Sweet Dreams! 2019
January 27, 2019
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: DDT Universe 

Time to check out DDT’s second January Korakuen show: DDT “Sweet Dreams! 2019.” The Maji Manji New Year Special back during New Year’s week was really excellent top to bottom, and while I’m not expecting a show quite at that level, this should be a fun watch.

Akito & Space Monkey def. Antonio Honda & Jason “The Gift” Kincaid

The entrances for this match begin *right* as Tomasso Ciampa successfully retained the NXT Title. WWE knew they had to get off the air knowing they couldn’t compete with Jason “The Gift” Kincaid. Honda and Space Monkey have some funny interactions here and as you might expect from a Space Monkey match we get some banana spots. Nothing close to the tremendous opener we got on the ⅓ show, but nothing offensive with some funny bits.

ASUKA def. Chinsuke Nakamura (c), Toru Owashi, Kazuki Hirata, Kazusada Higuchi, Keisuke Okuda, Yuki Iino, and Kikutaro – Iron Man Heavymetalweight Title Battle Royal

Everybody hops onto Chinsuke for the quick pin and the ref rules that Kikutaro is the winner, the group chases him back to the ring and Kazuki Hirata rolls him up. I’m figuring out the rules live here and I believe its are single elimination by normal methods or OTR but if you eliminate the champion you are (momentarily) the champ. Yuki Iino and Kazusada Higuchi do some actual wrestling for two minutes and then we return to what you’d expect from an Iron Man Title Battle Royale. The final three are WAVE’s ASUKA, AJPW’s Yusuke Okada, and Hirata. ASUKA and Hirata team up and Hirata turns on her, leading to a mid-match dance break. ASUKA gets the win with a top-rope moonsault. This was standard Heavy Metal match stuff, super enjoyable and as a bonus there were no rapes!

Dieno and SSM come out to cut a promo and I go take a piss break, hopefully nothing important happened.

Yukio Sakaguchi def. El Lindaman

El Lindaman is one of the most underrated wrestlers in the world because he largely sits in the shadow of CIMA and T-Hawk among the STONGHEARTS group, but he’s a great wrestler and takes on Yukio Sakaguchi here who I guess could be best described if you’ve never seen him as diet Katsuyori Shibata, although I think he has like a dozen MMA fights under his belt so maybe I shouldn’t be calling him a diet anyone. He won the Openweight Title back in 2015 but lost it after about three months and hasn’t made it back to that level since. He brutalizes Lindaman with kicks all match. Sakaguchi’s opponent could literally just stand there and get hit with kicks for five minutes and I’d probably still give it three stars, that’s how legit the kicks look here. Lindy botches a dive early but outside of that it’s pretty much what you’d expect with Yukio dominating essentially start to finish but El Lindaman showing some good fire throughout. ***½

DAMNATION (Soma Takao, Tetsuya Endo, and Mad Paulie) & Takumi Iroha def. Sanshiro Takagi, Makoto Oishi, Mizuki Watase, & Yuki Ueno

Takumi is from Marvelous. I’m not all that familiar with her but she starts the match here and carries herself like an absolute star in the early stages, making a huge first impression on me. Yuki Ueno is also a big stand out here, he will be a future star for this company and has already proved himself in six-man title matches in the past, I’m just waiting for a big singles run. Little things really help my enjoyment of this match like people being held in place for a Coast-To-Coast dropkick instead of just sitting there. Takagi prepares the “Humanoid Decisive Battle Weapon” (a man made of plastic boxes) but it falls apart. The miscommunication leads to DAMNATION picking up the win. This was good, fun stuff. ***1/4

Masahiro Takanashi def. MAO, CIMA

This is a preview match for the three-way tag at the Ryogoku show in February, with each team having a representative here. MAO has had an awesome start to the year, with a great match on the DDT ⅕ house show with Mike Bailey against K-DOJO’s tag champs, and then a great match vs Bailey himself on the 1/13 show, not to mention my favorite comedy match of the year at the Maji Manji Korakuen. The match here largely falls short of my (admittedly high) expectations for some sort of absolute banger. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching four hours straight of wrestling at this point (Takeover led right into this), but a lot of the stuff they did here just didn’t connect with me. MAO and CIMA do a lot of comedy in the middle of the match centering around scissor kicks, which would be fine if this was on the undercard, but is a little disappointing because I know those three could put on a great match. The timing is a little off in the late stages, but the finishing stretch was pretty good. Takanashi picks up the upset with a leverage pin. ***1/4

Shuji Ishikawa def. Kota Umeda

The is the 7th and final match in Umeda’s trial series. He takes on the former king of the Japanese indies Shuji Ishikawa. Umeda is 0-6 in his series so far, and the crowd obviously is behind him. Ishikawa dominates the match for the most part, and his work on top is great. A lot of the time when one guy dominates a match it can get real boring, but Umeda does enough to keep it entertaining, and Shuji’s moveset is awesome. Umeda throws a real nasty kick and he really lays into Ishikawa in this one, but Ishikawa’s return strikes are too much for the rookie. There was a minuscule piece in the back of my mind thinking that now that Shuji had signed with AJPW full-time, he might put Umeda over on his way out, but the running knee lift and Splash Mountain finishes Kota. It’s so cliche but they really flipped it into another gear for the finishing stretch, this was great. ****

Daisuke Sasaki & HARASHIMA def. Konosuke Takeshita & Shinya Aoki

Konosuke Takeshita theme is like if Hirooki Goto’s was actually good. This is a classic preview for the top two matches at DDT Judgement, which will be headlined Shinya Aoki vs HARASHIMA for the Extreme Title and Sasaki vs Takeshita for the KO-D Openweight Title. Last year at the Korakuen leading into Judgement we got Sekimoto/Ishikawa vs HARASHIMA/Takeshita and it was an awesome match, I think I went **** on it, so hopefully this one is at that same level. The match starts pretty slow but builds, you can tell it is going long from the jump. Sasaki is playing the cool heel that cheats and won’t take his shirt off but the crowd is still into, Takeshita the upstanding babyface that refuses to throw a strike. I think Aoki really shone getting a chance to show his stuff against the champ here. We’ve now hit my fifth straight hour of wrestling and its midnight on this east coast but Aoki is keeping me really interested in this one, he won me over tonight. Ref bump and Sasaki gets a chair and accidentally hits his partner, Takeshita does the same. Takeshita then takes an unprotected chair shot and a German for a one count. The closing stretch is super hot with all four guys trading stuff, and Takeshita taps out to the Crossover Face Lock from Sasaki going into his title challenge, most of the time you see the opposite happen. This felt a little long at times but the hot finish saved it for me and it was my #2 MOTN. ***¾

They do a funny post-match angle where Sasaki’s stablemates go to Takeshita’s mom’s restaurant and leave without paying. Now THAT is how you build a main event.

Final Thoughts:

While definitely not at the level of the January 3 Korakuen, which was one of my favorite shows this year so far, this was a good show. I’d say Umeda-Ishikawa is worth going out of your way to see as it was reminiscent of those NOAH trial series a decade ago where both guys were more over after the match than they were before it started. While you’re there, Sakaguchi-Lindaman is a good stiff match worth a watch, and the main event did a good job building towards Judgement in three weeks. Along with the three title matches I already mentioned, also announced for that show is Tetsuya Endo vs Naomichi Marufuji, and DDT never fails to deliver at Sumo Hall.