Dramatic Dream Team
Ultimate Party 2019! DDT Group Big Gathering!
November 3, 2019
Ryogoku Kokugikan

Watch: DDT Universe

Meet our previewers:

Taylor Maimbourg: Taylor is back for another big show DDT preview, and as a special treat, if you don’t like reading, you can also listen to him preview this very show (and a few others) on the most recent episode of Wrestling Omakase! Check out how many times he says “I’m looking forward to this match”! It’s a lot! Check him out on Twitter @tamaimbo.

Thomas Fischbeck: Thomas had the most accurate predictions of our three previewers the last time they joined up, the Peter Pan preview… just saying. He’ll be on the next episode of Wrestling Omakase with Taylor, John, and VOW contributor Jack Beckmann to discuss the big week in wrestling and you can follow him on Twitter @rasslinratings

John Carroll: There’s been a lot of talk about Wrestling Omakase……did you know that’s John’s podcast? It’s true! You can follow it on Twitter @wrestleomakase. John can also be followed on Twitter too @toshanshuinla although they don’t recommend this. By the way, did you know that Homura did nothing wrong?

Under Match
Tomomitsu Matsunaga, Mizuki Watase & Keigo Nakamura vs. Daichi Kazato, Masato Kamino & Shuhei Washida

Taylor: These undercard matches usually don’t amount to much, and with the possibility that this becoming the longest show DDT has ever produced, I have a feeling that these under matches won’t be much more than short matches to get talent some extra ring time.  Watase is probably missing RENEGADES right now – he was in a weird spot, but at least he could get onto the main cards. Prediction: Daichi Kazato, Masato Kamino & Shuhei Washida

Thomas: It is DDT vs the sub-brands to open up the show as DDT young boy Keigo Nakamura teams with two DDT regulars to take on two BASARA guys, Daichi Kazato and Masato Kamino, and Ganbare’s Shuhei Washida. I haven’t been totally sold on Nakamura yet so I’m looking forward to seeing him in a big spot again here, and I’m also looking forward to seeing Masato Kamino, someone who I’ve been quite impressed with in BASARA, getting a chance to shine on the big stage. This will mostly be about getting the young guys some exposure, but Nakamura will take the pin here. Prediction: Daichi Kazato, Masato Kamino & Shuhei Washida

John: As the first under match of the night this is kind of in a death slot, as very few fans will likely even be in their seats when these six wrestlers start making their way down to the ring. Having been in the building for Peter Pan a few years ago, I can tell you that most of whatever crowd IS there will be paying more attention to chatting with their fellow fans than to what’s actually going on in the ring. Expect a very basic six to eight minutes of action and a mostly dead crowd. Or, to any 2019 WWE fans who might be watching this, a lively crowd. Prediction: Daichi Kazato, Masato Kamino & Shuhei Washida

Under Match
Hikari Noa, YUMI, Mahiro Kiryu & Suzume vs. Raku, Pom Harajuku, Haruna Neko & Mirai Maiumi

Taylor: The Tokyo Joshi offer matches have become a staple of the under matches, and if you aren’t too familiar with Tokyo Joshi, this match will give you a pretty good taste of what the promotion has to offer, as they’ve filled the match with joshi with varying personalities and skill levels.  I’m not sure if the result really matters either way, but it will be a good opportunity for some of the younger talent to get more experience on a bigger stage. Prediction: Raku, Pom Harajuku, Haruna Neko & Mirai Maiumi

Thomas: Ah, the classic TJP offer match, these have been staples of DDT’s big Sumo Hall shows for some time now, and here they go a little more towards the comedy route as the brand is getting two big matches on the main show this time. This should be a fun, fast-paced match where the young girls get some exposure, the winners feel like a tossup though. Prediction: Raku, Pom Harajuku, Haruna Neko & Mirai Maiumi

John: The only kind of surprising thing about this Tokyo Joshi offer match is that no one is making their pro wrestling debut here- debuting in an under match on a DDT Sumo Hall show has sort of become a right of passage for TJP wrestlers- but perhaps after the intense rate of debuts in the past year or so they’re finally just out of girls to debut. Of the match participants here, Suzume debuted on 8/25/19, Mirai on 5/3/19, Mahiro on 2/23/19, YUMI on 12/1/18, Pom on 11/24/18, Haruna on 11/17/18, and finally your two veterans Raku & Noa (of the Up Up Girls!) debuted way back on 1/4/18. That’s a lot of wrestlers in under two years, and it isn’t even everyone as Yuki Aino debuted on 5/3/18, Mina Shirakawa on 8/5/18, Himawari Unagi on 1/4/19 and Miu Watanabe (the third Up Up Girl) on 1/4/18. I don’t know how long Tokyo Joshi can keep that sort of production up, but they’ve done an awesome job introducing new blood into the joshi scene. Anyway! This match will be short and fun. I’m gonna pick the opposite team of the other two just because my personal favorite of the younger wrestlers (Mahiro-san!) is on it. Prediction: Hikari Noa, YUMI, Mahiro Kiryu & Suzume

Under Match: Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship Delayed Entry Battle Royale
Shota © vs. Toru Owashi vs. Kazuki Hirata vs. Gorgeous Matsuno vs. HARUKAZE vs. SAGAT vs. Yuki Kamifuku vs. Mina Shirakawa vs. Pokotan vs. Yoshihiko

Taylor: Well, I wrote my preview for this match a couple of days ago.  It was a beautiful paragraph with a lot of really incredible insights and a lot of questions about having a battle royale where the Ironman Heavymetalweight Title isn’t defended.  Then, Shota beat Kikutaro for the title and now this match IS for the Ironman Heavymetalweight Title, and I had to throw out all my brilliant work. Anyways! You’ve got some intriguing combinations with all four companies represented in this match, and with the way the title works, it’s really anyone’s game. Predicting these battle royales often feels like betting on which raindrop will get down the window fastest.  Add in Pokotan and the legendary Yoshihiko, and there’s really no way of knowing how this one ends up. Prediction: Yuki Kamifuku

Thomas: These Ironman Heavymetalweight Title battle royales are always a ton of fun, and this should be no different, I like pretty much everyone in this match. There will be some good comedy in this from Kazuki Hirara, Matsuno, and of course, Yoshihiko, but there is the potential for some good wrestling too, I especially love Ganbare’s Shota, who comes into this match as champion. His match with Shuichiro Katsumara for the Independent World Junior Heavyweight Title in January was well worth checking out if you want to get exposed to both guys before this show. At the end of the day, this is a toss-up, but I lean Yuki Kamifuku since she seems to have been getting a little bit of a push lately. Prediction: Yuki Kamifuku

John: It looked like this was just going to be a weird delayed entry battle royale with no Ironman title on the line for a while, which is how it was originally announced, but thankfully Shota came through and won the title from Kikutaro at the pre-show press conference (when Kikutaro showed up and demanded that this match be switched with Kenny Omega’s tag so he would be able to participate, as he’s already booked for earlier in the show). Anyway, this will be a blast as they pretty much always are, and probably the first thing on the show the crowd will really be into. Kamiyu is a good pick but I’m gonna go off the board a little and say Ganbare roster member HARUKAZE walks out with the belt. Prediction: HARUKAZE

100 Plastic Cases Match
Sanshiro Takagi vs. Isami Kodaka

Taylor: At first glance, this seems like a match that would end up near the top of the card.  Takagi has a history of singles matches at DDT’s biggest shows, and they usually signal the switch from the undercard to the top of the card.  Here, he opens the main portion of the show with Isami Kodaka, who will be main eventing Sumo Hall the next day for Big Japan. With this show threatening to go VERY long, this match placement seems inspired as a way to kick start the show and get people into the action immediately.  As for the outcome, with Takagi no longer holding the O-40 title, it’s really a toss up. You might think with BASARA leaving the DDT family that Takagi might want to win this one, but it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility to see Kodaka ride off into the sunset with BASARA and a W.  Prediction: Isami Kodaka

Thomas: It is a testament to the strength of this card that this match is opening up the main show. It’s BASARA vs DDT, Isami Kodaka vs Sanshiro Takagi, and they will go all out in this 100 Plastic Cases Match, which will revolve around Takagi’s weapon of choice. This should be a fast-paced, high octane match to kickoff the main show. As Taylor said, it might make sense in general for Kodaka to put over Takagi on his way out, but Takagi has no trouble taking pins, and it should be mentioned that Kodaka will be the Big Japan Death Match Heavyweight Champion at the time of this show, and I very much doubt that Big Japan would let the guy main eventing their show the very next day lose here, even if he will lose that as well. Prediction: Isami Kodaka

John: This was the very first match announced for this show, and it takes on added importance with BASARA preparing to leave the DDT group at the end of the year. Frankly, there probably just won’t be another show like Ultimate Party ever again, and few matches highlight that more than this battle of the bosses. If Cagematch is to be believed then Isami and Takagi have met in a singles match only one time before: on a random house show in July 2013 at the Tochigi Prefectural Cultural Center, in front of 217 fans. Isami got the win there in a match that went just over ten minutes, and while I fully expect this one to go longer, I think he will once again come out on top. This should be a lot of fun, a truly wild brawl, and it’s one that I’m really looking forward to. Say whatever you want about Sanshiro Takagi, but he almost always delivers something fun and memorable at Sumo Hall. Prediction: Isami Kodaka

2nd KO-D 10-Man Tag Team Champions Decision Match
Danshoku Dieno, ASUKA, Yuki Iino, Mizuki & Trans-Am☆Hiroshi vs. Super Sasadango Machine, Yuna Manase, Jiro IKEMEN Kuroshio, Hiroshi Yamato & Makoto Oishi

Taylor: DDT’s most prestigious belts return!  The 10-man titles, which debuted at Peter Pan in 2017, are so respected that they’ve only been defended one single time, three months after their debut, in November 2017.  Since then, they’ve only been spoken of in certain circles in hushed whispers. Well, they’re back (for now), so I would recommend watching this show, because who knows when you’ll get the privilege of seeing these titles again.  I’m sure that all ten wrestlers in this match will work incredibly hard for the opportunity to wear these titles until they’re vacated again and return at DDT’s big Tokyo Dome show in 2021. Prediction: Danshoku Dieno, ASUKA, Yuki Iino, Mizuki & Trans-Am☆Hiroshi

Thomas: I popped so hard when this match was announced, DDT fans always joke about the ten man titles, but the company decided to bring them back for this big all brands show. This will be fun and will likely revolve around comedy. As for the winner, Sasadango’s team won the preview match at the last Korakuen, and standard wrestling booking says that means Dieno’s team will win the big one here. It also would make sense to put a belt on ASUKA and Yuki Iino, two rising stars, and avoid putting a belt on Jiro, who will be off to WWE within the next few months. Prediction: Danshoku Dieno, ASUKA, Yuki Iino, Mizuki & Trans-Am☆Hiroshi

John: If you’re wondering about the composition of the two teams here, we started with the captains Dieno and Sasadango (two reliable veterans of DDT) and they each picked their teams from a pre-selected pool of competitors via a draft that aired on DDT Universe. I like how the Dieno team ended up here, featuring one of the most underrated wrestlers in the world (ASUKA), a young wrestler who fits into the classic DDT mold of being surprisingly good in ring while also making people laugh with his very meme-able facial expressions and general look (Iino), an awesome Tokyo Joshi roster member (Mizuki), and fuckin’ TRANS AM HIROSHI, one of my favorite comedy wrestlers of all time. The other team is good too and almost mirrors them- Oishi like Iino is funny and yet also great in-ring, Ikemen like ASUKA is ridiculously underrated by wrestling at large, Manase like Mizuki is a great TJP roster member, and Yamato like Trans-Am☆Hiroshi is hilarious- but I just think everyone on the Dieno team is a little better in their respective categories. Plus like Thomas said, Ikemen is going to fucking WWE. That traitor. Prediction: Danshoku Dieno, ASUKA, Yuki Iino, Mizuki & Trans-Am☆Hiroshi

Gauntlet Tag Match
Nautilus (Yuki Ueno & Naomi Yoshimura) vs. Yukio Sakaguchi & Ryota Nakatsu vs. Shuichiro Katsumura & Kouki Iwasaki vs. Chris Brookes & Maki Itoh vs. Yukio Naya & Cody Hall vs. BAKURETSU Sisters (Nodoka Tenma & Yuki Aino)

Taylor: This match was originally part of the under matches, and then moved to this spot, which makes me feel like some sort of story will happen here which necessitated moving it to the main card where more people will see it.  However, looking at the talent involved in the match, I can’t imagine what that would be. Brookes is already scheduled to get a tag title match after this show, so it wouldn’t be setting that up, but maybe they give him the victory to keep building him up.  And with Maki Itoh recently winning her first title, a win would also help keep her strong. Prediction: Chris Brookes & Maki Itoh

Thomas: I think this match has the chance to be really, really good. I love everyone in it from the TJP ladies to the Ganbare team, which I think has a chance to surprise some folks. I’ve also not been shy about saying that I think Ryota Nakatsu is perhaps the most underrated wrestler in the world, and he has a great partner in fellow striker Yukio Sakaguchi here, so hopefully they turn some heads. As for the winners, I could hear an argument for a number of teams, but with Brookes getting a tag title shot on the next Korakuen with tag partner Masahiro Takanashi and Maki Itoh’s popularity, I think it makes sense to give them the win on the big stage. Prediction: Chris Brookes & Maki Itoh

John: I don’t know why this match was moved off the main card to the under matches and then back to the main card in the final listing, that’s a weird little mystery. Maybe someone just screwed up when it was briefly listed as an under match. Anyway, these gauntlet tags are always a good little bit of fun on DDT big shows. If you used to watch CHIKARA back during their “glory period” the gauntlet tags at the end of a major tournament like King of Trios were very similar: just a bunch of fun little matches (some REALLY little) that are usually pretty enjoyable. Anway, I should probably pick a different winning team than Taylor or Thomas just to be different here, but the NEO Itoh Respect Army feel like absolute locks to me. Prediction: Chris Brookes & Maki Itoh


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Independent World Jr. Heavyweight Championship
Keisuke Ishii © vs. Fuminori Abe

Taylor: As I mentioned on the most recent episode of Wrestling Omakase, this match has the potential to be a show stealer.  I was bummed out when Ishii left DDT proper, as I think he’s massively talented, and Fuminori Abe is one of the best young talents in all of puroresu.  This also happens to be in the spot that most of DDT’s show stealing matches take place – not at the top of the card, but somewhere in the middle where it at first glance just looks like a handful of matches before or after it.  I’m looking forward to a lot of people coming out of this match with a new favorite wrestler. Prediction: Fuminori Abe

Thomas: These are two of the most under the radar awesome guys in all of wrestling. Fuminori Abe has been killing it around Japan, and Keisuke Ishii has had some awesome matches this  year, most notably with Tetsuya Endo for the KO-D Openweight Title back in May. I concur with Taylor that this has a great chance to steal the show and introduce the world to two crazy awesome guys that don’t get enough shine, but I do disagree with him about the winner. Ishii recently won this title back from Shuichiro Katsumura after he lost the belt on 1/6, and I don’t think it would make sense to hotshot the belt onto Abe with zero defenses so soon after paying off the year long rivalry. Ishii is probably the #2 draw in Ganbare (behind legend Ken Ohka), and I think they keep the belt on him here. Prediction: Keisuke Ishii

John: As the others have mentioned, this is in a great spot to be a total show stealer here, similar to the excellent T-Hawk vs. Akito match on the undercard of last year’s Peter Pan. It will also be helped by being the first non-gimmick singles match on the show, meaning fans will likely be primed to see some quality in-ring action (which both of these men are more than capable of delivering). An interesting part of the build here was that after Abe challenged Ishii for this title he actually entered himself into the tournament to crown a new AJPW Jr. Heavyweight Champion as well (he faces Koji Iwamoto in a first round match on their 11/21 Korakuen a few weeks after this event), which Ishii quickly took issue with, feeling like he disrespected his junior title in the process by not focusing on his title challenge. “Why can’t you just be satisfied with my belt?” was the general message there.

If you’ve never heard of the title that’s essentially served as Ganbare’s top belt for the past few years, it has an interesting lineage that can be traced all the way back to FMW but by no means ends there. Here’s a full listing of every promotion the title has ever changed hands in: FMW, CMLL, Michinoku Pro, Battlarts, ARSION (yes, a joshi company, through a joint show with Battlarts!), Kaientai Dojo, Osaka Pro, DDT, and finally Ganbare. Whew. And it’s been defended in a bunch of others too like BASARA, Union (BASARA’s precursor DDT sub-brand), FREEDOMS and more. It really gets around in another words. So even though as I just mentioned it’s settled into a role as Ganbare’s top title in the last couple years, you can’t exactly discount Abe winning the belt and just walking it over to BASARA right before they leave the DDT group. But ultimately, I do think the criminally underrated Ishii picks up the victory to retain. Prediction: Keisuke Ishii

UWA World Trios Championship 3-Way Match
Takumi Tsukamoto, Yasu Urano & Takato Nakano © vs. DAMNATION (Tetsuya Endo, Mad Paulie & Nobuhiro Shimatani) vs. Ken Ohka, Yumehito Imanari & Ms. Mongol

Taylor: The UWA Trios titles have a wild lineage, so it’s only right that they are defended here on this massive show.  With some of the talent involved in this match, you might think that this will turn quickly into a comedy match, but there is some sneaky good talent here along with one of the best in the world in Endo, so don’t be surprised if this sneaks up on a lot of people in terms of in-ring quality.  I can’t imagine the belts changing hands, but it might be fitting for these journeymen titles to head to yet another promotion and end up in DDT for a spell before going to, oh, who knows, Oz Academy? Prediction: Takumi Tsukamoto, Yasu Urano & Takato Nakano

Thomas: It’s BASARA vs. DDT vs. Ganbare here for the UWA World Trios Titles, a set of belts with an absurd history spanning many promotions. I do think it’s interesting that we see Tetsuya Endo, the previous KO-D Openweight Champion, so low on the card here, but he’ll be a focal point in keeping this match on pace. As for the winners, these are BASARA belts now and I don’t see them moving over to DDT with BASARA so close to leaving the umbrella. A successful defense for the champs is more than likely in a match that will surprise some in terms of in-ring quality. Prediction: Takumi Tsukamoto, Yasu Urano & Takato Urano

John: Yeah, speaking of titles that get around, the UWA World Trios Titles! I love these stupid belts. This is another title lineage you should just do a Wikipedia deep dive on if you’re ever bored one day. They started in Mexico and somehow ended up all over the Japanese indie scene, from the original Toryumon to offshoot El Dorado to DDT to Wrestle-1 (after laying dormant for five years!) to Tokyo Gurentai to Big Japan and now finally to BASARA. These belts are like the ultimate cockroaches of wrestling titles- every time you think they’re gone for good, some new promotion dusts them off and crowns new champions. The belts coming back to be defended in DDT here, nine years after they deactivated them back in 2010, isn’t quite full circle (I guess we’d have to be in Mexico for that technically) but is still pretty cool. I’m gonna disagree with my two colleagues on the winners- I think you probably want to have someone win another promotion’s title(s) on this show just because it’s too boring if everyone retains, and the UWA belts have barely had time to really be considered BASARA belts anyway (they’ve only been there for a few months) so they’d be the easiest for anyone to miss. Predicting Ken Ohka to win anything is always kind of a hot take, but that Ganbare team winning would be really funny, so that’s what I’m gonna go with. Prediction: Ken Ohka, Yumehito Imanari & Ms. Mongol

Princess Tag Team Championship
NEO BIISHIKI-GUN (Sakisama & Misao) © vs. Rika Tatsumi & Miu Watanabe

Taylor: If you’re keeping up with my frequent appearances on Wrestling Omakase (which you should be), you’ll know that I’ve had a bit of a roller coaster year with Tokyo Joshi Pro. They started the year very strong with two sets of champions (Miyu Yamashita and The Magical Sugar Rabbits) capable of putting on strong matches at will.  Since then, the champions have switched, the in-ring quality has decreased, and my interest has waned. NEO BIISHIKI-GUN have probably the strongest characters in Tokyo Joshi, but their tag team title reign has lacked. Enter Rika Tatsumi and Miu Watanabe, two of higher level workers in TJP. This match is also chock full of story, as Hyper Misao turned on Rika to become Misao and Miu Watanabe has spent the last few months in pursuit of the tag titles.  Hopefully on a big stage and against good competition Sakisama and Misao can turn it up and produce an exciting match to put the Tokyo Joshi tag scene back on the map. Prediction: Rika Tatsumi & Miu Watanabe

Thomas: I’m in full agreement with Taylor that TJP has run hot and cold this year. It hasn’t been a bad promotion, but it’s been a big step down from their tremendous 2018. I am excited for this match, though, as we pay off the year long storyline involving Hyper Misao’s betrayal of Rika Tatsumi and alignment with Sakisama, the biggest bad in Tokyo Joshi. I think Rika’s team gets their revenge and the titles here in a good match, in the process giving Miu Watanabe, one of the best young joshis in the world, her first title win. Prediction: Rika Tatsumi & Miu Watanabe

John: I guess I’ll be the one to be a little higher on Tokyo Joshi’s year than both of my colleagues. Granted, their 2019 hasn’t been as good as their 2018 was, but in 2018 they were legitimately my favorite promotion in the world so that was a high bar to clear. This has never been the most workrate-focused promotion around but I still think they’ve put on some top-to-bottom very entertaining cards, especially their Korakuen Hall shows and the like (as well as an excellent half of a double-header with DDT in Osaka a few months back, one that put a lackluster DDT card to shame). Where I will agree with my colleagues however is in finding the NEO BIISHIKI-GUN tag title reign a clear step down from the Yuka Sakazaki/Mizuki title reign they were following. The Magical Sugar Rabbits were pretty much a guaranteed **** match in every title defense, a truly remarkable run, and while I love Sakisama and Misao they haven’t quite lived up to that standard. It feels like we’re set for a title change here for a lot of reasons Taylor & Thomas already covered, so hopefully the Rika/Miu team is ready to break out and get back to making these belts the guaranteed awesome match they were in the past. Prediction: Rika Tatsumi & Miu Watanabe

KO-D Tag Team Championship 4-Way Hardcore Match
DAMNATION (Daisuke Sasaki & Soma Takao) © vs. ALL OUT (Akito & Shunma Katsumata) vs. FUMA & Yusuke Kubo vs. Sento Minzoku (Minoru Fujita & Daiki Shimomura)

Taylor: Four of these men had a hardcore match at DDT’s go-home Korakuen, and while it was an enjoyable match, it did feel a bit like something was being held back.  That’s not surprising, considering they have this match on a much bigger stage a week later. The only other “hardcore” match on the card opens up the show, so this match should have plenty of room to try a lot of wild things without stepping on the toes of another match.  Most people know what Sasaki, Akito and Katsumata are capable of, but look for Fujita, Shimomura, FUMA and the rest to pull out the stops to make this a wild one. Prediction: DAMNATION (Daisuke Sasaki & Soma Takao)

Thomas: This is a really fun four-way hardcore match for the tag titles. We see the DAMNATION vs ALL OUT feud continue, with Akito & Shunma Katsumata representing ALL OUT against the champions, but this time they will be joined by two BASARA teams. DAMNATION and ALL OUT (Akito & Yuki Iino) had a great ****¼ star match a couple Korakuens ago for the tag titles, and with weapons involved and some great talent from BASARA, this has a chance to be just as good. Look out for the BASARA teams to try and put in big performances on the big stage, and especially keep an eye on Daiki Shimomura, who at 21 years old is one of my favorite young guys in the promotion. FUMA and Kubo also recently won BASARA’s tag titles so I think they’ll be motivated to showcase their talent on the big stage as well. As for the winners, I don’t see much shot of a title change here, but it should be fun. Prediction: DAMNATION (Daisuke Sasaki & Soma Takao)

John: Not a ton to add on this one, Taylor and Thomas kind of covered it. There’s not much of a storyline here to get into- Sasaki & Soma have beaten everyone in the division and a bunch of teams randomly showed up at the end of a Korakuen show at the end of September to say “hey, let’s have a hardcore match”. The clock is running out on Sasaki & Soma’s excellent reign, but I think it will ultimately be the looming team of Chris Brookes & Masa Takanashi (who won a #1 Contendership match at Korakuen Hall last weekend to get the next title shot) who finally end it. Prediction: DAMNATION (Daisuke Sasaki & Soma Takao)

UNIONMAX Championship
Ryuichi Sekine © vs. Masahiro Takanashi

Taylor: Along with the Ishii-Abe match, this is the other dark horse for match of the night.  A lot of people may not be too familiar with Sekine coming in, but he can go in the ring, as evidenced best by his great match against Ryota Nakatsu back in May of this year.  On the other side of the ring you have Masahiro Takanashi, who may be not only one of the most underrated bell-to-bell guys in DDT, but in all of wrestling. He doesn’t get many singles opportunities like this, but when he does, he tends to deliver as he did at the end of last year against Konosuke Takeshita.  This is actually the perfect spot for this match as it has the chance to surprise a lot of people without being too late in the card where people begin to burn out. Look out for this one. Prediction: Ryuichi Sekine

Thomas: Once again I’m in full agreement with Taylor, this match could steal the show. Ryuichi Sekine is a tremendous wrestler both in deathmatch and the BASARA catch style. His match with Ryota Nakatsu from May is one of my favorites of the entire year and a MUST-WATCH if you want to get a better feel for the two, both of whom will be competing on this show. His opponent is Masa Takanashi, a sometimes comedy guy that has a tremendous wrestler inside of him as evidence by the Takeshita match in 2018 that Taylor mentioned. I don’t foresee a title change here, but I think it will be Sekine’s breakout moment into the mainstream in what will be a great match. Prediction: Ryuichi Sekine

John: Again, agreed on all points here! I want to point out another awesome Masahiro Takanashi singles match too if you doubt his credentials- his KO-D Openweight TItle challenge against Isami Kodaka on 1/31/2016 is a personal favorite of mine. Definitely seek that match out if you’ve never watched it. This match again has show-stealing potential, as Masahiro will attempt to use his vast array of cradles and other flash pins to try and take BASARA’s top title. I don’t think he’ll be successful, but I guess stranger things have happened. Prediction: Ryuichi Sekine





Princess of Princess Championship
Shoko Nakajima © vs. Yuka Sakazaki

Taylor: Just like NEO BIISHIKI-GUN, Shoko Nakajima won the title mid-year from an accomplished champion having a string of great matches in Miyu Yamashita.  The match in which she won the title was divisive, but since then, her title reign has seemingly lacked direction and the story moving forward isn’t too clear. Enter Yuka Sakazaki.  Sakazaki spent the first half of the year holding the tag titles as part of the under the radar tag team of the year the Magical Sugar Rabbits, and has also spent time in America as part of the AEW roster.  Her connection to AEW is what makes this match so interesting to me. Both Nakajima and Sakazaki have appeared in AEW, but only Sakazaki appears on their roster page. With Nakajima’s title reign underwhelming, does Tokyo Joshi put the title on Sakazaki and send her back to America?  Sakazaki has already gotten over with the US crowd even with her limited appearances. Having her return to the promotion as champion might pique interest and get some people to check out Sakazaki’s home promotion. Or maybe I’m missing the story and Nakajima retains the title. Either way, with two of Tokyo Joshi’s biggest names near the top of the card, I hope this one delivers in spades. Prediction: Yuka Sakazaki

Thomas: I think I could be on an island, but I’ve thought that Shoko’s title reign has been pretty good so far. It is hard to be the guy after “the guy,” or I guess the girl after “the girl” in this situation, but I’ve enjoyed most of Shoko’s title matches this year. It wasn’t going to be possible to match the heat that Miyu Yamashita’s reign had, but I think Shoko has done an admirable job in her spot. As for the match, it should be real good. Yuka Sakazaki is a great wrestler in ring, she had a very good title challenge against Miyu Yamashita back in March, and her tag work with Mizuki as part of the Magical Sugar Rabbits was some of the best in-ring stuff ever done in Tokyo Joshi. Her involvement in AEW does complicates things, I’m not sure if that makes it more or less likely that she walks out with the belt here, and it makes this the result I’m most interested in on the entire show. I lean towards it increasing her chances, Tokyo Joshi could benefit from the added exposure and the companies obviously don’t mind working together. It should also be noted that AEW’s women’s champ, Riho, is on this card (a potential money match down the line?). I’m not going to overthink it though, and in TJP storyline it doesn’t feel like it’s the right time for Shoko to drop the title. After talking with VOW’s resident TJP expert, Ewan Cameron, who agreed, I feel pretty confident in this pick. If Shoko was going to lose the title, it would have made sense to do it at the recent Mountain Top show against the red hot Mizuki, since they didn’t make the switch there, it feels like we could be in for another long Princess of Princess Title reign, before Miyu perhaps wins it back next year. Prediction: Shoko Nakajima

John: I’m gonna come down on the side of Taylor here and admit to being not that into Shoko’s title reign at this point, although as a huge Miyu Yamashita fan whoever followed her epic title reign was always going to have a difficult time with me. It’s not that I think Shoko is bad because she’s clearly a good pro wrestler, but going from the super-ace having a lot of really great matches to a good pro wrestler is still a downgrade. I was surprised that Mizuki, who seemed to have a ton of momentum after winning the Princess Cup this year, didn’t beat Shoko, but unlike Thomas (and I guess Ewan!) I feel like that was to set up Yuka’s coronation here. Although she had a brief reign with the belt in the past, a Yuka Sakazaki reign feels fairly fresh, and I think it would be a more interesting way to get the belt back to Miyu next year than just having Miyu win a re-match with Shoko. No matter who wins I just hope they have a great match third from the top, and I hope the crowd isn’t so tired approaching hour six or whatever that it’s very difficult for them to do so. Prediction: Yuka Sakazaki

Souken Holdings Presents: Dramatic Dream Match
Kenny Omega & Riho vs. Antonio Honda & Miyu Yamashita

Taylor: I do sincerely hope that Kenny Omega’s appearance on this show encourages people who may not have checked out the show otherwise to give DDT a try.  DDT is one of my favorite promotions, and they deserve as many eyeballs as they can get on this huge and very cool show. That being said, I can imagine there may be some Kenny Omega fans who may tune into this show expecting a Kenny Omega G1 performance, and let me tell you, that is not this.  In some ways, these big shows are a way to get people into the promotion, but much more than that, these shows often feel like a reward for long time viewers. It’s a celebration of the promotion, and this match has a lot of nods to the history of Kenny Omega in DDT. Years ago, Kenny Omega made his names in mixed tags like this with partners like Riho, Miyako Matsumoto and Kana taking on a variety of opponents.  He and Honda have a long history, as Kenny’s Golden Rendezvous team spent years battling it out with Honda’s Monster Army in DDT. With Honda in this match, you would think this match would probably lean towards comedy, but don’t be surprised if this match turns it up a notch and gets serious. All four competitors are more than capable of holding their own. Either way this turns out, I’m excited to see Kenny Omega back in a DDT ring.  Prediction: Kenny Omega & Riho

Thomas: Yeah, I’m with Taylor, if nothing else, this match will be great in the sense that it will get more eyes on the show due to the star power of Kenny Omega. This will be his first match in Japan since the Tokyo Dome and is sure to draw some casual viewers. Omega takes a lot from people on Twitter for his goofiness, but his DDT comedy, especially with Honda, was really good. That’s not to say this won’t be a great match in its own right, though. Expect the joshi especially to tear it up here. Miyu Yamashita is a former Princess of Princess champ and the ace of TJP, and on the other side AEW Women’s Champion Riho is a tremendous wrestler. A quick aside, but you can’t convince me that Riho being booked in this semi-main at the biggest non-NJPW Japanese show of the year didn’t have something to do with her being the first ever AEW Women’s champ, but anyways, this one should be great. Also, don’t be surprised if we get some intergender action, which Kenny is in favor of despite AEW as a whole being opposed. As for the winners, I see the AEW team picking up the win. It’s been heavily speculated on, and I concur that Takeshita-Omega feels like THE match for DDT’s Saitama show next year at the Super Arena, which can hold up to 20,000 people, a win here is the start to building him up in DDT canon to earn that title shot. Prediction: Kenny Omega & Riho

John: I’ve seen a fair amount of grousing from non-DDT fans that Kenny Omega’s first appearance back in Japan since Wrestle Kingdom is being “wasted” on this match, and for those folks I have a very simple message: shut up, you! This match is awesome, a celebration of Kenny’s history in DDT as Taylor recapped, and if you count yourself as a fan of Kenny’s you should be happy that he’s really getting to express himself here in a way that he can’t even in AEW (due to their ban on intergender, which he’s stated his own opposition toward), let alone NJPW. It’s also smart booking on DDT’s part not to waste a major Kenny singles match on a stacked show that clearly didn’t need it- his first appearance back in DDT since leaving in the fall of 2014, and of course his return to Japan in general for the first time since Wrestle Kingdom 13, was more than a big enough draw on its own, and the show looks likely to sell out DDT’s Ryogoku setup, proving it to be the correct decision. If you can’t bring yourself to care about a “comedy wrestler” like Honda, I would still tell you to watch this match- he may just surprise you. And of course as the others already covered, Miyu and Riho are also more than capable of holding up their end of the bargain. I’m thinking there will be at least one exchange with Kenny and Miyu that will blow people’s minds, and I can’t wait. Prediction: Kenny Omega & Riho

KO-D Openweight & DDT Extreme Double Championship Match
Konosuke Takeshita (KO-D Openweight ©) vs. HARASHIMA (DDT Extreme ©)

Taylor: I’ve learned over the course of writing a number of these DDT previews that one thing holds true for the main event of these big DDT shows: If Konosuke Takeshita is in the match, he’s probably going to win.  I touched on this briefly in my last preview, but DDT seems to view Takeshita as a safety blanket. Whenever they seem unsure of how to proceed, the belt goes back on Takeshita. The main event of Peter Pan a few months ago seemed a perfect time to coronate Endo as the next big thing in DDT.  He came in champion after an exciting victory at DDT’s wildly successful Wrestlemania show and it seemed like the perfect time to topple his generational rival. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Now, we’re here at the main event of what is possibly DDT’s biggest show ever, and the main event seems to be a look backwards.  Look, I’m sure this match will be incredible. Both men are capable of doing amazing things and will undoubtedly lay it all on the line for the main event. And both deserve the main event for all they’ve done for DDT. But it just feels to me like they could have done something different here to really make this special.  They ran the match back at Peter Pan, so it’s not in the cards, but can you imagine the moment of Endo finally beating Takeshita on this gigantic stage? Would be a huge moment for both Endo and the promotion. But back to this match, with both titles on the line, it is a bit of a toss up. But I think the direction is Takeshita-Omega at the big Saitama Super Arena show next year, so step one in that plan is Takeshita emerging victorious here. Prediction: Konosuke Takeshita

Thomas: loltakeshitawins. I don’t think the winner here will be in doubt, but these are two legends of the promotion who have had an incredible rivalry throughout their respective careers, and they’ll be sure to deliver another great chapter to that series here. Like Taylor said, I would’ve loved to see Endo get a big win over Takeshita at the show to cap off their generational rival story, but this match should be tremendous. Takeshita and HARASHIMA have had some great matches together, most notably I’d recommend their KO-D Title main event from the Judgement 2017 Saitama Super Arena show. Surprisingly to me, these rivals haven’t faced since January 2018 all the way back in the first ever D-Oh Grand Prix block tournament, so it will have a fresh feeling despite being a match we’ve seen many times before. At the same time though, it does feel a little weird that DDT elevated HARASHIMA to this spot after seemingly down cycling him recently, a little reminiscent to how NJPW treated Hiroshi Tanahashi’s push back to the top of the card last year. To some extent I do wish this would have been a younger guy going up against Takeshita in the big Sumo Hall spot, but the match should be great nonetheless. Unlike Hiroshi Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom, I don’t feel as if there is much of a shot of a title change in this one. Takeshita will win, and we’ll continue down the path to that potential Takeshita-Omega money match in 2020. Prediction: Konosuke Takeshita

John: Originally I was feeling pretty similar to Taylor and Thomas here, figuring Takeshita winning was a virtual lock, but from reading opinions of DDT fans online (both Western and Japanese), it seems like a lot of folks think HARASHIMA is going to win this. Their arguments do make some sense- HARASHIMA winning would be a feel good moment in a very similar way to Tanahashi winning at Wrestle Kingdom this year (although if you believe the aforementioned Kenny Omega, that may not have been the original plan….), Takeshita has closed the last two major shows this year as the winner and champion by beating Endo at Peter Pan and Daisuke Sasaki at Judgement so a third straight major show ending with him on top may be too much even for this company, and if the ultimate goal is Takeshita-Kenny at Saitama, well, that’s not until next summer so you should probably give Takeshita a roadblock in the meantime. Again, those arguments all make a lot of sense to me and definitely caused me to reflect on my decision…..but as Thomas said, loltakeshitawins. It always seems like the safest bet when you’re dealing with a major DDT show. Yeah, it’s very early to start building up Takeshita-Omega, but on the other hand you’ve got 20,000 seats to fill for Saitama. So I don’t think there’s any real reason why you shouldn’t have Takeshita win this match, triumph yet again and hold both belts up high, and then have Kenny come down and do the big face-off now to get the crowd buzzing (well, as much as they’ll be capable of buzzing at the end of a marathon seven-hour show). You can always throw Takeshita some roadblocks after that, maybe even make it a deal where he loses the KO-D Openweight Title and has to win it back to officially get into the match with Kenny at Saitama, but I think it would still be a good idea to at least tease the match here and get people thinking about it. Takeshita Two Belts is happening, we may as well all just get used to it now. On a side note, it’s really funny that DDT realized where NJPW was going for Wrestle Kingdom 14 and decided to beat them to the punch by two months huh? Prediction: Konosuke Takeshita