DDT What Are You Doing? 2018
June 24 2018
One of my biggest regrets of 2018 so far is that I’ve barely watched any DDT. One of my favourite promotions before it went behind a pay window I signed up to DDT Universe and promptly forgot about it. I ended up cancelling but re-subbed back in January and all I’ve watched since is Tokyo Joshi Pro. The sheer length of DDT’s show is off-putting but I cannot resist the lure of Shigehiro Irie as champion and Kazusada Higuchi as challenger. It’s the match I’ve wanted to be DDT’s headline for a long time.
Mizuki Watase & Aaron Anders vs. Tomomitsu Matsunaga & Kouki Iwasaki
This is one of DDT’s fabled ‘dark matches’, which they show anyway. Watase dressing like he’s in the Yakuza and is about to go to his uncle’s funeral is a sensational look. Anders is from Oklahoma and on his first Japan tour. The crowd are largely disinterested, or paying close attention, it’s hard to tell sometimes. Beyond Watase’s snappy dress sense there’s not much to get excited about. Anders gets the pin on Iwasaki and we’re briefly treated to Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling”. Forcing that tremendous tune into pop culture is perhaps the biggest success of Guardians of the Galaxy. The feeling I’m hooked on is that Mizuki Watase is a smart dressed man.
Final Rating: **
Tetsuya Endo, Mad Paulie & Nobuhiro Shimatani vs. Antonio Honda, Keisuke Ishii & MAO vs. Hiratimo Dragon, Takatimo Dragon & Toru Owashi
Shimatani is an indescribably cocky prick considering he’s been wrestling for two years and is all of 5’2”. The ‘Dragon’ angle is something DDT are doing with a masked group. Hiratimo is Kazuki Hirata. Takatimo is Sanshiro Takagi. There’s a stipulation on this match where if Owashi loses he’s gone from DDT.
This is not the most serious of matches, even by DDT’s standards, and they do a headscissors chain up the steps.
They leave MAO and Endo in the ring doing ridiculous shit. MAO is some sort of flippy god and Endo would be the ace of this promotion if he had a personality. Honda almost submits after tripping over Mad Paulie but rescues the situation by telling the story of Gon the Little Fox. This leads to a sequence where the referee is accidentally blinded and the Dragon’s have their masks stolen and put on DAMNATION. The ref is confused but is then distracted again and Owashi is loaded up with disqualifiable weapons and everyone falls over. The ref turns around and DQs that scoundrel Owashi!
Rightly so too. Look at that cad! The fired Owashi protests his innocence and hugs the turnbuckle trying to remain in the company. A video plays hyping the debut of Washitimo Dragon two days later. What a startling coincidence! DDT have an ace up the sleeve, announcing the actual Ultimo Dragon wrestling in DDT in July, which freaks out the Dragon’s.
Final Rating: **1/2
Sammy Guevara vs. Mike Bailey
Guevara is making his DDT debut.
He brings a nice contrast to Speedball’s gentleman pro wrestler. A middle finger versus the respectful handshake. Sammy gets in a few tasty flips, trying to live up to the legacy of Ospreay (one Flip Gordon did a fine job of living up on his NJPW tour). Sammy is very good but he’s not quite at that level and he doesn’t plant his landings here. Bailey looks the more accomplished at the aerial antics, which is supposed to be Guevara’s strength. They play to that strength and the match has a lot of flips. Guevara’s timing often causes issues and Bailey just can’t trust him to be place for some spots. The result is a few car crash spots when they try anything hugely complicated. Green Tea Plunge (the standing Spanish Fly) puts Guevara away. They did some nice stuff in here. I like that Bailey hit a certain kick early in the match but then couldn’t later because Guevara recognised the set up. There’s no escaping the issues here though and what could have been a great match ended up being merely decent. Hopefully Guevara gets to work with a higher quality of wrestler while in DDT and improves. He has huge potential.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Danshoku Dino, Super Sasadango Machine & Makoto Oishi (c) vs. Shuten Doji (KUDO, Masahiro Takanashi & Yukio Sakaguchi)
This is KUDO’s 15th Anniversary match. The (c) denotes the current DDT Iron Man Heavy Metal Champion coming into this match. How does KUDO spend his 15th anniversary? Being sexually molested by Dino third from the bottom of a Korakuen Hall card. You’ve made it in the Biz kid! Congratulations. After a lot of butt-based antics KUDO knees Oishi down and wins the title.
KUDO thanks literally everyone he’s ever worked with and is then given flowers by HARASHIMA, which is cute.
Final Rating: **1/2
Video Control announces Taiyo Kea will be wrestling later in the year. Oishi and Ohata do a bit and Joey Ryan is annoyed that Oishi stole his gimmick to propose in the ring. And then cats.
KO-D Six Man Tag Team Championship
Kota Umeda, Yuki Ueno & Koju Takeda (c) vs. ALL OUT (Konosuke Takeshita, Akito & Shunma Katsumata)
Takeshita looks to be focusing more on his stable since losing the KO-D title to Irie. The group held these belts last year but with Diego in Shunma’s place as Shunma has only recently joined (6 months ago). This may seem a tad one sided with Takeshita being such a big star but the champs are a fucking great team and Umeda is awesome. The best thing about Umeda are his crushed velvet trunks. The second best thing is his crushed velvet knee pads. The third best thing is him kicking the ever loving shit out of everyone he lays his eyes on. Lucky for the crowd he’s short-sighted. The Umeda-Takeshita sequences are sensational. The story of the match is that Shunma is considered a weak link in his team and the champs trying to pick him off. Instead Shunma is everywhere. Making saves. Helping out. Double teaming. Kicking out. And he even gets the pin. Everyone looked great here and it was belting little trios match. Takeshita may have run his course as the main event around here but ALL OUT has plenty to offer. If he does a year of fun trios matches I’d be fine with that.
His celebration? Less so.
Final Rating: ***1/2
DDT Extreme Championship
HARASHIMA (C) vs. Daisuke Sasaki vs. Soma Takao
Seeing as Takao just joined Sasaki’s DAMNATION stable this is virtually a handicap match. Takao turning heel is quite the turn up for the books, although DAMNATION did something very similar with young Endo. Takao is taking it well. He looks like a sulky teen that’s been asked to do his chores before he’s allowed to party. He enters the ring like he’s been told to tidy his room.
HARASHIMA doesn’t look too pleased either. If the two on one wasn’t quite enough the rest of DAMNATION join in. I pretty much hate matches like this because there’s no logic. Sasaki miscues at one point, laying out Takao with a dive, and instead of using the numbers game he stands there looking shocked until HARA jumps him. At least this leads to tension between Sasaki and Takao and amazingly Soma is the bigger asshole! Against an absolute sleaze like Sasaki. However the tension just disappears again afterwards and all of DAMNATION pile in there for a four on one. This goes on forever until Shuten-doji run in for the save. This is a very WWE-esque match. HARASHIMA is basically Roman Reigns. When he’s not the main focus he’s the secondary focus. Now he’s battling the odds with a freshly turned, and far more interesting Soma Takao having the legs cut off his new character so HARASHIMA can win…again. He even pins Takao clean in the middle of the ring with Somato. So Takao sacrificed everything to lose? Not my graps mate.
Final Rating: *1/2
KO-D Openweight Championship
Shigehiro Irie (c) vs. Kazusada Higuchi
I’m not sure I appreciate DDT booking Irie, one of the world’s best babyfaces, as a heel champion. However his faction “Irie-gun” is the snappiest dressed faction in wrestling. He’s got Watase in there and he’s added Sammy Guevara for this show. Sammy needs to work on his clobber. These two are both Big Lads who do Big Lad things. Like shoulder blocks, beefy big boy sentons and chops. Had Irie been babyface here they’d probably go at it hard for 20 minutes. Instead there are a lot of rest holds, which is a shade disappointing. Irie is in no mood to take it easy all match though and at one point he hits a fucking ridiculous slingshot senton to the floor. That’s a big move for a Big Lad. Higuchi doesn’t let him have it all and catches a Cannonball STANDS UP and hits a piledriver. Like what? What the fuck? It’s an insane move at the best of times but on a dude the size of Irie? Get the fuck outta here. Higuchi has that freaky strength that is normally reserved for circus performers. He makes everything look so easy that I start looking at Irie’s waistline. Did he drop a load of weight? This match gets super tasty when they start laying in strikes because they do not fuck around. The slaps are bad enough. Then there’s the elbows, which are shooty as shit. Then it’s headbutting time. I have a headache watching that.
Irie’s bumps emphasise everything Higuchi does. He throws himself backwards on those things. I’m convinced he’s taking the L throughout with the sheer power of Higuchi on display. Irie throwing himself into everything like his life depends on it is magical stuff. His intensity levels have gone up as champion and they were already sky high. Irie ends up murdering Higuchi with a lariat after his big top rope senton doesn’t get it done. This was tremendous. Big Lads Wrestling!
Final Rating: ****1/4
Post Match: And of course HARASHIMA comes out here wanting a title shot. Where’s Poochie? I used to love HARASHIMA but he had his run. Irie is visibly pissed off at having to share ring time with HARASHIMA although the fun part is that he could never quite best HARASHIMA as a challenger. And his first run as champion, in 2013, was ended by HARASHIMA. I’d be mad too Shigs mate.
I had to be told to watch this show as I’ve drifted so badly away from DDT over the past 18 months or so. I need to drop in more often. I enjoyed this. It was a mixture of stuff and although not everything landed the wrestling was solid and the main event rocked.