I am here to report a crime, my friends! This DDT show ended in tragedy, and it is only right that those responsible for that tragedy face justice. I will get to it at the end of the review, but my god, won’t anyone think of me? It’s also called ‘Who’s Gonna Top?’ which is so on the nose, that I don’t think I can make a joke about it.
To decide who would face-off from Junretsu and ALLOUT, everyone grabbed the end of a rope and pulled, attaching them to their opponent. It was a bit like a sexier Lady & The Tramp, but with fewer meatballs. Wait, would that make it less sexy? Hard to say. Anyway, Oishi was very distressed to find a Takeshita at the end of his rope, a feeling that I can’t imagine many would share. We also got MAO’s return date as he’s coming back at Ultimate Party to face off with Shunma.
DAMNATION (Soma Takao, Nobuhiro Shimatani and Mad Paulie) defeated Toru Owashi, Saki Akai and Hideki Okatani
Nobu kicked off the opener by rapping, which didn’t go down well with his opponents, but gets a lotta love from me.
Saki Akai wrestling Mad Paulie is a fascinating sight. Is there any world, apart from wrestling, where those two people could end up working together? It’s made even better by Akai being presented as his equal, taking him down into a lovely Armbar.
Anyway, this was your fairly standard warm-up the crowd and have some fun job. It was a good match, filled with people I like, but its long-term importance is non-existent. Still, they did everything they had to do, and I had a nice time, so no complaints.
Verdict: Strong Start
Kazuki Hirata defeated Danshoku Dieno
Hirata and Dieno were fighting for the right to call themselves the king of the second match, Hirata even threatening to send Dieno back to the main event.
It was a set-up that I loved, made even better by Dieno coming into the ring with his big match face on, ready for an intense bout of nonsense. Unfortunately, it hit the problem that 90% of Dieno matches do. His shtick ain’t funny.
That’s all the more frustrating because Dieno can be hilarious. His recent attempts to break Sakaguchi were proof of that, and when he put on Hirata’s glasses and had a boogie of his own, he got me laughing. I would find him a lot easier to support if his comedy relied on that stuff more than it did him acting like a sexual predator.
I feel like I’ve probably said all of this before. If you like Dieno, this match will work for you. If you’re like me, you can give it a skip.
Verdict: The Usual
Shinya Aoki defeated Antonio Honda to retain the DDT Extreme Title
Aoki’s bizarre half comedy, half grappling run with the Extreme Title continues. This time around, he and Honda were working to a five-point system, all the usual stuff causing you to drop a point. However, to give Honda a chance, you also lost a point if your opponent made you laugh, which explained why he brought a box of props to the ring.
It’s not often you get a submission vs prop comedy showdown, but that’s what this was. Aoki’s chokes and bars went up against Honda’s nipple ‘hair’ (it was a tie) and erections (see above). Shinya proved to be a tough nut to crack, though, while Honda proved susceptible to more than one of his holds.
This was fun, but nothing incredible. Honda being a physical comedian did help, as often these matches see me spending more time reading ddtpro_eng than watching (check him out on Twitter for translations). However, I don’t think this was his best work, and he’s certainly made me laugh more elsewhere. It was alright, just not one of the Extreme Title classics.
In the aftermath, Aoki offered Takagi a shot at the title, setting up a Weapons Rumble for Ultimate Party. We’re getting a good chunk of that card with plenty of time to spare, aren’t we?
NAUTILUS (Naomi Yoshimura and Yuki Ueno) defeated Chris Brookes and Drew Parker to retain the KO-D Tag Team Titles
Brookes and Parker worked this match as heels, attacking NAUTILUS as they made their entrance and putting them both through tables. From there, they grabbed every chance to bend the rules, with Parker, in particular, unable to resist the temptation to play dirty. He was great in the role, a pest who bumped around like crazy for the champs. It’s probably not good for his health, but it’s fun to watch.
It was also a great set-up for said champs. It put Naomi and Ueno firmly on the back foot, both of them facing periods of the match where they were basically fighting solo. It was a role they shone in. Ueno had a real intensity to his work while Yoshimura proved surprisingly adept at taking a beating. There hasn’t been much chatter about their tag run, but it’s consistently delivered.
And this was brilliant tag-team wrestling – a pair of likeable babyfaces overcoming the heels and all their shenanigans. The champs looked strong, Parker’s DDT appearances have all been impressive, and Brookes never lets me down. It gets all the thumbs up from me.
Verdict: Lovely Stuff
Having pinned Brookes, Yoshimura wanted to challenge for the Universal Title. Chris made it as hard for him as possible, but did eventually accept. We weren’t done yet as Eruption came out, setting up a trios title match vs NAUTILUS and Hirata (who was too scared of Sakaguchi to contribute to the conversation). Eruption accepted that showdown on the condition that Sakaguchi and Hirata get a shot at the tag belts, before going a step further and declaring it should all happen on the same show. How fun.
Konosuke Takeshita defeated Makoto Oishi
Not to distract from the match, but ddtpro_eng posted a GIF of Akiyama playing with Oishi’s daughter, and if you haven’t seen it, please do.
All three of these matches have ten-minute time limits, so they’re quickies. Although, our first was determined to use every minute of that time as they went to nine minutes fifty-five seconds before Take got the win.
Thankfully, they used it well. Early on, it looked like Take was going to be able to bully Oishi, his superior power giving him control on the ground. Oishi refused to go down easy, though, responding to Takeshita attacking his back by grabbing onto his leg and taking that apart in response.
It led to an interesting contest, Oishi proving more of an equal than Take might have expected. They kept it simple, but it was simple stuff done really well, including Takeshita launching Oishi halfway across the ring like an oversized dart. No-one is going to note it down as a classic, but it did what it wanted to do brilliantly, making both guys look great in the process and building to a perfect crescendo. I was impressed.
Verdict: Really Good
Jun Akiyama defeated Akito
Akito probably thought he was smart attacking Akiyama as he took off his shirt. He zeroed straight in on the legend’s leg, looking to build an advantage. Unfortunately, what he actually did was piss old Jun off. When the grizzled veteran got the chance to turn the match around, it’s safe to say he wasn’t nice about it.
It made for an entertaining sprint, going slightly under three minute and making Akiyama look like the killer he is as he put Akito to sleep. You could argue it’s not the best away to treat Akito, but it’s Jun Akiyama, and I’m sure he’ll be fine.
Verdict: Good Sprint
Shunma Katsumata defeated Mizuki Watase
DDT are not going out of their way to convince people to care about the rest of Junretsu, are they?
I wanted this run to turn me around on Watase, but sadly it hasn’t worked. The guy does nothing for me and continues to be a bit of a charisma void. Every bit of enjoyment I got from this match came from Shunma and his willingness to kill himself.
Because while Watase continues to do be just another guy, Shunma is going from strength to strength. The fucker is an idiot, letting Watase essentially ride him into the barrier and rivalling Parker in the how much can I hurt myself stakes. It’s not just that, though, the defiant slaps he dished out showing off his ability as a heroic underdog. He’s someone you want to support, and it feels like DDT have started to figure that out.
Verdict: Sorry, Watase
DAMNHEARTS (Daisuke Sasaki, Tetsuya Endo, El Lindaman and T-Hawk) defeated Eruption (Kazusada Higuchi and Yukio Sakaguchi), HARASHIMA and Yukio Naya
Linda should have a clause in his contract that says he has to fight people twice his size at least a few times a month. Him repeatedly running into Naya while everyone laughs at him is more entertaining than 95% of so-called ‘great’ matches.
The rest of this was heavy on action but perhaps light on stories. While you had eight talented wrestlers giving us plenty of cool moments, there was nothing that felt monumental or like it was going to linger in the mind. Something that’s perhaps unsurprising when you consider the two people building to a match were on the same side (more on that later).
However, that’s also not necessarily a criticism. Not everything has to be laden in narrative, and this was an easy watch. It flew by in a blur of action, moments like Hirata and T-Hawk teeing off on each other with chops making sure you weren’t going to reach for your phone. They delivered a good match, just perhaps not one you’ll remember in two months.
Unfortunately, that was followed by a GODDAMN TRAGEDY! THEY KICKED CHARISMA OUT OF DAMNATION, THE BASTARDS!
Now, okay, maybe he did try and kick Endo out first, but it’s Daisuke! He was probably drunk. You shouldn’t hold that against him. It certainly didn’t mean that every single one of them should turn on them. Even Paulie!
I can forgive a lot of stuff, Endo, but this? This hurt me. You better believe that there will be a reckoning!
Well, until they broke my heart, that was a DDT show that shattered my expectations. For a Korakuen card, it seemed somewhat lacking coming in, but everything delivered, and we even got a big angle at the end. Daisuke has since declared that he hasn’t been kicked out of DAMNATION, everyone else has, so I have no doubt that the build to Ultimate Party is going to be a whole lot of fun.
Watch DDT: https://www.ddtpro.com/universe