With the world (well, parts of it) returning to normal, it was time to say goodbye to the DDT TV Show. They went out with a bang, though, delivering two big title challenges. Was it a newsworthy show or was the status quo retained? Time to find out.
DAMNATION (Soma Takao and Mad Paulie) defeated Mizuki Watase and Keigo Nakamura
Having suffered a humiliating loss to Okatani last week, this was a chance for wee Keigo to redeem himself. Sadly it wasn’t to be. He’d do alright, surviving a Paulie mauling and even giving Watase a helping hand. However, he’d insist on being tagged in at a crucial moment and, well, things went downhill from there.
That’s Keigo’s lot in life, but I’m a bit unsure about DDT’s plans for Watase. He’s been tied to Akiyama, but in matches like this he becomes a total non-entity, outshone by the charisma of his rookie partner. On top of that, he was on the losing team! I’m struggling to see where this goes.
Anyway, it was all perfectly fine with Paulie and Takao picking up a straightforward victory. It would be nice if they could figure out something to do with Takao; he is spinning his wheels at the moment.
Verdict: It Happened
Danshoku Dieno and Akito defeated Toru Owashi and Kazuki Hirata
Hirata was disheartened by how strong everyone else seemed to have gotten during their time off. Thankfully, he’s not a man to give up, so he’d decided to use this match to get some training in. Early on, Akito outclassed him during some basic chain wrestling, so he politely asked him to show him how he did it. Then, when he’d received his lesson, he said thanks and tagged out to take some notes.
That was the start of an all-star comedic performance from Hirata. At one point, he left Owashi in a hold so he could film it, shushing his agonised screams. It was a move that infuriated Owashi so much that he decided to teach his friend about Armbars. Hirata always makes me laugh, but this was brilliant even by his standards.
Sadly, the final jokes all got a bit too Dieno, which is a lot less amusing, but this was still a Tour de Hirata. He even managed to continue talking into a mic while being hoisted up for the Danshoku Driver, so you can’t fault his commitment to a bit.
Verdict: Hirata Owns It
HARASHIMA defeated Seigo Tachibana
Tachibana seems to be a weird dude. I didn’t watch Wrestle-1, so I know little to nothing about him and have only just discovered he is twenty-two. That moustache is working hard to age him by at least ten years.
Weirdo or not, this was a big opportunity. If you want to impress in DDT, a good match with HARASHIMA will go a long way. Thankfully, that’s what he gave us, even drawing a bit of HARA’s ire after booting him in the side of the head. It flipped this into a surprisingly hard-hitting encounter, both dishing it out with glee.
Of course, he was never going to win, but this still felt like a big moment for Tachibana. He got in there with the face of DDT and pushed him into beating the shit out of him, turning this into a great wee mid-card match at the same time. Sure, it probably hurt like hell, but it made me a fan.
He’d certainly impressed HARSHIMA as he grabbed the mic and pointed out that he thought the kid was good. However, he was less impressed by how rude he was, calling out Dieno and asking why he hadn’t taught his new pal better. In an attempt to help Tachibana learn, Dieno very kindly booked him in a match with Sakaguchi, a move that Tachibana, strangely, didn’t seem a fan of.
Eruption (Kazusada Higuchi, Yukio Sakaguchi and Saki Akai) defeated Antonio Honda, Yukio Naya and Hiroshi Yamato
There was a lot of Gon in this match, Honda taking his customary bump off his first lock-up with Saki. Sadly for our foxy pal, none of it went to plan. Saki countering the initial Gon by having one of her own give him a kiss and the Mega Gon constructed later in the match proving too immobile to recover when its initial attack missed.
Alongside all that lovable nonsense, this was another chance for Eruption to show off how cool they are. Every match they have together sees them get a bit tighter as a unit, and they all compliment each other wonderfully. There was a moment where they took control of the ring, and it was just a pleasure to watch.
The finish had the rather amusing sight of Higuchi holding Honda on his shoulders, not going for a move, but just keeping him there so he couldn’t break up Sakaguchi pinning Naya. He even put him down gently afterwards because he’s that damn nice.
Verdict: Eruption Are So Cool
Despite losing, Honda decided this was the perfect time to make a challenge (he later explained that he knew it would be okay because Sakaguchi likes his stories). He told Eruption he had some partners picked out before introducing Riho and HARASHIMA! That has the potential to be a whole lot of fun.
ALLOUT (Konosuke Takeshita, Yuki Iino and Shunma Katsumata) defeated Akiyama Army (Jun Akiyama, Makoto Oishi and Hideki Okatani)
In a shock transfer window move, Takagi has picked up Akiyama on a loan till the end of the year. I’m a big fan and reckon the veteran will do a brilliant job in tightening up that defence. Fingers crossed it’s also a sign DDT and All Japan are open to working together. That’s the kind of relationship that might just help keep AJPW’s lights on.
Talking of Akiyama, Takeshita had his eyes on him, coming out wearing new gear and insisting on starting the match. There would be an intensity to their interactions from the bell while the younger man came out on top in the first forearm exchange.
Those brief snapshots were what this match was all about, the tension crackling between the two of them. When they were in the ring together, everything was brought up a notch while Takeshita was the only ALLOUT member getting the better of Jun. A singles match is clearly in their future, and off the back of this, I’m looking forward to it.
I do, however, want to also give a bit of a shout out to Okatani who got the chance to work with Takeshita and grasped it brilliantly. He showed shitloads of fire, hitting the ropes again and again, crashing in with forearms. There was also a great moment where he went for a Powerbomb only for his back to give out on him at the last moment. The kid’s good, and you can see why DDT have placed him under the watchful eye of Jun Akiyama.
Verdict: Takeshita Vs Akiyama Is Coming
We got an announcement for the King Of DDT tournament, which will be taking place in August. It’s a single-elimination deal and has some fun first-round match-ups, you can click through for the bracket.
NAUTILUS (Yuki Ueno and Naomi Yoshimura) defeated DAMNATION (Tetsuya Endo and Nobuhiro Shimatani) to retain the KO-D Tag Titles
I think everyone and their dog assumed Nobu was in this match to take the fall. He was the odd man out, and when his early attempts to take on Yoshimura continually failed, it seemed natural that he was heading towards his shoulders being down for the three.
However, about halfway through, another story began to emerge. Suddenly, Nobu fired the fuck up, taking the fight to Naomi and dropping him with a Backdrop Suplex. In one flash, he went from the weak link in his team to an equal player, and this whole thing opened up.
It was an opening up that allowed Ueno and Endo to do their thing. Those two are brilliant together, and while their partners popped in and out, it became about them. Much like during Ueno’s recent impromptu title challenge, everything they did was flawless, each moment transitioning beautifully into the next.
Unlike Ueno’s challenge, he was the one to pick up the win. A Splash from the top rope not only proving enough to retain the title but giving him a massive pinfall over the champ. As for the match itself, it was really good. Nothing that’s going to blow your mind and be remembered, but an enjoyable tag that did everything it needed to.
Verdict: Good Stuff
With the victory in his hands, Ueno decided he’d quite like shot number two at Endo. The champ didn’t have much to say, but Imabayashi made it official for the Korakuen on July 23rd.
Chris Brookes defeated Daisuke Sasaki to win the Universal Title
Daisuke Sasaki has made something of a habit out of screwing Chris Brookes over. It’s how he won the title, and it’s how he’s kept it too, but this was Chris’s chance to face him one on one and finally get his revenge. It was also, according to Daisuke, an opportunity to prove that Japanese penis is better. Why? No idea, I generally find it’s better not to question him too much.
You could split this match down the middle assigning one half to Daisuke and one to Brookes. Sasaki’s portion was the first of them, a period where he bent every rule to get the edge and at the same time dropped Brookes from the apron knee first through some chairs, leaving him open to bend a limb too. We got ref bumps, DAMNATION interference and all the rest as Sasaki tried to add another notch in the screwing Brookes’ column.
Unfortunately for him, Chris proved equal to his games. In fact, he came out on top, pulling out Masa Takanashi’s nose grabbing move, but applying it to that famous Japanese penis. That proved enough to set Daisuke up to be dropped head first through a table. Which of those hurt more? Only Sasaki can tell us.
From there, we got the second half of the match, the wrestling part, and honestly, that was the bit I preferred. Brookes and Sasaki can go, and this was their chance to show it. With all the bells and whistles removed, they had an enjoyable back and forth that culminated in Brookes bundling Sasaki up for the three.
If you cut five minutes off the first half of this, I think it would have been great. Sadly, it will have to stick with merely being pretty damn good. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I loved it.
Verdict: Chris Gets Revenge
There was a moment, a very short one, where it looked like Daisuke was going to pay respects to Brookes afterwards. Of course, he then went for a low blow. Sadly for old Charisma, it didn’t work out for him as Brookes caught his hand, smashed him over the head with the belt and sent him off into the sunset; poor Daisuke and his famous Japanese penis.
After that, Imabayashi introduced Brookes to his next foe, Maku Donaruto. This was a match that had been booked pre-lockdown and, honestly, I have little to no interest in it. Donaruto is a less witty Dieno. Chris is a smart guy, so maybe they’ll come up with something interesting, but I won’t be getting my hopes up.
DDT said goodbye to the TV Show with a decent performance. Both main events were strong, if not spectacular, and there were a couple of gems on the undercard. I’ve enjoyed having a wee weekly dose of DDT to kick-off the weekend, so I’m going to miss it.
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