards, carrying him to the back. What’s going on there? Knowing Dieno, whatever it is, won’t be PC.
Verdict: Strong Opener
Saori Anou and Hiroshi Yamato defeated Keisuke Ishii and HARUKAZE
The different energies being given off by Anou and Yamato during their entrance was fantastic. He’s singing his wee heart out, and she’s humouring him but needs everyone to know that she’s far too cool for this shit.
It’s a stance you can’t argue with because she is damn cool. Anou would pick up the win in this one, that beautiful Bridging German getting the three while she had some interactions with Ishii that left me wanting that match. Fingers crossed her DDT association extends passed pandemic times because I’d very much like to see her get in the ring with some TJPW talent.
Outside of that, it was a fairly standard tag. Everyone involved is at least decent, and they delivered what you’d expect of them, but without blowing anyone away. Still, there are worse ways to spend a few minutes.
Verdict: Anou Is Cool
DAMNATION (Soma Takao and Mad Paulie) defeated Keigo Nakamura and Hideki Okatani
The rookies gave a damn good performance in this one, looking like a decent team as they brought the fight to DAMNATION. I was slightly disappointed to not see Paulie eating Nakamura for dinner, but you’ve got to give wee Keigo credit, he held his own.
It was Okatani who really shone, though. With Jun Akiyama’s approval ringing in his ears, his confidence seems to have blossomed as he put out a strong showing in the home stretch. He’s settled into the undercard nicely, showing enough to suggest that there is the potential for a bright future.
Of course, DAMNATION would eventually get control of proceedings, putting the kids to bed definitively. It will be Keigo and Hideki’s performances that people remember from this one, though.
Verdict: Good Rookies
Mito-san defeated Pokotan
I suspect that the start of this whole, em, package, yea, let’s go for that, plays very differently depending on whether you speak Japanese or not (as usual, get your translations from ddtpro_eng on Twitter). For me, as Pokotan turned up at Sasadango’s factory and was given a tour by his PR person, it felt like an educational video about factories and how they work. It was only the presence of DDT’s adorable mascot that reminded me I hadn’t reverted back fifteen years to a particularly boring day at school.
Of course, it wasn’t going to end that way. Eventually, Pokotan stumbled upon Dango training his PR person, Mito-san, to beat-up boxes. We then discovered that he aims to start his own joshi promotion, Niigata Joshi Pro Wrestling, or NJPW for short (catchy). Mito, angry at being discovered, pointed out that Pokotan had been looking at her all day with his pervert eyes before vowing he wouldn’t return to Tokyo alive.
What followed was part-match, part-training exercise as Dango stood on the sidelines shouting advice to his trainee. It was also a hell of a lot of fun and an example of DDT comedy at its best. If you’re a fan of that, I don’t see why you wouldn’t enjoy this. There is a new NJPW in town.
Verdict: Kill The Pervert Mascot
ALL OUT (Yuki Iino and Akito) defeated Jun Akiyama and Mizuki Watase
Iino was fired-up to prove himself against Akiyama, although he perhaps let himself get a bit too carried away at times. At one point, he had Akiyama down but got so caught up in doing his Haka, that by the time he’d finished, old Jun was back on his feet and ready to continue the fight. It perhaps wasn’t the big man’s smartest moment, but brains have never been his strength.
Meanwhile, poor Watase’s new role seems to be one where people beat him up. He’s taken some rough shots from Akiyama and Sakaguchi over the last few weeks, and while he’s showing fiery defiance, that trend was to continue. He was out there to play Akiyama’s whipping boy, taking the blows from Iino and Akito to keep the big man safe. It’s a role he excels it, but I can’t imagine it’s much fun.
Iino was the focus of this, though, eventually getting the win with a big old Spear. Throw in Akito being his usual brilliant self and a slice of Akiyama, and you’ve got a decent match. We even got some tension between the big man and the legend afterwards, suggesting that will be Jun Akiyama’s next stop on the DDT roster.
Verdict: Iino Has A Goal
Kongoh (Kenoh, Masa Kitamiya and Haoh) defeated Sanshiro Takagi, Kazusada Higuchi and Tomomitsu Matsunaga
Takagi and Kenoh started with a mini-version of Go vs Fujita, staring each other down intensely, never touching and then tagging out. On their second encounter, Takagi would chop and slam Kenoh only for the NOAH man to no-sell him and only respond when the DDT chairman went for his trademark plastic boxes (said response involved smashing them up).
After that, this slipped into something that had the feel of a NOAH match, hard-hitting and fast-paced. It was a style that Higuchi, in particular, was at home in, having a great interaction with Kitamiya. He’s a big fucker who has worked NOAH before, so it was no surprise to see him look at home in the ring with Kongoh.
Takagi, though, was desperate to make this something else. He kept going back to the DDT well, dragging out plastic boxes and riding the Dramatic Dream Mobile into his opponents. Well, attempting to do so, it didn’t go quite as he’d hoped. This wasn’t clearly defined as wacky vs serious, but there was a smidge of that, and ultimately Takagi’s plan was ripped apart at every turn.
It was a set-up that led to a yet another really enjoyable match. Keeping the pace up is key to these empty arena shows and they rose to that challenge admirably. Then, afterwards, Takagi told KENOH that they weren’t compatible, but should both go off and try to reach the top of the business before perhaps doing this again someday. It looks like a full-blown DDT vs NOAH angle is on the back burner for now.
Verdict: NOAH Makes Their Mark
Daisuke Sasaki defeated Shunma Katsumata and Isami Kodaka in a Hardcore Match to retain the Universal Title
I feel like DDT’s TV Show has had a lot of matches like this and, with the exception of Shunma vs Yoshihiko, I’ve generally said similar stuff. These wrestlers work their arses off, bashing each other over the head and taking bumps that look downright nasty, but it doesn’t do much for me. I respect it while proving incapable of loving ti.
They did at least weave a bit of a story through this, with Isami and Daisuke being dismissive of Shunma at the start. It felt like they were continually throwing him away, more interested in fighting each other than dealing with this Joker pretender. In turn, that gave him a great platform, as he battled not only for the match, but to be taken seriously. Shunma’s at his best when he’s being dismissed, and as he raised the stakes, it was hard for the other two to ignore him.
And, on the whole, I did enjoy it at least a bit. It was too long, but the three of them beat the snot out of each other, going all and doing shit that would feel ill-advised in-front of a crowd. While it was a bit of a shame that Shunma’s performance ended in defeat, that was to be expected, and if you are a fan of this style, I imagine you’ll get more from it than me.
Verdict: Good, But Not For Me
Afterwards, Daisuke and Isami had a surprisingly civil conversation, agreeing to do this again someday, but not too soon because it hurts. Sasaki also challenged Masa Takanashi who has been ruled out for a year, so he doesn’t change.
Konosuke Takeshita defeated Yoshihiko in a Last Man Standing Match
With the benefit of hindsight, this match was always going to be this. It was time for DDT to dip their toe into the Boneyard, as Takeshita and Yoshihiko went to war in an attempt to put this blood feud to bed for good.
Unsurprisingly, this was utter nonsense, but it was DDT nonsense, which means it was wonderful. While WWE’s version of this match turned into shlocky horror fare (a phrase I never mean as an insult), DDT’s had a grainy, low-grade feel as Yoshihiko’s face multiplied across the screen while he chased Takeshita down a road. This cinematic wrestling craze has seen a lot of companies break down their own barriers, but DDT is always willing to take it one step further, pushing against the boundaries others don’t dare to cross. Plus, they had the advantage that one of the wrestlers is a sex doll, which allows you to do some fucked up stuff.
I don’t want to spoil all the great jokes, but there were many. What started as a lampooning of WWE cartwheeled into a weird fever dream of bizarreness, its comedy only serving to make it all the more unhinged. They ended in the kind of explosions you would create in the most basic movie editing software and, to be honest, that was the perfect way to see it out. DDT still reigns supreme when it comes to the ridiculous, and I love them dearly for it.
That was a very enjoyable show. I’m not sure there was any straight-up match that I’ll remember come the end of the year (I’ll definitely remember the main event), but it was a fun, easy watch that made me smile. Two thumbs up!
Watch DDT: https://www.ddtpro.com/universe