Another week, another trip to Korakuen for DDT, who like most wrestling companies are leaping at every chance to run that iconic building in the COVID era. At first glance, this card might look like it is lacking in big matches, but those that are there all have the potential to be great, so I’m putting it down as a dark horse to be a sneaky good show.
Imabayashi’s pre-show chat included the announcement that the DDT TV Show will be returning with it being taped at least twice a month going forward. We also got D-Oh dates and Muscle Sakai talking about the next Muscle show. That’s some productive rambling, good work, sir.
Akito and Yukio Naya defeated Junretsu (Makoto Oishi and Mizuki Watase)
Oishi was on a mission to make Naya like a monster. I have a tendency to be a bit harsh on the big man, his lack of personality making it hard for me to get behind him, but I got a kick out of him tossing Oishi around the ring. More of that, please.
Outside of Naya trying to break distance records, this was an okay opener. I’m yet to connect with Junretsu as they appear to exist solely so Akiyama can feud with ALL OUT. Sadly, Oishi and Watase did not turn out to be bursting with chemistry, so were unable to alter that opinion. Still, Akito looked good in victory, wrapping Watase up in a pretty wee bow for the submission.
Antonio Honda and Super Sasadango Machine defeated Kazuki Hirata and Keigo Nakamura
Keigo managed to annoy his three senpais as he disrespected the sanctity of the second match by daring to try and make it serious! I mean, I love you Keigo, but you can’t be doing shit like that. Honda, Dango and Hirata take their roles very seriously, and if you mess with them, trouble will come.
So, having watched him already stop Hirata’s dance and Anton’s story, Dango decided it was time for Keigo to be granted his ability – Creative Folktale Musical. Hirata and Honda then proceeded to show off what I assume they hoped would become Keigo’s new shtick? It was all very bizarre, so I had a lovely time, and while Keigo originally looked unimpressed, he did eventually get into the spirit of things.
As I always say, people who don’t like this stuff aren’t watching DDT or are skipping to the main events. They’re most definitely not reading me rambling on about it. It made me laugh, so it did its job.
Eruption (Kazusada Higuchi, Yukio Sakaguchi and Saka Akai) defeated Yoshiko, Danshoku Dieno and Seigo Tachibana
Wow, this one had a bit of everything. Thanks to his uncontrollable corpsing, Sakaguchi had been picked out as the weak link in Eruption. That meant Dieno and Seigo came out wearing tights on their head while Yoshiko had a pair of comedy glasses, the plan being that as long as he was laughing, he wasn’t kicking them.
And that nonsense did take up a big chunk of the match as Sakaguchi repeatedly got caught off-guard, bursting into hysterics at the sight of someone at ringside in a horse mask or Yoshiko in her glasses. However, there was also some really great wrestling here. Saki and Yoshiko faced-off at last year’s Peter Pan, but Akai has come a long way since then and looked the SEAd champs equal more often than not. We also got a brief exchange between Yoshiko and Higuchi, so if someone wants to book that match, I will thank them kindly.
In the end, Sakaguchi was able to grow and overcome his flaw, donning both the tights and a horse mask himself to beat Dieno at his own game. This has been an incredibly enjoyable feud, and they put it to bed with a bout that matched what came before.
Verdict: Brilliant Nonsense
Team Big Boomer (Jun Akiyama and Sanshiro Takagi) defeated ALL OUT (Konosuke Takeshita and Shunma Katsumata)
Teaming Akiyama up with Takagi works a hell of a lot better for me than Junretsu. Takagi is a decent wrestler, but he’s also someone who sprinkles that little bit of DDT magic into proceedings. Whether he was blowing up as they took it in turns slamming Shunma or deciding to do a cartwheel to knock Takashita from the top rope, this match had infinitely more personality than any of Jun’s previous tags.
I don’t know if these things are linked or not (it’s possibly just that they’ve worked together a lot more), but the glimpses of Akiyama vs Takeshita that we got were my favourite yet. They’ve always had snap, those two aren’t afraid to stiff it out, but everything flowed that little bit better, their chemistry clicking into place.
And Jun would notch up another victory too, throwing Shunma over for the three. This match has got me more pumped for that feud than anything else they’ve done, so it has to get the thumbs up.
Verdict: That’s More Like It!
Post-match, Oishi caused much confusion by laying down the challenge for three singles matches between Junretsu and ALL OUT at the next Korakuen (everyone was determined to misunderstand him). He did eventually get his point across, so the ALL OUT vs Junretsu feud has one more chance to win me over.
Chris Brookes defeated Drew Parker in a No-DQ match to retain the Universal Title
There was a lot of significance to this match. On the simplest level, it’s a Welshman and an Englishman fighting for a Japanese title in Korakuen Hall, which is pretty fucking cool. Then there is the fact that Chris has long been a mentor to Parker having known him since he was sixteen. Finally, and perhaps more importantly, they’re friends. Although any hope this was going to be a friendly encounter died when Brookes callously smashed the lovely mug Drew gave him for his birthday. What a bastard.
And that mug hung heavy over this match because they did a lot of very mean things to each other. There were tables, plastics boxes and skewers galore as this balanced on that tight rope between ECW-style hardcore and Drew’s deathmatch leanings (Abdullah Kobayashi was in Drew’s corner). What made it work, though, is that they’re both good wrestlers who know each other very well. In amongst the plunder, they slipped into some lovely sequences, those years working together coming to the fore.
Then, Brookes decided to do things the simple, but very painful way, smashing a chair over Drew’s head to put him down for good. He added the Praying Mantis Bomb afterwards, but I’m not entirely sure it was needed, he’d made his point.
I can’t imagine either of these men would have dared imagine this was where their future was headed back when they first met, but they did themselves proud.
Verdict: Friends Stab Each Other With Skewers
In the aftermath, Brookes decided that Drew wasn’t done with DDT, proposing that they challenge for the tag titles together. Thankfully, both Drew and Imabayashi agreed, so they’re going to get another big moment together somewhere down the line.
DAMNATION (Tetsuya Endo, Daisuke Sasaki, Soma Takao, Mad Paulie and Nobuhiro Shimatani) defeated DISASTER BOX (HARASHIMA, Yuki Ueno, Naomi Yoshimura, Naomichi Marufuji and Toru Owashi) in an Elimination Match
Far too much happens in a match like this for it to be summed up in a review. These kind of tag are wild, as they have a tendency to wrap a whole load of little stories up into one tangled mess of chaos.
What was notable was HARASHIMARAFUJI (should still be HARAFUJI) looking good as a pairing and taking their chance to tee off on Soma (although he got a few licks in too). We also got a really cool sequence involving Daisuke and Ueno, a pairing that clicked nicely until Endo accidentally eliminated his partner.
Ultimately, though, this is probably a match where if you are interested in its various threads, you should just watch it. I can’t imagine anyone who is a fan will come out the other-side disappointed.
Verdict: Too Much To Cover
Everyone was waiting for Endo to announce his opponent, but before we got to that, CIMA popped up on the big screen to continue the build for CIMASOMA vs HARASHIMARAFUJI. After some verbal sparring between the two teams, they actually ended up booking CIMA vs Soma for the 25th of October, as the two partners want to get to know each other better (there were also some japes involving CIMA ‘responding’ to Soma on his pre-taped video).
It was then time for Endo’s announcement as he chose Daisuke to be his opponent at Ultimate Party, a move that seemed to catch his friend off-guard. When he’d figured out what was happening, he promised he’d beat Endo (trying to prove he can control Endo’s mind by playing janken with him, but losing) and saying this had nothing to do with DAMNATION and everything to do with them. As usual, get your translations from ddtpro_eng on Twitter.
That was a dark horse of a show that lived up to its potential. Eruption once again delivered big and we got a great title match between the Brits before a chaotic main event. It was a very watchable affair, and while perhaps lacking a ‘wow’ moment, it gave me more than enough to keep me happy.
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