I’ll always welcome back more Dramatic Dream Team into my life. They’re been short-circuited so far this year as 1) I’ve had so much wrestling to watch, and 2) There hasn’t really been much DDT to take in anyways. Now we’re at an important show as we’re on the Road to Judgement (biggest show of the year, right there with Peter Pan), with such matches booked as Yukio Sakaguchi vs. Minoru Suzuki as well as Kota Ibushi’s return in the opener and a tie-in with this show. Whoever wins the main event of Shigehiro Irie and HARASHIMA goes on to main event Sumo Hall vs. K-OD Openweight Champion Isami Kodaka. This looks like a stacked card, and with the return of Yoshihiko, I’m immensely excited for all the possibilities. It’s time for “Into The Fight 2016” from Korakuen Hall, that took place on February 28, 2016 in front of 1,596 fans.
DDT will always have the best production and video packages. The opening of shows gets you hyped no matter what. They’re so unique and fun much like the product itself.
DDT used ‘Across the Nation’ in the video package to hype this match up, along with an eerily similar looking title logo to WrestleMania 32’s. What a time to be alive. This was legitimately awesome. There’s no reason to discredit and/or knock a comedy match down just because it’s comedy. These guys all worked hard to make this a special title change, with the DNA crew of (now black hair) Shunma Katsumata, big man Kazusada Higuchi, and the one who won the titles Kouki Iwasaki who reminds me of Ibushi. A lot of the match was spent toying around with Shunma, with the disgruntled, not mechanical as a unit, yet still confident T2Hide just having some fun. Shunma and Takagi had a killer sequence together, which saw high flying Shunma as well as Takagi laying him to waste with a brutal Death Valley Driver drop. Takagi put the TOKYO GO! glasses on Hirata as he was on Higuchi’s shoulders which led to a fired up Hirata dancing the match away — literally though. He rolled-up Iwasaki, but Iwasaki reversed that into the winning cradle!
My word what a match this is. You have sexual Dino, who loves his boys, and Super Sasadango Machine, comedy god and bigger Masked man, taking on the ‘cutest face’ in DDT Oishi along with empowering athlete for Japanese audiences although not a great wrestler yet in my eyes Saki Akai. Solid sub 10 minute comedy extravaganza. At times it wasn’t even comedy based, such as Akai keeping it slightly off base with Dino as the girl vs. guy dynamic was played up because of Dino having to switch up his ‘moves’ (creeping on males usually) which was both hilarious and serious at the same time. Dino wanted Oishi and eventually got him, and even got to practically sit on his face, yes this is an actual match for those who aren’t used to this. The match did a fair job at keeping Akai protected and not using her in a wrestling sense. Akai eventually got shoved into Dino’s ass and was out until she came back in for the finish. Luckily, Oishi figured out that the mask protected Sasadango from Dino’s behind and twisted it around in rage to blind him. Sasadango then gave Dino a brainbuster, thinking it was Oishi, and with a combo of an Akai kick and Oishi roll-up, the pair managed to sneak out with a win.
MAX Maximo Champion (Chilean promotion) Daisuke Sasaki takes on mega-pushed at one time now a bit cooler, yet still KO-D Tag Champ “The Future” Konosuke Takeshita in a special singles match. I appreciate the undercard not being all tags. WHAT?! In a match that I expected to go well over 10 minutes, Konosuke Takeshita gets outsmarted in less than 2. The dynamic was that Sasaki eventually outsmarted Takeshita after trying about 10 times within that first minute and 40 seconds. Tons of roll-ups were unsuccessful, and after a brutal lariat was endured, and a near ref bump almost happened because of positioning, Takeshita was countered into the roll-up that was successful ending the match at a blink of an eye. That took me by surprise, and it will be interesting to see if this leads anywhere. A big knock on DDT, especially DNA, is unnecessarily long matches, and this was definitely short and to the point…
It’s going to be hard to keep up with this one. Well this sucks. This match was completely butchered thanks to clipping — although thanks to the clipping we will be getting the primetime matches in full. I don’t ever like reviewing clipped matches as I don’t have the whole product, but that’s just me. Isami pinned Urano with his massive knee to the face thanks to Sekine knocking Urano up a bit before the move to shift the momentum. The Yukio and Isami faceoffs were neat in regards to continuity and them beefing still.
I will never not love a Yoshihiko match. Yoshihiko, believe it or not, as a doll, is one of the most over acts in the entire company and has been for some time. Even having some health problems right now, seeing this match put a smile on my face; and such is my favorite outlet for goofy, comedic wrestling adventures. Antonio kept trying to tie Yoshihiko up but kept forgetting about Kashin, which allowed for Kashin to take the advantage vs. both, throwing Yoshihiko out of the match and focusing on Antonio. However, Yoshihiko would not be stopped! Dives, dropkicks, and even getting up from a Honda Styles Clash from the top rope, Yoshihiko got momentum from his dropkicks but however was quickly tapped out by a Kashin armbar after being swept into it. Fun and “can do no wrong” comedy wrestling. I’m sure this wouldn’t nearly been as fun without everyone’s favorite doll.
Ishikawa was out with Sasaki, tag partners, on a leash which was hilarious and extends the literal DOG dynamic going on. Endo is looking to get revenge on behalf of his partner Takeshita who lost to Sasaki earlier on in under 2 minutes. Plain and simple good match between the two. It was a tale of two half’s complete with a (mostly) fantastic finishing sequence that brought everything together. Endo has never fully clicked with me, but he played a solid underdog in the match, taking all the punishment and combining his athleticism and counters to provide a good base to pop the crowd for hope spots and his own pins. The first half saw Ishikawa dismantle Endo after Endo thought he had the advantage starting the match like Sasaki, going right after Ishikawa who had his back turned. The second half saw a power surge and a back and forth battle, then the finishing sequence saw both guys go all out. There were tons of kickouts, but the one that irked me the most was the false finish right before the finish itself. We already got kickouts from both men, and to have a Pele Kick be countered into the Big Ending; which was kicked out of — only to transition into a knee lift kickout that was done before was silly. However, then came the ending, where eventually Endo had to give up as Shuji hit Splash Mountain for the win.
“Daisuke Sasaki attached a leash to Ishikawa after the match and said he and his pet “Adrian” will win the KO-D Tag Team Titles at Sumo Hall.” -Courtesy of DramaticDDT
We get a tremendous video package for the main event as per usual, featuring Shigehiro Irie sprinting to the outside of Sumo Hall and glaring at it. Symbolism at its finest right there.
I’ve never been as high on Irie as others have, but he’s bound to have an at least great match with the best big match performer in the business in HARASHIMA. This was unreal. HARASHIMA is the best in the world at putting together matches. No matter the opponent, stipulation, or if there’s a title on the line, HARASHIMA always delivers. Shigehiro Irie showed that he has the potential to be the face of DDT, and literally face when it pertains to being a babyface. Irie’s mid-section was targeted the entire match, and via HARASHIMA’s kicks, knees, and various complimenting offense — it’s hard to endure that pain, but only a big man like Irie has an advantage when it comes to taking pain. Throughout the match, when HARASHIMA would target the mid-section, it was like a paint brush stroking a canvas of genius. When he fell back into a pin, he did a back spring and put emphasis on the fact he was landing dead center of Irie’s body. Before and after moves, knees or other offense to the mid-section to sucker the life out of Irie. This made Irie’s comebacks all the more exciting, with the crowd gradually gaining steam, and at one point near the end of the match, belting out “Irie, Irie, Irie!” to the best of their ability. In addition to Irie being a textbook babyface, he brings the fire in his comebacks, with ridiculously sold (in a good way) big man offense that literally at times pounced HARASHIMA off his feet; but the foundation that was set from the beginning paid off in the end for the true ever-lasting ace of DDT. After an Irie Fire Thunder Driver was countered, HARASHIMA went for a Somato but that was countered into a freaking tombstone! That was no bueno and obviously not enough to pop the reviewer, so we got a HARASHIMA CANADIAN DESTROYER! Irie tried to grab onto HARASHIMA’s leg, showing that distance like in the video package between him and Sumo Hall. It will have to stay that way. HARASHIMA conscientiously knew it would take more than one Somato to put Irie away, so he gave him two to win the match and advance to Sumo Hall, where on March 21 on DDT’s 19th Anniversary; he will face Isami Kodaka for the KO-D Openweight Championship. Also, seeing as how Hayabusa recently passed away, and this match was before then anyways, it was amazing to see the Firebird Splash and Falcon Arrow in the match via HARASHIMA as it made me think of Hayabusa and the impact he’s had on puroresu and on so many performers. You need to see this match.
“The show ended with Sanshiro Takagi bringing the roster into the ring for one last speech in Korakuen before they go to Sumo Hall. He spoke about DDT running inside Saitama Super Arena this time last year. He then brought up DDT running Sumo Hall twice this year. It is a big step for DDT and everyone will make sure it will be successful. The entire roster formed a circle inside the ring and all yelled “Ryogoku Gonna Be Full House! Ooh!” as the show ended.” -Courtesy of DramaticDDT
This was a fun and easy way to spend 2 hours. Although the 4 way tag was cut down, all other matches were shown in full, and we got ramifications and tons of buildup towards Sumo Hall which now takes place in less than 2 weeks — what also is awesome is that I will be able to watch live on Samurai TV and review it then. If you can, watch the whole show to become happy seeing DNA boys win gold, Yoshihiko try its hardest, The Big Dog Shuji dominate, and HARASHIMA and Irie putting on a world class match. See you at JUDGEMENT 19th Anniversary in Sumo Hall! I look forward to it very much, as well as where the product takes us for the rest of the year.