Dramatic Dream Team
Wrestle Peter Pan 2019
July 15, 2019
Ota Ward Gymnasium
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: DDT Universe

Under Match
Kota Umeda def. Keigo Nakamura

This match is likely to be Kota Umeda’s final singles match before he leaves wrestling next week, and he takes on the newest in a long line of exciting DDT trainees, Keigo Nakamura.

Nakamura has wrestled on some smaller house shows but this was my first time seeing him. He worked pretty well here but I don’t love his look.

Nakamura reached the ropes on a Camel Clutch attempt from Umeda but ate a brutal kick combo and the pin in about five minutes. It’s a real shame Umeda is leaving the business, he could have been a star one day, and was maybe my favorite prospect in the world. **

Under Match
BAKURETSU Sisters (Nodoka Tenma & Yuki Aino) & Rika Tatsumi def. Himawari Unagi, Natsumi Maki & Yuna Manase

This is your Tokyo Joshi pre-show match that you’ll get on any big DDT show. Tokyo Joshi is an all-female subpormotion of DDT so the company likes to give them some shine on these big shows.

Nodoka Tenma is someone that I’m pretty high on, and she had a good performance here. She’s pretty short but has a size advantage on a lot of the smaller joshi and employed some good power offense throughout this match.

Stienerizer from the BAKURETSU sisters and a top rope knee from Rika picked up the win for their team, but more importantly I moved ahead of Taylor in our Peter Pan Preview predictions. ***1/4

Mizuki Watase, Shunma Katsumata & Yuki Ino def. Naomi Yoshimura, Yuki Ueno & Nobuhiro Shimatani

This is what I called the future of DDT match in my preview. Every guy in this match has big potential, but they started off with maybe the two with the most, Yuki Ino and Naomi Yoshimura.

Yuki Ueno, who had a great match with Konosuke Takeshita in the King of DDT Tournament, joined in soon after and picked up the pace of the match a little bit with his high-flying acumen.

Everybody got a little shine, but we got back to Yoshimura and Ino, and the two had an awesome lariat exchange back and forth before DAMNATION’s Nobuhiro Shimatani tagged in. Ino and Shimatani had a nice closing exchange with Ino using his power to his advantage and hitting a spear for the win, just as I think most predicted. This was a really awesome main card opener and well worth checking out. ****

DNA Reunion Match
Kazusada Higuchi & Ryota Nakatsu def. Kota Umeda & Kouki Iwasaki

This is a reunion match for Umeda with some of his DNA (DDT’s version of NXT if you will) classmates before his retirement. Ryota Nakatsu is a guy that I tweet about all the time (@rasslinratings on twitter by the way!) as the best wrestler that even your average puro fan probably has never heard of. Nakatsu normally wrestles in BASARA, a subpromotion of DDT, but I love him getting some shine here.

Nakatsu and Umeda got into some nice chain wrestling exchanges early. Umeda, a former kickboxer, gets a lot of credit for his strikes (and deservedly so), but he’s great on the mat as well.

Higuchi and Iwasaki tagged in and we got an awesome strike exchange between the two before Iwasaki got the hot tag to Umeda.

Umeda desperatley unloaded with strikes on Huguchi but the big man fired back and flattened Umeda with a lariat and hit some weird looking gutwrench chokeslam style thing for the finish. All four shook hands after the match. This was a really well worked tag match with nice strikes and good psychology. Umeda obviously took the pin on his way out to the DDT main roster member, but Nakatsu and Iwasaki (who’s home promotion is Ganbare, another DDT subbrand) put in great performances. ***3/4

Super Joshi Pro Wrestling Wars 2019
Yoshiko def. Saki Akai

The branding of this match makes me wonder if DDT might make a big dream joshi match a Peter Pan staple in years to come. This one saw Saki Akai (also known as Sakisama in Tokyo Joshi pro) take on freelancer Yoshiko, someone who works pretty much every non-Stardom joshi promotion in Japan.

Say what you will about her, but in ring, Yoshiko is really fun to watch, and this was a great style clash because of the size differential between these two.

Unsurprisingly, Yoshiko took about 90% of this match, but the entire crowd was behind Akai, and went crazy for any moment of hope she got. Akai nailed Quetzacoatl, a move that I don’t think has ever been kicked out of, but Yoshiko got a hand on the ropes.

Akai survived a sliding lariat and a diving senton from the second, but a top rope senton from Yoshiko picked up the win as she flipped off the crowd and Akai post-match. The style battle here made this an incredible watch, well worth checking out. ***3/4

DDT Extreme Title Ippon Light Tube Death Match
Akito (c) def. ASUKA

This is a single light tube death match, the rules were set when ASUKA asked Akito to take the Extreme Title back to it’s roots (the champion gets to choose the rules), but Akito said he couldn’t handle more than one light tube. Here are the rules:

These are two of my favorite under the radar wrestlers in the world. The light tube begins the match taped to the ropes, Big Japan style, but it’s just a single light tube.

Akito went for a handshake at the bell, ASUKA reluctantly accepted but was then irish whipped just short of the light tube. Akito then tossed the light tube to ASUKA and then nailed her with a dropkick to the knee hoping she’d fall on it. Remember if you are the one to be touching the light tube when it breaks, you lose.

They do some very high-risk chain wrestling next to the light tube, and Akito is inches away from it with a facebuster at the end of the exchange. They worked spots like this around the tube all match, with one holding the light tube while the other did a move or with the tube on the ground. The margin for error was razor-thin on a lot of these spots, like ASUKA doing a moonsault with the tube but landing on her feet.

They set up the light tube between two chairs and ASUKA did a hurricanrana counter out of a powerbomb only for Akito to flip out of it over the lighttube! This match needs to be seen, my descriptions don’t do it justice.

ASUKA countered out of a muscle buster and nailed a roundhouse kick on Akito, but the champ blocked it with the light tube and wins the match! This was awesome and a match so creative only DDT could’ve come up with it. ASUKA is only twenty by the way. A future star if I’ve ever seen one. ****1/2

DDT Iron Man Heavy Metal Title Time Difference Battle Royal
Yukio Sakaguchi
def. Lucky Ikeda (c), Antonio Honda, Gorgeous Matsuno, Hiroshi Yamato, Joey Ryan, Kazuki Hirata, Kuro-chan, Mad Paulie. Makoto Oishi, Pokotan, Shiro Koshinaka, Tomomitsu Matsunaga, Toru Owashi, Yuki Kamifuku 

Toru Owashi was scheduled to be the champion heading into the match, but before it could start a backstage vignette played where half of the participants ganged up on him and piled on for the pin. The title was award to Lucky Ikeda (aka Daisuke Ikeda), who is entrant #1 for the Royal Rumble style match. #2 is Gorgeous Matsuno.

Guys piled into the ring and the eliminations were to fast to count. Eliminations come by pin, submission, or over the top, and the title can change hands during the match according to who eliminates the champ. Within about a minute span the title went from Ikeda to Matsuno to Matsunaga and then a little later to Paulie.

At this point Tokyo Joshi’s Yuki Kamifuku entered, followed by Kuro-chan who tried to pull his usual antics before being scared off by Yukio Sakaguchi. Joey Ryan penis-plexed the entire match while Hiroshi Yamato came out singing. Somewhere in the madness, Kazuki Hirata won the title. I don’t know.

These matches are always a crazy amount of fun but it’s really hard to write a review for! Antonio Honda, the best wrestler in the world, came out to tell his Gon the Fox story. Honda got most of the field with his Fox to the eyes but Koshinaka avoided it. Honda then called for the Avengers to assemble, and they actually play the Avengers theme. Everybody, including the ring announcers, except for Yukio Sakaguchi, is called to assemble and create a Gon the Fox of their own. Koshinaka avoids the giant mishmash of foxes though, and Sakaguchi, angry at being left out of the assemble call, ran rampant on the field and won the match with a jumping knee, last eliminating Hirata. Some random sponsor guy tries to roll Sakaguchi up for the belt post-match but fails. ***1/4 (comedy) 

Hideki Suzuki def. Yukio Naya

Naya, the grandson of legendary sumo Taihō Kōki, is the newest exciting prospect to join the DDT roster. He had a great match with Kazusada Higuchi on the last Korakuen that I’d recommend checking out. He faces Big Japan’s Hideki Suzuki here.

Naya unloaded on Suzuki with shoulder blocks and kicks at the bell, knowing that as the rookie he was going to be outclassed technically. They went to the outside where Suzuki took the advantage.

Suzuki unsurprisingly took the bulk of this match against the rookie, just brutalizing him with strikes throughout before ultimately locking in a modified Kimura for the win. Naya showed some great fire throughout this match, and after the Higuchi effort and this, I’m excited about his future. ***1/2

CDK (Chris Brookes & Masahiro Takanashi) def. Moonlight Express (MAO & Mike Bailey)

Chris Brookes has been excellent since joining DDT and this match was no exception, teaming with Masahiro Takanashi to take on one of my favorite tag teams in the world: Mike Bailey and MAO, Moonlight Express.

The VOD on this show is six hours and 50 minutes long, and at the three and a half hour mark, this is the point at which while the show has been excellent I am starting to feel it.

MAO and Bailey went through a lot of their incredibly unique tag team offense in this one, the two are both so, so good. Bailey is an excellent striker, and both are terrific high flyers. This was a high-pace spotfest and a lot of fun to keep the crowd hot. Superkick into a Praying Mantis Bomb picked up the win for the Calamari Drunk Kings as Brookes picked up a pin heading into his title challenge on the July 21st Korakuen. More importantly, though, the result led to me passing John in prediction accuracy for the show and extended my lead on Taylor. ***1/2

Innaugural O-40 Title Weapon Rumble Decision Match
Sanshiro Takagi def. Super Sasadango Machine.

This is a match type somewhat similar to a royal rumble, only that over the time intervals, weapons to use appear rather than people, although the weapons can sometimes be people.

This is for the O-40 title, a championship that only wrestlers over 40 can wrestle for. It’s a spoof on New Japan’s short-lived U-30 title, and the belt is very similar.

Kero Tanaka, an announcer, was the first “weapon.” He sat commentary. The second weapon was “TLC”, which I guess is considered a single item! Next up was a blood test for Sanshiro Takagi, who nearly tapped while the blood was being drawn but survives, and Dango started targeting the point where the blood was drawn! I love DDT. It should be noted at this point that every weapon is “for” someone.

The next weapon was famous Joshi Miyako Matsumoto, most prominently from Ice Ribbon. She unloaded on Dango, but Takagi got a taste of his own medicine as the next weapon was Kuro-chan, who attacked Takagi.

Next up was Takagi’s signature weapon, plastic boxes, however, Dango was able to use them against the DDT President. The boxes always look absolutely brutal to take bumps on.

Super Sasadango Machine’s next weapon was another SSM (Hideki Suzuki in a mask) to help him out. Takagi’s next weapon, though, was a killer, and a callback to past Weapon Rumble’s as Takagi revealed his opponent’s phone number. On this occasion, though, DDT’s graphic designer revolted and showed Takagi’s phone number instead, saying that Takagi needed to respect his employees more.

Dango’s final weapon was a powerpoint about Takagi. Dango said that he knew that Takagi was going to retire and that his final weapon would be a retirement video, so he must defeat Takagi before the video can play.

Dango, now with a fire lit under him, picked up the pace going into the closing stretch, but right as he was looking to put Takagi thru a stack of plastic boxes, the timer goes off. “IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT” flashed on the screen and the crowd gasped… was Takagi going to retire? No. The announcement is that DDT is running Saitama Super Arena’s Main Arena for Peter Pan next year on June 7th! That arena seats over 20,000. Takagi took advantage of the distraction to put Super Sasadango Machine thru the plastic boxes and pick up the win. This was a really fun match, but if you don’t understand Japanese make sure you take advantage of the DDT English twitter account. ***3/4 (comedy)

Dramatic Dream Match
Shinya Aoki def. Danshoku Dieno (Round 4)

Not sure there could be a weirder match than a legitimate MMA fighter against Danshoku Dieno. Only in DDT! The rules are below:

I love DDT but Danshoku Dieno has never really been for me. He’s a decent worker when he wants to be, but that was not this match. They did some comedy early with Dieno doing some uh… very Dieno things in the MMA only round.

Dieno unsurprisingly dominated the second round where “courtship” was allowed, then survived the third round and hit the head in trunks piledriver in the 4th round, but Aoki locked in a sleeper with some Disney song in the background to win the match. This sure was something! NR (Comedy)

KO-D Tag Title Match
DAMNATION (Daisuke Sasaki & Soma Takao) (c) def. Urashima (Yasu Urano & HARASHIMA)

As I mentioned in the preview, Sasaki and Takao’s reign as KO-D tag champs has been a little disappointing outside of a great title win. The take on the team of DDT legend HARASHIMA and Yasu Urano, who has been hanging out in BASARA recently.

This one started at a quick pace and Sasaki looked reinvigorated early on to me, he’d looked a step slow to me in recent months, but his exchanges with HARASHIMA were excellent.

Despite being five and a half hours into the show, the crowd was red hot throughout this. Gutwrench powerbomb from Urano got 2.9 on Takao, but a ref bump led to some shenanigans from the DAMNATION boys, and the Vertebreaker from Takao to Urano gave DAMNATION defense number four in a really great match, probably DAMNATION’s best since the title win. ****

After the match, Joey Ryan came out to challenge Takao and Sasaki to a tag title match on the July 21st Korakuen. His partner will be Hiroshi Yamato.

KO-D Openweight Title
Konosuke Takeshita def. Tetsuya Endo (c)

These two are generational rivals, Endo is 27 and Takeshita is 24, and they’ve already had 11 singles matches, a series led by Takeshita 6-3-2. Takeshita picked up the win in what was considered an upset on this very show two years ago, but Endo comes back with the title for the big rematch. He’s beaten Takeshita, but never on the big stage, very similar to the story New Japan told with Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom.

These two are both extremely athletic and do some pretty cool stuff early on in an exchange capped off by a Sasuke Special to the outside from Endo.

There were some absolutely sick spots early on like Takeshita hitting a body scissors german to the floor in a move impossible to describe. Takeshita then unloaded with forearms, hit a snap suplex onto the apron, and then locked on a crab. Endo was busted open at some point during the exchange and the crowd went from 50/50 to pretty much entirely on Endo’s side.

Endo countered Takeshita into Tetsuya In The Sky for a momentary burst of offense but Takeshita quickly took control back with a package piledriver looking thing quickly followed by a piledriver, facebuster, German combo. Swan Dive Senton is countered into a powerbomb by Endo and a torture rack bomb got two. The entire crowd bit on a shooting star near fall from Endo but Takeshita kicked out and then crawled to the ropes after Endo locked on his signature submission.

Takeshita got the best of a long forearm exchange and hit a knee, only for Endo to pop back up and land a lariat. This match ruled by the way.

Takeshita dropped Endo from a fireman’s carry onto the exposed buckle and hit the swan dive senton but couldn’t lock in his german attempt. Candian Destroyer from Endo got another close two, and Takeshita countered a shooting star attempt with the knees and locked in a brutal looking high angle crab. Endo slowly crawled to the ropes but Takeshita dragged him back to the middle and Endo finally tapped. loltakeshitawins and all that, but my god, what an incredible match that had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. *****

Final Thoughts

This was the surefire, no questions asked show of the year. Not show of the year contender, show of the year. Nothing else this year so far has come close to this. I had nine of the 11 main card matches at ***1/2+, the only two not making it being two of the three comedy matches. This show included a ****1/2 match of a type you’ve probably never seen between Akito and ASUKA as well as a five star, MOTY contending main event. If the comedy stuff scares you off, do what John Carroll and I convinced Joe Lanza to do and skip the three comedy matches, but give the rest of the main card a watch.