DDT Live! Maji Manji Super – New Year Special! All Seats 2000 Yen Show
January 3, 2019
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Time to check out DDT’s first show of 2019 with their “Maji Manji Super New Year Special” show. This did a tremendous number (I realize partly on the back of Wrestle Kingdom and because all seats were just 2,000 yen) of 1,750 in Korakuen Hall. For comparison’s sake, New Japan did 1,730 in the same building for Dash the next day. Both were sellouts with just slightly different setups. You don’t really see non-NJPW companies selling out Korakuen. AJPW did 1,585 the same day so they were pretty close. NOAH did 1,577 for their show on 1/6, and BJW did 1,513 on 1/2. DDT is pretty clearly the #2 company in Japan right now from a popularity perspective, and there have been plenty of talks that they may become the first non-NJPW company to run the Tokyo Dome since like 2005.

Nobuhiro Shimatani def. El Lindaman

These two had a pretty good match back on the last Maji Manji Korakuen special, which Lindaman won, and I think they topped it here. El Lindaman is never really considered on the level of CIMA and T-Hawk when it comes to the STRONGHEARTS group, but I’ve always really liked him and if you are undecided on the guy I’d recommend his tag title challenge with T-Hawk on WRESTLE-1’s September show in Yokohama. He was super cocky here and the crowd really bought into it. I’ll probably be the high man on this one, but I thought it was a really fun high octane sprint with a surprising finish as Shimatani won his first singles match since August. ***3/4

Shuten Doji (KUDO, Masahiro Takanashi & Yukio Sakaguchi) & Saki Akai def. Hoshitango, Mike Bailey, Sammy Guevara & Veda Scott

Sammy Guevara did his middle finger “fuck you” spot that he’s been doing recently at the start and I was expecting this to be a complete nothing match but this was fun, with nice stiff kicks from Sakaguchi and KUDO and some high flying from Bailey and Guevara. Nothing special, but certainly over-delivered on my expectations. ***

Gorgeous Matsuno def. (Self Proclaimed) 5th Tiger Mask, Atsushi Maruyama, Hen China, Kuishinbo Kamen, Makoto Oishi & Sanshiro Takagi in a Laughter Rumble Match

They set up some tiny tubes on the ropes a la light tubes to do comedy spots with. I couldn’t really tell what they were. Kushinobu Kamen promotes a kids book during his entrance. Nice. Atsushi Maruyama from AJPW tells them to take the match seriously. I think the “laughter rumble” portion of the match was that Oishi and Takagi were judging who is the funniest was? You could only be eliminated by OTT or pin/sub and everyone other than Matsuno and Kamen gets eliminated in the span of 30 seconds. I think I was making some eggs while this match was going on because I didn’t write down anything. There were NO RAPES though, so I’ll take it for a DDT comedy match. Gorgeous Matsuno does a slow-motion Lethal Injection and then a handspring elbow and that is pretty funny. He takes about a minute and a half to crawl for the pin and still gets the three count. XD. Everybody congratulates him after the match. I don’t really rate this type of match but if you put a gun to my head I’d say it was better than Cody vs Juice (3/4*) at least.

Daichi Hashimoto def. Kota Umeda

This is match six of the seven-match Kota Umeda trial series that started all the way back in April, and I was really excited for this coming in because I think both these guys are super underrated and beautiful strikers. They got 12 minutes and it didn’t quite live up to my expectations but was one of the better trial matches so far. If you are interested in checking out some Umeda matches his six-man tag at Judgement was tremendous, as was his trial match vs Dick Togo. They had a nice kick exchange towards the end and Umeda obviously lost again. ***1/4

Post-match we get the announcement of Umeda vs Ishikawa at Korakuen 1/27 for his seventh and final trial match. I hope they kill it.

 Jun Kasai & MAO def. Antonio Honda & Super Sasadango Machine, Kazusada Higuchi & Mizuki Watase

This was so much fun. Even if you’ve watched DDT comedy in the past and don’t like it, trust me, give this a watch. It was a fun mix of hilarity and high spots. I loved MAO bringing bananas for “Crazy Monkey” Jun Kasai. MAO and Kasai win after MAO baits Honda/SSM with bananas and traps them inside a ladder and Kasai takes care of Higuchi and Watase. This was awesome. ***1/2

After the match MAO and Kasai argue, teasing a singles match that would be awesome. Then TJP champ Miyu Yamashita comes out to promote her match with Maki Ito the next day (I went ***1/2 on it)

DISASTER BOX (HARASHIMA, Kazuki Hirata, Toru Owashi & Yuki Ueno) & Keisuke Ishii def. DAMNATION (Daisuke Sasaki, Mad Paulie, Soma Takao, Tetsuya Endo & Puma King) 

This was a really good ten man tag but nothing you haven’t seen before. Sasaki wouldn’t take his shirt off for most of the match which normally pisses me off but when guys like him and Naito do it helps their character. A random observation here: Puma King has been awesome since leaving CMLL, I really liked his interactions with Owashi here. He has had some fun matches in DDT as well as some great ones in PWG. DAMNATION loses, they did some crowd brawling and they had a pretty nice closing stretch. This was fun but nothing to go out of your way to see. ***1/2

Sasaki gets on the mic post-match and apologizes for losing. He asks “someone” to come out. It’s Shuji Ishikawa… oh no. Ishikawa signed an AJPW contract on January 2nd. Sasaki starts talking about how he and Ishikawa started the faction together…. you can see where this is going. Endo thanks Ishikawa and Shuji cries and waves goodbye. Then just as Sasaki begins to speak again… Ishikawa comes out from the back and announces he’s not leaving. Lord that played with my emotions, Ishikawa is one of the best in the world, and I’m glad he is still getting to work DDT (at least for the time being).

DDT Extreme Title Boxing Gloves Match
Shinya Aoki (c) def. Tanomusaku Toba

They literally had a worked kickboxing match here, with rounds and everything and it was super entertaining. Aoki dominated the fight and eventually, the ref stopped it in the third round after he got yet another knockdown. It was something different and you should give it a watch. ***1/4

HARASHIMA challenges Aoki post-match for the 2/17 Ryogoku show

KO-D Six Man Tag Team Title Match
ALL OUT (Akito, Konosuke Takeshita & Yuki Ino) def. Strong Hearts (CIMA, Duan Yingnan & T-Hawk) (c)

If you have heard about this show and do not regularly watch DDT, it’s probably from this match. Right now it would sit just outside my top five matches of Wrestle Kingdom week and I’ve seen everything that has made tape. Duan Yingnan is one of CIMA’s OWE boys that is so new he doesn’t have a cagematch profile. He’s skinnier than Zack Sabre but does a lot of cool flippy shit and bumps hard so I like him. This was a lot of fun, and if you haven’t hopped on the STRONGHEARTS train yet, I’m sorry because it has already left the station. These guys rule. This match ruled. T-Hawk really shined here and this six-man left me craving a T-Hawk-Takeshita singles match, although I doubt it will happen. They have a super hot last five minutes and ALL OUT/DDT finally vanquishes the evil invaders. It’s worth noting Takeshita got his win back on CIMA here from the loss at Peter Pan when they easily could’ve pinned the OWE dude. ****1/4

Takeshita says that when he wins the KO-D title at Ryogoku he will challenge CIMA because he does not take his loss from Peter Pan lightly. He says the same goes for the rest of the group. CIMA says goodbye to DDT for now. I hope the group isn’t leaving but with CIMA taking the pin in the main event it kind of seems like they are leaving for the moment.

Final Thoughts: 

This was overall a really fun show, and DDT Universe has a free month option and you can catch this along with the TJP 1/4 show that had a great top three matches. Main event was the clear MOTN but outside of the comedy rumble everything on the undercard was good to very good. An easy enjoyable watch that you should check out as DDT kicks off 2019 on the right foot.