DDT Summer Vacation (23/7/20) Review

Getting some height. Credit: DDT

If Tokyo Joshi is back in Korakuen, you can bet DDT was going to fall straight after them. Their sister brand set a mighty high bar earlier in the day, so it was time to see if they could hurdle over it.

In among the pre-match announcements was news of a Disaster Box five-way and Hirata managing to negotiate himself some easier rules with the caveat that he’d have to do a forfeit if he lost. He pointed out that the last time they did that he hitchhiked to Hiroshima and the footage wasn’t even used, but Owashi couldn’t be arsed listening and threw him out the ring. Can we give Owashi and Hirata a sitcom? I would watch that.

DAMNATION (Soma Takao and Mad Paulie) defeated Keigo Nakamura and Yukio Naya

He’s my boy! Credit: DDT

One day I’m going to write a book on why Keigo Nakamura is the perfect wrestler, none of you fucks will read it, and I’m going to hate you all for as long as I live.

Anyway, this was the exact match you’d expect. There is nothing about Naya to get your teeth into while Paulie and Takao are spinning their wheels. The only person I cared about was Keigo, who played the role of Keigo Nakamura to perfection. In other words, he got the shit kicked out of him.

More Keigo!

Verdict: Keigo >>> Your Favourite Wrestler

Danshoku Dieno, Seigo Tachibana and Super Sasadango Machine defeated DISASTER BOX (Toru Owashi, Naomi Yoshimura and Kazuki Hirata)

Otoki, Seigo team when? Credit: DDT

We got a quick backstage promo where the joke seemed to be that neither Dieno nor Dango noticed that Tachibana had shaved his head. There was also a pre-match announcement warning the fans that he was a delinquent, emphasising that he’s harmless, but that DDT felt they should know.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it set up a match that put Tachibana and Hirata centre stage. Those two goofed it up to the max here, which was a lot of fun. They both fall into that category of very funny men who are damn good wrestlers, making the giggles all the more enjoyable.

In the end, Tachibana got some Hirata-like sunglasses and unleashed a Showa Twist Otoki would be proud of. That was enough to power his team to victory as the nonsense proved powerful. If you’re in the mood for some silly, it will tick your boxes.

Verdict: Fun Nonsense

Shinya Aoki defeated Maku Donaruto in a Regular Wrestling Match Where They Were Allowed To Undress If They Wanted To

There was a lot of this. Credit: DDT

Aoki declaring this a normal wrestling match with the caveat that they can take their clothes off at any time might be my favourite DDT stip this year. It’s so utterly random and led to the brilliant image of Referee Matsui confirming that yes, that was what he said.

Unfortunately, that was the only part of the match that I did find amusing. I just don’t find the gay panic bullshit that Donaruto peddles funny. It’s Dieno, but with all the charm and charisma that Dieno possesses removed. That’s hardly the basis for comic genius.

There is a lot of amusing material to be mined from someone like Aoki ending up in the kind of bizarre situations that only DDT can provide. Unfortunately, if I were to rank them, this one would be right down the bottom.

Verdict: Funny Stip, Not So Funny Everything Else

Chris Brookes and Drew Parker defeated DAMNATION (Daisuke Sasaki and Nobuhiro Shimatani)

Cannonball! Credit: DDT

Drew Parker is the undiscussed success story of British wrestling. He’s a guy who excels in deathmatches and has made his way to THE company in that genre. Now, Drew is spreading out, getting opportunities to show what he can do. On top of that (with the caveat that it’s dangerous to assume this in modern Britwres), he seems like a decent guy, so it’s hard not to wish him all the success in the world.

This was a match that highlighted his strengths too, Brookes taking the heat section to build to a hot tag that showed off Parker’s scrappy high-flying offence. He also spent plenty of time being beat-up, giving him a chance to bump around and display some of that deathmatch resilience.

Elsewhere, it’s clear Brookes and Daisuke are never going to get along, Sasaki using Masa’s moves to taunt Chris before getting bopped on the head with his own sign. Nobu, meanwhile, was a pure shot of Nobuness, bursting with energetic bluster before taking the pin off a Parker Swanton.

It was, when you added it all together, an enjoyable mid-card tag: nothing you need to see, but something I can’t imagine not enjoying.

Verdict: Good Stuff

Afterwards, Parker challenged Brookes for the Universal Title, the two doing the entire exchange in Japanese (it’s safe to say Drew carried the conversation, but it was still impressive). That will be another big chance for him to impress and, in there with Chris, I suspect he’ll do just that.

Eruption (Kazusada Higuchi, Yukio Sakaguchi and Saki Akai) defeated HARASHIMA, Riho and Antonio Honda to retain the KO-D Six Man Titles

Gon goes lethal. Credit: DDT

Honda wasn’t joking when he claimed Sakaguchi likes his stories, was he? That hardass motherfucker who looks like he could kick your head off spent every second Honda had a mic doing everything he could not to break and failing miserably, giggling away while Gon was on his adventures. The moment where he unleashed a pair of Gons of his own is going to be one of my favourites this year.

It wasn’t the only great moment in this match either. You’re not going to get many size disparities as vast as Riho and Higuchi, so it was one to savour. There was an almost hushed silence when he chopped her as if people couldn’t quite believe he’d done it. Then, when he hoisted her into the air, it looked like a man attacking a child, although the knees she’d come back at him with when HARA pulled her free made it very clear that Riho is anything but.

Eruption trios matches are becoming a sign of quality, so when you put three great wrestlers across from them, there was little chance this was going to let you down. Thankfully, it didn’t, and this was a lot of fun.

Verdict: ❤ Eruption

Dieno and Tachibana came down to challenge afterwards, revealing Yoshiko (who appeared on the screen with a cooking recipe for how to defeat Eruption) to be their third. Sakaguchi also became the first person to notice Seigo’s shaved head, Dieno reacting in shock when it was pointed out.

Junretsu (Jun Akiyama, Makoto Oishi, Mizuki Watase and Hideki Okatani) defeated ALLOUT (Konosuke Takeshita, Akito, Shunma Katsumata and Yuki Iino)

That probably hurt. Credit: DDT

The pairing up of ALL OUT and the newly named Junretsu all feels a bit pointless. There are some talented wrestlers involved, but everyone and their dog knows this is about two men and two men alone, Akiyama and Takeshita.

It leaves everything else in these matches feeling a bit like a holding pattern, keeping you in place before we get to the good stuff. None of it is bad, but it’s filler, making it very hard to engage in it beyond a passing interest. Although Watase’s new hairstyle is a massive improvement, so it had that going for it.

When Akiyama and Takeshita did face-off, the intensity rose with them, but not quite to the level it needed to. Still, the match did its job as the legend put the young pretender down, seeing him off with aplomb and showing he’s still got a fair bit left in that tank.

Verdict: Wasn’t Feeling It, But A Good Finish

Tetsuya Endo defeated Yuki Ueno to retain the KO-D Title

I can’t deny that they’re impressive. Credit: DDT

Coming mere hours after the Tokyo Joshi Korakuen, this main event served as a lovely contrast to Aino vs Sakazaki. I already wrote about that match feeling like two people slugging it out, the lack of perfection playing to their benefit as it progressed. On the flip side, this was an example of two incredible athletes making the spectacular look easy.

And as jaw dropping as some of the things Ueno and Endo could do is, I’d be lying if I said it hooked me. I like both these guys, or at least I thought I did, but I really struggled to connect with this match. Maybe I’m just in a grump, who knows, but it felt too smooth, too perfect, as they slipped from sequence to sequence doing things that should be incredible yet left me feeling, well, nothing.

Sorry, I realise I’m not actually talking about the action, and I suspect that most people will enjoy this. In fact, there is every chance that if I watched it on a different day at a different time, I would too. However, on this day, it did little for me. These two danced an incredible dance, but it was one lacking in heart. In reaching for the extraordinary, they somehow came up with sterile, and that left me cold.

Verdict: Something Didn’t Click

There was no new challenger as the King of DDT Tournament is up next, but Endo vowed to win it himself and challenge Kenny Omega at Ultimate Party. While I suspect having Omega over for Ultimate Party is a stretch, it does suggest that the challenge everyone expected him to make will still happen.

Overall Show

A mixed bag of a show if I’m honest. If that main event had clicked with me I’d have put it down as a good one, but it meant the last hour was a bit of a drag. Still, I have a suspicion that I’m just being a moody cunt (I’ve hurt my back, and it’s really fucking sore, so I’m going to blame that), and there is every chance others will enjoy it a lot more than I did.

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

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