I have to apologize ahead of time for how strange and disjointed this review may read to you compared to the others. DDT recently did its Beer Garden shows, something you might have seen mentioned on the last review. These were a series of shows that were themed by the different stables of DDT and the first and final days were labeled as DDT Days. Shuten-doji, Happy Motel, Danshoku Dino, Smile Squash, and Damnation all had their own themed days with different kinds of fun matches on them. It’s a great week, because it’s all about DDT guys having fun. That being said, an absurd amount of matches are on this show. The final count is 20+ matches clipped to fit into two hours, so it’s a lot to go through, hence why this review ended up being more than twice as long as the ones that have come before it. That being said, let’s get started, because there ended up being a lot of good stuff on this show.
Harashima opened this show with a huge smile and a cup of beer, and if you can’t get behind this show when Harashima is here to show us the way, I just don’t even know.
Beer Garden Fight 2016— DDT Day
King of Dark Title: Sanshiro Takagi def. Chikara
So the whole point of the King of Dark Title is that you don’t win it. You lose, and then you get stuck with the belt, and since it’s a Dark Title belt, you have to defend it on the dark matches. While those normally don’t make tape and therefore you kind of have to read results to see who has it, from time to time the matches do make tape. This one did. I know that defies all logic and reason, since it can’t very well be considered a dark match if it made tape. But this is DDT, and this is a Dark Title match even if it did make tape.
There wasn’t much to this match as it was clipped down (as these matches will be) but Chikara looked pretty okay for once, which is nice because he’s still learning and he’s not grasping the sport as well as his grandfather did. But that’s okay for now, and he had some fun chops in this match, so all is well. Sanshiro picked up the victory with La Magistral Cradle. Nothing horribly offensive and I’d like to see how Chikara progresses so I’ll take anything I can get. His father, Mitsuo Momota, came down to ask if he could wrestle with his son in the Peter Pan dark match to help him get rid of the belt. Family ties, readers, family ties.
Hikaru Sato & Atsushi Aoki def. Soma Takao & Kouki Iwasaki
Oh my God, I love the Evolution junior tag. I love all members of Evolution but Aoki and Sato are such a dynamic pairing and their grappling is out of this world, as evidenced when they were present in one of the title matches during Big Japan’s Sumo Hall show at the end of July. I don’t know what happens after the feud between Hikaru and Soma, but if we can get more of these two in DDT, I’ll take it. AJPW and DDT have had a nice little working relationship so far so let’s hope for the best because these two are special and I want to see them in all of my favorite promotions. Also, I assume this match is a way for Hikaru and Soma to build up some more steam heading into what is already promised to be an intense match at Peter Pan as Soma battles Hikaru for the Jr. Heavyweight title that Hikaru worked for years to win.
What we saw of this match focused on Hikaru and Soma and it perfectly encapsulates why Hikaru is such a dangerous foe and why you can’t take him lightly as a challenger. The man has so many skills and talents, has the strength to lift other juniors up for backdrops and slams, has a bevy of dangerous stiff kicks, and has no shortage of hold transitions up his sleeve. He turned a pin attempt into an armbar, then rolled over Soma to get in an ankle lock, used it to reel Soma in for a back bodydrop, and then when that pin attempt also failed, turned it right back into another armbar. He’s slick and fast and talented at what he does, and he has a ton of experience going for him. He’s also worked his ass off to get where he is now, and he’s not going to be easy to beat. The Evolution junior tag picked up the victory when Aoki tapped Iwasaki with an armbar, but the real story came after the match. Hikaru kept Soma firmly locked in his armbar and the DNA boys had to peel him off. That might end up being the scene at Peter Pan if Soma doesn’t keep his wits about him.
Danshoku Dino & Keisuke Ishii def. Kota Umeda & Mizuki Watase
Oh boy. This is probably a lead-in to the fact that Dino is facing LiLiCo at Peter Pan not only for the Extreme title but also for Mizuki Watase himself, as Dino thinks Watase’s relationship with LiLiCo is nothing more than a publicity stunt the two of them came up with. Who even knows with DDT anymore? Watase and LiLiCo actually have a slew of photographs on Twitter and on LiLiCo’s blog that show the two of them together in public, and either Sanshiro Takagi is the smartest man on Earth or they might actually be a couple. I don’t know anymore. But this storyline is fun, and it really fits both characters, as LiLiCo is particularly adoring of Watase, and he in return, and Dino going after a pretty young man? That’s completely accurate of him as a person.
This match started off with a little pre-match drink, because this is Beer Garden, and then Dino spits beer on both Umeda and Watase, because it’s Dino. This match was also clipped pretty short and what we saw was Ishii holding Watase trapped so Dino could hit a running kiss on him, and Ishii used the momentum for a suplex. Gotta remember that in the scope of DDT, Dino’s kisses are a legitimate offensive tactic and people have been hurt by them. We also see LiLiCo in the crowd, cheering for her boyfriend, which is adorable. Dino puts something in his mouth and proves my point by kissing Watase and tapping him out with the kiss. LiLiCo came to check on him and Dino offered her a drink, which was nice. And he didn’t spit on her, which was nicer.
KO-D Openweight Title
Konosuke Takeshita (c) def. Toru Owashi
Owashi kept his contract for months which is commendable because no one else actually managed that feat; all of the original contract holders lost their contracts later down the road to other people. He spent a long time trying to figure out when he wanted to have his challenge, and he decided to pick the first day of the Beer Garden shows so he could go into Sumo Hall as champion. On the last big show, Konosuke Takeshita found himself losing his best friend as Tetsuya Endo turned on him after Takeshita defeated him, so he’s coming out to this match with a lot of pressure on his shoulders. If he wins here, he’s guaranteed to go to Peter Pan to face King of DDT winner Shuji Ishikawa to settle their feud once and for all.
Owashi is also super over, which is great because he’s one of my Aagan Iisou DG boys from back in the day and my fondness for him has not wavered. He also came out in a cool robe with a giant rope thrown artfully over the entire ensemble, so excuse me for not knowing Beer Garden is also all about fashion. This match was clipped but it is, by far, the best of the Takeshita defenses so far and that is saying something. The crowd was absolutely red hot for this match and Owashi brought out a new side of Takeshita that made him look like a million bucks. Owashi can also fling Takeshita pretty far, considering he hit him with two chokeslams and one of them just kind of flung his limp body across the ring. It was horrible to watch but yet somehow beautiful all at the same time. And Owashi proved to be the toughest foe that Takeshita has faced as he kicked out of the bridging German suplex that won Takeshita his other two matches. Instead, Takeshita had to defeat him with a vicious chop. It’s good he’s got a variance in his moveset and has other finishes he can utilize because Ishikawa is a big guy, and he’s going to fight like a madman.
Speaking of Ishikawa, he came out after this match so he and Takeshita could have a proper face-off now that they are guaranteed opponents. And someone must have told him about the fashion Owashi brought because he brought his own in a pair of pants that are half solid black and half striped. If you remember, both of these two have had singles matches and they defeated each other in a shockingly short amount of time. So this big match between them should be interesting.
Beer Garden Fight 2016— Shuten-doji Day
Shuten-doji opened this Beer Garden show and honestly it’s only fitting that they get to do this, because beer is pretty much the focal point of their stable. Pals who drink together, stay together.
Saki Akai def. Gota Ihashi
Saki Akai is here and she’s dressed up like a boxer which is honestly great, because she can probably kick the ass of just about anyone in DDT and now she really looks like she could. She’s facing Gota Ihashi and this has comedy written all over it. He’s like four times her size, but she’ll probably beat the hell out of him just the same because the poor guy absolutely cannot catch a break. He’s just not that successful of a clone. The last time he was around boxing gloves was when Kota Ibushi knocked him a good one back at Judgment Day during that arena match, so it’s not even like he has a great track record here. Poor dude. Also Kudo is out here to referee the match because we’ve been blessed. Kudo is amazing, and luckily he’s back at Peter Pan.
DJ NIRA IS AT THE COMM TABLE. We are truly, actually blessed.
As you would probably expect, Gota forgot the rules of the match and slammed Saki, and Kudo immediately got up into his face about it because Kudo is not going to be one of those referees who gets walked on by the wrestlers he’s officiating. As predicted, Saki dominated for most of the fight and punched the hell out of Gota. He ended up being disqualified when he had Iwasaki take off his pants for… Look, I have no idea, he’s supposed to be a clone of Kota, not Dino, after all. Either way, Saki wins the fight, and that’s the important part. Yukio wasn’t impressed, and tried to knee him in the face for his efforts. What a man.
Scary Story That Surrounds Yukio Sakaguchi
This is a strange match. It’s a bunch of the DDT wrestlers telling Yukio Sakaguchi scary stories, and he has to pin or submit someone to stop the stories. Ghost stories are a Beer Garden tradition, after all, and very much like I would be, Yukio is trying to fight his way out of the ring because he wants no part in this. They finally had to give up and Rekka and Makoto Oishi had to carry him bodily to the ring, which I love, because Yukio is a stubborn bastard, after all. This is about as cheesy as you can possibly get, with the lights off and people shining flashlights onto their faces as they tell Yukio stories. Kouki Iwasaki talks for maybe two minutes before Yukio just attacks him, slapping and kicking him down. Dino shows up and catches Yukio in a lip lock, but it takes everything out of both of them and they both just collapse from the effect. Also, Soma Takao is there. I don’t know when he showed up. Clips bend reality, after all.
As if things could get no better, with everyone flat on the mat, the referee had to start his ten count. But then he had to stop, because now he has to tell a story. Apparently it was a good one, because Makoto Oishi looks freaked out, and OMG IT’S DJ NIRA YES. Finally, Yukio taps Iwasaki out with the Cobra Clutch and the stories are over. Poor man has probably had years shaved off of his life from the stories these people have told him. For shame! He tried to toast the fans but the lights went out and a creepy woman’s face showed up on the screen. Phenomenal.
Mike Bailey def. Kota Umeda
Fucking YES it’s Mike Bailey here in DDT, which is the most exciting thing DDT has done in a long time. This guy is the kind of gaijin you want in this promotion because he fits in perfectly, he has the personality, the charisma, and the style that makes him mesh so well here (unlike certain people we aren’t going to name who better bring the Heavymetalweight back soon). He’s taking on Kota Umeda in what is probably going to be a battle of kicks as Umeda favors the style and he’s very accomplished at it. Also yay for him being in the main event of Shuten-doji day as he’s getting a special chance to shine against a very talented foreign wrestler. It’s the little things like that that make me love the way that DDT handles their younger talent. They have loads of more experienced guys on their roster they could have put into a spot like this, but they picked Umeda, and that’s just a fantastic opportunity for him.
These two literally stood on the apron and had a kick battle and I can confirm that Umeda looked fantastic against Bailey here, which is so good for him because Bailey is considered to be one of the better kickers in wrestling. Umeda didn’t look the least bit out of place and he carried himself very well in this match. They were going for suplexes on the apron too, which would have been terrifying, but Bailey resisted a roll-up attempt and instead hit Umeda with double knees instead. Umeda crotched Bailey on the top rope and gave him a brainbuster for the effort, which looked great. In the end, Bailey was able to pick up the victory with a flawless Shooting Star Double Kneedrop. Fantastic effort by both men and Umeda continues to look like a star.
Shuten-doji def. Pigging 2015
Post-match, Tomomitsu Matsunaga, Iwasaki, and Gota all came down to announce they were reforming their unit Pigging 2015, which they had to disband after losing in the DDT General Election. They came out to challenge Shuten-doji to a match and found themselves quickly defeated when KUDO GOT INVOLVED. Hot damn, it’s so good to see him kicking again. His kicks looked great and his little quick strikes looked good and I’m way too excited about us finally getting him back. Sakaguchi finished Gota off with the Right Knee of God, as you would expect, and Shuten-doji is victorious.
Beer Garden Fight 2016— Happy Motel Day
My favorite little family stable takes this day and welcomes the fans. They decided to make their show a dinner party themed show, and there was singing between the matches. That’s… So them, really. It’s not even that odd of them to burst into song during their regular matches.
Antonio Honda def. Kikutaro
I love Kikutaro. He’s a wacky fun character to have in your promotion and in a place like DDT, he fits in really well. He had a fun match with Rainbow Kawamura in DNA and here, he’s facing one of the equally fun characters of DDT in Antonio Honda. As predicted, Kikutaro cuts his usual little in-ring promo while keeping Honda’s head trapped with his arm, then called for a brainbuster that of course got turned into a suplex on him. It’s a fun spot and he works the crowd well because they always laugh or cheer when he talks to them, so it’s a great time. The two of them ended up in a chop contest during which Kikutaro took off his shirt so he had no extra shielding, making it more of a fair field because Honda’s single-shoulder singlet hardly provides any protection. Kikutaro looked to have the upper hand when he hit a Shining Wizard and a back-drop, but Honda was able to roll him up for the victory.
Trans-Am ★ Hiroshi def. Konosuke Takeshita
The gimmick of this match is that whoever undresses their opponent down to their underwear first is the winner of the match, and both Hiroshi and Takeshita are dressed to the nines here tonight, and Takeshita even has white gloves on. To be bluntly and completely honest, these two men are incredibly handsome and the nice clothes make them even more handsome, so this is a win-win.
Takeshita attempted to run down the stairs and into Hiroshi, but Hiroshi darted out of the way at the last minute and Takeshita crashed into the ringpost instead; it cost him his belt. In short order, he also lost his suit jacket and his vest, feigning modesty as he struggled to cover up his still completely-covered body. In even shorter order he also lost his shoes and socks, and then lost his pants when Hiroshi countered Takeshita pulling his down instead. And OH MY GOD HE HAS TIGGER UNDERWEAR. My entire childhood will never be the same now that I know that Konosuke Takeshita has one of my childhood heroes on his ass. And then the camera zoomed in on his butt, because this is DDT. Takeshita was finally able to get some revenge as he managed to rip Hiroshi’s unbuttoned shirt off, but Hiroshi was the one who triumphed in the end. In arguably one of the smartest maneuvers in wrestling history, he found himself up on Takeshita’s shoulders for a powerbomb— then grabbed the bottom of his shirt, peeling it off of him as he took the move and winning the match. Takeshita loses, remaining in just a bowtie and his Tigger underwear. The crowd erupted into a USA chant because as we all know, Hiroshi is the greatest American wrestler of all time. What a main event.
OH MY GOD THIS HAS THE ENGAGEMENT ON IT. Ryohei Fukuda, a member of the DDT video team, came out post-match in a tuxedo so he could propose to his girlfriend Yuki in the ring. This is absolutely adorable, beautiful, and such a sweet and touching moment. And then everyone sang to close out the show. That’s just… That’s amazing. I love DDT.
Beer Garden 2016— Danshoku Dino Day
Danshoku Dino is one of those characters that is either adored or hated, but the DDT audience loves him. He’s one of the most over acts in the company, and we’re talking a promotion where everyone has a pretty big fan following behind them in the first place. He also isn’t in a stable right now, but damn right he’s going to get his own day because if there’s a singular person who deserves a Beer Garden day to themself, it’s Dino.
Lariat Pro vs. Knee Pro
Keisuke Ishii & Tanomusaku Toba def. Tomomitsu Matsunaga & Daiki Shimomura
The point of this match was that it was full of lariats and knee strikes, which is not a bad concept considering the fact that a ton of wrestling fans tend to like those moves a ton. Ishii and Toba were dishing out the lariats while Matsunaga and Shimomura favored the knees. It looked like it was all over for Shimomura after Ishii hit him with a particularly nasty lariat, but, no joke, the music of Shinsuke Nakamura revived him just before the ten count. Ishii look stunned! Shimomura was revitalized and imitated Nakamura, hitting both of his opponents and his partner with Bomayes, doing Shinsuke’s hand motions, and doing his bend back on the ropes. It was a cute little tribute, but in the end, it was for naught. Ishii rolled him up for the victory.
Shimomura still lead the crowd in a YEAOH chant after the match. Pro wrestling is the best.
Match With Someone Breaking In Every Few Minutes
Mike Bailey def. Danshoku Dino
The stipulation of this match is not unlike a lot of the big WWE main events where basically there are a huge amount of interferences, except that’s the point of the match! Someone comes down to the ring and is allowed to attack Bailey or Dino, and while the interferences are still considered illegal, the referee just turns his back. After all, as we all know, if the referee didn’t see it happen, you can’t really prove that it did. I also love that Bailey gets to work this match with Dino, as he’s talked about wanting to wrestle in DDT for years and Dino is one of the biggest and most well-known names in DDT. That’s good for him and great for us because you know these two are going to put on a fun match together. Bailey is just so good in DDT. They should keep him.
Antonio Honda came out dressed as Hulk Hogan and gave Bailey the big leg drop, the poor guy. Even funnier was him getting hit and pausing to straighten his bandanna before trying for any offense of his own. Gotta look the part, after all. Dino went for his signature crotch grab but proving he’s every bit the man to work in this promotion, Bailey grabbed Dino’s crotch back with no hesitation, then nailed him with a head kick. Going for the Shooting Star Double Knee Drop failed him when Dino rolled out of the way. Then DDT video crew member Norikazu Fujioka arrived in the ring, invited the locker room out, and announced he would be getting married. Shocked, Dino didn’t see Bailey coming, and Bailey put him away with a kick to the head, rolling him up easily. Everyone had pantyhose on their head and celebrated Fujioka’s engagement but Dino never really recovered from the shock. Bless him, and bless DDT for another cute moment.
Beer Garden Specialty 5 Way Falls Count Anywhere Match
Megane Fujioka def. Super Sasadango Machine, Antonio Honda, Mike Bailey, Tanomusaku Toba, Danshoku Dino, Keisuke Ishii, Kazuki Hirata, Makoto Oishi, Shunma Katsumata, MAO & Daiki Shimomura
I am not kidding when I tell you this really was supposed to be a five-person match even though there are definitely more than five names in that last. It was Dino, SSM, Honda, Toba, and Bailey to start things out but as we know, the minute a stipulation leaves open the room for interference and more people joining in the debacle, that usually happens. That’s not always a good thing but it works fine in a comedy match like this one anyway where all of the guys are just here to have fun and make the audience laugh. Everyone even came together in the ring to a toast because this is all in good fun, and then they poured beer on themselves, because this is also a party. “Enter Sandman” is playing in the background, and it doesn’t stop for this entire match.
Everyone is already there when the match starts, and Dino is trying to give the newly-engaged Fujioka the Danshoku Driver, and apparently nobody is very happy about that because SSM headbutts him and our idols triple dropkick him in what is honestly a stunning display of a team working in stereo with each other. Bailey hit his Shooting Star Double Knee Drop and Megane finished Dino off with the Glass of Megane, a hurricanrana from the top turnbuckle. Amazing spectacle, and despite just being one of the video crew, Megane was getting chants from the crowd. I love how they played along in that little moment, it was great. Dino and pals closed out the show talking about how much they love wrestling and love the fans. Beautiful work.
Beer Garden 2016— Smile Squash Day
Harashima is here to greet the crowd in a stylish robe and he looks better than ever, the megawatt smile in place. This is as good a place as any to say this but Harashima’s ability to come off as this ass kicker who is nearly impossible to defeat while also being genuinely warm to the crowd is incredible. There are so many facets to his character and DDT really found a gem in him. He’s the kind of guy who would beat you up just to put you in your place but then ruffle your hair and tell you that you did a good job, anyway. What a guy.
Also Shimatani, Dino, and Hirata all bumped heads during Harashima’s speech and swapped bodies. Yes, they actually swapped bodies. After the first match, Shimatani bumped heads with referee Kiso and now there’s four people in this madness.
DDT Grand Sumo Summer Tournament – Final
Konosuke Takeshita def. Harashima
Between matches, Smile Squash had put together a little sumo wrestling tournament and they would contest the bouts here. It’s a neat little idea but I am flabbergasted as to why they didn’t have Higuchi get involved considering he has experience as a sumo wrestler. Probably because he’s twice the size of most of DDT and would have obliterated them pretty easily. Also a fun note, they had Hoshitango referee the final so I assume he did this for the entire tournament. That is such a smart little touch, because Hoshitango has a history as a sumo wrestler. It’s the little things like that that make things feel so special, and so much more thought out than they seem.
Takeshita picks up an easy victory over Harashima here, actually. He charged Harashima as soon as the bout began and threw him, and that was all he needed. Nice little moment here, because it made Takeshita look good, and making your new top guy look good is great. And believe me, he looks great. He talked a bit about winning at Peter Pan after the match.
Akito Produce Match
Danshoku Dino (aka Hirata) def. Kazuki Hirata (aka Shimatani)
As you recall from above, body switching has occurred for this match. Dino is currently residing in Hirata’s body and Hirata is residing in Shimatani’s. Kiso is residing in Dino’s body, therefore Dino is the one refereeing this match. Insanity, absolutely, but inspired fun, too.
This was actually such a fun little match to have because Shimatani and Hirata looked like they were having a blast playing different characters, and Dino was clearly having fun getting to play the referee role. Shimatani did the Tokyo Go dance that Hirata is so well known for during his entrance and during the match, and Hirata really livened things up by kissing an audience member Danshoku Dino style. Shimatani busted out the neck chop and felled Hirata, and Hirata won the match with a kiss and the Danshoku Driver. Dino tapped out the three-count between somersaults, and it was fantastic.
Luckily, everyone bumped heads after the match and became themselves again, and Hirata and Shimatani chased Dino out of the venue looking for revenge for switching them all in the first place. Thank you, Akito, for putting together this wonderful match.
Yasu Urano def. Harashima & Akito
Smile Squash fighting each other is great because the three of them have good chemistry with each other, but it’s also no good because I will not stand for them fighting amongst each other. Yasu and Harashima actually started off teaming up against Akito, which is some bullshit, but Yasu quickly proved to be the slimier of the two as, instead of following up Harashima’s elbow drop on Akito with one of his own, he leaned over just a bit and caught Harashima’s arm instead. It’s not even unusual for Yasu as he’s not above being sneaky and a little conniving to get the upper hand. He punished Harashima with three elbow drops in a row and then bit him on the ear, which is… Well, if it gets the job done, it gets the job done, right?
He and Harashima battered each other with forearms, and just when it seemed like Yasu might have the upper hand again, Harashima kicked him down. Akito slipped back into the ring and took his place, and the forearm battle began anew. Harashima again got the upper hand with his kicks, so Yasu kicked him in the head to give him a taste of his own medicine, a nice little touch. We got a corner spot where Akito powerbombed Harashima, who in turn suplexed Yasu. It’s in a lot of matches these days but I tend to think it’s a nice touch when you’ve got enough guys in the ring to pull it off, and it really showcases Akito’s strength because the dude is strong. He proved it by catching Harashima during a Somato attempt, plucking him off of the top rope with ease and giving him the Kinniku Big Move. It looked like he had this match won but the always clever Yasu took advantage and rolled him up for the victory.
I like that. Yasu does a lot of work in DDT, he isn’t on the same level as golden ace Harashima or future star Akito in terms of the way people think about him, so giving him that win was nice. Love it. Smile Squash gave a go-home promo to close out their show and sent everyone home with, you guessed it: a smile.
Beer Garden 2016— Damnation Day
Damnation, DDT’s hottest new heel group and sporting their new member Tetsuya Endo who has taken a level in evil by getting himself a cool new haircut and sporting some eyeliner, opens the show. Daisuke Sasaki is here in a pair of very small but very flattering shorts, and when he turns around I see that they’re Motorhead shorts, which is cool. Basically, Damnation is the coolest. Also, I love that they get their own day, because Daisuke Sasaki drunk tweeting has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of him in general. He’s funny when he drinks.
Rounds Match: Draw between Daisuke Sasaki & Masahiro Takanashi
Each round lasts 30 seconds and after each round, the opponents have to drink a cup of beer. The fact this is the match that these two are in should surprise no one, as Sasaki loves to drink and Masahiro is in a stable whose focal point is beer and who celebrates with drinks after a lot of their matches. Sasaki is now just in the tiny shorts and is also barefoot, and I can’t say why, but hey, as long as he’s comfortable enough to wrestle his match, that’s all that matters. And that’s one of the weird things about some of these Beer Garden shows. Some of these strange little things have explanations behind them, and then you have guys like Sasaki, who just do what they want to do, and Beer Garden is the perfect place to do that.
For the record, they did try to wrestle in the thirty seconds they had. Masahiro started to somersault around Sasaki… And then just kept going, and had to stop, because between that and the alcohol he was making himself a little dizzy. In another spot, Masahiro was rolling Sasaki around the ring and they just kept going while Sasaki looked distressed but not really able to do much about it. During one round, they were both so buzzed they did nothing but stand in the corners of the ring, unable to do anything else. The final round saw some life out of them as Sasaki locked in his crossface only for Masa to reverse it into a roll-up attempt. Masa then attempted his own crossface but Sasaki also reversed it into a roll-up attempt. In the end, neither man was able to get the best of the other and it ended in a draw.
Survival Anywhere Blindfold Bra 4-Way Match
Yoshiko def. Daisuke Sasaki, Antonio Honda & Toru Owashi
Some people take issue to Yoshiko appearing in a wrestling ring again after the incident in World Wonder Ring Stardom where she turned a title match with rising star Act Yasukawa into a shoot, pummeling her face and ultimately forcing her to retire from the damage she inflicted. However, since then, Act has said she has no problem with Yoshiko returning to wrestling. With that in mind, we have this match in which the goal is to strip off your opponent’s bra. Obviously, Yoshiko is wearing a shirt as part of her gear, as she always does, so the men are already at a disadvantage. Sasaki has switched to tights, which is probably for the best as he has a hardcore match coming up at the end of the show.
Also, everyone is blindfolded. Shenanigans are ahead.
Yoshiko effectively stuns Owashi by groping his chest and while Honda unhooks the bra, Yoshiko gets the credit for doing so as she’s the one holding it when it finally comes off. Honda and Sasaki succeeding in unhooking each other’s bras but because they couldn’t get the entire garment off (they have shoulder straps) they were still in the match. They tried to give Yoshiko a team suplex but they found themselves on the receiving end of a double suplex instead. She removed both of their previously unhooked bras for the victory.
Hardcore Six-Man Tag Team
Damnation def. Masashi Takeda, Kazusada Higuchi & Choun-Shiryu
Pretty much everyone else who had a themed day booked themselves into a bunch of fun and competitive matches with their friends, but it should surprise no one that Damnation took a different route and decided to go for a hardcore match instead. I’m slightly nervous for Endo here as the last time he was in a match like this, he lost almost all of the blood in his body for the noble cause of looking like a total badass willing to go all the way. Endo found himself face to face with Takeda and took it to him, breaking a chair over his head and looking horrified when Takeda threw the chair off like it was no big deal. Endo refused to back down, though, taking it to Takeda with what offense he could get by the more experienced wrestler. For his efforts, he had a wok placed over his head and it was struck with a ladle to deafen him.
But Endo has never gone down without a fight and he proved that here. Getting battered in the corner, being double brainbustered and eating a top rope dropkick wasn’t enough to keep him down for the pin. A ladder was placed over his prone body, Takeda hitting a senton on it and Higuchi following that up with a knee drop. Shiryu jumped from the ladder to stomp on him and attempted another pin but Ishikawa made the save for his partner. He and Polly were quickly cleared from the ring and it seemed like Endo was trapped. He gained control back and hit Shiryu with the Torture Rack Bomb for a two-count. Ishikawa hit a Fire Thunder on Takeda off of the apron and through a table while Polly kept Higuchi occupied with a steel chair. This allowed Endo to hit the Sky Twister Press on Shiryu for the victory. Thank God he didn’t almost hemorrhage in the ring this time, and he looked great. I’d love more of him and Takeda in the future.
Damnation closed out the show and Shuji had everyone do their cool quartet pose. They really make a great team together, DDT hit it out of the park with these four.
Beer Garden 2016— DDT Day
This is the last show and we end as we begun, with a general DDT day. We don’t even get an introduction, skipping right to the first match.
Falls Count Anywhere Scramble Bunkhouse 6-Man Tag Team Match
Ken Ohka, Kai & Sanshiro Takagi def. Yuko Miyamoto, Akito & Yasu Urano
So this follows through with Yuko’s continued association with Smile Squash, surprising no one as he joined the group on this show. He’s been teaming off and on with Harashima for a while, and they tend to swap out gear so that we’ve seen Yuko in Harashima’s and Harashima is now a confirmed Yankee. They call themselves Yankee Smile and this match makes sense more than a lot of the others have, as Yankee Smile has a title match with Ken Ohka & Kai (aka Bad Comi) at Peter Pan. Kai and Ken Ohka are a great team and yet again Kai is here to prove we need to petition Mutoh to let him go and let him join DDT as a full-time roster member. His wacky antics, his character, and his wrestling all fit in this promotion far better than they do Wrestle-1.
Yuko catches Kai off of the ropes with a belly-to-belly suplex and gets cut off on a top rope dive when Kai catches him with a dropkick. He nails Yuko with a dropkick and Yuko returns the offense with an elbow of his own, which Yasu capitalize with a splash. You wouldn’t think that Yuko is a more recent team member of Smile Squash because he works incredibly well with them, but that’s in large part due to the fact all three men can work well with others and are just generally great wrestlers. To the surprise of no one, Kai manages to hit his friend and his partner and then ends up getting speared by Ohka because there is just no solid communication in this team and they get too excited for their own good. Miyamoto and Yasu do have good communication in contrast, as they set up a double Fire Thunder and execute it to perfection.
Kai’s friend gets involved again and Yuko has decided he’s just fucking had it with this punk because he drags him out of the ring, over to the stairs, and starts choking him on the railing with everything he’s got. Now this is literally the worst decision he could have made because he left Yasu alone in the ring with Kai who— you guessed it— gets the Gannosuke Clutch and wins the match. He’s been able to pull that move out of nowhere on everyone, including Yuji Hino, so let’s hope Yankee Smile is prepared. Kai and Ohka talked some shit after the match and Yuko was the least impressed person in the entire world and kicked them both for their efforts.
New Ghost Story Numabukuro Death Match
Danshoku Dino & Super Sasadango Machine vs. Toru Owashi & Guanchulo N/C
Look, I don’t even know at this point. All I know is that Guanchulo being funny is a good thing, and he was funny here, disabling both Dino and SSM with his little jabbing strikes before Owashi asked to be tagged in. Guanchulo kept moving his hand every time Owashi tried to tag himself in and when Owashi finally succeeded, he gave Guanchulo a little slap on the cheek to prove a point. Saki Akai interrupted the match to try to read from something sitting on the table in front of her, but she stumbled over the words a little and finally the match picked up where it left off. Owashi hit a brainbuster and went for a pin on Dino, only to have the lights go out and for Saki to start reading again. It’s another ghost story, as it were, but Dino interrupts her again and has the lights turn back on. The two of them argue back and forth for a bit before Shimatani brought over the twin brother of a man who died last year after Beer Garden.
He reads the story, and Dino tells him it’s pretty much the same one his brother read last year. The guy screams YOU at all of the wrestlers in turn, making them faint, and tries to instruct Saki in how to do it. She fails, so he uses his powers on the referee, and then on her. As to what those powers are, well, I’m not sure. But they’re strong. Not that it matters, because he apparently died leaving the venue. The envelope he left in the ring reads YOU’RE NEXT.
Beer Garden Specialty Guest Lottery 6-Man Tag Team Match
Konosuke Takeshita, Harashima & Yukio Sakaguchi defeated Shuji Ishikawa, Keisuke Ishii & Kazusada Higuchi
The fans are responsible for what seem like very strange team arrangements on both sides of the field. As per tradition, a fan lottery decides which six men compete in the match and the teams are arranged from there. Coincidentally, the fans managed to get Takeshita and Ishikawa into the same match, but at least they’re not on the same team as they wouldn’t even come close to being able to work together considering the tension between them. Two solid teams who probably have a good little match together as all of them are great workers.
Ishikawa and Takeshita clashed in this match, attacking each other with all of the strength they could muster. Takeshita found himself on the receiving end of a double foot stomp from Ishikawa, then traded chops and lariats with him as he struggled to stay on his feet. Takeshita got the better of him during a brainbuster attempt and reversed it into his own so he could tag in his partner, Harashima. While Harashima battered Ishikawa with kicks, it wasn’t enough and he was suplexed out of the way so Ishikawa could get to Ishii. The simple way they play these stories in the ring with Ishikawa is amazing. He’s a huge, hulking dude compared to most of the roster and even guys like Harashima, who have been at the top of the pecking order for years, have trouble getting the better of him. It’s amazing.
Ishii was able to gain and keep control but even the assistance of his team members and a tiger suplex wasn’t enough to keep Harashima down. Harashima went for the Somato and Ishii dodged, and Higuchi charged at Harashima while he was in the corner. He missed, Harashima grabbed him, and then Takeshita suplexed the both of them to make sure they could get the big man down. Yukio Sakaguchi kicked Ishikawa’s mouthguard out and then fell to a kick from Ishii. Ishii went for a double arm DDT on Harashima, who broke free of it, hit Ishii with two kicks to the head, and finished him off with the Somato. Even in that sliver of a match, these men were clearly in fine form and put on a hell of a show.
Harashima sent everyone home with a promo and his award-winning smile, and the DDT roster stood around in the ring, drinking and basking in the effort they put into their shows.
Dear God, Beer Garden was a hell of a show to get through. The sheer amount of matches they clipped to fit on this show is insane, but they were so much fun to watch and process and try to puzzle out. A lot of this was fun to watch, but the things the most worth watching are obviously all of the main events. Go out of your way to watch Takeshita’s title defense and the Bailey matches if you want to pick and choose just the cream of the crop, but if you have a couple of hours? Soak this show in, and get hyped for Peter Pan.