Well hello there DDT. It’s my pleasure to introduce one of the most spectacular and boisterous promotions in the world to the site. 2015 was the year I got into puroresu beyond New Japan Pro Wrestling; and what a year it was for not only my horizons, but DDT itself. In one of the last shows of the year from Hakata, new K-OD Openweight Champ Isami Kodaka defends against Tetsuya Endo. Also, in a special tag co-main event, HARASHIMA & Yukio Sakaguchi face Konosuke Takeshita & Shigehiro Irie. Let’s get to the matches.
DDT Super Star Lanes
December 13, 2015
Aired: December 22, 2015 (Samurai! TV)
Hakata Star Lane
Hakata, Fukuoka, Japan
Highlights of segments/clips prior to the full matches
Cherry not only had the nerve to sneak attack Saki Akai, but she also had to nerve to hit her in the face with the belt after she won…as well as cut a shoot promo and run away.
Nakatsu & Kubo vs. Shuten Doji (Kota Umeda & Masa Takanashi) was a nice opener from what was presented in the clips. Masa going for a code red on Nakatsu but Kubo saving it with a signature backstabber was a really cool transition, but adding onto such Nakatsu delivered a PK after the fact as well. The finish saw Nakatsu finally getting hit with the code red after Umeda delivered a kick to set it up.
An Iron Man Heavy Metal Championship Battle Royal was next. I suspect the same old shocks/comedy but with twists that won’t fully be seen because ya know, clips. Oishi hit a girl! I can’t ‘stan’ him anymore. He’s all of a sudden not adorable in my eyes. Oishi won the title in the match but then a masked little shit appeared out of nowhere and raised some heck. The kid then became champ and Fukuda wanted to put a stop to it. FUKUDA SNAPPED HIS DAMN ARM. He pulled a ZSJ to produce the 3rd title change this match. Saki Akai is going over dammit. She dumped KENSO like any girl would (off the apron), then proceeded to kick out of the Fukuda Plex~! and counter his own arm bar that killed the kid to make him tap instantly and win. Good for her.
Next on the clipping order is Aijima and a scary looking Azul Dragon taking on Sasaki & Miyatake. Shown was S&M fail to do a launchpad double team move. Aijima looked quite great in this, with crazy looking explosive suplexes, a lengthy elbow drop; and comparisons to Karl Anderson being thrown out by comm. Miyatake has some solid Holiday fighting spirit, kicking out of the eerily similar backdrop suplex to Kevin Owens’ on SD to Dean Ambrose. Aijima finally went over on Suguru with a brainbuster. Dude’s a beast. Wish the match was up in full.
Onto the always interesting team of Takao & Ishii. They’re up against one of the best big men in the world Higuchi (who’s also from DNA) & Matsunaga. This is it. This is the pinnacle of the upbringing of DNA talent. Higuchi & Matsunaga used Gable/Jordan’s finish. My God. What a time to be alive. I find that awesome, as guys from across the globe (and one wrestler being in DDT development) using an NXT tag teams’ finisher. Here it is in all its glory:
It was also interesting to see the size difference and the way the match was worked (again, I wish this made tape in full). Ishii took bumps all over the place like a mad man, and Higuchi brought the incredible and vicious attacks I love to see. Matsunaga wasn’t a bad partner either, occasionally interpreting some comedy. They also used another variation of aforementioned finish; with a backdrop/chokeslam combo. This match was very fun to watch, even if it was clipped. Ishii/Takao brought out awesome combo offense like they tend to do, and Matsunaga took high levels of punishment from the ‘smaller’ workers. Higuchi came in for the save but eventually Ishii put away Matsunaga with a massive knee to the face and a double-arm suplex.
What an adventure this took you on. From struggling to stay afloat watching to chuckling and having a little bit of fun; it was quite the way to kick-off the ‘matches in full’ section. The match was built around Hirata and the Tokyo Go glasses, as Hirata bumped around for a lot of the match and became isolated. SSM didn’t do much and besides face-sitting and humping, Dino didn’t do much either except for a Dino Driver which still couldn’t put Hirata away. Burabura must have delivered about 4 elbow drops but they got kicked out or broken up every single time out. There was a comedic tension between Hirata and Takagi, with Takagi always wanting Hirata in but the situation not always working out to the ideal conclusion, and sometimes being teased that way but coming around full circle as they were defending the belts after all. After Hirata kicked out of everything the challengers had, Burabura picked up the Tokyo Go glasses and started the party, with punches being delivered on beat as well as Dino humps. I thought it was going to be done here but the finale came down to a roll-up. SSM went for another brainbuster, but it was countered into a roll-up and kicked out of, but as SSM ran the ropes he was countered into another roll-up that was successful. Hirata, Takagi & Owashi retain. Yeah, I do realize I wrote that much about this. I was hardly even interested in the first place. DDT for ya. The music was still playing throughout the finish and kept playing for the celebration.
KENSO beat down Takagi post-match and brought him back to the ring. The premise here is that Burabura was never a good replacement for Ohka in the #OhkaEmpire team. Tsurumi booked KENSO as another Ohka replacement, as the team will challenge again on Jan. 3rd for the 6 man titles, as KENSO wanted Takagi anyways.
The winner gets the next shot at Kendo Kashin. Kashin beat Honda on Nov. 28 for the belt. Akito has been involved in the title picture, and has had some notable matches over the course of 2015. Oh. My. God. This match came out of absolutely nowhere to shock the everloving hell out of me. This was one of the best worked matches of 2015 period. The only reason I didn’t go higher is the fact that big vibes/heavy emotion make up the rest of a ‘maximum’ rating. That kind of stuff was the only thing lacking from this incredible bout. There were no mistakes, missteps, or flaws in this contest. From the start, you knew who was targeting what, and off of that branched a wonderful technically sound matchup in which you didn’t know which way it was going to go. When Akito wasn’t selling his nearly broken arms, he was putting in a leglock or attempting a sneaky roll-up. When Honda wasn’t selling his frail legs, he was attempting to repeatedly snap Akito’s arms, or get an armbar on. There were only two times where someone went on a top rope, and it was both Honda’s opportunities at hitting something; but one time he missed and the other he was countered with the non-injured bodyparts of Akito’s…his legs. If that doesn’t describe most of the beauty this match beholds, then I don’t know what else to tell you. These guys never forgot to sell their injuries. They never forgot to include continuity in both their offense and defense. This was a chess game that was put together in a near perfect layout. It’s a shame this was only 14:10, and it’s a shame this didn’t happen in a bigger atmosphere so it had a 5 star match feel. This was as close as you could get on a third spot down from the top, in which you’re competing for a contendership for a secondary title. The cherry on top? Honda finally hit the Scorpion Deathdrop he’s been attempting. That wasn’t enough to win. The finale of the match tied not only the last point to the finish, thus providing continuity, but provided straight up symbolism regarding the entire theme of the match. A struggle on the ground occurred with a roll-up being attempted as a counter to the armbar. Honda kicked out of the roll-up, but instead of before, where Akito bounced off of the powerful roll-up, he didn’t this time because Honda used his stamina up. That got transitoned right into the Scorpion Deathlock in which Honda had to tap out. That was a whole other extra layer that made even MORE sense because of the arm/leg dynamic. The limbwork paid off and the more stamina oriented wrestler won the contendership. I don’t see this being MOTY, but if there was a ‘Most Technically Sound/Match With Most Continuity’ award, this would be it. I freaking love it. The definitive hidden gem of 2015.
Wow. It’s going to be hard to follow that masterpiece, but if any combo can do it; this has potential. This was a really good match hurt by an overusage of Takeshita literally to the extreme. As you can tell by the rating, the match was far from average, but peril Takeshita situations tend to be built off of him kicking out of odds stacked against him. That’s not the right way to do it, and it comes off as a strong style parody at times; as you have to be cautious of how you go about that precise narrative. He slipped out of every submission put on him, the parts where Irie saved him were the best in comparison to his actual solo fight, and he kicked out of every piling move thrown at him, including massive finishes that have happened to guys pushed BIGGER than him. Other than that, this was fascinating to see go down. The combinations of guys were very fun, with the Yukio and Irie interactions providing hoss heaven for the time being. Another highlight was Takeshita overdoing a bump into the crowd off of an Irish whip. The match built to the finish, and oh my, what a finish it was. Takeshita had Yukio in a submission ironically, but HARASHIMA came in with double knees to the back of Takeshita; sending him flying. A frankensteiner was hit. As HARASHIMA ran-in for corner knees, Irie pounced him, but just after that, Yukio came in with a elevated knee to the back of Irie. It was down to these two men. Takeshita kept finding his way out of Yukio’s attacks, including a lariat to a mid-air Yukio going for a lariat! The signature German fended off the entire match was hit…and Takeshita gets the upset. Wow.
It’s time for the main event of the evening. This is Isami’s first title defense after beating Yukio on Nov. 28th. These guys went 22 minutes and murdered each other. What started out as finesse driven technical wrestling turned into an all out strong style war. Far and away some of the best work in the match was done in the limbwork category, with Endo stopping at nothing to dig into Isami’s back. He nearly broke it, whether it was via holds, stomps, Isami’s accidents or bumps, etc. Isami working from under as K-OD Champ against 24 year-old Endo was a very intriguing dynamic that kept you hooked. You’d think the tide would completely turn, but it never did, as Endo was on the offense for a better portion of the time; and the man outsmarted Isami more times than you could count. Everything the current K-OD Champ could do, Endo could seemingly do better. The dynamic worked better and better as the match went on. I went from “Isami’s going to win anyways, I’m not biting”, to mouth wide open, gasping because of the insanity going on in the ring. It got to the point where both men stood atop the top rope, smashing each others’ face in. Endo attempted the Torture Rack Bomb from the top rope (he hit one on the ground earlier), but it wasn’t successful. It was countered with a massive frankensteiner. This are the lengths this match is going to. Everything aforementioned, including every single possible hope spot kickout from Isami Kodaka that moved the match into the 20 minute mark got us to the remarkable finishing sequence. After being dropped on his head about 5 times throughout the match, a final German was hit on Isami. Endo thought he had him. He was so confident that he thought he’d put in the underhooks for the final blow. Isami pushed through representing the Openweight belt, transitioning the last strategic move into a roll-up, but Endo still kicked out. Endo still says he’s better than you. However, Isami used the momentum of the kickout to bounce off the ropes and smash Endo in the face with his foot. Elbow, push to the back, Isami-ashi Zan. 1-2-3. Your champ is still the champ, general election voters. My goodness, what a matchup. That was strong style with so many unique twists and turns. A fitting end to the show.
“There were no hard feelings between the two afterwards and both said it was a fun match. Kodaka welcomes another challenge from Endo in the future but he warns that he will crush him again. Konosuke Takeshita caught Kodaka’s attention and threw down the challenge for the next title match. After a discussion with Amon Tsurumi the challenge was accepted for 3rd January!” -Translation via Dramatic DDT
There you have it folks. Challenges have been laid down, and challenges have been accepted. January 3rd sees Isami vs. Takeshita, as well as more 6 man goofiness and what else comes. This was a 3 match show, but an incredible show because of said matches. The clips were fun to watch and review, and the comedy was an addition that only DDT knows how to deliver. I’d suggest to give this a watch, as everything combined shows what DDT was in 2015. Amazing.