Unless things take a turn for the worse in Japan, this will be the last DDT TV Show to take place in an empty arena. It’s the end of an era, but probably not one that deserves much in the way of celebration. We can say that I think DDT have dealt with it all rather brilliantly, and it will be interesting to see if any of the tricks they’ve picked up along the way will continue to be of use in front of fans.
Toru Owashi, Tomomitsu Matsunaga and Yukio Naya defeated Yuki Iino, Shunma Katsumata and Hideki Okatani
Matsunaga insisted on wrestling with his face mask on which is taking safety to the next level. Not entirely sure it makes a difference when you’re rolling around in your underwear with five other men, but I respect his commitment. In the UK we can barely get people to wear them to go to the shops, so he’s a shining example to us all.
The match itself was a mix of comedy and hoss stuff. That comedy was largely based around how unfunny Shunma is with ddtpro_eng pointing out that he couldn’t even find the joke in his Japanese to translate (as usual, follow him on Twitter for the stuff that is translatable).
When that was done, the final minutes were handed over to big guys running into each other before Naya disposed of Okatani with ease. It was a solid wee opener, nothing special, but it had Toru Owashi in it, and I love him, so I had a nice time.
Antonio Honda defeated Danshoku Dieno to win the Ironman Heavyweight Title, but then lost it back to him seconds later (as far as I could tell)
Honda and Dieno were going for that big match vibe as the cameras met them backstage and followed them through their entrance. Is it any surprise? I mean, this feud has been, em, raging (?) for weeks now. Dieno even changed up his hair for the occasion, looking good with it newly dyed black.
Of course, there was no chance in hell this was going to be a normal match. It took a while for us to get there, the only unusual thing in the opening minutes being a very up close and personal camera angle during Dieno’s Nightmare, but beyond that, it was pretty standard fare.
Then, Gon came out, and things took a turn. It’s one of those moments that I’m not even going to attempt to describe because it will only ruin the joke. However, it was the first time in this series that I’ve belly laughed and it climaxed with them blowing through the roof of the venue, so you can probably tell from that whether it’s going to be for you or not. It certainly worked for me.
Verdict: They Earned Those Laughs
Eruption (Kazusada Higuchi, Yukio Sakaguchi and Saki Akai) defeated DAMNHEARTS (El Lindaman, Nobuhiro Shimatani and Mad Paulie)
Nobu and Linda have the exact dynamic that you would imagine Nobu and Linda to have. They were also equally successful in taking Higuchi off his feet, by which I mean, not at all successful. You’ve got to give Lindaman credit, though. He tried his fucking hardest, running into the big man again and again. Honestly, if that had been the entire show, I would have been happy.
The dynamic between the two goofs would take centre-stage here, but it was the perfect one for Eruption to bounce off. Those two made them look like the serious badasses they are, while Linda took one hell of a Chokeslam from Higuchi towards the end. It’s no secret that I already think they’re the coolest faction in the world, but when you put them in the ring with wrestlers whose coolness comes from their lack of cool, that is only amplified.
As a final note, I need Nobu and Linda to go on a tag run. They had that bickering, odd-couple nonsense down to Tam and Arisa levels of brilliant, and I need to see more.
Verdict: Nobu and Linda Now!
Afterwards, Sakaguchi called out Endo and congratulated him on bringing the belt back to DDT. Akai then grabbed the mic as Eruption laid out their challenge for the trios titles. Unsurprisingly, Linda had plenty to say about that (including calling Saki short with thick legs), but accepted with a rather fetishized stipulation where Saki has to kneel, ask him why he’s so big and lick his shoe if Eruption lose. Yea, I ain’t touching that.
Jun Akiyama and Mizuki Watase defeated Chris Brookes and Keigo Nakamura
Brookes has been on a fucking roll recently. He followed up his brilliant ChocoPro match with Mei Suruga by having another banger with Mitsuru Konno. Now, he’s getting to share a ring with Jun Akiyama which has to have been an awesome moment for him.
Brookes wasn’t the only one who had his eyes on old Jun, though. Keigo tagged into the ring with Watase but was much more interested in getting into it with the man on the apron. It was brilliantly Keigo as he continually threw himself at the legend, gallantly demanding a beating.
It was a nice hook for what turned into a fun match. Watase even got to spend a week not being beat-up and pick up a win, pinning Nakamura with a Backdrop Driver.
Verdict: ‘Mon Yersel’ Keigo
Oishi, who has recovered from his fall last week, came out and asked Akiyama to team with him. The legend said he didn’t know enough about him yet for that, but he’d give him a match.
DAMNATION (Daisuke Sasaki and Soma Takao) defeated Disaster Box (HARASHIMA and Naomi Yoshimura)
I’m a big fan of tag team matches where the regular team, Takao and Sasaki, win because they’re just a smidge more in tune. Yes, HARASHIMA and Yoshimura aren’t strangers, but they don’t have the experience the former tag champs do, and that made all the difference.
They did it by trying to take big Naomi out of the game, attacking his arm and negating some of that power. That meant that while HARASHIMA was his usual brilliant self, he was fighting an uphill battle.
In the end, Daisuke also used the opportunity to send a message, beating Yoshimura with the Takatanic, a pretty direct message to Masa Takanashi who he had claimed as his next challenger. More on that below the verdict.
Verdict: Good Stuff
For, despite being out for the year, Masa was there, hobbling to the ring on crutches. He wanted Sasaki to promise to fight him when he was healthy, but Daisuke was more interested in kicking him in his injured leg. Unfortunately for the champ, who had sent Soma to order Uber Eats, Masa had a plan too, Chris Brookes making the save and that crutch proving a pretty effective weapon.
It turned out that Masa would be taking his title shot now, he’d just prefer his mate do it for him. Imabayashi approved, and Brookes has got the one on one rematch he deserves.
Yuki Ueno defeated MAO to win an Anytime Anywhere Gauntlet
The early story of this match seemed to be that MAO was a step ahead of Ueno. They are beautiful wrestlers, smooth as silk and capable of working at incredible speed as they dance through flawless sequences. The common thread between all of them, though, was that MAO came out on top. He had a counter for every move, including a great one where he caught Yuki with his knees as he came off the top.
However, sadly for MAO, when push came to shove, controlling the bulk of the match didn’t matter. For, in the final seconds, it was Ueno who was a step ahead, bundling MAO over with a Rana for the three. Sadly, it was the one moment of the match that wasn’t perfectly smooth, it taking Ueno a second too long to grab the leg and removing the surprise element of the pin.
Throw in the fact that said finish seemed a bit sudden as the match could have probably used a few more minutes to breath (not often I say that), and it’s hard to go all out on this one. However, it was still an enjoyable showing from two talented chaps. Perhaps DDT will be nice and give it to us again somewhere down the line.
Verdict: Good, But Needed More Time
DAMNHEARTS (Tetsuya Endo and T-Hawk) defeated ALLOUT (Konosuke Takeshita and Akito)
There was a bit of ‘anything you can do we can do better to this one’. Early on, Endo and T-Hawk went after Takeshita’s leg (you’d have thought they might have focused on the eye that popped out last week, but it’s healed remarkably well), going all out to hobble him. Before they did that, though, they probably should have considered that Tanaka did a fair bit of damage to Endo’s same appendage. That meant that when ALLOUT took control, they could do the exact same thing, and they had a bit of a head start.
Akito was brilliant in this match. His working over of Endo’s leg was fantastic, as he seemed hyper-focused on the limb. It helps that Tetsuya is one hell of a seller, of course, and the two of them combined to really push home that injury. One would almost think they were trying to plant a seed of doubt about Endo’s health. Why ever would they do that?
In the end, a ref bump turned the game, allowing DAMNHEARTS to flood the ring and flip the momentum for the win. If that had been the end of the episode, it would have felt a bit cheap, but it turned out there was still one more twist to come.
Verdict: Good Match, Cheap Finish
Tetsuya Endo defeated Yuki Ueno to retain the KO-D Heavyweight Title
For as Endo celebrated, a wild Ueno appeared, Dropkicking his love from behind. Thankfully, he wasn’t drunk, so we didn’t get a repeat of the Dojo show and, instead, he was cashing in his Anytime Anywhere Gauntlet now.
If it wasn’t already clear that Endo is the Ace of the DDT TV Show, this would have been his crowning moment. Once again, he pulled double duty and was sublime. Seriously, the fucker is a machine, powering on as if he hadn’t already wrestled a match where he spent a fair amount of time in the ring. Apparently being super fit does make you better at athletic stuff.
The story was pretty simple as Endo was trying to survive. Ueno may have wrestled a match too, but he’d had time to rest up and came into this relatively fresh. Endo was fighting him off for most of the action, looking for opportunities to turn the tide in his favour.
In the end, that moment came when he got his knees up on a BME, twisting Ueno round and wrapping him up in the Modified Yurikamome. The new champ keeps his belt and continues to prove that he is pretty damn good at this wrestling malarky.
Verdict: Endo The Machine
Having kept hold of the big belt, Endo decided he wanted a third title to add to his collection. He challenged Ueno for his tag titles, naming Nobu as his partner (a decision that caught Nobu off-guard). Ueno accepted the challenge, setting that up for two weeks from now.
Going in I thought this was one of the less interesting cards DDT has put together for their TV Show, but it turned out to be pretty good. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve set-up some shiny matches for the fans who will be lucky enough to be in attendance in the next few weeks as DDT begins its return to normality. As someone living in the UK where normality feels a long way away, I am very jealous.
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