DDT Sweet Dreams (1.27.19) review

DDT Sweet Dreams (1.27.19) review

DDT Sweet Dreams

 

January 27 2019

 

We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall. Part of my expansive approach to watching wrestling in 2019 is to make sure I don’t miss out on DDT, who went behind a pay wall a few years back and my viewing of their shows suffered because of it. Not because I didn’t want to shell out cash to watch DDT but rather because I didn’t like the player on DDT’s site. They’ve done some work on it so hopefully I can get along with it better in 2019. Here’s hoping.

 

Antonio Honda & Jason Kincaid vs. Akito & Space Monkey

Kincaid spent a lot of time in DDT last year when I wasn’t paying attention.

Space Monkey is making his debut and what a perfect marriage it is. Space Monkey and DDT, together at last. The Space Monkey act might be a bit niche but at the same time it’s been crafted and fine honed and I really dig it. The crowd clearly do too. There are some enormous smiles. I’m not sure they get everything but you can’t help but be impressed with a guy who eats a banana during sequences. Kincaid looks excellent here too. I’ve never been keen on his look but his technique is exceptional. Space Monkey is a unique guy so he’s able to cope with Gon the Little Fox but Honda is able to work over his tail. Kincaid shocks me here. He’s adapted to Japan very well and looks at home. He has great ideas and the execution is smooth and clean. There’s the odd moment that takes me out of his work, like a blatant thigh slap but it’s mostly positive.

DDT2HondaMonkey

I really enjoy Space Monkey. He’s a nice mixture of shtick and character but he’s also a good wrestler. He finishes Honda with the tail whip to win his debut match. Time will tell if Japanese crowds take to him but I hope they do!

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

DDT Iron Man Heavy Metal Championship Battle Royal

Chinsuke Nakamura is the champion coming in. Some the luminaries involved include Kikutaro and Kazusada Higuchi.

Chinsuke gets piled on during his introduction and Kikutaro is the new champ! Kikutaro thinks he can just leave but that’s not how the match works! The battle royal continues until there’s one left standing and that one is the champion. But the belt can also change hands during the contest. Kikutaro decides to put his mask on the referee so he gets beaten up instead and starts counting pins. Does no one notice the ref’s shirt? Madness. Eventually Hirata rolls Kikutaro up. Shin champion!

DDT2YukiIno

Is it wrong that I want Yuki Ino to team up with Yuji Hino and have them chop everyone? All the big burly men fight onto the apron and get eliminated. So it’s Okuda, ASUKA and Hirata left. Keisuke Okuda has been a surly son of a bitch all match long, refusing to engage in the comedic aspects. The other two roll him up leaving ASUKA vs. Kazuki Hirata for the belt. A Tokyo Go dance break happens and the music keeps blaring out as ASUKA beats Hirata with a moonsault. These things are always good for a laugh.

Final Rating: ***

 

El Lindaman vs. Yukio Sakaguchi

Invading Strong Hearts asshole Lindaman clashes with DDT’s own resident bad boy Sakaguchi.

DDT2Sakaguchi

The heat for Strong Hearts in DDT isn’t as extreme as in Wrestle-1 but it doesn’t stop Lindaman being less of a dick. Constantly retreating into the ropes here and complaining of kicks and submission attempts like those things are illegal. It devolves into a tasty scrap until Lindaman botches a dive. That takes the edge off the match and it becomes really sluggish. For the high standards both men usually set anyway. Sakaguchi is almost casual in finishing with a knee strike. Very odd match.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Sanshiro Takagi, Mizuki Watase, Makoto Oishi & Yuki Ueno vs. DAMNATION (Tetsuya Endo, Mad Paulie & Soma Takao) & Takumi Iroha

DAMNATION leader Sasaki is busy in the main event so they’ve recruited a replacement in Marvellous’ Takumi Iroha. She’s one of those Chigusa Nagayo trainees that have been getting rave reviews for their work.

DDT2Iroha

Iroha drops into the DAMNATION way of working. I’m very taken in this match by Yuki Ueno and how much he looks like Kota Ibushi. I glanced across at the match after looking away and thought Kota had snuck in there. The match drifts in and out of comedy depending on who is involved.

DDT2robot

Takagi is a prime example. Summoning a robot made of boxes.

In the more serious stakes there are some really good wrestlers in there. Iroha is very impressive. I need to watch some Marvellous. Endo is still effortlessly good. Maybe his lack of charisma holds him back but he’s so smooth on the flying spots. Soma is a new man since joining DAMNATION too. He gets the pin here. A real mixed bag of a contest.

Final Rating: ***

 

Masahiro Takanashi vs. CIMA vs. MAO

DDT2MAO

CIMA is head of the invading Strong Hearts faction, who looks stretched thin in DDT compared to their presence in Wrestle-1. MAO is getting quite the push teaming with Mike Bailey. He’s certainly one of DDT’s stand-outs right now. The Moonlight Express have the tag belts in DDT and also in Kaientai Dojo.

The match is surpassingly fun with CIMA doing all his goofy stuff and Takanashi being the serious one, caught out by tomfoolery. They do a series where Takanashi is really apologetic after accidentally headbutting MAO in the nuts. Takanashi is a mat master and he ties both guys up in knots. He has the added help of Chinsuke Nakamura coming out dressed as him. Oh hey, they look quite alike. They head into a frantic last few minutes where anyone could pick up the win only for Takanashi to tie up MAO for the pin. He was the least over coming in so hey, why not give him the rub. MAO is made. He’s 22 years old and one of the best wrestlers in the company. CIMA is CIMA. Why not give Takanashi the duke? Plus Sakaguchi creamed El Lindaman earlier. There’s a developing feud between Shuten Doji and Strong Hearts. Please give me KUDO vs. T-Hawk.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Kota Umeda Trial Series

Kota Umeda vs. Shuji Ishikawa

Umeda was always a big prospect for DDT but he tore his ACL in 2016 or he’d have had this trial series a lot sooner. It started ages ago. Match one was against Go Shiozaki way back at Max Bump in April 2018. Match two was a hardcore match with Ryuji Ito on Maji Manji. Match three was Masato Tanaka. Match four was Dick Togo. Match five was Shinya Aoki (the former IGF shooter). Match six was Daichi Hashimoto. He’s 0-6.

 

My favourite thing about Kota Umeda, other than his kicks, is his love of purple velour. He has those purple velour pants and even purple velour on his kick pads.

DDT2Shuji

Shuji Ishikawa is, without doubt, his biggest challenge. Hence his spot at #7 on this seven match trial series. Ishikawa isn’t here for laughs either. He’s here to beat the crap out of Umeda. Give a literal trial of his skill to survive. Umeda has to use his kicks, normally his biggest offensive weapon, just to stay alive. Keep Shuji at arm’s length, or rather leg’s length. I love the fighting spirit in this with Kota trying to go toe to toe on strikes and mostly getting killed but showing a lot of heart in the process.

DDT2Umeda

Umeda lands so many kicks that eventually Shuji is having to hit moves to stop him. Like a defensive Fire Thunder Driver at one point. It’s not an attempt to win it’s a plea; please stop kicking me. Umeda starts to show some real fire as Shuji lays into him with big knees and kicks out of one of those running knees at one. ONE! In a display of ‘fine, you fucking asked for this pal’ Shuji jacks him up for the Splash Mountain and that finishes. Umeda goes 0-7 in his Trial Series but put up a great fight here.

DDT2UShuji

If you’re not dead, would you like a handshake?

Final Rating: ****

 

Daisuke Sasaki & HARASHIMA vs. Konosuke Takeshita & Shinya Aoki

Aoki used to be a big deal in MMA. For those who don’t follow MMA closely he beat Sakuraba and has a 42-8 professional career. It’s not over either. His last fight was a few months ago and he’s won his last three bouts. So this is quite the star-studded main event for DDT. Takeshita is basically their new ace. HARASHIMA is the old one and Sasaki is the current champion. Throw Aoki in with DDT’s three biggest names and it’s business time. The atmosphere is surprisingly tepid with Aoki outside of his comfort zone. Aoki isn’t a traditional pro wrestler. He’s better in a pure environment and his limitations mean he’s unlikely to click with a Daisuke Sasaki. Around him everyone else goes about the business of having a main event, almost excluding him from it. When he is in there it’s like Sakuraba all over again. Fine when working with someone gifted on the mat but hopeless with the pro wrestling style. He shouldn’t wrestle Sasaki at all to be quite honest. Even his kick exchange with HARASHIMA feels wrong. The longer the match goes the more that feeling cannot be shook. It’s like everyone else in the match is speaking Spanish and he’s speaking Russian. I’m sure the odd word is the same but it’s not coherent.

 

It gets very pro wrestling towards the finish too with a ref bump and both teams having miscues with chairs. HARASHIMA dismisses Aoki, looking very lightweight at the finish, and Takeshita gets trapped and submitted by Sasaki. The incumbent champion scoring the victory to solidify his spot as the companies top guy right now.

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This was very disappointing. It didn’t mesh well and my hopes are not high for the Judgement match between HARASHIMA and Shinya Aoki. It should be better than this. Lots of mistakes were made in the structure and Aoki really struggled to keep up.

Final Rating: **1/4

 

Summary:

DDT shows are generally fun and don’t need a big ‘hook’ of a main event but they usually deliver a good main anyway. This main event didn’t work for me. Aoki needs to stick to his strengths and complicated tag team matches isn’t it. Luckily it didn’t disrupt the show too much. Umeda vs. Shuji was very good and the card before it delivered. DDT do need to reassess how they use Aoki though because the main event left a sour taste in the mouth.

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