DDT “JUDGEMENT 2018 ~DDT 21ST ANNIVERSARY~”
March 25, 2018
Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

Meet our previewers:

Gauntlet Tag Match
LiLiCo & Makoto Oishi vs. Reika Saiki & Lady Beard vs. Akito & Shunma Katsumata vs. Toru Owashi & Kazuki Hirata vs. Antonio Honda & Ethan Page vs. Naomi Yoshimura & Keisuke Okuda

Chad Campbell: What a wild way to start out the show. I am unsure whether this will take a more serious tone or go completely off the rails. Yoshimura and Okuda had quite the run in DNA, but their momentum has stunted in recent months. LiLiCo makes her twice a year appearance in ring teaming with the one NwA member that hasn’t quite found his footing since the split and you have wild cards like the pairing of Page and Honda, with Page playing a much different character in DDT so far than in North America. When all else fails, I go with a constant of good wrestling and Shunma has fit in nicely in All Out and shook off the rust and boredom that plagued him the second half of 2017. Prediction: Akito & Shunma Katsumata

Brennan Patrick: There’s a lot of comedy in this gauntlet match. Bad comedy (Lady Beard), good comedy (Antonio Honda), uh, weird comedy? (LiLiCo) — but then you’ve got some serious competition in the form of bad boys Yoshimura and Okuda, and ALL OUT’s Akito and Shunma Katsumata. With Shuma looking to revitalize his career in ALL OUT, it seems a win here at DDT’s biggest show would put him on the right track and could lead to a tag titles shot for the two. Prediction: Akito & Shunma Katsumata

Kevin Hare: Ethan Page makes his big show debut here. I’m very interested to see how he does on a bigger stage. His style isn’t normally what I’d consider DDT’s, but he is charismatic and is a good wrestler, so I’m expecting him to do well. Shunma has been on a tear since NwA dissolved. We should be getting some NwA vs. NwA action, which should be fun. I’m expecting him and Akito to get the win, but anything could happen. Prediction: Akito & Shunma Katsumata

Tokyo Joshi Pro Offer Match – Special 6-Woman Tag Match
Miyu Yamashita, Maki Ito & Mizuki vs. Saki-sama, Yoshiko-sama & Azusa Christie

Chad Campbell: I am far from a Tokyo Joshi Pro expert, but their 2018 offerings have me more engaged than at any other prior point since I started following the DDT umbrella closely in 2016. A big reason for that is the acceleration of Miyu Yamashita, who has been catapulted into my top handful of joshi workers currently competing. I also much prefer Saki-sama in her current incarnation than as the happy go lucky idol Saki Akai. Add the bad ass gimmicks and pairing of Yoshiko and Azusa Christie and I look for the heel tandem to pick up the win here. Prediction: Saki-sama, Yoshiko-sama & Azusa Christie

Brennan Patrick: I don’t watch Tokyo Joshi Pro so I’m unfamiliar with most of the joshi girls, outside of Saki Akai. A coin flip determined my prediction. I should’ve just done this for each of my predictions as some kind of experiment in probabilities. I don’t know. Next. Prediction: Miyu Yamashita, Maki Ito & Mizuki

Kevin Hare: Yes, this is the same Yoshiko that infamously took some liberties in Stardom and was banished. She has been working the joshi indies and has made her way to DDT. After hiding behind a teddy bear, she made her surprise debut on the last Korakuen show. Since the Saki-Sama team got the upper hand there, I’m expecting their opponents to pick up the win. Prediction: Miyu Yamashita, Maki Ito & Mizuki

World Crazy Wrestler No. 1 Decision Battle In DDT
Joey Ryan vs. Colt Cabana

Chad Campbell: Now this is the one match that seems trapped in a 2005 TPI quarterfinal that has me scratching my head as to why it is presented on DDT’s signature show. We have plenty of comedy elsewhere on the card. Cabana and Ryan have mostly been tolerable in DDT apart from each other, but I have little to no interest in seeing them lock up and wish this spot would have been used for another DNA showcase match. Prediction: Joey Ryan

Brennan Patrick: I can think of a few matches I’d rather NOT watch so this isn’t the worst possible outcome. I don’t think either of these guys’ comedic stylings are funny, although I suppose Cabana gets the nod here because he has more in-ring talent. If Sumo Hall was packed to the gills with 5-10 year olds, this would be the perfect audience for these guys to do their thing. I’m well-outside that demographic so I can only hope that this ends in a Double DQ when Minoru Suzuki runs in and kills them both. Prediction: Double DQ

Kevin Hare: This is an interesting match. That does not mean I think it will be good or really even want to see it, but two foreign comedy-based guys in front of a Japanese audience is a bit intriguing. Cabana is great at his style of comedy/technical wrestling, but it hasn’t completely connected for me in DDT. Ryan was a bit more tolerable than normal during his run in the Grand Prix tournament in January. If this is only about 8-10 minutes, it could be a fun little undercard match. I worry that it will be a lot longer than that, though. Prediction: Colt Cabana

Iron Man Heavymetalweight Title
Super Sasadango Machine (c) vs. Jiro Kuroshio

Chad Campbell: Contrary to the previous match, I expect a ton of shenanigans here but it to be entertaining. Jiro fits in perfectly in DDT and he does have that win over Takeshita in his back pocket when he moves along from the comedy routine. Aja Kong seemed to win the Iron Man title on the 3/14 Saki Akai produced show, so a cameo from her in this encounter could be coming and welcome. Prediction: Jiro Kuroshio

Brennan Patrick: Now this has the potential to be pretty dang funny, as Super Sasadango Machine has proven in the past. And Jiro is just so awkward and silly, half of the match time will probably be devoted to his entrance. Honestly, I was excited about the potential of Aja Kong defending the title against Jiro but this works and I think jacket boy picks up the biggest win of his career here. Prediction: Jiro Kuroshio

Kevin Hare: It’s an Iron Man match. It is completely unpredictable. I think there is little chance either of these guys is leaving as the champion. There will be lots of shenanigans. Prediction: A bag of chips from a vending machine

Dramatic Dream Match
Danshoku Dino, Keisuke Ishii & Ken Ohka vs. Great Muta, Daisuke Sasaki & Tetsuya Endo

Chad Campbell: What a wild build this match has had. Dino remains one of the more polarizing figures for Western fans that are into DDT. I even switch between offensiveness and laughter mid match with him. Unfortunately, the Great Homo character is in the former category and even with the spirited booking of mist possession which should lead to Muta getting his payoff, I am looking forward to this match simply as perhaps a parting shot at in ring Muta and to see Sasaki mix it up with Ishii. Prediction: Great Muta, Daisuke Sasaki & Tetsuya Endo

Brennan Patrick: What a weird match…but, hey, it’s Great Muta hobbling out to the ring in Sumo Hall to spray mist at Danshoku Dino and NOT hit a moonsault (because he hit his very last one, of course). The fact that he’s temporarily aligning himself with DAMNATION is pretty awesome, even if he only tags in to hit a token Shining Wizard and spray said mist at Dino. I’ll watch anything with Daisuke Sasaki and the exchanges between he and Ishii should be great. Prediction: Great Muta, Daisuke Sasaki & Tetsuya Endo

Kevin Hare: Dino wearing face paint, spitting milk and going by the Great Homo isn’t doing anything for me. It’s a shame that that will overshadow the rest of this match, as all four of the homegrown DDT guys have had a great year and deserve a bit more than being Dino and Muta fodder. Seeing Muta put on the mask one last time before knee surgery that may end his career will be fun, though. Prediction: Great Muta, Daisuke Sasaki & Tetsuya Endo

Weapon Rumble 5 Way Tag Loser Gets Anal Blast Match
Sanshiro Takagi & Ippanjin Munenori Sawa vs. Mike Bailey & MAO vs. Yuko Miyamoto & Soma Takao vs. Isami Kodaka & Fuminori Abe vs. Michael Nakazawa & Chinsuke Nakamura

Chad Campbell: Did the stip change from Falls Count Anywhere? If so that is a shame. This is another wild building match where the comedy and drama are intertwining actually making the outcome here of interest to myself. The Sawa/Takagi Golden Lovers spoof was honestly one of my favorite comedy spots in wrestling this decade and the Chinsuke Rumble 2018 reenactment isn’t far behind. Also, in a page straight out of 1990 Memphis, MAO ran over Takagi with a van so stakes are running high. Predicting a winner is really tough as the BASARA tandem is intriguing with their emphasis on the DDT main shows, or they could set up Speedball and MAO for a title shot down the line. Prediction: Mike Bailey & MAO

Brennan Patrick: Unfortunately, this match went from being something I was really looking forward to in an all building rumble through Sumo Hall…to a whatever “weapons” five way where the losers receive anal blasts. I’m sure there will still be some wild and wacky moments but the potential for some big laughs throughout the corridors of Sumo Hall is lost. Oh well, we still have the alleged ‘Island Death Match’ between Sanshiro Takagi and Minoru Suzuki at some point in the future. Prediction: Yuko Miyamoto & Soma Takao

Kevin Hare: As the others mentioned, this had a lot more potential as a falls count anywhere in the building match. I was incredibly excited for that. That said, this should still be a lot of fun, with guys like Mike Bailey and MAO doing big spots, partners Miyamoto and Kodaki going toe-to-toe, the return of Chinsuke Nakamura (a few weeks before he’ll be at WrestleMania, of course) and the best comedy wrestler in the world, Sanshiro Takagi. This should be a blast. Prediction: Michael Nakazawa & Chinsuke Nakamura



KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Titles
KUDO, Yukio Sakaguchi & Masahiro Takanashi (c) vs. Kota Umeda, Yuki Ueno & Koji Takeda

Chad Campbell: Simple but inspired storytelling as the back third of the call is all serious business. For all the praise that the NJPW Young LIons receive, I really think Ueno and Umeda’s feud from earlier this year eclipses the output from NJPW. I was happy when their feud also culminated in some mutual respect. In a great turn of events, with Umeda not having a prominent role in Shuten Doji, he joins forces with Ueno and Takeda to try to take down the veteran trios squad. The theme of the last three matches of Judgement features young upstarts against grizzled veterans. While I see the youth movement picking up at least one win, I am going with the old standard of Shuten Doji here but think the issue is far from over. Prediction: KUDO, Yukio Sakaguchi & Masahiro Takanashi

Brennan Patrick: This, I’m looking forward to. Since returning to action, Kota Umeda has been a welcomed addition to the DNA/DDT roster, and with ever-evolving Yuki Ueno and promising upstart in Koji Takeda, this match has the potential for a ton of underdog fire. The end result could go either way but I think the titles could use some fresh blood and what better way to continue building Umeda’s momentum than a run with the six-man titles. Prediction: Kota Umeda, Yuki Ueno & Koji Takeda

Kevin Hare: DNA is the DDT version of NXT. They have a roster full of young, hungry guys who will eventually make their way up to the new roster. The champs will most likely brutalize the youngins with lots of kicks and strikes, and it should be glorious. Prediction: KUDO, Yukio Sakaguchi & Masahiro Takanashi

KO-D Tag Team Titles – Uchikomi! Presents
HARASHIMA & Naomichi Marufuji (c) vs. Daisuke Sekimoto & Kazusada Higuchi

Chad Campbell: The four most prominent wrestlers of Judgement featuring the establishment (HARASHIMA), the guy with something to prove (Higuchi), the ace trying to cement his legacy (Takeshita) and the wanderer wanting to create mayhem (Ishikawa). In this tag match, Higuchi and HARASHIMA are each teaming up with well established outsiders but their individual interactions with each other should be the catalyst for the result of this match. Higuchi did get a surprising victory on the 3/10 show over HARASHIMA so he isn’t drawing dead against HARASHIMA as someone like Irie, but HARASHIMA has certainly gotten the lion’s share of the battles against one another. In fact, HARASHIMA knocked Higuchi out in shocking fashion on the 3/11 show. Now seems like the time that DDT needs to fully invest into Higuchi. He feels like that can’t miss prospect that isn’t exactly dogging it but also has been catapulted to the main event like many predicted a couple of years ago. With his age, he isn’t old by any means but the window is starting to slowly close. With his impressive showing in the Grand Prix and the added emphasis on Higuchi playing multiple roles including comedy, I am going out on a limb and predicting he picks up the biggest victory of his career at Judgement. Prediction: Daisuke Sekimoto & Kazusada Higuchi

Brennan Patrick: Kazusada Higuchi needs a big win. He’s a guy that we (the Burning Spirits crew) were high on last year but questioned just how high his ceiling in DDT is, whether it’s top monster heel, gatekeeper, or just a big guy. Teaming up with another jacked dude in Daisuke Sekimoto, who has quite the resume in and out of DDT, can only help Higuchi’s odds here, and I can’t imagine Marufuji’s run in DDT lasting much longer. Plus, with Yuji Okabayashi on the shelf for much of the year, Sekimoto needs something to do. Why not give him another tag title run? Expect LOTS of loud-ass chops. Prediction: Daisuke Sekimoto & Kazusada Higuchi

Kevin Hare: Higuchi is a guy that has been on the cusp of stardom for a while, but has stalled a bit. He doesn’t get the big reactions he used to and hasn’t had a big win in a while. That said, DDT does often put him in these prominent semi-main event spots on big shows and is bound to get a big win sometime. His team with Sekimoto seems like it will be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to them beating around their ace opponents. I think that Higuchi’s team will pick up the win here, as DDT is prone to give new teams featuring outsiders the win, but I don’t see him being the one to pick up the fall. Prediction: Daisuke Sekimoto & Kazusada Higuchi

KO-D Openweight Title
Konosuke Takeshita (c) vs. Shuji Ishikawa

Chad Campbell: A big match that is two years in the making. This match holds sentimental value for me as Peter Pan’s 2016 main event really cemented DDT as one of my favorite promotions. Ishikawa had a great reign before dropping the title to HARASHIMA and then dominated All Japan. Takeshita now has a year long reign under his belt, and yet still feels like an underdog and someone that doesn’t get enough respect from the DDT faithful. It is incredible that a year long champion still has something to prove. Add to that with the build of the “injury” to Takeshita’s back and Ishikawa just wanting to sing some karaoke with his pal Mad Paulie. Anything short of a MOTYC will be seen as a disappointment in my eyes. That is a lofty standard, but I sincerely think these are two of the top 7-8 workers in all of Japan, and I fully expect them to deliver an epic main event. Most think the finish is a foregone conclusion in the coronation of Takeshita as THE GUY but………… Prediction: Shuji Ishikawa

Brennan Patrick: The last time these two met for the KO-D Openweight Title in 2016, Ishikawa defeated Takeshita for the title and had himself a nice little run in DDT. Fast-forward to 2018, and Takeshita is again champ — this time, much longer reigning — and Ishikawa is a former Triple Crown champion with dad trunks. The interactions between these two on the house shows leading up to Judgement have been heated, with Ishikawa largely coming away victorious over Takeshita in tags and six-mans. Takeshita, however, pinned Ishikawa in their last encounter, surviving the Big Dog’s big knee to put him down with a lariat. This will be hard-hitting and spirited, with tons of bombs and nearfalls in the final minutes leading to the decisive moment. An easy MOTYC on paper. Could Ishikawa beat Takeshita again? Sure, Ishikawa can beat ANYONE, and with not much going on in All Japan, he could help bring more attention to DDT as champion. But Takeshita is now the established ace, having blown through much of the competition, and I think getting his win back here against Ishikawa would only solidify that. Plus, I’m sticking with my original prediction that Daisuke Sasaki would be the man to end Takeshita’s reign…so there you go. Prediction: Konosuke Takeshita

Kevin Hare: This is the best match that DDT can deliver right now. Ishikawa has been one of the top wrestlers in the world over the past two years, showing up and dominating in almost every promotion in Japan. Most recently, he had a run as the AJPW Triple Crown champion. He has shown no signs of stopping in 2018, briefly winning the AJPW tag titles and having an incredible Grand Prix tournament. Takeshita is just 22 years old but is already the ace of DDT. He won the title last year at this very same show and hasn’t He’s shown tremendous growth over the past few years in both wrestling ability and actual size. He is a completely different wrestler than the last time he faced Ishikawa. Leading up to this match, Takeshita has shown that he has the ability to stand up to Ishikawa and give him a bit of his own medicine. Last year’s Judgement main event of Takeshita vs. HARASHIMA was seen by many as one of 2017’s best matches. For me, I think this one should be even better. I expect Takeshita to finally get his big win against Ishikawa. Prediction: Konosuke Takeshita