DDT Pro-Wrestling
DDT Goes Hollywood!
March 30, 2023
Ukrainian Cultural Center
Los Angeles, California

Watch: FITE

DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Title: The 37KAMIINA (MAO & Shunma Katsumata) def. Chris Brookes & Yoshihiko (c)

For a lot of people this is going to be their first DDT match, and it was a good choice. In terms of show structure, the one-two punch of a YOSHIHIKO match and a Pheromones match probably did a lot to filter a channel hopping WM Weekend audience, but rewarded those who stuck around for the main event who could appreciate DDT’s variegated offerings.

I think from everything I’ve seen so far, this, a match where one of the contestants is a blow up doll, is undoubtedly one of the best matches of the weekend. Once you get over the concept, you can really appreciate the true circus artistry of YOSHIHIKO matches. MAO in particular had great chemistry with YOSHIHIKO, to the point of reaching that uncanny valley where the doll really does seem to come to life at certain points.

This was just pure unbridled fun, and if there’s any disappointment here, it’s that all three of the wrestlers here (ok, four), are so versatile in their craft, that you really wish there were more opportunities for them to showcase to a US crowd. ****1/4

Pheromones (Danshoku Dino & Yuki Ino) vs. Takagi Army (Michael Nakazawa & Sanshiro Takagi) went to a No Contest

As someone who instantly skips Pheromones matches when they show up on WU, I had a good time watching this, primarily seeing how the US audience reacted. I could watch one Pheromones match a year. As a treat. ***

Kazusada Higuchi & Takeshi Masada def. Andrew Everett & Nick Wayne

This was very good and with four completely different wrestlers they managed to keep things interesting. I still feel like Higuchi in a big singles match could have gotten over with the US crowd, but this was good and I got a big kick out of Everett’s Giant gimmick. ***1/4

Saki Akai def. Vert Vixen

Perfectly decent match for the time it was given and Saki looked every bit the star she is. **1/2

Tetsuya Endo def. Joey Janela

This was a very good match and perhaps a little long, but Janela really brought his working boots here, and Endo’s acrobatics are always a thing of beauty. They hit each other hard in this and I think this deserves some plaudits. Janela is clearly putting himself through a bit of a proving series this weekend, and to be fair to him, as someone who has never really had time for him, this match endeared him to me as someone trying to break out of a stereotype.

Here’s the thing, while this was excellent, part of me feels like this wasn’t a “DDT showcase,” and this is the same problem I have with the match that came after. If we had saved this for the DDTxGCW match the following night and then had, say, Higuchi vs Endo in a singles match instead, that might have been a better way for DDT to plant its flag. ****

Eddie Kingston & Jun Akiyama def. DAMNATION T.A (Daisuke Sasaki & KANON)

The problem with this match was that Sasaki and Kanon were essentially props for the Eddie Kingston show. Obviously, Kingston is very popular, and perhaps even helped to shift a few tickets here, but like the match previously, this didn’t feel like DDT. Thankfully, at least Akiyama was able to get the pin with a lovely exploder suplex. **1/2

Konosuke Takeshita def. Yuki Ueno

I was watching this show on VOD, and this was the first match I went for. Two of the very best and if you wanted to show your friend who thinks DDT is all comedy promotion that no, actually they have “proper” good matches, then this is the one. This featured all the BIG MOVES that Takeshita has become known for in his AEW appearances and was a perfect introduction of Yuki Ueno’s nimble spirit to American audiences. The big downside here was that everyone and their dog knew Takeshita was winning, so it kinda took some of the tension out. Nevertheless, this was an excellent main event. ****1/4

Overall Thoughts

Overall, this was a great show and a very easy watch. On the other hand, it didn’t really reach the anything-can-happen excitement of DDT Coming to America in 2019, perhaps because in 2023, DDT is more connected to the larger American wrestling ecosystem. While 2019 felt like a real traveling troupe setting out their stall, this year was, for better or worse, a more open event. Yet match quality was very good, and very much a cut above most other shows this weekend in terms of professionalism.

If you’ve never watched DDT before then the first and the last matches are the perfect introduction to the twin-poles of DDT: talented wrestlers not taking themselves too seriously. 

One final note: I want to point out that Veda Scott was excellent on commentary and her well-studied knowledge of DDT really added value to the broadcast.