DDT Max Bump
April 29 2017
DDT Extreme Championship #1 Contender’s Match
Yasu Urano vs. Kouki Iwasaki vs. Antonio Honda vs. Keisuke Ishii vs. Royce Isaacs
My first look at Isaacs, a muscular American, was during the Train wrestling match but he’s worked on DNA a fair bit.
Dino likes him because he has strong buttock muscles and an expressive face. He’s relatively inexperienced and the others think he’s weird for hanging around with Dino. He certainly works that same homosexual gimmick, falling somewhere between Dino and Joey Ryan. When that’s your gimmick you don’t have to do a lot of actual wrestling. The others tend to wrestle around him. Royce brings a certain freshness to proceedings, trying to molest several guys that Dino has long written off as targets. One of his main offensive moves is a devastating armbreaker done with his powerful gluts/stretchy gear. Honda is the only one capable of countering this dastardly offence and gets a roll up win. The true brilliance coming post match where Honda pops everyone arm back into place, gaining popularity among his defeated peers.
Final Rating: **1/2
KO-D Six Man Championship
New Wrestling Aidoru (c) vs. T2Hide (Sanshiro Takagi, Toru Owashi & Kazuki Hirata)
NWA’s entrance music is sadly not muted for copyright reasons.
Seeing as Tokyo Go is normally muted Owashi and Takagi sing it themselves! He reacts unfavourably so everyone, ring crew included, jump in to give him a shoeing. DDT can be fairly surreal at times. Since DDT has been unable to use Tokyo Go (John Robinson, 1994) I’ve kept it queued up on YouTube so I can benefit from the correct audio.
It matters not here as the dancing turns into a cheeky title defending roll up.
Final Rating: **
Shuten Doji (KUDO & Masahiro Takanashi) & Saki Akai vs. DAMNATION (Daisuke Sasaki & Mad Paulie) & Heidi Katrina
This all seems a bit weird. KUDO & Takanashi don’t strike me as the kind of chaps who want Saki Akai as a tag team partner. Across the ring is British wrestler Heidi Katrina. She was approached to be Angelina Jolie’s stunt double in the past but looks far more powerful than that. She has no trouble intimidating Saki, despite them being a similar height. Saki has always been model stick thin. Katrina is all woman. This seems like a bit of a waste of Sasaki, who’s been on such a tear over the past year. KUDO vs. Sasaki is very good but due to high tag density they don’t share the ring as often as I’d like. We don’t get to see much of Katrina either, presumably because DDT don’t trust her yet. Which is unlike them because they routinely put people in matches they’re not ready for. For example: pretty much everyone in this match at one point or another. Katrina tries to make a big deal out of a legdrop and that’s the finish. Saki Akai, to her credit, sells it like death. In actuality it’s not even remotely impressive. Heidi is good at posing, I’ll give her that. Match was only sporadically good but fairly consistently entertaining in spite of the lack of quality.
Final Rating: **1/2
Akito vs. Soma Takao
This is an odd little match. It hardly gets going before it’s over and I spend most of the contest fixated on how weird Akito new tights look. It’s like he got tights and they were too small so he put a belt over the top but he’s also wearing a g-string. It looks bloody weird and it put me off the entire match. By the time I got into the match Soma was submitting to an Akito hold where he dragged Takao’s arm across his face like a champ. I can only assume the work was passable or I’d have been driven to distraction by errors rather than Akito’s choice of big boy pants.
Final Rating: **1/4
Kazusada Higuchi & Shigehiro Irie vs. HARASHIMA & Mike Bailey
Irie turns up dressed like a panda because he’s a wonderful weirdo. I love all four of these guys. Probably my favourite four guys in DDT right now. They put on a lovely little spectacle. It’s a taster for matches to come. I suspect all four will be involved in DDT’s upper card for some time. Especially with Bailey unable to enter the United States for the foreseeable future. HARASHIMA is DDT’s ace, Irie is a top talent who’s learning at a rapid rate and Higuchi is the future of DDT. His title match against Shuji Ishikawa was evidence of this. This doesn’t change any games or blow any minds but it’s consistently solid and on this underwhelming show that’s most welcome. There’s a moment where HARASHIMA and Bailey flip off the top rope at the same time and my brain didn’t process that Bailey was going to the floor and it completely freaked me out when he disappeared from view. HARASHIMA finds himself at a disadvantage against Higuchi, getting overpowered when he tries for a reverse rana. Irie massacres him with a Cannonball and Higuchi pins HARA with the Doctorbomb. Big Higuchi scores another huge win. In pinning HARASHIMA he also gets the title shot HARA was carrying around with him. This was a good little sprint. I’m a big fan of everyone involved.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Video Control announces Sanshiro Takagi vs. Minoru Suzuki to take place in June inside the Tokyo Dome. Also named is Takagi & Super Sasadango Machine vs. Minoru Suzuki & Rocky Kawamura. The latter being an MMA fighter in Japan. DDT also announce new titles; ten man tag titles! This is suitably ridiculous. I approve.
KO-D Tag Team Championship
Masakatsu Funaki & Yukio Sakaguchi (c) vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & Danshoku Dino
One of these things is not like the others. One of these things does not belong. Dino is fine in his place but that place should not be molesting big old badass shootfighter types. Not that the match is any better when a barely mobile Takayama is in there. With the exception of a few big throws it’s probably worse. At least Dino molests people at a reasonable speed. The odd big throw does pop me as one of the champs is send careening across the ring in a beautiful slow motion ark. Part of me is just concerned that Takayama is going to hurt himself and I can’t get into the match because of that. After ten minutes of Dino’s sexual antics and the odd moment of Takayama throwing someone the Everest German suplex gets the pin and the belts change. After a lengthy pre-match video of Takayama through the ages I expected the belt change but I justify it for any reason other than nostalgia.
Final Rating: *1/2
KO-D Openweight Championship
Konosuke Takeshita (c) vs. Tetsuya Endo
Takeshita won the title back from HARASHIMA so now he’s in his second run on top. He’s kicking it off against Endo, the man who used to be his best friend and tag team partner. They cracked the top of the card together and had a great tag title run. But old Endo turned his back on Takeshita and joined DAMNATION. Did Endo feel spurned by Takeshita’s desire to go solo? The match features an agonisingly long feeling out process. For two guys who know each other so well it seems entirely unnecessary. The match is an utter grind. For every little cool moment, like Takeshita jacking Endo up deadweight for a suplex, there are minutes spent in rest holds. I’m aware this is going very long but if you don’t have anything interesting to put in an hour match then don’t do one. Endo doesn’t even take his shirt off until we’re twenty minutes deep into the match. It’s almost like that signals a switch from ‘feeling out process’ to the actual match as precious little happened before it. Generally people who wrestle wearing t-shirts give the impression that they don’t give a fuck about wrestling. Kenny Omega does it on purpose.
The pacing does improve once Endo removes his t-shirt and it specifically improves during strike exchanges. Everything seems that little more energised and urgent. They go way harder than during the opening twenty minutes. This is evidenced by the fight spilling to the floor, seconds getting involved and brawling into the bleachers.
This includes a lovely tribute to Shawn-Bret at WrestleMania 12 where Takeshita accidentally boots the timekeeper in the face. Also Endo hits a moonsault off Mad Paulie’s back off the stage. Quite how neither man gets counted out during this is anyone’s guess. They start to go deeper into the psychology with Endo going after Takeshita’s leg to try and wear down the champion. That’s when a time limit draw becomes a real possibility as Takeshita, as champion, just has to survive and he’ll be fine. Although due to nobody selling knees in 2017 it’s hard to buy into that as a viable reason for going long. Endo really switches up his offence and gets super aggressive. The match is way better at this point, having recovered from the horrible boredom of the opening twenty minutes. Takeshita does not stand for Endo’s shit and he deliberately fires up his offence to take him down. It becomes a match of big, big shots. Meaty chops, huge suplexes. If only the opening of this match didn’t exist people would be raving about this fucking match. It gets so, so good. Both guys are knackered and struggle to get from one spot to another. It intensifies the big spots. Endo works so smartly, especially whenever he goes back to the legs. The Figure Four sees Takeshita come so close to tapping out that he literally hits the mat once.
Just when it feels like the match is dead and finished Takeshita suddenly ups his game and fires off some dynamic strikes and it feels over again. As Endo tries for a crossface the hour time limit expires and I’m actually shocked because I thought there was still 15 minutes to go or some shit. The start to this was decidedly sluggish but I was rivetted to the last 40 minutes. To the point where I had no idea it was near finishing. Take the opening ‘feeling out’ sequence out and you’ve got a fantastic 40 minute match here. I’m sad they didn’t just go ahead and do that instead.
Final Rating: ****1/4
I was ready to bury this show after a weak undercard but the main event totally delivered. If this were a clipped for TV show I guarantee you the main event would come across as a MOTYC. I think the show as a whole would benefit from that two-hour TV edit. You could retain the entire of the Higuchi-Harashima tag for example. If you have DDT Universe the main event is worth spending an hour on and it honestly won’t feel like an hour once you’re into the meat of the match. Hell, you could just fast forward until Endo has taken his shirt off and it’s all good from then on.