God Bless DDT
November 23, 2017
Korakuen Hall – Tokyo, Japan (Attendance – 1,271)

Watch: DDT Universe

Mad Paulie Def. Daiki Shimomura

I did not see this. It was a dark match. I am not going back to watch it. Please forgive me.

Kota Umeda Def. Yuki Ueno

Umeda spent over a year on the shelf and just made his return this month, and for someone who was out for so long, he has not missed a single step. Ueno was basically here just to sell for him and allow him to remind the fans how great a wrestler he is since they likely forgot about him. Ueno, though a clear step behind the likes of Higuchi, Naomi Yoshimura, Kouki Iwasaki and some of his other peers in terms of presentation, has really improved these past few months, has developed a solid look and solid in-ring charisma. It was obviously not his match here, but he did well with what he had. Good squash for Umeda, who I am extremely glad to see back. **1/4

Kazuki Hirata Def. Danshoku Dino, Saki Akai, Mizuki Watase, Nobuhiro Shimatani & Koji Yoshida

A comedy match centered around the plot of some Japanese anime game where, to my understanding, you have to complete a task or you die, or something like that. Texts were popping up on the big screen throughout the match containing the tasks and yes, we did see some death. What we also saw was a lot of the things that I hate about the Dino character since this was his chance to go all out with the comedy. You know, things that lean dangerously towards sexual assault. So needless to say this was not something I can say I enjoyed. I prefer the normal comedy in DDT, the comedy not based around rape and such. Hirata did beat Dino which is something that has been built up for the past month as Hirata has been working his way towards a title shot, so…good for him. *

KUDO, Yukio Sakaguchi & Masahiro Takanashi Def. Diego, MAO & Shunma Katsumata and Kazusada Higuchi, Rekka & Kouki Iwasaki

Quick little three-way tag to build Shuten Doji  vs. Diego, Takeshita and Akito for the six-man titles in which the former had to vacate due to KUDO being knocked out by Marufuji last month (there are other reasons – that just sounds the most interesting). Higuchi, Iwasaki and Rekka served no real purpose truthfully, and MAO and Shunma were without their regular teammate Oishi since he was in the next match so were paired with Diego, who was also without his teammates. Fun sprint, MAO is always excellent in spots like this, everyone else was alright. Expect big things out of the upcoming six-man title match as I assure you those guys will deliver, especially if given time. **3/4

It was announced later in the show that Diego would be having a farewell match on December 1st against Dick Togo. I assume this means he needs a break and is taking some time to himself, I would be shocked if he was completely done with the company but I guess anything is possible.

KO-D Ten-Man Tag Team Championship
LiLiCo, Makoto Oishi, Super Sasadango Machine, Ken Ohka & Keisuke Ishii (c) Def. Shiro Koshinaka, Sanshiro Takagi, Toru Owashi, Shigehiro Irie & Antonio Honda

If you laugh, you get hit on the ass with a plastic bat by men in black spandex suits: those were the rules to this match. Everyone ended up with a bat to the ass, even old man Koshinaka. I should mention that one of these black spandex men was Shinjiro Otani. Yes, this was weird. A lot happened and it cannot be described in words. LiLiCo pinned Honda to retain the titles for her team. **1/2

Tetsuya Endo Def. Mike Bailey

Two men going all out to prove that they are the best aerial-based wrestler in DDT today. Mike Bailey was an absolute animal in this match. I have never seen him as aggressive as he was here, he worked like this really did mean everything to him, like he really did need to prove that he was better than Endo. Endo tried hard to get ahead of him but no matter what he did, Bailey had an answer. Frustrated, feeling like Bailey had him beat, Endo had to put away his pride and sneak the win via roll-up. Respect was shown between the two, however, because of the way Endo won, I do expect to see another match down the line. As it was, albeit brief, this told an excellent story and was the exact kind of sprinty junior match you would want out of these guys. ****

Blocks for the Grand Prix tournament were announced at intermission. Blocks are as follows:

A Block

  • Konosuke Takeshita
  • Tetsuya Endo
  • Masahiro Takanashi
  • Jiro Kuroshio
  • Keisuke Ishii
  • Joey Ryan

B Block

  • Shuji Ishikawa
  • Daisuke Sasaki
  • Mike Bailey
  • Yukio Sakaguchi
  • Kazusada Higuchi
  • Akito
  • Soma Takao

Not to be confused with the King of DDT tournament that happens every summer, this is more like the G1. It runs from January 5th through January 28th with the winner earning a shot at KO-D champion in March. Predictions? I would have to go with either Endo or Sasaki. Speaking of whom, a match was also announced for the DAMNATION produce show on December 30th as Shuji Ishikawa and Suwama take on the Brahman brothers.

DDT Extreme Championship No DQ Match
Daisuke Sasaki (c) Def. Soma Takao

Wrestling is not hard. We make it a lot more than it needs to be, wrestlers and bookers make it a lot more than it needs to be, but at its core, it really is not that complicated. You get two guys who dislike each other, you put them in a ring, and you let them have it out. Simple, yes, but simplicity is good. Nothing wrong with simplicity. Soma Takao and Daisuke Sasaki have been feuding for the past month simply because they dislike each other. Sasaki is a dick, Takao was tired of Sasaki being a dick, and that is it. It was one of the best built DDT matches of the year because it was so simple but they were able to do so much with it, Takao constantly throwing chairs at Sasaki and Sasaki showing interest no in him, Takao growing increasingly hateful as a result. Nothing elaborate, just simple, easy, traditional storytelling.

I have never seen more hate and more disdain in pro wrestling than Takao showed towards Sasaki here. A lot of times with feuds built up like this one the match fails to deliver due to the high expectations, see Shibata vs. Naito in 2015, but this was exactly what was promised and more. Unprotected chair shots, Takao breaking shit, everything about this felt real, like Takao genuinely hated this man as a human being and wanted him dead. It was a bit scary, really. Sasaki, as he always does, managed to squirm his way out and win via referee stoppage on a crossover facelock, however the real winner here was clearly Takao, who put in by far the best performance I have ever seen him have. A must-watch for wrestling fans of any kind. ****1/4

KO-D Tag Team Championship
HARASHIMA & Naomichi Marufuji (c) Def. Akito & Konosuke Takeshita

It has become more and more apparent that Konosuke Takeshita does not have much of a future as a babyface right now and that his best bet would be a heel turn. He works heel against the bigger babyfaces like he did here, but that is beginning to not be enough. It needs to be a regular thing, especially since the actual heels in DAMNATION are so popular. While he does have babyface charisma and I could see him being a great babyface within the next few years, his charisma, his look and his style right now suits that more of a heel champion than a babyface champion. His performance in this match made it as clear as day.

Takeshita was grumpy, he was mean, he was nasty and he was an absolute prick in this match. He is not a heel in the way a guy like Naito or Endo or any of these other cool, laid back kind of heels that are so common in wrestling nowadays are, Takeshita is a heel in a Shingo Takagi kind of way. Nothing cool and laid back about him, he looks like a high school bully. In a way, he reminds me of Okada when Okada works heel two or three times a year but even more dickish, what Okada would look like if he were to go all out with it. I cannot say enough about how good he was in this match, and Akito was nearly just as good as his lackey whom he corrupted into being as much of an asshole as him.

Between the great selling of the leg by HARASHIMA, the excellent performances by Takeshita and Akito, the heated exchanges between Takeshita and Marufuji, I have trouble calling this anything but great even with a lackluster crowd. Lots of cool moments, such as HARASHIMA refusing to sell for Akito at the end, completely snapping on him and murdering him, which was perhaps the most memorable moment in a match full of memorable moments. Marufuji has acquitted himself real well in DDT, even better than I as a Marufuji fan would have expected him to, and so I hope to see him and HARASHIMA hold onto these things for a good while longer, at least until Judgement. For as much as I talked about Takeshita and Akito, the champions were tremendous in their own right. As I said, an excellent, excellent match, one everyone should be seeking out. ****1/4

Sasaki and Endo made the challenge to HARASHIMA and Marufuji and get their shot on the Christmas Eve Korakuen, which is being headlined (I assume) by Takeshita and Colt Cabana for the KO-D title.

Final Thoughts:

Save for the bad Dino comedy, top to bottom this was yet another great show by DDT as they continue to climb up the list of my favorite promotions to watch at the moment. With that tag title match next month and the Grand Prix in January, things are far from slowing down for them either. As someone who was not a fan of DDT for a long time, take it from me when I say you need to be watching DDT right now. Anyway, happy (belated) Thanksgiving to all you American folk, thank you, god bless you and God Bless DDT.