by Philip Overby
Returning to Korakuen Hall after last month’s ZERO-1 is starting to make this feel like “my home.” Sort of like how ECW Arena was the home for ECW fans. Anyhow, this was an afternoon show that started roughly at 12:00 so the show wasn’t very packed. I estimate there were maybe 300 or so?
They start off the show introducing a Janken Tournament (Rock, Paper, Scissors) that will take place at the end of the show. They have some of the trainees get in the ring and sample what’s going to happen. This one poor guy loses everytime, much to the delight of the crowd.
Already I get the feeling this crowd is in favor of the more light-hearted style that DDT seems to relish in. However, I found out that DDT isn’t all fun and games with some hard-hitting matches.
There’s a brief promo showing Ken Ohka spinning around in some spherical playground thing. This girl is there training him on how to do weird stuff.
1. HARASHIMA vs. Ken Ohka
-Ohka is the more over of the two for sure. The crowd seems really into him.
-HARASHIMA controls some early chain wrestling, but Ohka wins a shoulder tackle battle of sorts.
-HARASHIMA goes for a long airplane spin, putting Ohka in a dazed state. Ohka powders out and gets a baseball slide to the mush.
-HARASHIMA stays on offense, hitting strikes, a leg drop to the stomach, then just grinds his knee into Ohka’s abdomen, pulling forward on his neck. Looks painful.
-Ohka finally pulls off a suplex, much to the delight of the crowd. Wow. He took so much heat that a simple suplex got a massive pop.
-They trade slaps, Ohka hits a running elbow, then starts to warm up the band in the corner. For what, I don’t know because HARASHIMA knee lifts Ohka in the gut, dropping him in a heap.
-HARASHIMA hits a nice dropkick and follows up with a falcon arrow for a nearfall. Ohka’s in trouble again so he starts going for a series of pinning combinations. Sunset flip, small package, and a backslide attempt, all fail.
-There are lots of slap battles here. Another starts and Ohka gives a headbutt that seems to hurt him more than HARASHIMA. HARASHIMA answers with a huge head kick, that staggers Ohka into the corner. The crowd seems firmly behind Ohka here. He springs out of the corner with a wheel kick, that pops the crowd, then a german suplex.
-HARASHIMA starts unleashing knees of all sorts. He knees Ohka in the head, airplane spins into a double knee facebuster, then finishes off Ohka with a double knee to the face. Ouch. Looked like a Shining Wizard style move, but with just two knees crashing into his forehead.
WINNER: HARASHIMA with a double knee to the face.
Thoughts: The crowd was firmly into Ohka. Which is something I noticed throughout the show. The comedy wrestlers and underdogs seem to be way more over than the more serious wrestlers. Just a thought going forward.
2. Cherry vs. MIKAMI
-Crowd lights up for Cherry. Lots of scattered calls for Cherry throughout this match.
-Cherry has banners hanging from the rafters, so I assume she is a pretty popular character. Being the only woman on the show makes her appearance more special I think.
-MIKAMI seems like a good wrestler, but he doesn’t really play into the fact that he’s fighting this cute girl. He brings a ladder to the ring with him.
-Cherry throws MIKAMI around by his hair a little bit. Hits a northern lights suplex. Dropkick from MIKAMI gets a nice “ooh” from the crowd. I’m noticing the crowds that come to indy shows here in Japan seem more into the offense. Maybe because it’s a more intimate environment? Just a thought.
-Cherry gets a sweet looking capture T-bone suplex pin, which is probably one of the first times I’ve seen that. Hits an Angel Bomb dropkick off the top.
-MIKAMI takes control of almost the whole remainder of the match, brutalizing Cherry with a variety of stretches and strikes. He hits a big flipping senton off the top rope for another “ooh” moment, but only gets a nearfall. MIKAMI goes to get a ladder that he brought to the ring with him earlier. He tries to do the flipping senton again off the ladder, but misses. Cherry gets a brief flurry of offense and hits a Swanton for a nearfall.
-MIKAMI gets a victory roll, hits a face buster, and just starts wrenching Cherry’s arm back. She has no choice but to tap. He shakes Cherry’s hand afterward. MIKAMI leaves the ring with his ladder, with a look on his face like he could care less about being in the match.
WINNER: MIKAMI with an arm submission.
Thoughts: Cherry seems like a popular character, so I sort of wish she would have went over in this match. But I guess it would make MIKAMI look weak if he lost. This is two matches in a row where the wrestler the crowd was going for has lost. And the trend continues.
3. DJ Nira vs. Masa Takanashi
-DJ Nira starts shouting something from the announcer’s both. The crowd seems to think it’s funny. Nira is dressed like a homeless guy, and has one of those really cheap 300 yen clear umbrellas you can buy anywhere in Japan. He also has a hay fever mask dangling from around his neck. Looks like an interesting character. Boy, was I right about that.
-Masa Takanashi looks like a standard wrestler. He has some good moments in this match as well though.
-After a series of moves, Takanashi kicks the rope as Nira is getting in. Dropkicks him off the apron. He falls out screaming bloody murder about his leg hurting.
-Nira is a pretty funny character, as he keeps falling over when Takanashi tries to do moves on him and having weird rambling conversations while he has him in a rear chin lock. Some kind of conversation about Takanashi not really being there or something?
-Takanashi goes for the yoshi tonic several times but Nira keeps falling over. Crowd seems really into Nira’s antics. Takanashi gets 3 small packages and then locks in a dragon sleeper for the finish.
WINNER: Takanashi with a dragon sleeper. This is third match in a row where the more popular character lost. Not sure what the logic with that is, but I guess the comedy characters are there to put over the more serious wrestlers?
4. Michael Nakazawa vs. Keisuke Ishii vs. Antonio Honda vs. Isami Kodaka
– Nakazawa has a leather cat of nine tails kind of dominatrix deal. He starts slapping everyone with it, which looks like it really hurts. The match already breaks down. Honda pulls out a green onion which gets a “negi” chant. Kind of surreal moment. Lots of brawling all over the arena.
– Nakazawa and Kodaka are slamming each other’s heads on one of the big metal signs on the outside pillars.
-Honda starts hitting Ishii with a dustpan and the starts sweeping up. Tries to hit him with a broom. Ishii uses the broom instead and hits Honda. Honda gets angry and tries to break the broom over his leg, but to no avail. Crowd gets a kick out of that.
-Ishii puts a wastebasket on Honda’s head and kicks it off.
-Nakazawa starts beating people with nunchucks, so Honda pulls out a giant daikon (Japanese radish) to a “daikon” chant. More surreal than the negi chant.
-Nakazawa randomly strips down to a thong.
-Kodoka gives Nakazawa a Frankensteiner off the top rope onto two chairs. Ouch.
-Ishii tucks the negi in his knee pad and wheel kicks.
-Honda smashes the daikon over Nakazawa’s head and a piece of it flies off into the crowd. They then start to eat the daikon together.
-Finally, Honda lays out Nakazawa and jumps off the top rope with the daikon, spiking him with it.
WINNER: Honda with a daikon drop.
Thoughts: Most bizarre hardcore match I’ve ever seen. It was hard to type any of that with a straight face. Perfect for the type of tone they were going for. The chants for an onion and a radish could only happen at DDT.
5. Danshoku Dino and Makoto Oishii vs. Sanshiro Takagi (Handicap Match/Lumberjack Match)
-I cannot describe this accurately. Seriously. It was insane. Apparently there two groups. One is led by Dino and roughly means “Peach Something Z?” It’s supposed to be some kind of group like the popular AKB48 group. And Takagi has a rival group which likes AKB48. Anyway, both groups are singing and dancing randomly throughout this lumberjack match. They started switching CDs at the sound booth and each team would dance. There were several moves, but they didn’t seem to matter. Although it was cool to see the Danshoku Driver in person. He really looks like Jack Black to me.
Takagi wins after an electric chair drop transitioned into a sit-out powerbomb. Pretty cool move.
WINNER: Takagi with electric chair/powerbomb on Oishii
In the end everyone turned on Takagi and started signing and dancing. My head almost exploded.
Thoughts: More bizarre only DDT style action. I can understand why this promotion has a cult following. You can’t really see this kind of stuff in other promotions.
6. Yasu Urano vs. Shuji Ishikawa
-Fans are behind the underdog Yasu again.
-Good match overall, more serious action that previous matches.
-Most of match is Ishikawa, the much bigger man, brutalizing Yasu with the crowd rallying behind him . Yasu had a funny spot where he tied Ishikawa’s shoelace to the bottom turnbuckle.
-Ishikawa finishes off Yasu with a Splashdown Mountain.
WINNER: Ishikawa with Splashdown Mountain.
7. Main Event-Ko-D Champion KUDO vs. Hikaru Sato
-They show the election results from the last show with Sato winning. He’s wearing cat ears and a dress. I was disappointed he just came out in regular ring gear for this show. KUDO gets a great reaction. The crowd seems split at first, but seems to be in heavy favor of KUDO.
-This match was lots of striking and lots of working on the leg from Sato. It looked as if KUDO was booked to look vulnerable here, as Sato dominated for a lot of the match.
-There were some sick sounding headbutts that actually gave a “thunk” sound. Biggest pop was for KUDO hitting double knees from off the turnbuckle and finishing with a double knee drop on the fallen Sato.
WINNER: KUDO with a double knee drop.
-They had a Janken (Rock, Paper, Scissors) Tournament to determine the challenger for the Osaka show coming up. This was notable because all the wrestlers came out dressed in various strange costumes. It was funny because Kota Ibushi came out wearing DJ Nira’s homeless man looking gimmick, complete with the umbrella. The finals of the tournament came down to Kota Ibushi and Takashi (Last Name I don’t know).
Takashi won and had a screaming promo with KUDO saying he was going to win the title from KUDO. Doesn’t look like Takashi will be winning after KUDO gave such an impressive performance.
Overall Thoughts: I would love to go to another DDT in the future. If you like comedy in wrestling and don’t mind over-the-top storylines, gimmicks, and such then you’ll be into DDT. It’s the kind of show you really need to experience live to understand how insane it is. In the small Korakuen environment, you can feel that the fans really eat up everything they do. I find it quite strange however, that some of the most over guys on the roster are booked to be fall guys for the more serious wrestlers. Not sure what the design of that is, but it sort of deflates the crowd when none of the wrestlers they’re cheering for win. I guess it would be silly for the comedy characters to win matches so often, but I feel like if that is the bread and butter of the promotion, they should let those characters carry the show. Just my thoughts.
2. Ken Ohka
3. DJ Nira
4. Yasu Urano
5. Danshoku Dino’s group
1. MIKAMI (because he wrestled Cherry)
That’s it. No one else really got any heat. I guess DJ Nira was technically heel, but was entertaining so no one booed him.
Great show! Looking forward to seeing another soon.