Watch: The RealHero Archive
Korakuen Hall – Tokyo, Japan
Finally more DDT has graced the RealHero drive as DDT returns to Korakuen Hall for a big show prior to the even bigger Osaka Edion Arena show coming up in December. In case you missed it, Tim reviewed DNA 21 featuring a hell-raising tag main event. I highly suggest you watch the whole show if you haven’t, and if pressed for time, the crazy main event where Shunma bleeds!
New Wrestling Aidoru (Makoto Oishi & MAO) def. T2Hide (Kazuki Hirata & Toru Owashi)clipped
Owashi joined NWA for their performance pre-match. This was going to be boatloads of fun from the jump as this is an exemplary comedy tag opener. Hirata’s iconic theme, Tokyo Go, played for his entrance while the others were arguing in ring. Everyone, yes, even Owashi jumped on Hirata (plus Takagi joined in on the fun), breaking him down before the match actually started. Only clips aired but what a time to be alive when everyone is passed out and Hirata gets his revenge, doing the dance as Shunma runs around the ring trying to revive NWA. Oishi rolled-up Hirata during the routine though as NWA prevails in a funny opener from what was shown.
Cherry vs. Saki Akaiclipped
In case you didn’t figure out the routine; CLIPPED! We were robbed of more Saki Akai match time. How dare they. None the less these are two female mainstays in the company, as Akai doesn’t improve much, Cherry is actually a solid hand as a wrestler in ring. Akai is still entertaining, although awkwardly lanky, still trying to figure out what the hell she’s doing in ring. As Saki hardly clips Cherry with her kicks only to follow it up with a deadly brainbuster from the top rope, it was the oddest catch 22 a wrestler could be in. Although it proved the theme of the match was Cherry taking ridiculous bumps, and just trying to somehow base / make Akai look decent. Cherry hit a top rope senton for the win. This wasn’t as problematic as expected. It was fine.
Keisuke Ishii & Yasu Urano def. Akito & Soma Takaogood
Takao, the AJPW Junior Champ gets to meet his opponent at Ryogoku, Ishii in tag action. The match did a good job building towards the longer match/sequences between them as right from the bell they were all over each other. Ishii hit a huge apron neckbreaker on Takao that would knock the wind out of any sane person. This actually overdelivered in the spot it was in. Very low on the card but aside a few spots, kept a low impact during the match while telling a great story of Takao and Ishii feuding, with the blocks tumbling as the lads had to – you know…actually depend on their tag partners for once. However the match kept revolving around the two with crisp offense around every turn. Ishii kept getting the best of Takao only for Takao to prove why he’s the champion. A huge superkick/buster combo got the champ a concise win headed into, finally, a defense of the title happening in Sumo Hall.
Shuten Doji (KUDO & Yukio Sakaguchi) def. Antonio Honda & Kazusada Higuchiclipped but good
It is more heart-breaking than anything I’ve encountered this week that this was clipped! This was one of the more hype matches on the card as Honda and Higuchi is yet another mix-match yet oh so awesome pairings in the “Higuchi teams with random people” saga. You can never, ever go wrong with Shuten. Something positive that in a future DDT singles match event preview we saw KUDO and Higuchi beat the hell out of each other. Same with Yukio. Even though this was JIP’d I milked as much enjoyment as I could get out of it. It was worked superbly with the right mix of interactions, keeping it fresh and overall fun wrestling. Honda managed to kickout of double PK’s for an awesome near fall. Honda, when even slightly serious, is out of this world great as a wrestler. Top rope double knees got Shuten Doji the win. Watch this even though it’s clipped.
Konosuke Takeshita def. Ken Ohkagood
These are the type of matches I’d like to see Takeshita in for the next while going forward. Many facets of the “proving ground” mentality, just like in DNA against students, right here on the “main” roster against some faces that aren’t at the top of the card but are established guys. Wrestling can surprise you at times like these when two wrestlers with drastically different approaches to their craft collide to provide something wild. Takeshita is very athletic, new generation like, where as Ohka is a brawler/fun-time lad who just wants to mess shit up (who manages to be a high-level compelling character, for example he cashed in his Right to Challenge contract last year to an amazing response, beating HARASHIMA). This would involve the two trading sequences or preferably to Ohka, spending time on the outside with weapons. It felt as if Takeshita was learning how to deal with brawling/hardcore type matches, as he ascends to the top of the company. When Takeshita spun around the barbed wire bat in his arms, it echoed his charisma and improvement as a wrestler throughout Korakuen as he hit a huge Blue Thunder Driver, and eventually German suplex to beat Ohka. This was a sub 10-minute match that’s worthwhile as it tested new waters for Takeshita while using Ohka in a really cool way..
Takeshita did the Ohka dance with a limp Ken, as he was pondering how embarrassing yet awesome it was to be jiving with THE FUTURE! Bad communication…as Takeshita let him flop to the ground showing who’s boss.
Daisuke Sasaki def. Masahiro Takanashigood+
Long black hair staples of DDT clash. Takanashi was incredible in the match vs. Isami back in January, but hasn’t made that many waves since. It was a very good to see him in this type of spot on a Korakuen card. Takanashi has such an underrated mind for wrestling as proven again here. He emphasizes limbwork in a lot of matches he’s in. Takanashi early on went for Sasaki’s arm, was successful, and stuck with the method of work over. Sasaki being his shitty heel self managed to navigate the match in a way that it didn’t matter if his arm was shot. He got a ref Michinoku Drivered and the match scrambled up, just the way DAMNATION loves to do so. Takanashi teased a Code Red off the apron on Sasaki. We all know that wouldn’t end well. All of this provided us with great limbwork, sound selling from both, fun impact spots and teases, with a wild-wacky finish that did its job to a tee. The ref was down so in came another. Takanashi managed to hit a Code Red inbetween but not when it could get a pin. This led to Sasaki catching Takanashi in the crossface, but that wasn’t enough. Vietnam Driver II and that’ll do it. Sasaki manages to beat the pesky Takanashi in a damn good battle that, if given more time and if not for a little lift both, would have been considered very good.
HARASHIMA def. Tetsuya Endovery good
Endo has gotten the best of HARASHIMA on two occasions, and now it’s seemingly time for him to come lashing back with redemption. Endo pinned HARASHIMA cleaned in King of DDT then proceeded to pin Yuko Miyamoto, HARASHIMA’s partner, to win back the KO-D Tag Titles recently. Talk about sound professional wrestling. HARASHIMA matches has it. They stick to a flow, they provide ideal momentum surges all well keeping tact as realistic wrestling. It’s so easy to explain, but it’s even easier to watch it set in motion in different settings, vs. different opponents. This time it was against a cocky DAMNATION Endo that thought he already had HARASHIMA’s number by getting the best of him twice. They told this story through early interactions and the feeling out process as HARASHIMA was dominated early on. Like all matches he’s in, it had a very slow build with logical selling as the true ace of DDT kept checking the damage done. The match picked up into something really special closer to the finish although the work earlier was more than idea. They traded frankensteiners and that transitioned into the same roll-up that cost HARASHIMA the King of DDT tournament advancement, but this time he kicked out. A somato was hit but it wasn’t enough as both were spent. Endo tried to keep up but it was over before he knew it. A driver and another somato put him away. A damn fine display of professional wrestling that was well built with a crazy final few minutes. Watch this!
DDT delivered a world class video package prior to the main event. It was amazing to see retro footage of Dino feeling up on a VERY green to the business Ishikawa. Oh how times have changed.
Shuji Ishikawa (c) def. Danshoku Dinomotyc - at my vanity #10 spot
Dino was in title match mode straightaway, teasing a handshake only to give Shuji the middle finger and try to grapple him down to the ground to get to work. To add to that, there’s something incredibly compelling about DDT’s comedy universe revolving around these characters, only for them to take a vacation to the land that is serious KO-D title defenses to try and pick up gold. The way this match was structured was brilliant. For five straight minutes Dino was the senior of Shuji on the mat, picking, grabbing, controlling different parts of his body, using homoerotic nature to force himself onto Shuji to make him uncomfortable to get back to the work over. After minutes of control, one knee to the chest and Dino was out on the floor covering up. Dino wasn’t in the position to willingly kickout after mounting offense, he grabbed the rope to continue his life in the match. The psychology Dino would use in such homoerotic nature was just as smart as other work over, with continuous superkicks, bites and stomps on Shuji’s lower parts he managed to get a near fall / back in power. Dino would gradually get more of his trademark offense in only to be stopped in his tracks. Shuji continued to pounce as his face told the story. Dino’s eyes were rolling back into his head. This blended everything on an A+ level. Shuji headbutted Dino until Dino said he wanted more. It was a trap as he lured Shuji into a make out session only to put him back in the holds he applied at the start of the match, ONLY to do the kiss spot like the headbutts. Out of NOWHERE, DINO PULLS OUT A BRAINBUSTER AND MOONSAULT. He went up AGAIN. ANOTHER ONE! ANOTHER ONE! In a perfect near fall Shuji stayed in droggy. They kept working with the fact Dino wasn’t strong but he was smarter. He couldn’t hit the Dino driver so he tried for cradles which still weren’t enough. We were at an absolute standstill as HARASHIMA just looked at the ring in awe. In the typical blow for blow sequence we got Dino doing kisses and hits to the dick while Shuji stuck to his offense. EVERY SINGLE THING was a continuation of the work over both possessed adjacent to each others’ characters. If you don’t think that was a masterpiece setup for the match, you’re wrong. Dino managed to hit a Sliding D kiss! A brutal Danshoku driver was hit. Mount pin where he had Shuji pinned on all fours. NOT. ENOUGH. Rainbow maker but Shuji hit a Fire Thunder out of sheer will to put Dino away. He knew he had to power through the awkwardness. Dino KEPT fighting though to keep the match interesting. Dino kicked out of ONE on the backdrop and gave Shuji the middle finger. Knees. Knees. Knees. MORE NEAR FALLS! RAINAMKER HEADBUTT. Sliding forearm kickout. Just…holy shit. These two are putting on a classic KO-D match. Shuji just held onto Dino’s grip on him and landed the giant slam. 1-2-3. Shuji retains. One of the best matches of the year. The two PERFECTLY intertwined comedy/serious main event style while keeping true to their characters the whole way through, producing tremendous near falls, showing fighting spirit, and going 20 minutes plus without it feeling too long. It had a definitive story that kept peaking and peaking with more desperation setting in. It all made complete sense to boot. Out of this world work from both men.
DDT held their annual Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament in which Saki Akai won, as she’s retrieved the contendership to challenge Danshoku Dino for the DDT Extreme Title at the November 23 Korakuen Hall show. Just if Shunma beat Akai in the finals…
Shuji Ishikawa vs. HARASHIMA is now set for Osaka Edion Arena in December. You couldn’t book a better match in Japan.
DDT SPECIAL 2016
Excellent - 8.5/10
DDT Special was a tremendous show. Everything clicked and provided a breezy two hour airing. Of course the undercard was super fun and the other singles matches delivered on a medium-high level, but it was the miraculous main event that put this show over the top. I wouldn't say it would be in any top list of WORK/insane spots/whatever else you judge for star ratings list, but my psychology on wrestling has changed of late. Are you staying true to your character? Are you blending in each others' things on a high level? Does everything work and flow well together? Do you still maintain a balance between the subjects you're trying to touch? All of those boxes were checked, plus we got insane strong spots as well as near falls that can be placed in any title match in the world. Danshoku Dino managed to have one of the best and most unique title matches of the year with one of, if not, the best wrestler in the world, Shuji Ishikawa. Watch this show. Now!